Colm Holland-Blog

Colm Holland’s 40 Days of Alchemy Meditations at home.

DAY 20 - The Hawks

You may not have noticed but we are already halfway through this series of meditations. I have decided that we should celebrate the occasion with a story of the Hawks from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a gripping and central moment in the novel and worthy of our meditation on its meaning today.

The hero of the story, Santiago, is spending time at an oasis in his journey across the desert and one day he sits under the sun in the desert and observes two hawks in flight above him. His mind drifts as he watches them and he thinks about Love and The Language of the World, when suddenly one hawk dives to attack the other.

An image of a hostile tribal army attacking the oasis passes fleetingly across Santiago’s mind. When he awakens, he is so disturbed by the vision that he decides to approach the tribal chiefs and warn them of an impending attack on the oasis.

At first the oasis chieftains are skeptical of Santiago because he is a stranger. Then the eldest of them recalls the ancient story of Joseph who owned a coat of many colors and, like Santiago, was a stranger in Egypt. But when Joseph warned Pharaoh that a famine was about to descend on the land said they should prepare for it. The famine came to pass and Joseph was rewarded by Pharaoh for his vision and warning.

The elders decide Santiago will be given a piece of gold for every ten of their enemies killed if they attack. But he would die if they did not attack.

Those hawks are hugely symbolic of the wild and untamed portion of human nature.

The hawks are a symbol of the duality of the human heart.

It’s hard for those of us who seek peace to admit to a dualistic aspect of our nature, such as fiercely territorial hunter-like aggression on the one hand and peaceful quietness on the other. To turn this dualistic nature into a source of positive power is one of the greatest challenges the budding alchemist will face, and it will involve an inner battle.

Taming this power to make it work in our favor and to the benefit of those around us is one of the tests to be faced we will face if we follow the path of transformation. If only it were as simple as turning off the aggression and turning on the passivity, then there would be no battle. If you tried to replace all your aggressive thoughts and actions with peace and love toward yourself and others, you will acknowledge the struggle faced in the attempt.

  • One option is to opt out of the inner struggle by relinquishing all power, but this leads to a powerless existence open to abuse, control and the manipulation from others.

  • The other option is to continually assert our power over others by controlling and attempting to manipulate them destructively and will never deliver the long-term positive outcome we actually want to achieve.

Neither option leads to true empowerment and instead will leave us devoid of the power to perform miracles.

True power is seen when we bring healing, peace and prosperity to the world around us.

The fighting hawks in the story and Santiago’s vision of the attack on the oasis is a symbol of this battle for true power in our hearts and we will look further into this topic tomorrow.

Today’s meditation is:

My heart is full of power and passion and I will let Love show me how to tame it for the good of all.