Have you read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho? In this wonderful book, Santiago the shepherd embarks upon, and completes, a fascinating journey as he comes of age while in search of the riches that dreams are made of–his dreams.
Consider this essay a companion piece to an earlier post about Siddhartha, the protagonist in the Hermann Hesse novel of the same name. In that post we examined Siddhartha’s gifts (you can read the short piece here). In today’s musings, instead of talking about our gifts, let us now ponder our strengths.
In The Alchemist, as the quest begins to reach a fever pitch, the shepherd boy now observes and learns how critical his two strengths are.
- Courage–to journey from the known into the unknown in pursuit of the purpose. The heart of the boy communicates directly to his consciousness. He ask for instruction, he learns to listen, and he hears. Courage is the catalyst vital to the emerging process.
- Enthusiasm–enduring the setbacks along the way. Parts of your journey can seem long and advancement feels stalled at times. But enthusiasm is the intermediate which spurs the process forward.
These strengths are not necessarily my strengths, and they may not be yours. But we each have power which we may choose to recognize and employ. Within the solar plexus chakra lies the fierce power of the sun itself. Can you feel it? Can you hear it? Have you asked your heart? “…ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2 KJVA.) Santiago asked, and his heart answered.
Why do we need to know this? Do you, as the boy, also seek riches? Then you, as all of us, must search your own heart. Ironically, Santiago’s heart was the last place where this interesting pilgrim looked. But once he knew where to seek, he found his treasure.
Is this adventurous boy any different than you and me? Did he start out looking in all the wrong places? Perhaps. But his perseverance, his faith in the dream, and his unshakeable conviction are to be admired. He won, and he lost; he fell, then he stood again; he erred, and he learned. So remember–do not regret that which must be lost in the alchemy of life, for the things which burn off are to be considered dross, even when in disguise.
In the art of classic Tarot, the Strength card sometimes displays a lion– thus indicating power, royalty, and pride. Along with the accompanying number 8, we now may apply a sense of infinity, of endlessness, and of ever enduring strength of spirit. In the end, Santiago, often referred to throughout the story simply as “the boy”, experienced the true chrysopoeia of his own existence. His life was transformed, his heart led him to great heights of joy, and he unearthed the riches he had sought after for so long. Believe, listen, find your strengths, and experience riches beyond your imagination.
With great love,
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