The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

My mind is sufficiently blown. Legitimately, irrevocably, utterly blown.

I’m rarely at a loss for words and The Alchemist has left me both speechless and breathless. I bought a copy in mid-2013 and it has sat on my shelf since then until something prompted me to yank it out and just read it. Could it have been an omen prompt? Those who’ve read the book will know what I mean when I mention the word omen.

In any case, let me try tell you about the book and construct some sort of coherent review.

The Alchemist follows the journey of a shepherd who travels the countrysides of Spain, looking after his sheep, meeting new people and encountering new places and spaces.

But he cannot shake off a recurring dream. He visits a gypsy woman who tells him that he needs to go to the Pyramids of Egypt to find his treasure. Of course, the boy is skeptical and he leaves the woman immediately.

Then the boy meets an old man who reiterates his need to find his treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. The boy searches his soul and finally comes to the decision that he wants to go in search of his promised treasure. If you’ve ever had a true conversation with your heart and its desires, you’ll know the process the boy underwent to come to that brave decision to follow his dream. It is his destiny. And the old, wise man promises him that if he wants his treasure badly enough, all the universe will conspire to in helping him achieve it. How beautiful. How safe I felt when I heard those words.

The boy travels from Spain to Africa to find his treasure. Just like we all must move out of our comfort zones should we want to pursue the dreams that are within us.

I have always known why God put me on this Earth. I have always been terrified of speaking it out and pursuing it with everything that I have. The Alchemist has dislodged something within me but if I must be honest, my dream still terrifies the living cadenza out of me. Which reminds me of this quote by the late Nelson Mandela:

… Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

But I read that and I am still scared. Perhaps I need to re-read The Alchemist, I don’t know?! But what I do know is that every single human being alive absolutely needs to read this book to help them realise that their lives were made for so much more. Made for so much greatness. We were born to fulfil the light that was installed in us at birth. To let it shine. To let it be a light to others who haven’t yet switched theirs on.

There’s no author that I love more than Paul Auster, but after reading The Alchemist, turns out I have two favourite authors of all time. Hint hint … More Paulo Coelho reviews to be posted throughout the year!

May you find your light and purpose this year.


-Babongile Z

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