We first saw the word “Ultreia” written as graffiti on a walkway tunnel the day we walked through Samos. In the gift shop, we asked about the meaning of the word – it did not appear in my Spanish dictionary. We were told it was an old greeting on the Camino. It loosely means “Onward” and the common reply was “Et Suseia” which means “And Upward.” In addition to being words of encouragement, the deeper meaning is that the pilgrimage to Santiago is really more about the journey than the destination. And as we heard many times (before, during and after), the journey does not end when you reach Santiago. Rather, the experiences along the Camino are just a part of our spiritual journey.
For me, this message has taken hold in part through this blog – my way of continuing my spiritual journey begun on (and before) the Camino.
From the “Servant Song” by Richard Gillard
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.