Sunday, June 29, 2008


There will be two pilgrims on your pilgrimage path - you and a pilgrim called 'self'.
You will be the one putting on the brakes, setting limits, telling 'self' that you can't do this, or can't carry on. 'Self' will want to soar - to be free! Free the pilgrim called 'self' and allow her to transform into a creature of courage and strength.

In the film Me, Myself & Irene, Jim Carrey has an alto-ego who is totally different from 'himself'. We all have a bit of that in us.
When someone achieves something great you'll often hear them say."I really surprised myself!"
You might also hear, "I feel that I've let myself down" when they don't achieve what they set out to do.
There is an inner person in all of us who dreams of doing extraordinary things, of ballroom dancing , playing a musical instrument, of becoming an artist, or going on adventure trails."
The outer person is the one who applies the brakes, who sets the limits, who says, "No, I can't see myself doing that."
Do you know yourself? Really know your inner 'self'?
Who you are. What you are made of. What you are capable of. Do you underestimate yourself?
When you embark on a long-distance hike like the camino you have to give your 'self' the opportunity to try. Free the inner 'self' who would like to be adventurous, try new things, achieve the unimaginable.
The person who plans to walk the camino is often not the same person who returns home. It can be a life changing experience in many imperceptible ways. You have pushed the boundaries and have gained a new sense of what you are truly capable of. You have a sense of achievement that will make you a more confident, braver person than you were before.
In the camino film "Within the Way Without" the young pilgrim from Brazil writes daily diary entries to her 'self', knowing that she is changing as she walks the camino, not sure if she will ever meet her old 'self' again.
When she has to catch a bus in the end because she is burned out and has tendonitis, she apologises to her 'self' for not training enough and for not being strong enough to continue to the end. She is sad and remorseful because she feels that she has let her 'self' down.
Some people say that they are walking the camino to 'find themselves'. We lead such busy lives that we often lose touch with who we are; no time for quiet contemplation or for meditation. Walking the camino gives us space and time - away from home, commitments, daily chores - to challenge the body, mind and soul. Walking a long distance pilgrimage is a multi-level journey. Its like a crash course in finding your physical, emotional, spiritual and mental 'self'.
On a ± 800km walk like the Camino Frances you have to physically take over a million steps to get from your starting point to your destination. That is a lot of physical energy! Sitting at home and contemplating taking 1 million steps can be overwhelming and unless you have the will and motivation to keep lifting one foot after the other, you will not reach your destination – no matter how fit you are.
Strength of will does not come from strong muscles, eating energy foods, taking supplements, or multivitamins. It comes from within. You will be walking the way 'within' and this journey will be just as difficult, if not more so, than the outward journey.
On such a journey you don’t only learn what your body is capable of but also how strong you are mentally. You have to have the mental strength to carry on going even when you are exhausted or in pain. “Mind over matter” really means something when you constantly have to draw on sheer mental strength to keep the body going.
The Paralympic logo is "The Triumph of the Human Spirit". The competing athletes all have various degrees of physical disability that would make many of us stay at home and never do anything physical, but these brave souls all triumph through their strength of spirit.
A few years ago, the logo of the South African Paralympic team was the Butterfly and these words were written to describe the logo:
"Through its metamorphosis the butterfly epitomises nature's ultimate miracle, transforming into a creature of courage, strength and extreme beauty. In the pursuit of the triumph of the human spirit so too do disabled athletes emerge, thereby attaining their freedom."
Prepare to free your 'self'. Just as you prepare to limit your material needs so that you don't have needless baggage to carry with you, slough off your psychological baggage that weighs you down just as heavily.
To prepare your 'self' mentally, read a few inspirational stories of ordinary people's achievements against difficult odds. There are hundreds of these. Find a role model, someone who has really inspired you and when the going gets tough, use that person as your inspiration to keep going. Make a pact with your 'self' that you will do your very best to allow your spirit to triumph so that you don't let your 'self' down.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


"This is a great moment, when you see, however distant, the goal of your wandering, the thing which has been living in your imagination, suddenly become part of the tangible world. It matters not how many ranges, rivers or parching dusty ways may lie between you; it is yours now for ever." Freya Stark

Time magazine described the camino as the "Himalaya of Hiking trails". (July 5, 2004)

Although it cannot be even remotely compared to climbing Mt. Everest, most camino trails are pretty long hikes as hiking trails go being ± 500 miles or 800km on the Camino Frances - 600 miles on the Via de la Plata - and, if you plan on walking from Paris, Le Puy or Vezelay, you'll walk double that distance. (By comparison the linear distance between the Himalayan camps to Everest is not great - just over 8.5 miles or 10k - but it is the altitude gain in the mountains that is the most difficult).

Just as dozens of climbers don’t reach the summit of Everest, each year hundreds - if not thousands - of pilgrims do not achieve their goals of walking the entire route, from their chosen starting place, to Santiago de Compostela.

Many pilgrims underestimate the physical challenge of walking for between 5 and 10 hours every day for 4 to 6 weeks with a backpack on and are unable to maintain the pace they set for themselves. They have to resort to catching buses or trains in order to keep to their schedule.

Others suffer blisters, tendonitis, cellulites, strained muscles, shin splints, stress fractures, twisted ankles or knees, broken limbs, colds, flu or sheer exhaustion on the trail. Many have to stop walking, rest up for a few days or go home.

Some just give up when they realise that they are not enjoying the self-inflicted regime of rising early, eating frugally, walking in rain and mud one day and in dusty, blistering heat the next. They can’t adjust to walking in a foreign country, eating different food or sleeping in cramped, noisy dormitories.

On one of the camino Forums a young woman who started in St Jean Pied de Port gave up three days later in Pamplona. “It was just too big for me” she wrote “I struggled on the mountain. I didn’t like the refuges. I didn’t like the food. I just forgot why I wanted to do it in the first place so I have stopped walking but I will visit some of the towns along the way and then go home.”

Nobody in their right mind would attempt to climb the Himalaya without serious training and preparation. Besides collecting and testing the necessary clothing and equipment, and doing lots of physical training, mountaineers and long distance hikers should be mentally and psychologically prepared.

Although hundreds of reasonably fit people walk the camino every year without a heavy regime of training beforehand, the majority of us need to develop our fitness, to be physically strong and to be mentally, psychologically and spiritually prepared. You’ll have a much better chance of enjoying your pilgrimage, of coping with the crossing of two or three mountain ranges, of withstanding the extremes of climate, the change of food and water and of maintaining your focus if you are walking fit, mentally strong and spiritually prepared to accept all the gifts the camino has to offer.

You wouldn't leave by car on a 1000km journey without having a service or at least checking the oil, water, tyre pressure and filling up the tank. Make sure that you are in top physical shape for the long walk. Ensure good health by eating a balanced diet, lots of fruit and vegetable and increase your protein intake to build more muscle, and calcium to strengthen bones. This is not a sprint or a marathon where you need to bulk on carbohydrates. A course of multi-vitamins might balance what your body is lacking. Try to regularly get a good night sleep. Your body recovers while you are sleeping and depriving it of sleep will result in exhaustion and sluggish muscles.
Besides your daily walking training, do specific exercises to strengthen back and shoulder muscles. Whilst watching television, lift weights – perhaps leg lifts with a heavy towel across both feet - to strengthen tummy and torso. For shoulders and arms, hold a 450g tin in each hand and do weight training for arms and shoulders. With arms outstretched on either side of the body rotate the tins to the count of ten; then bring hands to shoulders to the count of ten; bend your arms and bring elbows and hands together, level with shoulders – open and close to the count of ten.
Before you go treat your feet to a pedicure so that toenails are short and problem spots are dealt.

Here is an article on multi-day walking that might be useful:

Multi-Day Walking Tactics - Dave Spence
It is one thing to walk a marathon or half marathon for a single day - blisters can be endured to the finish. But to pick yourself up and do it again day after day requires more training and planning to be able to finish each day in good enough shape to keep going.

• Do not skimp on building up your mileage to be able to complete the required distance.
• Walk your long distance workout (3/4 of the longest distance you will be walking), have a rest day and walk it again. Observe any new problems that may develop.
• A month before the you go, try walking your long distance workout on back-to-back days and see what problems you may develop.
• Test your clothing, shoes, pack, diet, snacks and fluids thoroughly on your long distance training days in advance of the event. Do not use anything new or different during the walk.

• When you're on a multi-day walk, you have to carry everything with you on your back - and a common cause of suffering and lack of enjoyment is simply that people carry too much. So, the basic rule is: accustom yourself to modest needs, and travel light. If in doubt, leave it out. Total packed weight therefore, ca 5kg (7kg with sleeping-bag), which, together with the weight of your sack, should just squeeze into airline hand-baggage. To this must be added when walking any food and drink; 1 litre of water weighs ca 1kg but is essential in hot weather.

• Pay careful attention to foot problems. These are the stoppers. Learn how to prepare your feet to ward off the blisters.
• Many long distance walkers have to stop because of overuse injuries. The most common injuries seem to be stress fractures of the feet and or lower leg. Consuming a diet high in calcium both before the trip and during the trip will help reduce the incidence of these types of injuries.

• The focus of a well-designed walking training programme must include a great amount of "impact" activities, like walking, running or skipping. Forget cycling and swimming except to add some variety, these non-weight-bearing activities will not help to significantly develop bone density. 3-4 days a week should be spent engaged in vigorous weight bearing activities. The principal of specificity states that the adaptations to training will be specific to the imposed demands. That means if you want to get the best results you need to do activities that are most similar to the activity you want to increase your performance in.

• In addition, weight-bearing activities used, as training will stimulate specialised cells called osteoblasts to lay down stronger bone. This increase in bone density in the lower leg = decreased risk for stress fractures.

Are you mentally prepared for a multi-day pilgrimage walk and all it entails? Can you ‘switch off’ from your regular life for 30 days or more and forget about the responsibilities of work and home? Are you prepared to live out of your comfort zone? Are there certain characteristics in people that irritate you – that make you say, “I can’t accept it when people……?” Can you overlook your companion’s frailties or habits? What are your hopes, fears or expectations? Just as with the physical preparation you will need to prepare mentally for walking day after day in all weathers, all terrains in a different country even when you are feeling below par or when you start to question why you are doing this journey. You will have to be prepared to accept the hospitality of your host country without criticism or complaint. Some of your overnight accommodation might not fulfil your expectations. How will you react to cramped dormitories, lumpy beds, unhygienic ablutions and rowdy tourists? Restaurants, shops and other public facilities might not live up to your standards. “Pilgrimage” is a metaphor for life and there will be good and bad days, unplanned for difficulties, upsetting and distressful times – just as there are in ‘normal’ life. If your expectation is that the walk is going to be a constantly happy traipse through picturesque countryside, enchanting villages, quaint towns, ancient cities with exotic locals and charming little bistros and restaurants – you are quite right. But there will also be busy, dirty highways, uncaring motorists and surly innkeepers, industrial approaches to cities, churlish waiters and poor food. Can you accept the good with the bad? Turn these negatives into positive lessons. They will give you an opportunity to consider the privileged life you have back home, how good our roads are, our standards of accommodation, our friendly waiters and shop assistants. Make a pledge to be a good pilgrim. Sign a contract with yourself before you go:

I undertake to be a good and supportive companion; a grateful visitor, a thankful pilgrim passing through foreign lands. I will be friendly and kind to all I meet and will be a good ambassador for my country. I cannot control the places, events, people or experiences I encounter but I can control the way I react and interact in these circumstances. I will not criticise or complain if things are not up to my expectations. I will endeavour to walk this ancient pilgrimage trail with appreciation and joy, always mindful of the millions who have walked before me and of the multitudes that are still to follow. I will walk this way with integrity and will keep an open mind to all the lessons it can teach me.

By being physically and mentally prepared, you will be more receptive to the spiritual gifts of the trail. It is difficult to appreciate a stunningly panoramic view if your back aches, you have a stinging blister on your heel and you are still smarting from the rude remarks of a waiter or shop assistant. All your energy will be focussed inward, to the physicality of your situation.

SPIRITUALLY Spirit (n) L. spiritus - breath, courage, vigour, the soul of life. There is spirituality on any trail, especially those that take you into wilderness areas. People talk about feeling energised when they are in the mountains or on the seashore. Bracing mountain air literally fills one with vigour (the soul of life). Are you ready for the spirituality of the pilgrimage? Television has brought many of the beauties of the world into our living rooms so we might feel that they are familiar, commonplace. Can we look at the view through the eyes of medieval pilgrims who had never seen such sights as mountain ranges, waterfalls, hills covered in poppies? Look for the beauty in everything you see. Not only the natural sights like mountains, misty forests and vineyards but also in the faces of the people we meet, voices, cowbells, church spires, Roman bridges and walls. The beauty will balance out all the ugly sights we see – rubbish tips, car graveyards, congested traffic.
Spirituality has religious connotations. One can feel it in the Pyramids of Giza, in Inca temples, in Buddhist Tibet and in the Christian churches and temples of Europe. Medieval pilgrimage trails in Europe are based on the faith and belief of millions of people who were seeking absolution for their sins and the intercession of saints so that they would be assured of a place in their heavenly home. The churches, cathedrals, abbeys, monasteries and convents are not tourist attractions but holy structures, witnesses to the 2000 year old faith of the Catholic (universal) church. Even if you are not a part of the Catholic church or do not adhere to any organised religion, open your mind to the spiritual experience of the churches and cathedrals. Be open to the prayers and blessing of others. A 1000-year old pilgrim blessing in the monastery at Roncesvalles, Spain, states:

“The door is open to all, sick or well; not only Catholics, but pagans also. To Jews heretics, idlers, the vain, and as I shall briefly note, the good and the worldly too.”

The idea of your walk started as a seed – planted and waiting for germination. All the preparation has helped it to grow. Now is the time to nurture it and feed it so that it evolves into a strong and beautiful experience. The way we experience it can bear fruit, not only for ourselves in the lessons we will learn but for what we will pass on to others who want to follow.
We have a responsibility to ourselves and our companions to be prepared, to step out of our comfort zones, to walk with an open mind, to embrace the beauty, to turn negatives into positives, to have a sense of humour, to be kind to each other and to strangers and allow them to be kind to us.

One thing is certain on any long hike you will be walking in the sun and in the rain. Chances are it could be cold and wet on the occasional rainy day and if the contents of your pack and your rain gear are not waterproofed, everything you possess might end up soaked. With careful planning and packing, walking in the rain can be an invigorating rather than a miserable experience.

· Pack everything into plastic zip-lock bags, even the little things like medicines and cosmetics etc.,
· Have a waterproof inner liner to keep all your goods dry.
· Make sure that your backpack cover is large enough to wrap around the whole pack.
· Gaiters, ankle or knee high, will keep the water out of the top of your shoes.
· A rainproof, sweat-proof jacket and over trousers or a good hiking raincoat that covers your backpack are essential.
· Most rain jackets and ponchos have hoods but a wide-brimmed rain hat will also keep the rain off your face.
· If you stop whilst walking, be careful not to put your pack down on a wet patch of ground. Water can easily soak into your pack.
· If you have no option but to walk in the rain, change your attitude towards rain and concentrate on the good things.
Be aware of the changing tapestry of the landscape; the deeper colours of the hills and the trees, soaked clean by the rain. Everything is greener, more lush and alive. Crops stand taller, trees no longer droop; rivers and waterfalls change from sedate to spectacular. Take deep breaths of the cleaner, washed air. You will feel revitalized and more energetic walking in the cool rain. Do you remember playing in the rain as a child? There was nothing better than skipping and dancing while raindrops spattered on your face making your skin glow and eyelids flutter. And what joy to stomp in the puddles – exhilarating!

PS: Enjoy your preparations and all the planning but leave yourself open to the unexpected - you never know what the camino might have in store for you!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Whilst walking the camino Frances last year I often found myself singing, especially when the going got tough. One song that really gave me strength was the school song sung by the children at the Open Air School for physically disabled children in Durban that my younger son attended for 12 years.
The song is a poem by A.H. Ackley called
“You can Smile when you can’t say a Word”.

There are many troubles that will burst like bubbles,
there are many shadows that will disappear;
When you learn to meet them, with a smile to greet them,
for a smile is better than a frown or tear.

You can smile when you can't say a word,
You can smile when you cannot be heard;
You can smile when it's cloudy or fair,
You can smile anytime, anywhere.

Tho' the world forsake you, joy will overtake you,
Hope will soon awake you, if you smile today;
Don't parade your sorrow, wait until tomorrow,
For your joy and hope will drive the clouds away.


When the clouds are raining, don't begin complaining,
what the earth is gaining should not make you sad;
Do not be a fretter, smiling is much better,
and a smile will help to make the whole world glad.


It was especially poignant when being sung at assembly by some two hundred disabled children, some deaf, some blind, some mute, all disabled, belting out
“You can smile…”

“I can and I will” - this was the motto of the Open Air School. The children ranged from terminally ill – leukaemia, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and so on – to those born with cerebral palsy, spina bifida or brittle bones (like my son) and a few amputees or accident victims who might spend only some of their school lives at the special school.

The effects of being involved with children who have to overcome enormous odds just to live each day are profound. Can you complain of a headache when you see a child with a brain tumour? Can you complain of a sore arm when confronted by a child with no limbs? Can you complain about having to walk to a shop after watching a child struggling to walk in parallel bars wearing callipers? Can you complain about having a child who breaks his bones when your friend’s child is dying?

These children teach you to accept your life as it is, to persevere and to live life joyfully. Children are generally playful, carefree and full of mischief even though they have crippling disabilities. For a number of years I was in a lift club with three other mothers from my area whose children went to the Open Air School. Mark (with the fragile bones) always sat in the front. Russell, Belinda and Jaquetta sat in the back. I ended up calling it my ‘death row’. Russell had muscular dystrophy and Belinda had Cystic Fibrosis – neither survived past their teens. Jaquetta’s prognosis was bleak. She’d had numerous aneurysms and seizures which had left her unable to walk, speak, or use her right hand. She has confounded the doctors by surviving and is now almost forty years old.

The children teased each other unmercifully, joked, sang and played games like “The A Team” where the ugliest, most deformed child was “Face” and my fragile boy was “Hannibal”. All were included in school plays and if Cinderella looked a little incongruous in her wheelchair nobody seemed to notice.

When the going got tough, climbing muddy paths to the Alto del Perdon, or steep rocky trails to Manjarin or O Cebreiro, I sang the school song and it lifted my spirit and gave me strength to carry on. When it rained for three days in a row I sang:
When the clouds are raining, don't begin complaining, what the earth is gaining should not make you sad;

Many people - like my son - are not physically able to walk the camino even though he has had incredible achievements in other ways.

I am eternally grateful that I am fit and healthy and able to walk the camino and remind myself every day, "
Do not be a fretter, smiling is much better, and a smile will help to make the whole world glad."

Sunday, June 15, 2008


We are honoured and delighted to have Saint James the Greater with us today. He completed walking the camino Frances yesterday and has agreed to this exclusive interview.
As you know, St James was a disciple of Jesus Christ and one of the 12 apostles.  He was the first apostle to be martyred in Jesus’ name and the only apostle whose death is recorded in the bible.  Legend says that after he was put to death in Jerusalem, by the sword of Herod Agrippa, his body was brought to Spain in a stone boat with no sails, blown to the port of Jaffa in 7 days by angels.  He was buried here but his tomb remained undiscovered for over 800 years.  Once it was rediscovered, pilgrims started walking in ever increasing numbers from all over Europe to venerate his remains. There are many sculptures, paintings and statues of Saint James as a pilgrim but he has told us that this is actually the first time that he has walked the pilgrimage road to Santiago, although he has walked to Jerusalem on a number of occasions.

Q: Welcome to Santiago, Saint James. You have just completed walking the camino Frances from Roncesvalles to this city, named after you. Were you surprised to find so many churches, cathedrals and monuments - not to mention pilgrims - honouring your name?

A: Absolutely! I couldn’t believe the legend that has grown up around my name and feel quite humbled by all this posthumous adoration. I must say that my brother and some of the other guys are really jealous! But then I had to wait about a thousand years to be recognized.

Q: What name do you prefer, Yakhov, Iakob, Iakobos, or one of the more modern versions like Jacques or James?

A: I don’t really mind what you call me. My parents called me Iakob but some people called me Yakob. I was known as Yakov Ben-Zebedee but if you prefer James, that is fine by me.

Q: Your brother was John?

A: Yes, but his given name was Yohannan Ben-Zebedee, which we shortened to Yohn. So, John is also fine.

Q: Can we talk about your parents for a while? Your father was a fisherman and your mother was the daughter of a priest?

A: My father was named Zebedee. He and his father before him, and my brother Yohn and I were fishermen. My mother died when Yohn and I were young.

Q: She was named Salome – sister of Mary?

A: Actually no, her name was not Salome – I think that was the name of the daughter of Herodias. I’m not sure where the confusion with her name started, but I know that the tax collector – Matthew – would never have made that mistake. I’m not sure who wrote the first book but it wasn’t our Matthew, he was very meticulous. My mother’s family were Zealots. My father always told her that we got our revolutionary passion and tempers from her side of the family!

Q: Is that why you two were named Boanerges?

A: You heard about that! It’s actually a loutish name in Mishnaic Hebrew! My cousin called us that because we were often impatient and aggressive. We wanted the revolution to start, to bring in a new order and sometimes we were overly eager. Anyway, we didn't really understand that he didn't intend starting a revolution to overthrow the state. He was a different kind of saviour!

Q: How do you feel about being one of the most visited Saints in Christianity with millions coming to your tomb to be saved?

A: This is a matter of linguistics and devotion rather than theology. There were no saints in the Tanakh, only Holy men and all of them were ‘saved’. Remember, Yahweh has not spoken to man directly for thousands of years – not since the time of Job. I’m sure any good reader of scripture knows that they will not get to the father through me!!

Q: Let’s talk about Spain. There has been some controversy about whether you actually evangelized in Spain, or built a church after seeing an apparition of the Virgin. Can you tell us about that?

A: Well, the year that I was supposed to have seen her in Hispania, Mary was still alive and well in Ephesus! She was living with John then. She was quite amused when that story started doing the rounds. There were no churches then anyway - we were still meeting in each other’s homes.

Q: Let me rephrase the question. Did you bring Christianity to Hispania?

A: Listen man, in my day the term "Christian" meant follower or proponent of some Messiah and was actually a derogatory term. We were called Pisciculi and we were fishers of men. "So many fishes bred in the water, and saved by one great fish," wrote Tertullian. He was a great writer - but I digress. Paul was supposed to come to Spain about 10 years after my death to teach and to start a new gentile mission in that area where they had never heard the preaching of Yeshua. I don’t think he ever did come here.

Q: You know, of course, that the reliquary in the crypt of the cathedral is supposedly contains your remains?

A: Yes – I went to have a look at it yesterday after the pilgrim’s mass. I’ve heard over the years that my head has been the main relic in at least 11 different places over the ages.  My head is in the cathedral in Jerusalem.  They say that my leg is in the church of St. Saturnin in Toulouse in France; that an arm was in Valencia from the year 640, and that my left hand was in Reading Abbey in Britannia. I’m not sure how many other bits are scattered about the world!

Q: What do make of the many churches and cathedrals along the way?

A: They are marvelous structures but there is something that really shocked me. The Tanack taught us that displays of statues and likenesses of Yahweh elohim is one of the ways that idolatry began. Our biggest problem in the early days was fighting idolatry. We taught that, as YHVH has no shape or form, people should not worship before ‘things of naught’.
I saw many life-like statues, even a statue of a crucified Yeshua, hanging on a cross, covered in old skin!! It is an abomination and if I could have, I would have torn it down with my bare hands! Can't they read?? Have they not read Acts? Don't they know that our Lord was hung on a tree? Excuse me for displaying frustration but all these man made likenesses appear to me as Pagan idols. They are the work of men's hands, unable to speak, see, hear, or feel, and powerless either to injure or to benefit, so it surprises me that they adorn the altars of every church. It saddens me that people bow down before them. Where did we go wrong when millions of 'believers' are climbing stairs to hug a bejeweled, metal effigy of me!!?

Q: There are numerous statues and carvings of you – as an apostle, as a pilgrim, or as Sant’Iago Matamoros,

A: I have seen them and am amused by them. The likenesses of me as an apostle and a pilgrim are acceptable, but I have never been on a horse – although I rather fancy myself as a horseman and warrior!

Q: Your likeness as Santiago Matamoros was carried over the oceans to the New World where you were instrumental in helping to conquer many people. How do you feel about that?

A: That was my likeness, not me. I am, however, amazed that our message planted such strong roots in the West. We are an Eastern religion. Our ministry began in Asia when Yeshua travelled in Lubanan, Palestine and Egypt. Our roots are from the East and were transported to the West by the passion of the apostles and disciples.

Q: What do you make of the church today with its different sects and denominations?

A: There were always different sects even in Judaism. There were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, Essenes and many others. This is the way of the world.

Q: Did you attend Mass along the way?

A: Oh yes, frequently and the priests were very capable. But what struck me as odd is that I never saw any teachers or priests on the actual paths to Santiago – why is that? Yeshua was a street preacher. He walked for miles, preaching in the streets, in the courtyards of the temples, on mountains and besides rivers and the sea. He preached as he walked from one village to the next and even though he preached in the temples from time to time he didn’t build any churches. Where are the street preachers?

Q: Are there any other observations that you would like to share with our readers?

A: Yes – there are a couple of things. You can't blame us for thinking that the Romans finally won the day! They adopted the religion, chose the most feared symbol of all Christians – the cross – as their symbol, and established the head of the church in Rome, of all places! We couldn't believe that the church didn't remain centered in the East, but that is the way of man. Why didn’t they keep the Ichthus which we all used after the great fire to identify each other? They knew this was our secret, coded name - meaning "Jesus Christ, Son of God, our Savior". At least they adopted the fish headdress of the priests of Ea as the miter of the Christian bishops.

Q: Do you know that there was a split in the Roman church that started around 1517?

A: Yes, we know all about that, and what started the split. Our message was clear in the scriptures – why mess with them - and is it not true that in the Tanakh "nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it?"

Q: The Roman Catholics, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and the new Anglican churches do not believe that the bible, or the Sola Scriptura, is sufficient as the final authority of Christian doctrine. They believe both the Bible and Roman Catholic tradition are equally binding. What would you say about these two different schools of thought?

A: I am tempted to say “no comment” but I won’t. All I will say is that from the time of Constantine until now, the people who belong to the Christian churches have evolved, grown, changed and are still learning. For instance, the witch hunts ended, they no longer slaughter people (as they did in South America) in the name of God. But, they are still not at peace. Why? Do you remember Agnes – you probably knew her as Mother Teresa? She said, “If you want peace, go talk with your enemies, you don't make peace with friends”.

Q: I think we have time for one last question. May we ask where you will be going from here - back ‘home’ or to do more evangelizing?

A: I was never very good at evangelizing!
I am going to be travelling to Oviedo first to have a look at the Sudarium - remember John spoke of it - and a few other relics. I can't believe that they escaped the Perisans and made it out of Palestine safely. Then I am going to India to do some fishing with my good friend Tenzin Gyatso.

Q: Thank you very much for speaking to us Saint James. I know that you have a busy schedule here in Santiago and wish you God-speed to Oviedo and to India. Before you leave, do you have a message for the many pilgrims who walk long distances to your shrine?

A: The early church was a pilar of fire. This might surprise you but I would like to share a verse written by my friend Besht who was a great scholar and mystic who said, “When you walk across the fields with your mind pure, then from all the stones and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you and become a holy fire in you”.

Monday, June 09, 2008


When was the first Santiago Holy Year celebrated?
According to Xacobeo Blog only in the 15th c:    "The alleged grant of a Jubilee to Compostela by Pope Callistus II in the year 1119 and ratified in 1179 by Pope Alexander III to confirm this as a perpetual bull by Regis Aeterni, is a process that has been put in quarantine by some historians. They propose a later origin suggesting that the Jubilee in Santiago did not start until the first half of the fifteenth century. They argue that this Jubilee Holy Year was born imitating the successful Roman Holy Year which was celebrated for first time in 1300 as a response to Pope Boniface VIII spontaneous demand that special thanks be given to the thousands and thousands of pilgrims who visited Rome in that landmark year at the change of the century.
There are essentially two positions on the origin of Compostela Jubilee Years. They are summarized through the work of two of the few experts who have been concerned with this issue, trying to throw light on it, though from differing viewpoints.
  1. Jesus Precedo Lafuente is former Dean of the Cathedral of Santiago, and was responsible for leading the organization of several Holy Years in Compostela in the second half of the twentieth century. He argues that Aeterni Regis, following the Bull (1179) of Pope Alexander III, the first Jubilee was held in Santiago in 1182. He defends well, that which is maintained from the time this celebration in the years that in accordance with the bull, agreed that the Sunday celebrating the martyrdom in Palestine of St. James is 25 Julio, that usually happens every 6,5,6, 11 years (Precedo Lafuente, Jesus, "Origin and Significance of the Year Santae Compostela" pilgrim's Guide Calixtino Salamanca, Fundación Caixa Galicia, A Coruña, 1993, p.20).
  2. Compostela professor, Fernando López Alsina, the historian who has studied this question more thoroughly, suggests a later origin, suggesting that the first Compostela Holy Year was not held until 1428 or 1434.  "Only since 1434, and throughout the rest of the fifteenth century, can we follow the regular celebration of the Compostela Holy Year at planned intervals of 6, 5, 6, 11 years. (Lopez Alsi, Fernando: "Romans and Holy Years Holy Years Compostela in Santigo, Rome, Jerusalem. Proceedings of the Third Congress Jacobean-International Studies Caucci, Paolo, ed. Xunta de Galicia, Santigo de Compostela, 1999, p. 235)
The truth is that only since the fifteenth century can we follow the ceremony of the Jubilees regularly in Compostela. They have occurred since that period with characteristics closeness to the present when the festival the apostle James the Great falls on Sundays. In this case, reference to the Holy Year of 1434, the first of which there is a strong historical record, means that up to the year 2004 there have been a total of 83 Jubilees Compostela.
Those who advocate a previous home based on the bull Aetterni Regis, say at least 118 to 2004.

Is there any evidence for earlier Holy Year celebrations? 
Mary Storrs wrote in her book "Jacobean Pilgrims from England to St James of Compostela from the 12th to late 15th cenury" that 1395 was a Holy Year and that a large number of pilgrims sailed to Spain in that year. (The 25th July 1395 was on a Sunday.) She further writes that 916 pilgrims sailed to Spain as pilgrims in 1428 and that in 1434 the number of pilgrims from England was 2310

Trivial Info:
Catherine Gasquoine Hartley wrote in her book that, "There is still in existence in England a curious law, it never having been repealed, by which the Keeper of the Tower of London can levy a charge of sixpence on each English pilgrim visiting Compostela.

In a 16htc book of verse, Fancisco Molina speaks of the sacred relics, which were shown to the pilgrims, by an officer called el lenguagero, who was specially appointed for his linguistic talents. "The head of the glorious Apostle is carried around the cathedral on all feast-days in solemn procession.
. . . One of the relics is a drop of milk from the breast of the Virgin in a vase as fresh and perfect as if of to-day. There is also a precious lock of her hair, and a thorn from Christ's crown, which turns the colour of blood every Good Friday."

We know that from the early 16th-c pilgrimage became not only unpopular but dangerous and that numbers were affected by the plague, the reformation of the church and religious wars in Europe.  In 1589 the relics of the saint were moved and hidden from a possible attack by Frances Drake – and were then forgotten for almost 300 years! It’s not surprising that the number of pilgrims to Santiago dried up almost completely and it would be almost 400 years before its reanimation.

"In late 17th century, the pilgrimage experienced something of a revival and reached a new (if more modest, honestly religious) peak, but mid-18th century again saw a marked decline. The scientific and industrial revolution in 19th century also rendered the pilgrimage obsolete in the rest of Europe.” Antti Lahelma

"As late as the year 1794, D. Miguel Ferro, the architect of the cathedral, wrote : " The crowd of people on feast-days is so great that only two-thirds of them can get into the cathedral " and we read of altars being temporarily erected in the cloisters and in the plazas adjoining the sacred edifice, at which the priests said Mass." Catherine Gasquoine Hartley

“In the Holy Year of 1867 just 40 pilgrims turned up for the celebrated mass on 25th July.”

A search for the relics was launched in 1879 and they were eventually found between the walls of the apse. “A papal bull from Pope Leo XIII (in 1884) declared them to be genuine in order to silence sceptics.”


What is a Holy (or Jubilee) Year?

The origin of the Christian Jubilee goes back to Biblical times. The Law of Moses prescribed a special year for the Jewish people: "You shall hallow the fiftieth year and proclaim the liberty throughout the land, to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family. This fiftieth year is to be a jubilee year for you: you will not sow, you will not harvest the un-gathered corn; you will not gather the untrimmed vine. The jubilee is to be a holy thing to you; you will eat what comes from the fields."(The Book of Leviticus 25, 10-14)  The trumpet with which this particular year was announced was a goat's horn called Yobel in Hebrew, and the origin of the word jubilee. The celebration of this year also included the restitution of land to the original owners, the remission of debts, the liberation of slaves and the land was left fallow. In the New Testament, Jesus presents himself as the One who brings the old Jubilee to completion, because he has come to "preach the year of the Lord's favour" (Isaiah 61: 1-2).

ST JAMES’ FEAST DAYS Whenever St James's day - 25th July - falls on a Sunday, the cathedral declares a Holy or Jubilee Year. Due to leap years, Holy Years fall every 6, 5, 6, and 11 years: the most recent ones were 1982, 1993, 1999 and 2004. The next Holy Year will be 2010 and then 11 years later in 2021.

In the early Middle Ages the 30 December was St James’ Feast day, based on the old Hispanic (Mozarabic) rite.
In the 11th century King Alfonso VI abolished the Hispanic rite in favour of the Roman rite and 25 July became the principal feast day to commemorate the martyrdom of St. James.
December 30 was incorporated into the present liturgical calendar as the Feast of the Translation of his relics. And, just to confuse matters more, although we celebrate his Feast Day on 25th July using the Roman Rite calendar, it was formerly on the 5th August on the Tridentine Rite calendar.

Watch a video of the 1915 Holy Year here:

This is thought to be either the 84th or the 119th Jubilee Year.
The Puerta Santa (Holy Door), which gives access to the Cathedral from the Plaza de la Quintana is opened on 31st December on the eve of each Holy Year, and walled up again a year later. As in the past, pilgrims reaching Santiago during a Holy Year, and fulfilling the conditions for it, are granted a plenary indulgence. (This means that you can get remission for all of your worldy sins). The plenary indulgence is given, not only in Holy Years, but also in ordinary years on Easter Sunday; 21st April (the anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral); and on St James's three feast days. (25th July, 30 December and 23 May).
On the eve of St. James' Day (the 24 July) a magnificent firework display is held on the Orbradoiro facade of the cathedral called the "Fuego Del Apostol”. An impressive statue of St. James as a warrior is taken from the cathedral and carried through the streets. Further celebrations are held to commemorate the removal of the remains to Spain on 30 December. You can read accounts of Holy Years in 1951 and 1965 here:

This is a list of Holy Years from 1604 as supplied by the Archdioces in Santiago:

1604 1700 1802 1909 2004 2100 2202
1610 1706 1813 1915 2010 2106 2213
1621 1717 1819 1920 2021 2117 2219
1627 1723 1824 1926 2027 2123 2224
1632 1728 1830 1937 2032 2128 2230
1638 1734 1841 1943 2038 2134 2241
1649 1745 1847 1948 2049 2145 2247
1655 1751 1852 1954 2055 2151 2252
1660 1756 1858 1965 2060 2156 2258
1666 1762 1869 1971 2066 2162 2269
1677 1773 1875 1976 2077 2173 2275
1683 1779 1880 1982 2083 2179 2280
1688 1784 1886 1993 2088 2184 2286
1694 1790 1897 1999 2094 2190 2297

Over 12 million pilgrims are expected to visit Santiago in 2010.

Hundreds of thousands (250 000 has been suggested) of pilgrims are expected to walk to Santiago in 2010 - not only because it is a Holy Year but because the next Holy Year will be eleven years later. 

The relics of St James in the crypt of the cathedral in Santiago.

Hugging the saint after walking to Santiago in the 2004 Holy Year.
This list shows the growth of numbers of pilgrims who received the compostela in Santiago. These numbers do not include pilgrims who walk sections of the various caminos, or who do not apply for the compostela.
1985/6 2.491
1987 2.905
1988 3.501
1989 5.760
1990 4.918
1991 7.274
1992 9.764
1993 99.436
1994 15.863
1995 19.821
1996 23.218
1997 25.179
1998 30.126
1999 154.613
2000 55.004
2001 61.418
2002 68.952
2003 74.614
2004 179.944
2005 93.924
2006 100.377
2007 114.026
2008 125,141
2009 144,812 (to November)

For up-to-date info on preparations and programs for the 2010 Holy Year, visit: 

Sunday, June 08, 2008


We are all born atheists

Last Friday we attended the funeral of my cousin’s husband. One of our other cousins came out from Canada and after the funeral I gave her a lift back to the friends she was staying with. She asked me about my walk on the camino and seemed confused when I said that I am an atheist who loves walking pilgrimage trails.
“Why are you an atheist?” she asked. “What made you stop believing?”

I smiled and told her that I was born an atheist – that I had never been a ‘believer’. There is a perception amongst Christians that atheists are people who have fallen off the religious wagon and need rescuing – who need to be brought back to the fold. I was never a Christian or a theist. I never did belong to the fold. I attended the Sunday schools of a number of different church denominations as a small child and the occasional church service as a teenager but I had no strong feelings about Christianity, religion or deities. I didn’t have a wonderful childhood but nothing dramatic happened that would have turned me away from a religion if I’d had one.

Unlike my husband, whose grandfather was a Lutheran priest and missionary from Norway. He came to South Africa in 1909 and set up a mission in Zululand. My husband’s father, who was born in Norway, died when Finn was about 2 ½ years old. He and his mother returned to the mission where they lived until he needed to move back to Durban to attend high school. Finn had a missionary upbringing, attending church services and often helped his ‘mor far’ with his priest’s robes before a service. He was christened and took confirmation classes in the Norwegian Lutheran church.

My mother’s father was a deacon in the NG Church and I remember ‘oupa’ reading from a Dutch bible at the dinner table before we said grace. I don’t know if my father was a Catholic or a Protestant or whether he ever went to church. I was never christened or baptised and didn’t attend church until I was about 5 years old when my parents divorced and my older sister and I went to a home for girls from broken homes. The committee were Methodists so we attended the local Methodist Sunday school. After a few years the committee changed and we attended the Full Gospel Church. I loved the stories of baby Jesus and the angels just as I loved those about Father Christmas and the fairies. (I think I stopped believing in both round about the same time.)

When my mother remarried and we left Wylie House to live in Woodlands we attended the local Presbyterian Church. When that was relocated we started going to the Congregational church. By then we were in our teens and rebelled at having to go to church on a Sunday. My sister left home and I stopped going to church altogether.

When I met Finn he wasn’t a regular church goer but we went to the St Olav’s Lutheran Church on special days like Easter, Christmas, weddings and funerals. We got engaged and planned on being married in St Olav’s but because I had not been christened or confirmed, this was not possible. I was told that I would have to attend confirmation classes and after a few weeks of instruction, at the age 21, was duly confirmed into the Lutheran church. I did not particularly want to be confirmed into the church, but if I wanted to marry the man I loved in his church, it was something that I had to do. Both our children were christened at St Olav’s but they did not go to Sunday schools and we rarely went to church.

There was a period in my life where I reached out to Spiritualism and Christianity. Our younger son was born in 1977 with a crippling bone disorder and in an effort to 'leave no stone unturned' we tried many different things to alleviate or cure his disorder. We travelled to faith healers, tried spiritual healers and various different potions and lotions. I joined a charismatic, healing bible study group based on the ‘faith and presumption’ evangelism of Hagin and Copeland - popularised in the late 1970's. I found the talking in tongues, ‘claiming of gifts’ and the ‘positive prayer’ ministries rather disturbing. One night, after I told the group that Mark had broken a limb and was lying in a traction frame at home, our leader suggested I offer my cardigan to the group for ‘soaking prayer’, which involved laying of hands and speaking in tongues. In order for Mark to be healed I was to take the cardigan home and cover him with it. When I reported back the following week that this didn’t appear to have the desired effect, I was told that I did not have enough faith. They were right. I didn’t have the courage to take my 18 month old child with a fractured femur out of the traction frame and pronounce him cured by virtue of my prayed upon cardigan. Suffice it to say, I didn’t go back to bible study. This was not a catalyst on my way to becoming an atheist, rather an affirmation of my convictions.

Although I am not religious, I have an interest in the history of religions, in religious art and architecture. I particularly love walking on ancient pilgrimage trails. Hinduism is considered the oldest formal religion with four main denominations that differ basically in the god they worship as the Supreme One. Judaism is almost as old, being based in Abraham who lived about 1800 BC although the Egyptians predate them both and the Mesopotamians and Chinese predate them all. Australian aboriginal beliefs probably go back 60,000 years or more and, if Africa is the cradle of humankind, there were most certainly even earlier animist beliefs that involved animals and plants, the skies and the seasons.

Most visitors to holy sites – religious or not - respect the sites and have a sense of their sacredness. The holy sites of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh in India (the most sacred place of pilgrimage for Hindus) or Bodhgaya in the state of Bihar (the most holy site for Buddhists): the pyramids at Giza and the temples to the many gods and goddesses that shaped their lives for thousands of years. Secular pilgrims walk the paths to the 88 Buddhist temples on the island of Shikoku and visit the many Christian monuments and churches on the way to the tomb of St James in Spain, to Jerusalem or to St Peter's in Rome. One need not be a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian to enjoy visiting these sites.

The world is either 6 000 years old (according to the bible) or 4.5 billion years old (according to science.
The oldest tree system ever found is a Spruce that has been dated to 9 500 years.
The oldest human fossils, found last year at Atapuerca in northern Spain, along with stone tools and animal bones, are up to 1.3 million years old.
The oldest dinosaur fossils are approximately 230 million years old.

In the spiritual world, Christianity and Islam are the new kids on the block: Christianity having been around less than 2000 years (since about 30 AD) and Islam about 1400 years since 610 AD. A human being has a fleeting lifespan of perhaps 70 – 80 years and I prefer to spend my fleeting moment without fear of gods or demons, angels or devils. I have met many people who I could call angels and a few that could qualify as devils! I live my life according to human-kind’s morals, hopefully tolerant of other’s beliefs, as a pacifist and vegetarian pilgrim. I expect others to grant me the same respect.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Teilhard de Chardin ©

Friday, June 06, 2008



Chanson des Pèlerins by J. Claude Bénazet

Tous les matins nous prenons le chemin,
tous les matins nous allons plus loin.
Jour après jour la route nous appelle,
c'est la voix de Compostelle.
Ultreia, Ultreia, et Suseia, Deus, adjuva nos!

Chemin de terre et chemin de foi,
voie millénaire de l'Europe,
la voi lactée de Charlemagne,
c'est le chemin de tous les jacquets.
Ultreia, Ultreia, et Suseia, Deus, adjuva nos!

Et tout là-bas au bout du continent,
messire Jacques nous attend,
depuis toujours son sourire fixe,
le soleil qui meurt au Finistère.
Ultreia, Ultreia, et Suseia, Deus, adjuva nos!

Sung to the tune of 'We are Working on the Railroad"

We are walking el Camino
all the live long day.
We are walking el Camino
in the wind and sun and rain.
When we get to Santiago
we will hug Saint James
and we'll get the Compostela
to prove we've walked The Way.


She'll be coming round the mountain
When she comes

She'll be coming round the mountain
When she comes
She'll be coming round the mountain,
She'll be coming round the mountain,
She'll be coming round the mountain
When she comes
She'll be driving six white horses
When she comes

She'll be driving six white horses
When she comes

She'll be driving six white horses,
She'll be driving six white horses,
She'll be driving six white horses
When she comes
Oh, we'll all go out to meet her
When she comes

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her
When she comes

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her,
We'll all go out to meet her,
We'll all go out to meet her
When she comes
She'll be wearing red pajamas
When she comes

She'll be wearing red pajamas
When she comes

She'll be wearing red pajamas,
She'll be wearing red pajamas,
She'll be wearing red pajamas
When she comes

She will have to sleep with Grandma
When she comes

She will have to sleep with Grandma
When she comes

She will have to sleep with Grandma,
She'll have to sleep with Grandma,
She will have to sleep with Grandma
When she comes

Singing yay-yay yippee-yippee yay!
Singing yay-yay yippee-yippee yay!
Singing yay-yay yippee
Singing yay-yay yippee
Singing yay-yay yippee-yippee yay!


Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my tears relieved
How precious did
That grace appear, the hour, I first believed

When we’ve been there
Ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days, to sing god’s praise
Than when, we first begun


Blaze Away

We'll make a bonfire of our troubles and we'll watch them blaze away
and when they've all gone up in smoke clouds,
we'll never worry should they come another day
and as the bonfire keeps on burning,
happy days will be returning,
while the band keeps playing
we'll let our troubles blaze away

Here we are, there's work to do,
and don't let troubles trouble you.
Bring them along and we'll burn them up,
bring them along and we'll burn them up ha ha, ha hey

Start and throw them right into the fire
Watch the flames go higher and higher
Blazing away, blazing away, oh, come along bring your worries round today.

We'll make a bonfire of our troubles and we'll watch them blaze away
and when they've all gone up in smoke clouds,
we'll never worry should they come another day
and as the bonfire keeps on burning,
happy days will be returning,
while the band is playing
we'll let our troubles blaze away


Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them o’er your shoulder like a Continental soldier?
Do your ears hang low?


Down in the Valley - Full Version

Down in the valley, the valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the winds blow
Hear the winds blow, dear, hear the winds blow
Hang your head over, hear the winds blow

Down in the valley, walking between
Telling our story, here's what it means
Here's what it means, dear, here's what it means
Telling our story, here's what it means

Roses love sunshine, violets love dew
Angels in heaven know I love you
Know I love you, dear, know I love you
Angels in heaven know I love you

Build me a castle forty feet high
So I can see him as he rides by
As he rides by, dear, as he rides by
So I can see him as he rides by

Writing this letter, containing three lines
Answer my question, "Will you be mine?"
"Will you be mine, dear, will you be mine"
Answer my question, "Will you be mine?"

If you don't love me, love whom you please
Throw your arms round me, give my heart ease
Give my heart ease, dear, give my heart ease
Throw your arms round me, give my heart ease

Throw your arms round me, before it's too late
Throw your arms round me, feel my heart break
Feel my heart break, dear, feel my heart break
Throw your arms round me, feel my heart break



Oh! We ain't got a barrel of money
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we'll travel along
Singing a song, side by side
Don't know what's comin' tomorrow
Maybe it's trouble and sorrow
But we'll travel the road
Sharin' our load, side by side
Through all kinds of weather
What if the sky should fall
As long as we're together
It doesn't matter at all, side by side
When they've all had their quarrels parted
We'll be the same as we started
Just travellin' along, sing a song
Side by side, side by side


Happy Wanderer

I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.

Val-de-ri, val-de-ra,
Val-de-ri, val-de-ra, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
Val-de-ri, val-de-ra
(repeat last line of previous verse).

I love to wander by the stream,
That dances in the sun,
So joyfully it calls to me,
Come join my happy song.


I wave my hand to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And the blackbirds call so loud and sweet,
From every greenwood tree.


High overhead the skylarks sing,
They never rest at home,
Just like me they laugh and sing,
As o'er the world they roam.


Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die,
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky,




"lt's a long way to Tipperary

It's a long way to go;
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know!
Good-bye, Piccadilly!
Leicester Square

It's a long, long way to Tipperary

But my heart's right there! "

Pack up Your Troubles

Pack up your troubles
In your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile.
While you've a lucifer
To light your fag.
Smile, boys,
That's the style.
What's the use of worrying,
It never was worth while,

So ---- Pack up your troubles
In your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile.


Loch Lomond

By yon bonnie banks,
And by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love
Were ever want to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Oh! ye'll take the high road and
I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

'Twas then that we parted
In yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomond

Where in purple hue
The Highland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloaming.

Oh! ye'll take the high road and
I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

The wee birdie sang
And the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping,
But the broken heart it kens
Nae second Spring again,
Tho' the waeful may cease frae their greeting.

Oh! ye'll take the high road and
I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.


There is a Tavern in the Town

There is a tavern in the town, in the town And there my true love sits him down, sits him down, And drinks his wine as merry as can be, And never, never thinks of me.

cho:    Fare thee well, for I must leave thee,
Do not let this parting grieve thee,
And remember that the best of friends Must part, must part. Adieu, adieu kind friends, yes, adieu I can no longer stay with you, stay with you, I'll hang my harp on the weeping willow tree, And may the world go well with thee.

He left me for a damsel dark, damsel dark,
Each Friday night they used to spark,
Used to spark,
And now my love who once was true to me
Takes this dark damsel on his knee.

And now I see him nevermore, nevermore;
He never knocks upon my door, on my door;
Oh, woe is me; he pinned a little note,
And these were all the words he wrote:
Oh, dig my grave both wide and deep, wide and deep; Put tombstones at my head and feet, head and feet And on my breast you may carve a turtle dove, To signify I died of love.

Michael row the boat ashore

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah

The river is deep and the river is wide, hallelujah
Green pastures on the other side, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah

Jordan's river is chilly and cold, hallelujah
Chills the body but not the soul, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah

The river is deep and the river is wide, hallelujah
Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah

Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Michael row the boat ashore, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah
Sister help to trim the sail, hallelujah