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The Alchemist
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Archives > The Alchemist - Part One

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Meghan | 423 comments Mod
1. At the start of his journey, when Santiago asks a gypsy woman to interpret his dream about a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids, she asks for one-tenth of the treasure in return. When Santiago asks the old man to show him the path to the treasure, the old man requests one-tenth of his flock as "payment". Both payments represent a different price we have to pay to fulfill a dream; however, only one will yield a true result. Which payment represents false hope? Can you think of examples from your own life when you had to give up something to meet a goal and found the price too high?

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
2. The old man who reveals himself to be "the king of Salem" tells Santiago that the new book he's just acquired is about the same thing almost all other books are about: "people's inability to choose their own Personal Legends." This story is so common, he suggests, because people come to believe "the world's greatest lie" --that we all lose control of our own lives and must let them be controlled by fate. When is Santiago tempted to let his life be controlled by fate? The elder chieftain of the oasis tells Santiago the story of Joseph of Egypt, who became an important counselor to the pharaoh. In what ways would this Personal Legend have suited Santiago's own life? Why does he not choose it?

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
3. Paulo Coehlo once said that alchemy is all about pursuing our spiritual quest in the physical world as it was given to us. It is the art of transmuting the reality into something sacred, of mixing the sacred and the profane. With this in mind, can you define your Personal Legend? At what time in your life were you first able to act on it? What was your "beginner's luck"? Did anything prevent you from following it to conclusion? Having read The Alchemist, do you know what inner resources you need to continue the journey?

Meghan | 423 comments Mod
4. One of the first major diversions from Santiago's journey was the theft of his money in Tangier, which forced him into taking a menial job with the crystal merchant. There, Santiago learned many lessons on everything from the art of business to the art of patience. Of all these, which lessons were the most crucial to the pursuit of his Personal Legend?

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