How to avoid joining a procession of tormented souls

Useful advice in the event you encounter the Santa Compaña in the Galician countryside. Keep this manual handy if your stroll is between 9 PM and 10 PM or between midnight and 1 AM, depending on which Galician you ask.

«Andad de día,
que la noche es mía.

Mural of Santa Compaña in Pontevedra (image via Wikipedia)

  • Stretch your arms in the form of a cross and say the name of Jesus Christ when the Compaña tries to give you the cross.
  • Respond “I have a cross” when the cross-bearer tells you, “Take it.”
  • Walk with your arms crossed.
  • Always keep something in your hands, for example a stick or stone.
  • Fall to the ground and play dead, face down, even though the Compaña will walk over you, perhaps crushing you. You will be in pain for a while but alive.
  • Make a circle with a cross and stay inside it until the Compaña passes.
  • Draw the Seal of Solomon or a pentagram in the ground.
  • Keep horns, antlers, a stag beetle, or garlic cloves in your pockets.
  • Get off the path if you see the Compaña coming from afar. The Compaña always follows the cart paths; it cannot go off path.
  • The best way to see the Compaña is from afar. However, not everyone can see the procession because they do not have the capacity. If one cannot see the Compaña but the other can, step on the blind one’s foot, left is best, and the blind will now see.
  • Sometimes the Compaña will attempt to put a candle in your hands. Close your hands tightly to avoid receiving a candle. If you don’t, when you return home you will see it’s not a candle but a bone. You must return it instantly or else it’s an omen of death.
  • If you hear a murmur like the wind, smell wax, and are overcome with a feeling of unease and fear, the Compaña is near.

«Entre as nove e as dez,
deixa a noite para quen é.»

Mural of Santa Compaña in Pontevedra (image via Wikipedia)


SOURCE: Reigosa, antonio. dicionario dos seres míticos galegos. 2008. Xerais de galicia. vigo.

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