Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Aleph: Redeeming Your Soul

Novels often herald extraordinary transformation for me; more than two decades ago, a line in Slightly Like Strangers helped catalyze the launch of my own business: "Security isn't something you save up. It's what you find when you take risks."

Now Paulo Coehlo's latest, Aleph, takes us on a highly personal crisis-of-faith odyssey in which the author redeems himself from 500 years of purgatory by asking a young woman whom he condemned to death as a witch during the Inquisition to forgive him. Reading this as the 11:11 gateway opened, I suddenly flashed on a core conversation I've shared numerous times over the past 18 years, concerning a naturopathic doctor who helped me heal during my awakening journey, yet whose devout religious beliefs seemed at odds with her homemade, Nature-based herbal and homeopathic remedies.

In a moment of perfect clarity I realized our interaction was exactly what Coehlo describes: in merging devout faith with "paganism", my naturopath enabled me to question my own beliefs and learn to stand in my truth, to hold the "both/and" ~ God and Nature, God in Nature, God as Nature ~ and to truly embrace "no separation" as my embodied mantra. My personal credo became, "If it works for you — and harms none — it works for me."

The lines one of the "witches" speaks to Coehlo 500 years earlier seared my soul and brought tears of recognition to my eyes; veracity does that. Here is what one of the girls says as they are being led to the stake:

"The time for fear has passed; now there is only the time of hope. Are we guilty? One day, the world will judge us and we will not be the ones to feel ashamed. We will meet again in the future, when your life and work will be dedicated to those who are so sorely misunderstood today. Your voice will speak out loudly, and many will listen to you.

"Love will conquer hatred. When the time comes, those who are burned today will be exalted. Wizards and alchemists will return, the Goddess will be welcomed and witches celebrated. And all for the greatness of God. That is the blessing we place on your head now, until the end of time."

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