The Desert & The Wind
The desert represents tests that an initiate must pass to help him/her with his/her spiritual growth. The desert’s silence, emptiness, and repetition all test Santiago. However, as Santiago learns from the alchemist, things such as the desert start to become clear to him. He sees that though the desert may seem barren, it does contain life and is connected to the soul of the world. Santiago is now able to recognize the signs of life and eventually he learns to see all of creation in the simplest of things. "'The desert will give you an understanding of the world; in fact, anything on the face of the earth will do that. You don't even have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation.'"
It also helps people appreciate the loud chaos of civilization. "He always enjoyed seeing the happiness that the travelers experienced when, after weeks of yellow sand and blue sky, they first saw the green of the date palms. Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees, he thought." The desert helps the travelers in the book to appreciate things in their daily life by depriving them of those luxuries while they are on their journey to the oasis.
In the Bible it talks about how Jesus roamed the desert without food for forty days. He was tempted by the devil but did not give in. Jesus learned from the desert and he found life just like Santiago. Along with the devil the desert also tests Jesus and brings him closer to the world and God. In both stories the men are being tested by the desert and must keep going in order to fulfill their Personal Legend.
"The wind began to pick up. He knew that wind: people called it the levanter... The levanter increased in intensity. Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and he wanted to have." Santiago had to made a decision on what he want to do with his life, whether he wanted to continue his journey as a shepard or go to Africa to find treasure. When the levanter shows up in the story Santiago decides to go to Africa and set in motion his Person Legend in hopes that he will actually achieve the final goal, the treasure found at the pyramids.
"'Just teach me to be the wind for a few moments,' the boy said. 'So you and I can talk about the limitless possibilities of people and the winds.'" Santiago is desperate to become the wind to fulfill the actual goal of his Personal Legend. This is a spiritual transformation for Santiago and he is able to complete his Personal Legend at the end of the book with the help of the Universe. His journey through Africa changed him as a person by giving him limitless connections to the world.
Many real world examples of transformation exist and we have covered them in class. We go through many changes as we go through high school such as getting out drivers license or graduating and getting a job. Many religious practices have their followers go through celebrations to become fully indulged in the culture, like bar or bat mitzvahs and christenings.