Dearest brother, tell us about the "RUTA JACOBEA"

"LA RUTA JACOBEA - MESNIE DES TROIS CHEMINS" was born out of an the idea to gather the brothers and sisters who, like me, are wayfarers to Compostela into a Masonic - therefore fraternal - group, so as to bear witness of an experience of our time built on this ancient road by men and women who can use the help brought by initiation and Masonic practice. To bear witness, too, of what was brought by traditional initiating societies to the development of this Way about which I keep on saying that it is " an extraordinary route meant for ordinary people ".


Our group presently consists of about 25 persons living in France and belonging to GLFF, GO, GLTSO and GLDF. It came to existence spontaneously after the publication of an article in the GLDF magazine. I am grateful to this organisation for its support and discreet help. The phrase RUTA JACOBEA probably comes from old Castilian to indicate the road to Santiago. "La Mesnie des Trois Chemins" was chosen by our group to give our project a strong identity. For the word MESNIE is an Old French word related altogether to the ideas of house, gathering, sharing, walking party, common wayfaring, unobtrusive society... The three routes are those of the western tradition (Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem...). They represent the journeys we achieve physically, symbolically and spiritually. Finally, they are the three qualities of our gaze.

And what about your "blason" (or your coat-of-arms)?

It is the achievement very fine done by one of our brethren who is a draughtsman; it was unanimously adopted by our group. Here's a description that needs no comment :

"A "delta" (or a triangle) lined with silver on an "azur plain" (or azure background) "semé" (or strewn) with stars bearing "en pointe" (or on towards chief) an silver "astérie" (or aster), on right and left a gold sun and a silver crescent moon on a "sable" (or black) disc. Laid on the surface of the "écusson" (or escutcheon), two "bourdons" (or pilgrim's staffs) in their natural colour "en sautoir" (or set in a cross) between the sun and the moon with their knobs and pointed projecting on left and right beyond the field of the "écusson" (or escutcheon), their stocks bearing the silver aster. "Brochant" (or embossed) over all on convex face and foot towards chief of a gold "pecten" (or shellminted) with a red "pédauque de gueules" (or a red goose foot) in its center. As a motto "LA RUTA JACOBEA - MESNIE DES TROIS CHEMINS" in capital letters". (Thanks your opinion about this description).

Normally one does not translate a "blason" (or coat-of-arms) because the French language is "the language of the bird" or "the diplomatic speech" and "the Royal Art speech". Just look at your Royal motto "Honni soit qui mal y pense".

Why bear testimony?

The routes to Compostela are genuine routes of initiation on the physical, moral, philosophical and spiritual levels from which one cannot come back in the same frame of mind one was in before starting off. In this respect, they are closely related to the Masonic training. Walking this route, reaching the destination is a privilege for it creates and constitutes us after receiving us while faring. Therefor I endeavour - like all my elders - to abide by my duty that is to bear witness of the presence and reality of this route at the threshold of the third millennium.

If, tomorrow, only one brother or sister, after reading these few lines or others about the subject, should choose this Route and thus earn 'licence to pass' I would have fulfilled my duty and received a salary much greater than what these few lines deserve.

What do you mean by 'licence to pass'?

Entering the path comes to the same as going out of oneself, out of one's comfort, one's habits. It means that you entrust yourself to others. Letting go of yourself. Walking across bridges, getting from one bank that you leave to another one that you must discover. Climbing down in dark vales and up to summits; crossing endless plains. Knowing the desert, loneliness, the fright and the cold; the thirst, hunger and exhaustion; the lack of sleep... Nothing of that is insurmountable provided you somehow master and trust your self. Provided you somehow evaluate your abilities facing nature's might with the help of the other wayfarers. It is the same as hoping, as being filled with joy and exulting with happiness in front of nature's masterpieces and man's work. It comes to rediscovering water, bread, wine, unadulterated air, the stars... it means meeting the other, your self, the infinite... it may mean praying. It means being poised towards the goal. It means achieving and forsaking the prize for it means that you have understood that the path you have gone is the way of human destiny, of conscience and the soul and perhaps what comes after life... To live and understand this means that you get 'licence to pass'. But even this might be an illusion?

You write in capital letters 'Road'; you tell about wayfarers instead of pilgrims. Why is it so?

The capital letters show the respect due to a place sanctified by the millions of men and women who went there before me, before us; sanctified for all of those that will follow me, follow us like innumerable links of the 'chain of the living and the dead' or - as the companion-workers put it - the 'chain that links every heart'. All those that have travelled or will travel carried by faith and hope in a better world, by the wish for a more brotherly human kind, by other expectations that belong to them and that I feel more than I know of. Wayfarers rather than pilgrims because the latter implies a religious meaning that reduces of the universalism carried by the Roads and the variety of routes. And yet no church, no cloister, no hospice which does not bear the mark of the building companion-workers or of the philosophical or alchemist societies, of templars or hospitallers and many others who fostered the moral, philosophical, political and spiritual reflexions of our predecessors or ourselves. Wayfarers rather than pilgrims because almost every one of us leaves without really knowing why. One might become a pilgrim, after reaching the term and understanding one self better. But what would this pilgrimage be about? The answer lies somewhere on the path, for each of us. But do we necessarily find an answer? Personally, I found and still find ... every time I go there... the face of a mirthful St James a question rather than an answer... 'So what?'... So... I came back home and the road goes on.