the Alchemist

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Topics: Paulo Coelho
Recently a friend recommended I read a book he absolutely adored called The Alchemist, by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. This friend of mine is one of life's seekers of light and treasure, and as such he is a deeply spiritual person – much like Paulo Coelho himself, as is obvious when you read his book. I'm different. I believe you make your own treasure and light in life. However, Coelho and I seem to agree on one point – the journey is the most important part of the treasure.
The Alchemist is a fable about a shepherd boy (named Santiago but referred to as just “the boy” throughout the book) from the Andalusia area of Southern Spain. He lives a simple shepherd life, herding his sheep from place to place, finding them good food to eat and clean water to drink, and occasionally selling their fleece to fill his purse. He is simple and innocent and his needs are few, but he craves excitement and adventure, and he wants to travel and see the world. One day he meets an old god/king (the fabled King of Salem, Melchizedek) who promises to tell him where to find treasure, in exchange for one tenth of his flock of sheep. The boy, believing in omens, and that the omens are guiding him, gives the sheep to the old man.
After giving the old man his share of sheep, he is told that he should listen to the omens and follow what they tell him to do. He must take the two hour ferry trip from the tip of Andalusian Spain to Morocco, and from there he must journey through the Sahara desert to the Pyramids where he will find his treasure. He has many setbacks but eventually he reaches his destination, however it is his journey that is his real treasure. He learns better how to read the omens and discovers their importance; they are the voice of the Soul of the World speaking directly to him. He learns how to listen to his heart, to understand when it is lying and when it is telling the truth. He finds true love, an unending perfect love, the kind of love only found in fables.

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