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Paulo Coelho Dances with Angels

The author of 'The Alchemist' talks about embracing the feminine face of God, the pope, and where his soul goes when he dances.

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How did you decide to write about a witch?

First, I was thinking about [elaborating] on the feminine side of God. Something that we don’t pay a lot of attention, at least in our civilization. The major religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, they deny somehow that God has a feminine face. However, if you go to the holy texts, you see there is this feminine presence. Second, I [wanted to] connect this subject with the visible reality, meaning what’s around us. Everything for me is sacred, beginning with earth, but also going to things made by man. 

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Finally, "The Witch of Portobello" is about people who dare to take some steps towards an unconventional spiritual path. And they are immediately labeled as witches--and well, witch is a word full of prejudices. The book is about that.  A witch was a person who never complied with the established rules, and always tried to dare and to go beyond and to celebrate life, and to love and to have joy and pleasure while doing this.

In the book a character says, “All women are witches.” Do you mean that as a positive thing?


Yeah, absolutely. Yes, yes, yes. All women have a perception much more developed than men. So all women somehow, being repressed for so many millennia, they ended up by developing this sixth sense and contemplation and love. And this is something that we have a hard time to accept as part of our society. We try to see reality as just a physical thing and that it does not go beyond that. But what we have to do, women included, is to develop more this feminine side, meaning intuition, meaning being open to a new perception of reality which, in general, women are much more open to.

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Interview by Valerie Reiss

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