Carolena’s Quest for the Sword

The Cathars martyrs of pure Christian love 16 March 1244

The Cathars martyrs of pure Christian love 16 March 1244

‘We are all pilgrims in search of the unknown.’ — Paulo Coelho

Two decades ago Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was set a penance for his arrogance by his Master J. He had to walk the Way of St James (el Camino de Santiago), a medieval pilgrim’s route that had fallen into disuse and was by the mid-1980s little walked. An account of which he gives in The Pilgrimage.

Two decades on as 2009 drew to an end, Paulo Coelho pondered on whether in this age of computer games and general inactivity, anyone could be persuaded to embark on a real life adventure. Early 2010, he set a quest, clues were posted on his blog and all anyone had to do was to solve the clues, then visit all the places that the clues pointed to. The first person to reach the final destination would find and receive a sword deposited there by Paulo Coelho.

One of those who successfully completed the quest, but sadly not in time to recover the sword, was Carolena Sabah. She has kindly published with illustrations her account of her quest.

One of the places she visited or passed by was Montsegur, the final stronghold of the Cathars. The Cathars were closest to the life of Jesus which no doubt explains why the Church launched its first Crusade against the Cathars, that and the greed of the northern French Barons who wanted their lands in what is now the South of France.

Eric Levi commemorates the Cathars in his Era trilogy. Paulo Coelho mentions them in his novel Brida. The Cathars form the major element of the plot in Labyrinth by Kate Mosse.

The account by Carolena Sabah, especially her photos, compliments Paulo’s account of his trip in The Pilgrimage. Which has given me an idea. Why not a special illustrated 25th anniversary limited edition coffee table size of The Pilgrimage with sidebars on the various places, cf the special limited edition of The Da Vinci Code?

Carolena Sabah stars in and co-produced The Witch of Portobello based on the novel by Paulo Coelho of the same name.

The closest I have been on a pilgrimage was a trip to Aylesford Priory with the Knights of St Columba!

Synchronicity: At the weekend I walked to the Celebrating Surrey Festival along the River Wey, then along the North Downs Way, dropping down to Loseley Park. On my way there the lovely scent of elderflower, on my way back in the gathering dusk the lovely scent of honeysuckle. As I passed St Nicholas Church I saw they were to have two talks on the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (7-30pm in the evening on Tuesday 6 and 13 of July 2010), a medieval pilgrims route. A route that had fallen into disuse until Paulo Coelho wrote of his pilgrimage in The Pilgrimage.

See

The Quest of the Sword is over!

Carolena’s Pilgrimage

Carolena’s Quest

The Pilgrimage

Brida

The Quest

Conversation with the master – The journey

Pilgrimage to Aylesford Priory with the Knights of St Columba

The Witch of Portobello

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2 Responses to “Carolena’s Quest for the Sword”

  1. Lainee Says:

    “…Why not a special illustrated 25th anniversary limited edition coffee table size of The Pilgrimage with sidebars on the various places,..”

    Yes, this would be nice. 😉

    • keithpp Says:

      Maybe we can all suggest this to Paulo and he in turn can suggest to HarperCollins. I am even willing to do the trip and take the pictures!

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