I firmly believe that I don’t find books, they find me. If you don’t feel the same thing, that’s okay. It’s a bit far fetched, I’m sure, to believe that literature can come looking for us at times of need. But, alas, for some reason, I feel that I always find myself picking up a random book at a bookstore or off of the used books for sale at the library that just seem to reach right inside me and make me feel like our connection was meant to be. At the hand of some force unknown to me, it is always somehow a story that is incredibly relevant to whatever I happen to be going through at the time, and the words somehow heal me and offer me comfort. I am writing this because it has happened to me yet again. Five years ago, when my father passed away suddenly, two of my best and oldest friends bought me a copy of the book The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, with a heartfelt inscription on the inside cover hoping that it’s words would help me in my time of need. Well, to put it mildly, it did. If you haven’t read The Alchemist, run to the bookstore and get a copy. I’d lend you mine, but I’d just as soon promise you my first born. After reading it, I became addicted to Paulo Coelho. His words are incredibly poetic and almost prophetic (did I just make up a word?!). I now find myself reading The Witch of Portobello, for no other reason than it was on sale on i-tunes and I always have a book to read on my i-pad while I’m on the elliptical at the gym. And fate has done it again. I won’t explain the relevance this book has to my own life, because it seems too personal, but I will share with you it’s basis and one of the five million quotes I’ve highlighted. Athena is a “witch,” and the story of her life is told through the words of the people who knew her – her mother, her ex-husband, her teacher, her “friend.” Each person had a vastly different experience with Athena and the effect she had on their lives. I think all women can be bewitching in our own way, and that’s all I’ll say about that for now.
The quote I love:
“We women, when we’re seaching for a meaning to our lives or for the path of knowledge, always identify with one of four classic archetypes.
The Virgin (and I’m not speaking here of a sexual virgin) is the one whose search springs from her complete independence, and everything she learns is the fruit of her ability to face challenges alone.
The Martyr finds her way to self-knowledge through pain, surrender, and suffering.
The Saint finds her true reason for living in unconditional love and in her ability to give without asking anything in return.
Finally, the Witch justifies her existence by going in search of complete and limitless pleasure.”
So, being that I’m going though a search for the meaning of my life and the “path of knowledge,” this segment rang particularly true with me. I began pondering which archetype I fall into. As women we all face our struggles trying to figure out who we are and where we fit in in life, and I know each woman reading this will absolutely ponder which of these four she is, and then which she wishes she was.
I think they’re all divine and bewitching in their own right.
Which are you?