God, Faith and Spirituality
In the book, Coelho claims that different creative methods, such as music, dance or painting, all lead to God, if only they are followed with passion and with all life’s energy. The spiritual path is not necessarily connected to one specific religion. At the same time, it is important for each human being to know where he or she comes from to understand where he or she is going to (Coelho, 2007, p. 103). Moreover, Coelho (2007) understands that he has to show the reader that the spirituality that is worth living is part of various religions and that different religions have responded to the quest for spirituality by developing certain rituals that are creative and spontaneous acts (Coelho, 2007, p. 99) and that lead to trance states and bring a person closer to God - however, God is called God, Allah or Yahweh. The key to greater energy is belief, undoubted belief: “believe that you can” and “thoughts that make you grow” (Coelho, 2007, pp. 180-181).
Further on, Coelho (2007, p. 151) describes spiritual and magical experiences, such as seeing a woman’s face within the flames of the fire, trances and recognising the soul’s partner. These experiences are usually contrasted with a materialised lifestyle of the antagonists of the main character who believe in a decent and hard work attitude, professional achievements in the job they are doing, while forgetting their dreams and the original meaning in their lives, such as Athena’s adoptive parents (Coelho, 2007, pp. 150-154).
Coelho (2007) states that
To me, a witch is a woman who is capable of letting her intuition take hold of her actions,
who communicates with her environment, who isn’t afraid of facing challenges. (p. 335)
He explains further (Coelho, 2007, p. 340) that a witch is a person who usually does not comply with the rules, that she tries to dare, goes beyond the limits and celebrates life. Coelho highlights that society lacks belief in spirituality and that humans need to develop their feminine side, their intuition and that they should be open to new perceptions of reality. The character of Athena enjoys freedom and courage and through her, the author honours and respects the mystery of life (Coelho, 2007, p. 336). He states, as in the interview with Juan Arias (Coelho, 2007, p. 336): “I am my books and they are part of my soul since they incarnate all my doubts and hopes. Athena embodies my feminine side, my compassionate side.”
In the interview with Valerie Reiss in the same book (Coelho, 2007, pp. 337346), Coelho emphasises that he wanted to elaborate on the feminine side of God, particularly since many religions, such as Christianity, Judaism or Islam, deny the existence of the feminine side of God, which can be traced and is existent in the primary holy texts. Coelho “writes to understand himself’, to put his thoughts into order to “clearly see myself” (Coelho, 2007, pp. 243-344) and understand his own identity and the existence of God. He defines God as follows (Coelho, 2007):
God’s a verb. God is action. God is - is a verb, yes. You cannot define Him. When Moses asks ‘Who are you?’, He says, ‘I Am’. He does not say I am this or that or that. He just says,
‘I Am’. So I think this is the best definition, you know? He is. (p. 346)