After finishing divinity school, I walked the Camino route of St. James across northern Spain – 500 long miles. When I finally reached the cathedral in Santiago, there was a curious carving embedded in its facade.
Many cathedrals feature the alpha-omega pairing, as this is an ancient name for God in Abrahamic religions. (In more recent centuries, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote of the omega point as the point of divine unification, the spiritual cousin to Ray Kurzweil‘s scientific singularity.)
At the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the heart of a web of pilgrimage routes that stretches throughout Europe, the objective of all of those pilgrims’ steps, the characters are reversed.
Omega and alpha.
The end is the beginning, the beginning is the end.
I must admit, as my feet throbbed with blisters, as my pack weighed on my back, this notion was simultaneously joyful and exhausting. And perfect. Of course the end was the beginning – why else take a pilgrimage, if not to be changed, and to continue on?
Dear Honeybees, as our attention shifts with the turning of the seasons, one pilgrimage leading to the next, may all of your omegas bring you seamlessly to the next alpha, spiraling ever upward.
* Speaking of the Omega Point, the Omega Institute has a terrific Indiegogo campaign right now, where you can livestream their Being Fearless conference in October, featuring Van Jones, Sister Joan Chittister, Paul Hawken, and Jamia Wilson, and others, with bonus online access to an upcoming Matthieu Ricard event as well. If you need a little boost to your alpha-omega spiraling (and who doesn’t?), this is a wonderful opportunity.