The Secret of The Alchemist with Colm Holland

In this extended 2-year anniversary episode of Spirit Sherpa, Kelle welcomes the author of ‘The Secret of The Alchemist,’ Colm Holland. Colm recounts his first introduction to the book ‘The Alchemist’ (by Paulo Coelho) as a member of the Harper Collins publishing team that introduced the would-be bestselling book to the world, as well as his initial reactions and the journey that he has taken since. Colm talks about what he has discovered in his reading of Coelho’s book and some of the secrets of ‘The Alchemist’ that he shares in his book (links to Colm’s book, ‘The Secret of The Alchemist’ are in the additional notes below).


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The Secret Of The Alchemist With Colm Holland

We have another guest with us.

It’s so funny because there’s this wonderful publisher who sends me potential guests. I have this thing that I do with guests where I sit, read and started feeling their energy. I decide whether or not they’re going to be a good fit based on what I’m seeing. I opened the email on this one and took one look at the image of Colm. I was like, “Yes.”

I’m super excited here. We’ve been geeking out before the episode starts. You are going to be super excited too. Colm has written this amazing book based on Paul Coelho, The Alchemist and also based on his experience being part of the publishing company that put the book out in Australia. We’re in for a treat. Help me welcome, Colm Holland.

Welcome, Colm.

Kelle and Joey, how are you?

It’s very nice to meet you.

Before we got started on the episode, we were talking about prosperity, money and the unconscious. Colm’s like, “We could talk about twenty different things.” I’m like, “I know. I’m so excited.” We’re going to see where the conversation takes us but tell us a little bit about the book so that we have a jumping-off point.

The book is called The Secrets of the Alchemist. It has a double meaning in the sense that alchemy itself is quite a secret wisdom that hides in plain sight traditionally over centuries. Not many of us know much about alchemy. That’s one angle. The other angle is that The Alchemist is one of the best-selling books of all time. It held the Guinness Book of Records of the most copies sold by a living author of a single title. The last record is somewhere around 86 million or 87 million copies worldwide. It’s more than most of the self-help books that we’ve ever read put together.

This is interesting. It only got beaten by JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. I love the irony of that. These books are about alchemy. JK Rowling spent two years studying alchemy before she put pen to paper. One day, Harry Potter got that one on the trains and the rest is history. I have an intimate, for a lack of a better word, relationship with the original The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho’s book.

I’ll tell you a quick story. I was a middle manager. I was in the lower levels of the sandwich of management at HarperCollins Publishers in Australia. My role among a few other things was to have a look at the new titles that were being published by the rest of the company around the world, London, New York and San Francisco.

There was a publishing imprint that we had called Harper San Francisco and I loved that company. I don’t know if you ever read books at that time but there were 2 or 3 people who were doing the publishing. They were amazing groundbreakers. I was always excited when there was a pile of manuscripts because this is 1993 and pre-internet. I waited for a package of manuscripts to arrive in the mail.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was sifting through some things. I was always very careful because, in the past, I’d found some nice full gems like Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Miracles. When that was published, I was there and a couple of books by Wayne Dyer. We’ve heard of him. There was this manuscript by this unknown author. I never heard of him. I couldn’t even pronounce the name correctly at the time. It’s somebody called Paolo Coelho or something. I’d read the blurb. He was from Brazil and wrote in Portuguese.

This book has done relatively well in Brazil. He sold close to 500,000 copies, which was pretty good and that got my interest. I looked at the draft artwork for the book. If you Google, The Alchemist, the original cover, those of you who were around at the time, it’s purple, not the usual orange thing that we have. There’s this almost a primitive piece of artwork of a shepherd boy and this character that is dressed in an Arab attire with a single eye on the front.

I broke my rule. It was late Friday afternoon. I shoved the manuscript in my bag and said, “I’ll take it home.” I normally never took manuscripts home because I was meant to spend time with my kids. Sunday afternoon, getting the chair, everybody’s busy doing something else. I thought I’ll read a few pages of this manuscript. The sun sets as I stay in my book, on the last page as I could not put it down. For those of you that have read The Alchemist, the majority of you are going to identify with that.

Can you imagine being one of the first human beings to read those pages? The hair went up on the back of my neck. I had read The Celestine Prophecy and I knew how well it sold. I thought, “There’s something beyond the words. If this resonates with me, a relatively half-baked spiritual character like me, then anybody who’s even more in tune than me is going to love this book.” The rest is history.

I rang my colleague back in California the next day. I got him out of bed. I rang him at his home and said, “I need to talk to you about this book.” “What do you need?” I said, “Do you realize how phenomenal this is going to be? We were sitting on probably one of the best-selling books that have ever published.” He said, “Are you drunk?” I said, “For a change, no.” He said, “Normally, what’s the most you’ve ever taken of any book I have sent you?” I said, “About 2,000.” He said, “How many do you want?” I said, “200,000 please.” He said, “This is serious. You’re not kidding. Are you?” I said, “No, I’m not kidding.”

The next thing I knew my colleagues around the world agreed. We didn’t quite do that many and we sold out the first print run. I forget how many hundred thousand we did. We didn’t even bother to go into hardcover. We went straight to paperback. Paulo suddenly became quite a celebrity, which was a real nerve-wracking event for him because he didn’t speak English as his first language but we persuaded him to come out to Australia.

One of the very first literary festivals he did was in Australia in Adelaide. On his way home, he said, “I want to come by Sydney,” where we were. “I want to take you Colm and your wife. Naomi and her partner,” she was the Publicity Manager, “Out for a meal to say thank you.” Normally, it’s the CEO of the company that gets to go to the meals, not little old middle manager like me.

We went out to this meal and it was wonderful. He wasn’t the celebrity that he is now. None of us were particularly on the road but there was something different about the sky. Towards the end of the meal, He said, “I’ve got a present for you, guys.” He said, “Naomi, I want to give you this.” He passed this little ring box. She opened it and there was a dress diamond ring. It was worth a couple of thousand bucks.

He then looked at me and said, “Colm, I asked God, the universe and my wife what I should get you.” I’m thinking, “Gold Rolex, maybe?” You weren’t expecting that. How shallow is that? I admit to it but I got a different gold. This is where we could talk about The Alchemist. He looked me in the eye and said, “God told me to do a day of my magic on your behalf so that whatever you want in the universe will come to pass. You need to decide what you want.” I was thinking, “A gold Rolex would be cool.”

Within two months, I was promoted to a senior management position. Within six months, I left the company and started my business. In two years, I founded the second-largest digital advertising agency in Australia. In 4 years, I employed 80 people. In five years, we ran the Sydney Olympics Online. We’ve had three of the largest companies in the whole of Australia as clients and I made a load of money.

I remember looking in the mirror one day and saying to myself, “How did you get here? Have you forgotten what you did and what happened? You shallow man. You’ve forgotten what happened.” Let’s remind. My book is the story of what happened. What happened was that I went into an awakening. I went into that awakening by going back to the story of The Alchemist and asking a basic question, “What is the secret of this book?” If you ask most people that read it, they’ll tell you, “This is a great book. It moved me. I was very inspired. It’s been one of my favorite books for a long time. I gave it to my best friend to read.”

I say, “Why? Tell me what is it about the book that inspired you.” They said, “It inspired me to believe in my dreams and commit to finding my treasure,” and so on. I said, “That’s fantastic. Has that happened?” Most people will say, “Kind of. Sort of.” Mostly, “A bit, maybe.” I said, “Let me tell you my story.” When I tell them my story they go, “What? How did you do that?” I said, “I went in here into this book called The Alchemist. I decided to dig in and find what that secret is. You won’t believe what I found.” I’ll give you three guesses. Kelle, go on it. Let’s do it. What do you think the secret is? Let’s try. I’m being naughty.

You are but that’s okay I’ll play. I’m leaning into my vague memory of the book at this point because I haven’t read it in many years.

I’m going to give you a quick story. Santiago is a shepherd boy who has a dream in an abandoned chapel in Andalusia in Spain. The dream says to him, “You need to go to the pyramids and you’ll find the treasure.” The hero’s journey could be one.

To me, it was a heavy-duty walkabout journey. It was very much like, “Trust the universe, follow the signs and you’ll get where you’re meant to go.”

Kelle, you’re a genius. You’ve gone way beyond most people when I asked this question. What’s the third?

You can’t find your heart’s desire unless you know what it is.

I’ll take that. It shows how intuitive you are, Kelle. Those three elements that Kelle said summed up the art and ancient wisdom of alchemy. I challenge you all. If you’ve still got your old dusty beaten-up copy of The Alchemist because you’ve read it so many times back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, if you start to read it again, you’ll discover what I discovered. It’s full of references to ancient alchemy. There is the Emerald tablet, Philosopher’s Stone and Melchizedek. This boy is traveling in ancient Arabia where alchemy first originated.

In Joseph Campbell’s term, it’s like, “This is a new monomyth, the hero’s journey through the steps that are outlined by the ancient alchemists from many years ago. Why don’t we make that association? It’s because we’ve lost it. Our forefathers and their infinite wisdom like there have been so many ancient wisdom tried to kill it. You could be burned at the stake, hung, drawn and quartered. You could be banished to Australia.” Stealing a rabbit would get you to Australia. It costs about $3,000.

Alchemy is an ancient metaphor that in my humble discovery is one of the most powerful metaphors that there is. Partly because it is so ancient and it’s not a religion or a sector of a religion. It doesn’t require any obedience to a group. It doesn’t require you to sign up for anything or pay tithes to something. It doesn’t even require you to do anything every day like meditate or anything else. It requires you to do one simple thing. It asks you to listen to your heart.

Your only obligation according to Paulo in The Alchemist is that you should seek and find your true destiny. Each of us should take the journey that goes in the place of Carl Jung, who was a very strong student of alchemy. He wrote books on the subject. He built his psychoanalysis theory off the back of alchemy. Where did he get all that stuff from? It’s from Sir Isaac Newton. Remember the apple falling out of a tree? He saw that in the light of wisdom called alchemy. He collected all the art books that he could get his hands on in those days.

Most of them have been destroyed from antiquity. They are existing in a library in England. You can go to one of the major university libraries and they’re still there. What Carl Jung discovered was one of the things I talk about in my book, The Secret of The Alchemist. The journey that the alchemists went on within was a journey of transformation. They coded that journey in symbols and processes to blind the ignorant and those who did not have the wisdom to seek the good that The Alchemist was trying to say.

When an alchemist talks about turning lead into gold, they’re talking about the soul or the spirit. In the eyes of an alchemist, lead was base metal. Compared to gold, it’s worthless. We realize lead is worth quite a bit. There’s a little parish church down the road here that had a tunnel of lead stolen off its roof because you can get quite a lot for it as scrap. In their metaphor, the turning of lead into gold, what they call that transmutation is a spiritual journey. It’s the soul journey, not to something else.

Everybody that’s reading who hasn’t read The Alchemist but is curious skip this because I’m going to spoil the end of the story because those of us that are read it need to remind ourselves. The spoiler is he does get to the pyramids and dig in the sand because he finally thinks he has found it. A thief catches him digging in the sand, beats him up and said, “We want this treasure.” He said, “I had a dream that there was going to be treasure here.” The thief said, “Are you kidding? There’s no treasure here. I had a dream like this once. I dreamed that the treasure was hidden under a Sycamore tree in Spain in an abandoned chapel.” That’s where Santiago had his dream. Santiago goes home.

The abandoned chapel is the neglected human soul. The treasure that’s buried in the abandoned chapel is the treasure that’s what we call subconscious but what Carl Jung called the unconscious. This is what I’ve discovered and I believe this is what The Alchemist teaches. All of our dreams, ambitions, longing to be a better self, be whole, live an abundant life and be fully human, the journey that we have to go on as alchemists are into the unconscious. I’ve tried quite a few of them. I’m sure you have as well but the only one that’s ever worked for me is that journey. That’s why The Alchemist was such an important book to me because it gave me a new metaphor. I tried Christianity and a few other things. They wore out pretty quickly.

The reason I call my book, The Secret of the Alchemist is I’m trying to re-enlighten the collective unconscious and say, “Here’s another bit of wisdom that we can draw on that I have found extremely helpful.” In my book, I told a lot of detail about my struggles, what I found in the unconscious and why I went into the unconscious in the first place. There you go. That was a long story. That was the sermon.

It was fascinating. You’re so right because one of the things that I talk to my students about all the time is the idea that they go looking for their life purpose. They’re like, “I need to find my life’s purpose.” It’s like, “You don’t need to find your life’s purpose. What you need to do is find yourself because your life’s purpose is the fullest expression of your authentic self. Stop looking outside and start looking inside because that’s where the answers are.” I teach magic as part of what I do. I won’t teach it to people who haven’t done their inner work first because if you do, then people spend their entire lives looking outside of themselves for their power and that’s not where it is.

You and I talked about this beforehand. We’re like, “We’re right on a level. We’re doing this. Here we are,” but we’ve been talking about the unconscious. We’ve been talking about the unconscious a lot around stuff that’s going on with COVID and the civil unrest. All of my people are empaths so they feel everything.

We’ve been discussing how to filter out the collective unconscious angst, the upsets and the things of that nature. There are other pieces that you can tap into as well. I don’t get to talk about alchemy much. I used to call myself the thought alchemist. I do alchemy. It’s not a term that a lot of people many years later are using as much but there is an alchemy to everything that we do. Talk for a minute about the alchemy of what’s happening.

My wife often corrects me by saying, “Don’t you mean spiritual alchemy?” I go, “Kind of, I do. I don’t want to call it spiritual alchemy because The Alchemist made no distinction between the physical or the material and whatever we call the spiritual.” When you understand the role of the unconscious in the human makeup, then you realize that you’re going into a territory, as alluded to, all of those enlightened experiences that we have. They’re all valid, real and true. There’s a multitude of them depending on who we are, our background and so on. They emanate from the unconscious. That is the gift that we possess as humans. We’re unique in that. We are able to identify that of ourselves and that’s what makes us human.

What most people don’t realize is that within that unconscious world of its nature, it’s a bit like a swirling pot of the stuff. It’s a bit messy. It’s made up of all kinds of things that have come into that. Some of which we’ve inherited from our forebears or ancestors. Some of which we picked up a conception that I talked about in my book. Some of which we experienced in the womb as well. All of this, you have no control over it.

This is not something we’ve chosen. It’s something that’s given and we have to take it. Some of it is when we’re born. Some of it is we’re growing up. Some of it is if we’re asleep. I’m sure most of your readers will know what I mean when I say asleep. If we’re asleep, we absorb all this stuff unconsciously. We don’t put any barriers up. We suck it in. How many layers of the unconscious have we mapped out? All is not lost. Do not abandon hope ye who enter. Dante’s Inferno wasn’t a bad description.

First of all, listen to Kelle. You need Kelle and stick to every word she gives you but read my book as well. I was 40 years old when I met Paulo. I had been on a spiritual journey up to that point. I’d been on a much stronger spiritual journey since. In that previous spiritual journey, at about the age of eighteen, I decided that I wasn’t in control of my life. How many of us feel like that so often?

The Alchemist: The book deliberately has a double meaning in the sense that alchemy itself is quite a secret wisdom that hides in plain sight, traditionally over centuries and centuries.

Quite so many of us do not feel in control. The more we hear about COVID, the race riots, hunger, famine elsewhere and children going missing, I have to take as much news as I can in small doses because I have to be able to manage it and process it, especially since many of the people you work with are absorbing it.

At the age of eighteen, I thought, “This is not good. What is the meaning of life?” I was in a time when the Beatles, we were making love, not war, Peace Man and Bob Dylan. I was a hippie. Also, Paulo’s book is called Hippie, which is quite enlightening because he and I have so much in common. I decided that I was missing something. That was quite common. We were all asking a similar question. I thought I think of this thing called love that we were all trying to pursue. The more I tried to pursue love, the more I felt bad about myself. The more I thought about love and try to pursue love, the one person in the world that I found the hardest to love was myself.

I thought I got to fix this. Where do you get love from? Who’s got it? Anybody got love or anybody around here? I’d look at other people and hope they were going to love me. That went down a pretty dangerous road several times. I didn’t find it there. I thought maybe if I behave in a certain way, people will love me. I was fortunate to meet somebody who said, “Did you know that in the Bible it says God is love.” I said, “No.”

I thought God was full of damnation and he was going to send us all to hell. If anybody was going to go to hell, it’s going to be me because I’ve got a long list here. I am going to spend a lot of time in purgatory for it. One of the Dalai Lama’s interpreters, I was reading in the newspaper, his mother had a fabulous quote, which was, “Eternity is an awfully long time, especially towards the end.”

I asked love to enter my life when I was eighteen years old and I could not believe what happened. I was grounded by something I never dreamt was going to happen. I was overwhelmed by a presence. It wasn’t a spirit or a religion. People tried to get me to fit it into their religion and none of it ever worked but I had an enlightening experience. I’m sure many of your readers have had the same thing.

I was overwhelmed by love. What I decided there is that love has a personality. In the universe, there is a force but it’s ubiquitous. It’s not personality. It has character but it’s not a person. That’s the conclusion I came to at the age of eighteen. That character is unconditional love. At the beginning of my book, one of the things I said was, “The greatest challenge we face is to truly believe at the very core of our heart that we are loved unconditionally for who we are, not for what we can do.”

You summed up everything I do in the first year of my course. That is exactly the work that I do. If it was that simple for most people, there wouldn’t be a year-long course to do it. There are so many stories and layers of crap that we have taken on from our lifetimes, our parents, the culture and the collective unconscious. There is so much that has to be dug underneath to get through down to that level where you’re like, “I get to be cool for me.” It’s a complex process for most people. It’s very funny because it is complex and yet it’s very simple as most things.

Everybody this is why you need to go with Kelle. Here’s the thing The Alchemist said, “To discover the gold, be in the gold within me.” In Carl Jung’s terms, “To go through the individuation process,” as he called it. If you have not read Carl Jung, I highly recommend you read some of his works. It turns the light on. You can see things through a new vision. One of the things that you discovered there is becoming the true self is not becoming somebody other than who you are. There is no perfection. This is one of the issues I have with Jesus and Mary, in the Orthodox sense of the understanding of those people. They are without sin and they are perfect.

If you look at his story, he wasn’t.

He might even have been married apparently according to Dan Brown.

He certainly had anger issues when he turned over the tables of the moneylenders.

Righteous anger. The point being is that to be truly human is to be true to yourself. However, let’s go back to Dante’s Inferno and the unconscious. Once I discovered unconditional love and I was loved for who I am is that something else inside me was running my life and pulling the strings for several years. I was very fortunate that I joined a multifaith ecumenical community where we didn’t bother with doctrine, catechisms or obedience to a religious rule. What we did believe in was finding true wholeness and healing.

I bumped into a doctor called Dr. Frank Lake and I talk about it quite a bit in my book. He was one of the first practitioners of rebirthing and primal therapy. I thought, “This sounds pretty good. I might have a go at this.” I went back and did some rebirthing. I discovered all kinds of stuff. One of the things I discovered, like Santiago, was the treasure was buried under the tree in the abandoned chapel. What was buried in mine was that as a child, I had a real Harry Potter in the cupboard experience.

My mother was epileptic. Bless her. God rest her soul. This was undiagnosed. When I was born, it got worse. I was a toddler at home, me and her in the early days. My father was out of work. When she knew a fit was coming on and she was trying to keep it quiet, she would put me in the cupboard to protect me but I was two years old. For one minute, I was enjoying life with this very caring, lovely woman who had my best interest and the next thing I know, she shoved me into the cupboard in the dark and lock me in. I could hear all this stuff going on outside.

Eventually, she opened the door and said, “What are you doing hiding in there? That’s a good game. I found you.” I have never met anybody so angry as that young man. I discovered that angry young man 20, 30 years later. I wish I had found him earlier. That is a child which you talked so eloquently about on your website. Thank you for that. I was enjoying reading that. If you haven’t visited your inner child, I strongly recommend you open the cupboard and give that child a voice. You couldn’t imagine my shock and surprise when I read Harry Potter living in the cupboard under the stairs. I was like, “Seriously?”

The outcome is to help with this complex simple process. They had a three-stage process, which is quite straightforward. One is called the black phase, which in their laboratory, it was about melting down the material that you want to transform. Another name for it was mortification. I deliberately did the night of the soul. I was reading Thomas Merton and Thomas à Kempis at the time.

I was going back to the desert fathers and chose to go into an inner mortification. I was very fortunate. I had a group of people around me who were able to care for me at the time. I gave up my very stressful job as a high school teacher and took the time out. It took a year. Most people don’t have the luxury of that. I had the luxury and talk about this in my book.

What I discovered was the angry child. I did the primal therapy. When all hope feels lost, congratulations. When you go into the black abyss, you fall and wonder, “What the hell is this all about? Why am I even here in the first place?” Trust me, hang on to somebody, even if you have to hang on to Kelle or anything. When you’re there, it feels the opposite but it’s the beginning of freedom. That’s the black phase of The Alchemist process.

The second phase of The Alchemist process is called the white phase. The white phase is you’ve realized that it’s all nothing and that you are nothing. If you’ve listened to Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and others, we don’t even exist. When you reach that point, then you are in a position to find out who you are. That child, in my experience, who I thought I despised and was weak, who I wanted to keep hidden in the cupboard, who was angry, who would lash out and all that, the moment I gave him a voice and I let him have a conversation with love, he became my greatest treasure. I might say this quite a lot, the person who you are listening to is the boy who was in the cupboard. If I hadn’t met that boy and hadn’t let him out and given him a voice, I could not be sitting here with you.

It’s so funny that you’re using that imagery because I did some hypnotherapy a few years ago. I recovered this memory of my father yelling at my mother. The anger was so overwhelming because my father had so much rage. I went running into the closet and close the door. I pulled all the coats down on top of me. I still have this visceral feeling of being three years old and having all of these coats on top of me, trying to muffle out the rage and the energy of it. There’s something very visceral about that cupboard.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it’s the same analogy. CS Lewis and Tolkien studied alchemy.

That’s stage two, black and white.

The Alchemist: You have the power to change the course of the universe—your universe, your life, and the world around you. If you are fully in tune with the soul of the world, you’ll discover that the power that performs miracles and proposes magic is unconditional love.

We’ve gone black and white. Let’s go back to The Alchemist. All these stages are in the hero’s journey. Leaving Spain and ending up in North Africa and then suddenly, everything he has is stolen. He says, “Is his life even worth living?” That’s the black phase. He then discovers this place called the crystal shop. Most of the people that read the story, if I say, “Do you know the significance of the crystal shop is? He found a job and he made some money so he could carry on his journey,” they’re like, “Okay.”

“Let’s think about the crystal shops.” “What’s he doing in the crystal shop?” “He’s cleaning crystal glass.” “Guess what crystal glass is made of. What’s one of the primary ingredients in crystal glass?” It’s lead.” There’s the coincidence. Paulo knew what he was doing in this story. In the crystal shop, Santiago is polishing. He’s in there in the numerology. It’s 9, 11 and all these numbers. He comes out of the crystal shop, wearing white clothes and robes and with riches in his pocket, ready to choose whether to continue his journey or go back.

One of the things that alchemy let everybody do is if you’ve had enough, you think you’ve got to a certain point and you’re happy with that point, you can stop. Until you meet somebody called The Alchemist. I’m going to unashamedly apologize to everybody. If I’m the Alchemist in your life, I’m sorry. It was the universe’s decision, not mine. If I’m pulling on some strings, you’ve reached that point where you go, “I’ve solved a few problems I’m comfortable with. It’s okay. It’s not as good as it could be. I could do more but there’s too much pain and I don’t want to open those wounds again.”

That’s enough. The Alchemist comes to Santiago in the story and what does he say to him? “I’ve come to you because you’ve reached the point where you are potentially going to not find your full potential and your real treasure. Eventually, met Fatima at the Oasis. You prove that you can be in touch with the soul of the world. You saved the world from the warring tribe that was going to destroy them.” You’ve done pretty well and that’s where I was when I met Paulo Coelho. I’ve done okay. I was in a good job, was happy and have a loving family. Kids were all doing okay but there was a voice down here in my heart that said, “What about this thing that I want to do?”

Paulo said, “You need to decide what you want.” I said to my heart, “What do you want to do? Let’s get it out in the open.” It said, “I want to be my own boss and not have to work for Rupert Murdoch anymore for a start. That would be nice.” No offense, Rupert. He got me to where I needed to get to but I didn’t want to work for you anymore. I wanted to work for this guy, Colm Holland because I felt that he had a unique gift to bring to the universe and the soul of the world. Who we all should be is that person who knows but in Paolo’s terms, is fulfilling their legends. We are enriching the soul of the world by being obedient to our destiny.

Our destiny is not something that fate decides. I love people who talk about fate. It’s easy to talk about fate. Somebody is going to make a decision and it’s got to be you. I made that decision. The red phase in The Alchemy process is the phase where we begin to perform magic. Magic and miracles are real. You have the power to change the course of the universe, your universe, your life, and the world around you. If you are fully in tune with the soul of the world, what you’ll discover is that the power that I discovered way back that performs miracles and magic is unconditional love. If we want to perform magic selfishly, good luck. Come back in a couple of years’ time and let us know how you got on with that.

In Paulo Coelho’s 2006 edition of The Alchemist, he wrote a new foreword and not many people have always seen this new foreword in the book but he confesses to having gone down the selfish route of alchemy and got ripped off big time. He also delved into the black magic big time. To quote Paulo, his life was a wreck and in ruins. It was only because he regrouped and decided to make his study of alchemy that he ended up being one of the best-selling authors in the world and sharing that with the rest of us.

Unconditional love is the force, to use the Star Wars analogy. If you want the force to be with you and you don’t know unconditional love in your life, then it’s hard to perform magic in a way that gives the result you want. You want to be blessed and those around you to be blessed. You don’t want to hurt the people around you anymore. You want to change that. It all begins in the unconscious.

I’ve got my rituals. I’m sure you’ve got your rituals. I tell people and I’m not going to spoil it but in the back in the back of my book, I share my rituals. There’s only one thing I don’t do. I don’t broadcast the results. Those are private because people’s lives have been changed for the better. As we say in Australia, that’s secret men’s or women’s business. Those guys know how to do this stuff as well. As hard as we’ve tried to take it away from them and destroy it, they’re rediscovering it again.

Do you want to be rich or be in a loving caring relationship that you’re not controllably trying to destroy every five minutes? Do you want a career that you don’t sabotage because of your fear of success? Do you want the empowerment that Santiago has? Santiago has an alchemy experience towards the end of the book. He is captured again with The Alchemist that says, “Don’t worry,” to the tribal chief who says, “I’m going to kill you and steal your money.” “Don’t worry. Santiago is an alchemist and he’s going to turn himself into the wind.”

You can imagine that Santiago was in a wet puddle on the sand where he was standing. How was he going to do that? He had no idea how to turn himself into the wind. That’s how we’re going to go. When you’re faced with those things you want to change, then there is a process. One of those processes is we can reach through the collective unconscious into the soul of the world. If we practice it enough, what we will be able to do is take hold of unconditional love. It is a force and a power. Coelho invokes that to do the thing that we want.

If you’re interested in that concept, The Alchemist has this thing called the Emerald tablet. I strongly recommend as part of any ritual that if you’ve been tempted to go off and have a look at this whole subject, have a look at the Emerald tablet. You can find it on Google. I’ve quoted the whole thing in my book but the first verse of the Emerald tablet says this, “It is true, without lying, certain and most true.”

“That which is below is like that which is above. That which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing.” The only thing is unconditional love and that is the power. That’s the secret of the alchemist, what Paulo talks about in his original novel, what I talk about in my book and what Kelle has been trying to teach you all year in and year out.

It’s funny that you say that because this is our second-anniversary episode.

Congratulations. Well done.

Thank you. I’m super excited because we’re also going to be publishing on the summer solstice, which is the same day that we launched the show. We normally publish on Sundays and we started the show on a Thursday because I wanted to start it on the summer solstice.

This is why this episode was the reason you were so focused on that being on the 21st.

I was in the process of trying to get ready to move. We were blowing through and trying to put a lot of tracks down. I was like, “No, it has to be on the summer solstice.” It’s good timing. This is the perfect episode to have in this timeframe. I’m so glad you could come. Thank you so much for being part of this.

Kelle, the pleasure is all mine. I feel like I’ve found a new soulmate.

Me, too. We’re going to be friends.

Joey, we can be friends as well.

I’ll just hang on this side.

I’m coming to Glastonbury to see you. You don’t know it yet but I’m coming.

You’re very welcome. I’ve never gone to the Torah at midnight or sunrise but I’m thinking I might make the effort in 2022 because I can go and stay with my daughter when the lockdowns are finished. She’s five minutes from the footpath up to the Torah. I’m sure some of your readers know exactly where we’re talking about but there was such a heritage of magic of all kinds of persuasions going way back. Did these feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountains? That’s Glastonbury that he’s talking about in there as well. I might do that in 2022. If I am, I will send love to you for this show and everybody who’s reading.

One of the things I want to part with is when I was writing my book, sometimes I do what I’m told to do and occasionally it has been known. I was being told to do my magic as I was writing the book. I hadn’t anticipated that was going to happen. As I was writing my story, experience, what I’ve learned about alchemy, cross-referencing, digging up all the history and quoting it all, this voice said to me, “Why don’t you ask love to give everybody who reads this book when they read it, everything that they need to become the alchemist in their world?” It comes with a blessing that I’m passing on. I’m a messenger here or Mercury. I’m doing as I’m told and it’s for you. It comes with my blessing in that regard. 

You had multiple friends who you had given the book in the beginning and they all said that they were going back to their 2nd and 3rd readings. I’m like, “They’re going to have their 2nd and 3rd readings. They want the blessing in the 2nd and 3rd places in their lives.

Why not take as much blessing as I can get?

Our second-anniversary episode has been fabulous. Thank you very much, Colm. It’s been wonderful.

Thank you, Joey and Kelle. Thanks for having me.

Kelle, anything you want to say to wrap up before we go to close here? I don’t think there’s anything you can say.

Colm said it all. He channeled me as well. Anything I would’ve said, he’s already said. “Read the book.” That’s what I’m going to say. Get his book and read it because it’s going to be awesome. I’m looking forward to it.

That is all that we have for this episode but be sure to join us next time as Kelle adds another chapter to your guide to energy magic and the spirit world. So long, everyone.

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About Colm Holland

For the last 50 years I have been on my alchemist journey and am learning something new everyday about how Love can turn the ordinary in our lives into gold. Once we find our treasure it is vital that we give it away to the benefit of our world. This is true empowerment and the path to the gold is personal transformation. Join me as we make the journey together so you can be the alchemist in your world.


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