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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 5 April 2007
Although "The Pilgrimage" is not Paulo Coelho's most exalted work, it is still a wonderful plunge into the mystical journey. In this book, he chronicles his own experiences on the road to Santiago de Compostela in the region of Galicia known as Celtic Spain. The journey is rich with allegory reflecting how we must face our own fears in order to engage in what he calls "the good fight". The Pilgrimage is reminiscent of Carlos Castañeda's apprenticeship with his mentor Don Juan. Paulo's guide is the enigmatic Petrus, who teaches him to face his own limitations and to break him from the "modernist" notion that our busy work is more important than exploring our inner world. There is a sweet discovery about the book that brings presence to a wisdom that includes mystical exercises worthy of our attention.
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on 25 August 2009
Having read most of Coelho's books, this is, in spiritual content, not the most profound.
He mainly appears as a man driven by the material satisfactions of a spiritual quest, and hence the book tends to dwell on aims- the sword, and 'spiritual' exercises, which are actually mainly visualisation techniques used by people who are on an occult path. This may not be coincidence, since Coelho's background has been with the Occult and Magic.
These exercises whether literary props or not,have their deeper meaning treated quite superficially, and ones gets the impression that a few simple exercises will somehow help launch someone down a path of spiritual 'achievements'. He himself effortlessly performs these tasks conjuring his personal Daemon to be his temporal adviser and performs numerous other exercise with equal ease as he makes his way down the 'Jacobean' road. As with all of his books i think there are explicit spiritual lessons he is giving, of real value, but these are sometimes lost in the descriptions of New Age speak and concepts.

As a story it is a great read, the road story representing life and there are some fascinating moments. He does have a wonderful sense of the magical. Its a lovely book to read and I would well recommend it. I feel however that Coelho's deeper and more insightful works come in his later books, where he himself perhaps has matured spiritually and dropped some of the Spiritual egoism he has, which is often quite clear in this book through his attitude to his journey. The end of the story is profound and i think based on real revelation and this is a fine moment in the book of real worth to the reader.
I do think that this book, like quite a few of Coelho's works often escape serious scrutiny because of the sense of excitement he generates, e.g with The Alchemist, and this impedes useful criticism. It is not a coincidence on his Blog that he takes a very keen interest in obtaining serious commentary from his readership on numerous aspects of each book, from plot to style to character development.
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on 15 July 2002
Having discovered Paolo Coelho's writings by accident, I can never understand why "The Alchemist" is always in the Best Sellers list! I enjoyed The Alchemist as a good, thought provoking book, but for me The Pilgrimage reaches a far higher spiritual level. It has inspired me to walk El Camino one day when i get the chance - but inside I am already walking it! One of the few books I have read twice within the space of a year!
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on 30 September 1998
See my previous review below. Reading the Pilgrimage inspired me to follow the same route, known as the Camino de Santiago this summer. (In fact I finished the 850kms yesterday and I am typing these words from an internet cafe in Santiago de Compostela)
I was the 18th South African to have done the pilgrimage in the last decade or so - for the introduction to the camino I will always be grateful to Paulo Coehlo. I have had the time of my life and in a sense it was the first step of the greater pilgrimage of my life.
I met many many Brazilians on my pilgrimage (after Spaniards it seems Brazilians are the most common pilgrims to encounter) and most of them said that Paulo did not really walk the camino - he did parts but mostly he drove in a landrover. This was "confirmed" by some of the Spanish hospitaleros who run the pilgrims refuges along the way.
Not that I have a problem with that in itself - its just a book after all - I gues I just dont understand why, if in fact he did not walk all the way, he wrote the book in such an autobiographical manner?
So if you are reading this Paulo, did you slog the 850kms or was it all bogus?
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The Pilgrimage is the first book by Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, and translated into English by Alan Clarke. As a devotee of the Tradition, at 38 years old, Paulo makes the mistake, at the ceremony of his ordination as a Master of the Order of RAM, of assuming he is worthy of the sword, and then learns that he will have to travel the Road to Santiago de Castelin (aka the Jacobean route, the Milky Way) in Spain, to find it.

This book is his account of that pilgrimage, undertaken in 1986 with a Master of RAM guide, Petrus. Previously published as The Diary of a Magus, this is apparently non-fiction, but often reads like fiction. His tale includes a demon in the guise of a gypsy, a possessed dog, and a guide whose advice is often enigmatic or cryptic. It features a generous helping of symbolism, quite a few (occasionally trite) aphorisms, and eleven ritual exercises that each Pilgrim must practice. Tedious, verging on boring, this feels more than a little contrived.
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on 15 August 2014
A wonderful read when I bought it I wasn't really sure what I expected. But after reading the first chapter I was hooked on the journey with Paulo and his guide petrus. I bought the pilgrimage because I'm planning on making the same journey early next year I don't think as a pilgrimage just simply because it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time. But when I go I will definitely be taking Paulo and Petrus with me every step of the way.
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on 19 December 1999
Having already read and greatly enjoyed "The Alchemsist" and "By the banks ..." I thought it likely that this book would also be worth reading. Unfortunately, thoughout the book, its themes were muddled and the whole story clouded in pseudo-religious nonsense. The narrator (supposed to be Coelho himself) comes across as being feeble-hearted and in desperate need of symbols of some mystical power. (Though we're neither told why he wants them, nor why they are important.) This is dull book by someone who is capable of so much more.
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on 8 June 2015
I started by reading this book but have since moved on to read many more Paulo books. I actually have to say i have preferred several of his other books more. That said ,this book is very thought provoking , inspirational and will enable you to start on your journey of reading Paulo Coelho because if you are like me once you have read one you will be hooked!
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on 26 June 1999
I discovered this book during my first journey on the road to Compostela in 1991. All the young Spaniards had a copy in their back pack. The author created a New Age delirium giving the path to Compostela an image of witchcraft and the occult. During my three journeys on the road to Compostela ( 91 95 96) I happened to have met some of the key characters the author mentions in this book, and they were very unhappy with the author's version of the Compostela experience as well as with the use of their life. I disliked how the pilgrim gives up the road for a bus ride at the end of the book, which is a "sacrilage" once you enter such an experience.
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on 16 August 2000
I walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in May 2000 (800km). I read this book when I returned home after the pilgrimage. I found it most thought inspiring, it enabled me to continue my Camino after I reached the town of Santiago. The writing is beautiful and Paul expresses both the depth of his belief and the intensity of his search. This book is for everybody.
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