Holy Stones, Holy Mountains

There is a tradition on the Camino de Santiago to bring a stone from home, and leave it at the Cruz de Ferro, a large Iron Cross at the end of the Meseta section of the walk in Spain; a symbol of unburdening, or to those more religiously inclined redemption from sins. I like this kind of symbolic tradition, and plan to bring a stone on my trip, but to find the right stone with the right meaning for me.

A couple of weeks ago I took my group to Borobudur, in Central Java, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. At the end of our tour our local guide handed out to the group small volcanic stones, he picked up from the ground. I briefly considered that this would be an appropriate stone, but reconsidered that it really wasn’t very responsible tourism to take such souvenirs from an ancient monument and discretely suggested to the group that we should leave them there.

I live in what is refereed to as ‘The Island of the Gods’, a place full of holy springs, holy mountains, holy trees, and holy rocks. I regularly climb Mt Batur with my groups, a holy mountain to the Balinese. It’s an active volcano and occasionally spews out the odd stone. There is a small industry there, in which daily truckloads of volcanic rock and sand are removed for the construction industry, so surely one more small rock won’t be missed. I climbed again last week, and kept look out for the perfect rock.

Thankfully I am not oppressed with many great burdens, but instead will bestow upon my rock my wishes and desires for the world. I will wish good health and happiness for my family and friends. I will hope by piggybacking some fundraising onto my trip for Yayasan Bumi Sehat, that some mums and babies in Indonesia will have a healthier start too. And sounding like the old hippy that I probably am, I wish for more Peace and Love and Freedom for for this crazy mixed up world. I will invite anyone else who cares to, to add their wishes to my small stone, and will spend a moment casting our dreams to the winds. Hopefully it will not be too heavy.

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