Copied from Carpe Diem’s on Blogspot about Yekaterinburg, one of the places were Paulo Coelho was during his journey with the Trans Siberian Railroad (TSR). Yekaterinburg is the birthplace of Hilal, one of the lead characters of “Aleph”. Hilal disappears in Yekaterinburg and Paulo is anxious to find her and hopes she is okay. Short before the TSR enters the station of Yekaterinburg Hilal and Paulo enter the “Aleph”, the place was there is no time, were past, present and future meet each other. What did she see? We know what Paulo saw, he describes that in “Aleph”, but Hilal’s experience is not described at that same moment.
Hilal, however, tells Paulo what she had experienced as they find each other back in Yekaterinburg. This place is the turning point of the relation between Hilal and Paulo. From that moment on they are re-living again their path from the past. Hilal and Paulo have known each other in a former life.
In a former life, Hilal was accused of heresy and witchcraft, she was sentenced to death by fire. She was burned. Paulo was, in his former life, a member of The Inquisition. He could have saved Hilal but didn’t do that. That’s the reason why they met again in another life, the life in which they both traveled on the TSR straight through the former USSR.
In a way, the former USSR and The Inquisition are the same. In the former USSR, people were persecuted if they were against the communist government and send to camps deep in the coldest region of the USSR, Siberia. Is it a coincidence that Paulo takes the TSR? No … the former USSR has the same history as Paulo had in his former life as a member of The Inquisition.
her spirit departs
with the dying of her pyre –
smoke rises to the sky
My Tanka poem thinking about the above tale
death is part of life
before I say farewell dear
our years together were good
my spirit will remain here
enclosed inside your warm heart