The Cruz de Ferro was a favorite place on our Camino. It is one of the highest points along the route, so part of being a favorite was knowing that after we reached it, we could stop climbing.
But the story also makes the spot. While walking in the Paramo, the flat, high plains before the mountains, pilgrims traditionally pick up a stone and carry it to the Cruz de Ferro where they leave it behind.
The stone was a symbol of the pilgrim’s sins, or those of someone the pilgrim wanted to help by making the pilgrimage on his behalf. Calvinists argued that only a person, himself, could make amends for his sins, but other Christian traditions said that if Jesus could make up for our sins we ought to be able to help each other out in similar ways. Leaving the stone at the Cruz de Ferro was a sign of leaving behind your bad behaviors and starting a new page.
The stone also came to symbolize the burdens and sorrows of life. Leaving it behind at the Cruz lightens life’s burdens. That’s a symbolism we liked. So we carried stones for ourselves and one for all our friends and left them on the huge pile at the Cruz. You should feel a bit lighter since we were there.
The photos show our two stones and our placing them at the top of the pile.