Cover image for The pilgrimage : a contemporary quest for ancient wisdom
The pilgrimage : a contemporary quest for ancient wisdom
Coelho, Paulo.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Diário de um mago. English
First HarperPerennial edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperPerennial, 1998.

Physical Description:
vi, 265 pages : map ; 21 cm
General Note:
Originally published in Portuguese: Rio de Janeiro : Editora Rocco, c1987; and translated into English under the title: The diary of a magus. c1992.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1999 .C67413 1992C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BF1999 .C67413 1992C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Previously published as The Diary of a Magus, this book tells of Coelho's initiation into a spiritual path, leading to inner development and wisdom. He shares exercises in self-control and self-discovery, which he was taught on his pilgrimage along the ancient road to Santiago.

Author Notes

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 24, 1947. As a teenager, he wanted to become a writer, but his parents wanted him to pursue a more substantial and secure career. At the age of 17, his introversion and opposition to his parents led them to commit him to a mental institution. He escaped three times before being released at the age of 20. Once released, he abandoned his ideas of becoming a writer and enrolled in law school to please his parents. He stayed in law school for one year.

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life. On the path, he had a spiritual awakening, which he described in his book The Pilgrimage.

Before becoming a full-time author, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist, and journalist. He wrote song lyrics for many famous performers in Brazilian music including Elis Regina, Rita Lee, and Raul Seixas. His first book, Hell Archives, was published in 1982. He has written over 25 books since then including The Alchemist, Brida, The Fifth Mountain, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, Like a Flowing River, and Adultery. He received numerous awards including Las Pergolas Prize, The Budapest Prize, Nielsen Gold Book Award, and the Grand Prix Litteraire Elle. In 1996, he founded the Paulo Coelho Institute, which provides aid to children and elderly people with financial problems. In 2007, Coelho was named a Messenger of Peace to the United Nations.

(Bowker Author Biography)



The Pilgrimage Chapter One Arrival The customs agent spent more time than usual examining the sword that my wife had brought into the country and then asked what we intended to do with it. I said that a friend of ours was going to assess its value so that we could sell it at auction. This lie worked: the agent gave us a declaration stating that we had entered the country with the sword at the Bajadas airport, and he told us that if we had any problems trying to leave the country with it, we need only show the declaration to the customs officials. We went to the car rental agency and confirmed our two vehicles. Armed with the rental documents, we had a bite together at the airport restaurant prior to going our separate ways. We had spent a sleepless night on the plane--the result of both a fear of flying and a sense of apprehension about what was going to happen once we arrived--but now we were excited and wide awake. "Not to worry," she said for the thousandth time. "You're supposed to go to France and, at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, seek out Mme Lourdes. She is going to put you in touch with someone who will guide you along the Road to Santiago." "And what about you?" I asked, also for the thousandth time, knowing what her answer would be. "I'm going where I have to go, and there I'll leave what has been entrusted to me. Afterward, I'll spend a few days in Madrid and then return to Brazil. I can take care of things back there as well as you would." "I know you can," I answered, wanting to avoid the subject. I felt an enormous anxiety about the business matters I had left behind in Brazil. I had learned all I needed to know about the Road to Santiago in the fifteen days following the incident in the Agulhas Negras, but I had vacillated for another seven months before deciding to leave everything behind and make the trip. I had put it off until one morning when my wife had said that the time was drawing near and that if I did not make a decision, I might as well forget about the road of the Tradition and the Order of RAM. I had tried to explain to her that my Master had assigned me an impossible task, that I couldn't simply shrug off my livelihood. She had smiled and said that my excuse was dumb, that during the entire seven months I had done nothing but ask myself night and day whether or not I should go. And with the most casual of gestures, she had held out the two airline tickets, with the flight already scheduled. "We're here because of your decision," I said glumly now in the airport restaurant. "I don't know if this will even work, since I let another person make the decision for me to seek out my sword." My wife said that if we were going to start talking nonsense, we had better say good-bye and go our separate ways. "You have never in your life let another person make an important decision for you. Let's go. It's getting late." She rose, picked up her suitcase, and headed for the parking lot. I didn't stop her. I stayed seated, observing the casual way in which she carried my sword; at any moment it seemed that it could slip from under her arm. She stopped suddenly, came back to the table, and kissed me desperately. She looked at me for some time without saying a word. This suddenly made me realise that now I was actually in Spain and that there was no going back. In spite of the knowledge that there were many ways in which I could fail, I had taken the first step. I hugged her passionately, trying to convey all the love I felt for her at that moment. And while she was still in my arms, I prayed to everything and everyone I believed in, imploring that I be given the strength to return to her with the sword. "That was a beautiful sword, wasn't it?" said a woman's voice from the next table, after my wife had left. "Don't worry," a man said. "I'll buy one just like it for you. The tourist shops here in Spain have thousands of them." After I had driven for an hour or so, I began to feel the fatigue accumulated from the night before. The August heat was so powerful that even on the open highway, the car began to overheat. I decided to stop in a small town identified by the road signs as Monumento Nacional. As I climbed the steep road that led to it, I began to review all that I had learned about the Road to Santiago. Just as the Muslim tradition requires that all members of the faith, at least once in their life, make the same pilgrimage that Muhammad made from Mecca to Medina, so Christians in the first millennium considered three routes to be sacred. Each of them offered a series of blessings and indulgences to those who travelled its length. The first led to the tomb of Saint Peter in Rome; its travellers, who were called wanderers, took the cross as their symbol. The second led to the Holy Sepulcher of Christ in Jerusalem; those who took this road were called palmists, since they had as their symbol the palm branches with which Jesus was greeted when he entered that city. There was a third road, which led to the mortal remains of the apostle, San Tiago--Saint James in English, Jacques in French, Giacomo in Italian, Jacob in Latin. He was buried at a place on the Iberian peninsula where, one night, a shepherd had seen a brilliant star above a field. The legend says that not only San Tiago but also the Virgin Mary went there shortly after the death of Christ, carrying the word of the Evangelist and exhorting the people to convert. The site came to be known as Compostela--the star field--and there a city had arisen that drew travellers from every part of the Christian world. These travellers were called pilgrims, and their symbol was the scallop shell. The Pilgrimage . Copyright © by Paulo Coelho. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.