Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pilgrimage II

Last week I posted about a little pilgrim stop I made, quite by accident, on the way to a brocante sale. One of the comments on that post was by a lady I'd never met before, and who turns out to have a very special blog called 'My scallop -shell of quiet'.
This is the quotation which inspires her blog title:

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My scrip of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of salvation,

My gown of glory, hope's true gage;

And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

It's by Sir Walter Raleigh - I'd forgotten he was a poet too.
So the image of the scallop-shell is still inspiring people today. I find that very pleasing. If you remember, I mentioned that the pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela used to carry their scallop shells both as a symbol and also as a way of asking for food and drink along the way - they could ask anyone, rich or poor, for enough sustenance to fill their scallop shell. Is it greedy to immediately think of seeking-out one of those really big scallops?
I found this picture of a medieval pilgrim on the blog of someone who has recently cycled to Compostela! The labelled parts (OK, in Spanish, but I'm giving it a go...) give me an idea of what Sir Walter Raleigh was talking about.
The scallop shell we know - and Sir WR thought of it as 'quiet'. Just a tiny bit of quiet in each day?
The staff of faith - 'to walk upon' - I though of 'to lean' upon, but no, he says it's to walk upon. That's a more active image of faith.
The scrip of joy - I know this one! (Thanks to Ellis Peters and Brother Cadfael). I've just checked and confirmed that it's a small leather bag for carrying food and money. But we'll carry joy in ours! If you really want one, you can buy one here. Joy not included.
A bottle - al vino, says the picture above! Salvation, says Sir WR. So that's a link to the blood of Christ, our salvation and also to our communion wine.
A gown - which must have been both practical protection from the elements and also a symbol of the pilgrimage. And that's glory, and our hope. Wrapped in glory...
What a lot to learn from a detour, a shell, an Elizabethan adventurer and blogging!


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Floss:
What a delightful detour which now we, your readers, have the pleasure to share. We did not know of the significance of the scallop shell until now and have been fascinated by your explanations.

A Trifle Rushed said...

I know several people who have done the pilgramage. all of them inspiring. The Poem is beautiful and if you haven't been I really recommend a visit ti Santiago. If you go to Mass in the basilica on a feast day you may see the Botofumero being swung. Truly one of the most amazing things I have ever seem.
Your post is just wonderful, thank you Jude x
ps the shell is still important for Catholics today, many schools in England called St James will have the shell as an emblem. Indeed my sons' old primary school does.

polkadotpeticoat said...

Well I just learned a whole bunch and if it were not for blogland I would have missed this thank you Floss!

Michela said...

Such a fascinating explanation, thank you!
Happy belated wedding anniversary!

Betty said...

How lovely I really found this interesting and we get to meet a new blogger too! thanks.