Coelho’s Development in Terms of the Stages of Faith Development from “The Pilgrimage” to “Aleph”

Conclusions are drawn regarding the personal development of Coelho in terms of the stages of faith development from the 1980s to 2011. From the 1980s to 2011 Coelho moved from Stage 4, the individuative-reflexive stage, to Stage 5, according to the analysis of his life and the two creative works (Table 8.18).

The autobiographic works guide the writer and the reader of the two books through Stage 0 to Stage 5 of faith development, reflecting the stages of Coelho’s faith development. While the focus of faith development in “The pilgrimage” is on Stages 3 and 4, Stage 5 is only addressed briefly at the end of the book. In “Aleph”, however, the focus of stage development is Stage 5, but the book reflects on all the stages. In both books, Stage 6 is not addressed. The autobiographical accounts serve as an opportunity to reflect on his own spiritual and faith development, reliving the stages of faith development in his writings - as he experiences them in his life - which are not necessarily reflected in chronological order. While the books serve as an opportunity to reflect on the past stages of faith development, they also provide a vision of the next stages of faith development (in “The pilgrimage” Stage 5, in “Aleph” the deepening of Stage 5 and a visionary view of Stage 6).

Content-wise the development from “The pilgrimage” (Coelho’s thirties and forties) to “Aleph” (his fifties and sixties) shows that Coelho developed from the individuative-reflexive stage to the paradoxical-conjunctive stage in faith development. While he reflected his development of faith and belief in “The pilgrimage” and critically evaluated his values, commitments, beliefs and relationships, he started working with these evaluations in Stage 5. Based on the critical evaluations, he could then overcome the tensions of paradoxes and polarities and recognise and overcome the limitations of his own belief in “Aleph”. During his thirties and forties, Coelho was still self-focused, but created new perceptions and values, while recognising symbols and meaning beyond his own faith in the decades thereafter. Coelho developed and integrated a multi-layered, complex (faith) identity.

Table 8.18 Stages of faith development - from “The Pilgrimage” to “Aleph”

Stages of faith development in the life of Paulo Coelho

Historical periods in the development of Paulo Coelho

Stages of faith development in the life of Paulo Coelho

Faith development stages in the life of Paulo Coelho

1.

Stage

0

2.

Stage

1

3.

Stage

2

4.

Stage

3

5.

Stage

4

6.

Stage

5

7. Stage 6

The thirties (1977-1986)

x

The forties (1987-1996)

x

The pilgrimage (1986-1987)

x

x

x

x

x

x

7. The fifties (1997-2006)

x

8. The sixties (2007-2016)

x

(x)

“Aleph” (2006-2011)

x

x

x

x

x

x

Source: Researcher’s own construction

In both cases, writing the book supported Coelho in gaining clarity and selfconfidence after a personal crisis, strengthening the stage of faith he was in, re-evaluating past stages and building the foundation for further development: In “The pilgrimage”, Coelho aimed at overcoming his traditional faith, while in “Aleph” he transformed and integrated traditional and newly created beliefs (see Table 8.19).

Regarding vocation in life, Coelho moves from the “follow your dream” approach, the establishment of a connection to God, the acceptance of his “divine gift” of writing, the recognition of his life’s dreams as God’s calling and the groundbreaking spiritual developments (live life to the full and fight the good fight) towards “Aleph”. Based on the vocation created and established in “The pilgrimage”, Coelho’s vocation develops into the deepening of the question of meaning in life and the recognition of his destiny of being the writer he is. In “Aleph”, Coelho integrates God’s images, re-establishes meaningfulness in life and overcomes lifetime limitations that prepare him for his future lives and regaining his position as the king of his kingdom. While Coelho has established his kingdom in “The pilgrimage”, he has to regain it in “Aleph”.

The development from “The pilgrimage” to “Aleph” does not reflect a linear development, but rather a circular development in which Coelho deepens the stages and understanding reached in his life and through his writing. Coelho returns to his previous learning to re-establish himself, rebuild his kingdom and expand it within himself across lifetimes. The spiritual journey in “Aleph” is a deepening of a previous development and understanding, which prepares Coelho as well for his future spiritual development.

 
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