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A Dramatic Cliff Side Church

The main highlight of Tosantos is the stone outcropping just beyond the village that juts up from the land. Along it, there is a chapel cut into the stone that encloses a cave wherein resides the 12th century Romanesque image of Mary as Nuestra Señora de la Peña.

Her presence here goes back to an 8th century vision a child had on this spot of Mother and Child. By now you will notice that this entire road is most dedicated to Mary and that it overlays an older divine feminine found in regional folklore in both southern France and northern Spain regarding the mother earth and caves as her dwelling places (this is especially strong in Basque folklore).

Tosantos is along what used to be dangerous terrain for pilgrims.  Once vulnerable to bandits hiding in the hills of the Montes de Oca, today it is a beautiful and peaceful hiking trail.

The Montes de Oca, literally meaning hills of the goose, is a part of the last really hilly section the pilgrim crosses before arriving at the Spanish meseta, the flat and endless tableland that defines the rest of Castile.

Within the name, Montes de Oca, we may have an esoteric hint that has intrigued some pilgrims, thinking that maybe these hills are somehow connected to the mark of the goose, the Camino arrow itself in reverse, denoting an esoteric spiritual path on the Camino. This extends also to a game, El juego de la oca, the game of the goose, that may connect to hidden clues along the Camino for deeper spiritual illumination.

The next main pilgrim stop is in the lyrical forest and valley of San Juan de Ortega.

At A Glance


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