Of course, we have all played at some point, especially during our childhood, at Goose game. However, what little is known is that behind this entertaining board is hidden an extensive guide, encrypted, yes, of the Camino de Santiago according to some historians.

As you know, the game has 63 boxes. Well, for them, these represent the stages of this traditional round-trip Catholic route and its symbols, moreover, are also associated with the path.

What is the relationship between the game of the Goose and the Camino de Santiago?

Before getting into the matter, let’s make the background of this relationship a bit clear.

The intervention of the Game of the Goose is attributed to the Order of the Temple, that arose in the year 1.118 in Jerusalem. His intention was to protect Christians who visited holy places on pilgrimage, including Santiago and Rome. For this reason, they decide to design a map that, even if it was cryptographic, would be easy to remember and this is exactly it.

Now, regarding the history in Spain, the first copy was a gift from Francisco de Médicis, Grand Duke of Tuscany, to King Philip II.

The game was so popular within the monarchy that it quickly spread among the different sectors of society, without neglecting the weight that Felipe II had.

The Goose became known throughout Europe, leaving aside the practice of chess so common in the sixteenth century to move to the board. In addition, that among the nobility later the exchange of boards was established as a custom.

The Goose and the Templars

It is believed that the Templars, were based on el Phaistos Disc, whose invention is located around the years 1.580 and 1.700 BC, in Greece.

This disk, made of clay, has some 16 centimeters in diameter and 61 words or boxes, corresponding to 31 for side A and the remaining 30 for side B that are listed from A1 to A31 and B1 to B30, in order from outside to inside. Over there You can see different drawings, where 8 birds that appear to be geese stand out.

The inscriptions of these were made with previously manufactured hieroglyphic seals, brought under pressure on the soft clay and later fired at high temperatures.

For the Templars this album was not a sign of fun. On the contrary, it was an encrypted map of the Camino de Santiago that is based on the most significant places, where the masters left some secret marks.

All who belonged to this order knew the meaning of these symbols. Therefore, regardless of the language, they could have a guide on the Camino de Santiago, both going and coming back.

The first leg is represented in the 32 initial squares, which would be the 32 stages that make up the French Way, while the return from box 33 to 63.

Routes Camino de Santiago in Galicia

The goose and the road

For those who did not know, along the Camino de Santiago, regardless of the route taken, pilgrims cross a large number of towns that have the word Oca included in their names, in addition to the fact that the leg of this animal can also be seen in different monuments and capitals.

Representation of the most important squares

It is important to make it clear that over time, many of the symbols have changed, while others have disappeared, so to give a concrete meaning would be speculation.

The geese represent the safe places where the pilgrims, this case belonging to the Order of the Templars, had the best conditions to take refuge, while others such as the labyrinth, the well and death would be dangerous places.

goose boxes

The animal is present in spaces 1, 5, 9, 14, 18, 23, 27, 32, 36, 41, 45, 50, 54, 59 and 63. In mythology, the Goose It was considered beneficial and sacred since it dominated the elements of earth, air and water.. This is an animal capable of walking, flying and swimming.

On the other hand, they were also seen as home protector animals, since when hearing someone approach they immediately croaked.

bridges box

It is about 6 and 12, the bridges were seen as a kind of passage between the celestial and the mundane, so it was interpreted as crossing that barrier.

Crossing the bridge requires an effort for the pilgrim, so number 12 is located right at the inn, a place to rest. According to the rules of the Game of the Goose, when a player lands on one of these squares, Jump to the one with the inn, number 19.

inn box

It represents rest, the place where strength is recovered to return to the path with greater energy.

However, it also means a delay in reaching the goal, which in this case would be the tomb of the Apostle Santiago. According to the rules, once the player lands on this square, he loses a turn, no matter if it was from rolling the dice or jumping from the bridges.

The dice

Represented in the 26 and 53, they represent chance or luck, since once the player falls into them, you can move forward or backward on the board.

El pozo

Box 31 corresponds to him, which could well be the bad days or depressions that occur along the way. Besides, has a direct relationship with sin and forgiveness, Well, once the player falls there, he must wait for another player to fall in order to get out.

According to the relationship of the boxes and the stages of the Camino de Santiago, the well is on Monte do Gozo, place you will find if you do the Way from Sarria to Santiago. According to the interpretation, it would be precisely this, the last place where pilgrims could sin before reaching their destination.

The labyrinth

It is located in square 42 of the board. According to the rules of the game, whoever lands there You must go back to 30, just before the well, having to face danger.

For some, the labyrinth represents the loss of faith, as well as the lack of God’s commandments.

The jail

It appears up to square 52 of the game, representing the dangers that detours can bring with them. Once the player steps on the jail he loses two turns, that is, he takes them away from the goal.

According to the correspondences between the stages of the path, the jail would be in the current San Marcos hostel, in León, where in the past there was a hospital for pilgrims, but also a prison.

The skull or death

The end of the road, synonymous with death, but also represents the hope of a resurrection and eternal life. When falling into this, box 58, the player returns to number 1, that is, a new life.

The Great Goose or the Garden

Located in box 63, right there is the garden door that represents reaching the goal of reaching Santiago de Compostela, not an easy goal.

If you do the Camino with our organized agency of the Camino de Santiago You will be able to enjoy the game of the goose live and direct. Are you up for the pilgrim adventure?