Fate is constantly intertwined with will, and a key theme of the book focuses on how much in life is under one's control, and how much is controlled by fate. The old king states that the world's greatest lie is that "at some point during our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate." While this point of view strongly supports that will has a stronger hold on one's destiny, later events, such as Santiago and the alchemist being caught by warring tribes, demonstrate fate's hold on one's life. However, in every situation where fate does take over, the characters are capable to excavate themselves from the situation. For, instance, after being caught by the tribal chief, Santiago is able to turn himself into the wind, demonstrate his power, and is released.
Love is described as a part of the Soul of the World. Love occurs in life and Nature, as everything supports each other, they love each other. Santiago tells the desert that it shows love for the alchemist's falcon by offering it game, after which the falcon shows love to man as it offers the game to eat, and the man shows love for the desert as after one dies, his body is reintegrated into the desert sands. There is also love in people, demonstrated by Santiago's love of Fatima's beauty, and Santiago's knowing that it is part of his Personal Legend to love her. Also, there is true love, a brief definition given by the alchemist; "True love is love that allows you to reach your Personal Legend."
The theme of controlled luck is prominent in this book, as the old king and the alchemist both tell Santiago about how if one really wants to fulfill his/her Personal Legend, the whole universe will conspire to help make it happen. Coelho refers to this as the idea of "beginner's luck", or the concept of favorability. Santiago is blessed with beginner's luck, when he decides to go to Africa. He manages to sell all of his sheep very easily, and is given "a taste of success" that whets the appetite to fulfill one's Personal Legend.
In The Alchemist, a kind of spiritual enlightenment is accomplished by fulfilling one's Personal Legend, and adding to the Soul of the World, which is the "light" of most religions (as described in Coelho's Beliefnet Interview). The spiritual influence of this book is omniscient, for example in Santiago's "turning himself into the wind" stunt. He learns the Language of the World, which is basically the language of the Soul of the World. As the Soul of the World is related to the Soul of God, Santiago is able to perform miracles after he has reached into the Soul of the World.
- Personal Legends
- The Elixir of Life/Philosopher's Stone