The Thirties (1977-1986)

During this period of this life, Coelho experienced many changes in terms of his spirituality and his spiritual belief after meeting Nha Chica in 1987. This incident changed his faith and he returned to spirituality and belief in the saints (Coelho, 2006, p. 135). He felt that it was Nha Chica who helped build his writing career and decided to honour her (Coelho, 2006, p. 136). As in St Joseph, Coelho believed in Nha Chica, a holy person. Coelho a) described and communicated with God through the saints. He also communicated with God through recognising his belief in “signs of God” being sent to him. During this decade, Coelho b) practised his religion through rituals he performed, as described in “The pilgrimage” (Coelho, 1987), and through becoming a magus.

In 1982 Coelho felt that this was the year of the “birth of the writer” while visiting Dachau. He listened to the church bells, realised his meaning in life (Arias, 2001, 141), was introduced by a Christian sign of a “calling” to (a) communicate with (a) and praying to God, (b) performing practices of religion in a church. Following this incident, Coelho met J., who became his master of RAM (Morais, 2009, p. 321). RAM reveals the feminine side of the personality of a person (Arias, 2001, p. 93) and is based on discipline, personal effort and ritual, which Coelho practised with the guidance of J. in terms of compassion, meditation, the roots of life and the earth (Arias, 2001, p. 95). He practised his religion (b) by performing energy rituals in Oslo, re-energising the spiritual (Morais, 2009, p. 323). Back in Brazil, Coelho received ordeals from his master and was initiated into more RAM practices (Morais, 2009). In 1986, Coelho failed the last ritual of RAM to become a master and was sent on a spiritual journey to walk the Road to Santiago (practice of religion (b)). Soon afterwards, he received a “sign from God”, to start writing (Morais, 2009), which is seen as a way of symbolic communication between Coelho and God ((a) communication with God).

During the 1980s Coelho described himself repeatedly as a magus (Arias, 2001) and thereby defined his relation to creation and the creator in a certain way. He felt that humanity turns towards spirituality (Arias, 2001, p. 7) and that the (c) conceptualisation of humankind’s place in the universe is increasingly defined by spirituality.

During his thirties, Coelho explored new ways of spirituality and was aware of bodily death as described in “The pilgrimage” (Coelho, 1987). He (d) considered the nature of (im)mortality, by defining life as mortal and the soul as immortal.

On his journey to Santiago, Coelho felt that the search for the unknown was a search for the infinite (Arias, 2001, p. 19) and part of constructing (e) meaning in life. For the first time, the concept of the “warrior of light” appeared: Coelho felt that the warrior of light was a new spiritual adventurer, an enthusiast (Arias, 2001, p. 21) who finds meaning in life through living his/her dream, spiritual awakening, inspiration and changing things for the better (Arias, 2001, p. 20; Coelho, 1987). In 1987 and 1988 Coelho experienced the breakthrough of becoming an internationally known author. He thereby started to fulfil his meaning in life to be a writer (Table 7.5).

Impacting life forces:

Family In 1977 Coelho and Cissa, his second wife, moved to London, got divorced in 1979 and Coelho met Cristina Oiticica, his major partner in life. Cristina supported him in his Christian belief and faith.

Religion He returned to spirituality in 1978 (Coelho, 2006) with the help of Cristina to overcome the satanic attachment, to return to Christianity through her strong Christian belief (Arias, 2001, p. 91). In 1982 he became a member of RAM and in 1986 failed at the last moment to become a master. During his thirties, Coelho encountered special incidents with the French Saint Theresa, whom he experienced as an omen in his life (Arias, 2001, p. 8). Coelho was drawn into the practices of the “old Catholic belief” and the saints.

Table 7.5 Life task spirituality in Coelho’s thirties

Life span

Life task spirituality with sub-categories

Periods in Paulo Coelho’s development

(a) Description and

communication with God

(b) Practice of religion


Conceptualisation of humankind’s place

(d) Nature of



Contemplation of nature of meaning of life

5. The thirties (1977-1986)






Source: Researcher’s own construction

Education Cristina and Coelho travelled through Europe (mainly London and Madrid) in 1981 and 1982, followed by Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Romania and Bonn (Morais, 2009). They opened their minds to new experiences, which had an impact on their spiritual development and the definition of meaning in life. However, they did not educate themselves further in terms of formal education.

Community Coelho became a member of the RAM community, he communicated increasingly with God and practised religious rituals.

Media Coelho was invited to be interviewed by the media (TV) and published his first successful book on the Road to Santiago, which described his communication with God, his magical experiences, the practising of rituals and changes in the meaning in life.

Business/Industry In 1978 Coelho became a lyricist for all important Brazilian song writers, changed from Philips to CBS in 1979, started his new artistic career with Cristina in 1981 and was increasingly invited to take part in TV shows.

No information on the influence of the government in this period is available. During the thirties, Coelho was influenced by global events in terms of his journeys through various countries and his new experiences, which led to new insights in higher forces and the meaning of life. Coelho was aware of global events, owing to his strong interest in politics, culture and countries. While visiting Europe, he was impressed by the history of the Second World War. Morais (2009) and Arias (2001) both emphasise that Coelho’s career as a writer started with the awareness of church bells in Dachau: The fate of the suffering people during the war, the story of the perpetrators and victims touched him in historical perspective (Morais, 2009).

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