Page 26. " The wind began to pick up "

Winds have long been associated with change and transformation.   The Levanter is an easterly wind that is funnelled through the Straits of Gibraltar.  It is a light wind that brings with it moisture and local cloud.

Page 28. " a butterfly appeared "

Peacock Butterfly
Creative Commons AttributionPeacock Butterfly - Credit: Peaches&Cream, Flickr
The butterfly is a symbol of alchemy at work within nature. In order to realize its present form, it has had to undergo total physical transformation from a caterpillar.

Page 28. " The old man wore a breastplate "

Breastplate of the Jewish Kohen ha-Gadol
Public DomainBreastplate of the Jewish Kohen ha-Gadol - Credit: 1905-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
Breastplates were traditionally worn by High Priests in Judaism, with twelve precious stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  Urim and Thummin were contained in a fold.  The prototype is described in Exodus:

And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it... Exodus 28:15-30


Page 29. " The lad wandered through the desert for forty days "

The Temptation of Christ
Public DomainThe Temptation of Christ - Credit: Ary Scheffer
This has clear parallels to Jesus’s 40 days and nights in the desert, during which he resists the temptations offered by Satan.  However, the theme of the desert re-emerges in the bible on a number of occasions. Its associations are often with a rite of passage and a period of spiritual initiation.

Coelho confesses his love for deserts and open spaces in nature: ‘I love empty spaces, like the steppes, the sea and deserts, where you get totally minimalist and every detail is enhanced. Deserts fascinate me, and I know a few very well, like the Sahara and the Mojave in California.’ The Sunday Times, April 29, 2007

Page 32. " Saint Santiago Matamoros "

Santiago Matamoros
Public DomainSantiago Matamoros
Matamoros means "Moor Slayer".  St James, one of the twelve apostles, was said to have appeared miraculously at the Battle of Clavijo in 844, riding on a white charger, sword in hand.  The Christian army was greatly outnumbered by the Moors, led by the Emir of Cordoba, but was saved from defeat by St James's intervention.  Santiago/St James was thus made the patron saint of Spain.

Cervantes mentions the saint in Don Quixote: "St James the Moorslayer, one of the most valiant saints and knights the world ever had".

Page 38. " When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it "

Santiago’s repetition of Melchizedek’s words is becoming a mantra.  Words or phrases which are often attributed with mystical values, mantras also have their place in alchemy.  According to David Gordon White, author of The Alchemical Body, mantras are indispensible to alchemists in their goal of "the conscious realization of a transcendent self".

Page 44. " The Koran requires me to feed a hungry person "

The Qur'an
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Qur'an - Credit: Ranoush., Flickr
The relevant Qur'an passage is called "Small Kindness":

Have you seen the one who denies our religion? For that is the one who drives away the orphan. And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.

Surah al Ma’un, 107:1-3