By Paulo Coelho, Margaret Jull Costa

70,115 ratings - 3.49* vote

This is the story of Brida, a young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. She has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom, who begin to teach Brida about the spiritual world. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her about overcoming her fears and trusting in This is the story of Brida, a young Irish girl, and her quest for knowledge. She has long been interested in various

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Book details

Hardcover, 224 pages
June 24th 2008 by HarperOne

(first published 1990)

Original Title
0061578932 (ISBN13: 9780061578939)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


Coelho's Alchemist is one of my favorite books. I've read it twice, and both times its simple story and straightforward Universal Truths have stirred me. Brida tells a similar story about a youth who feels herself tugged onto a unique path toward greatness. But lightning has not struck twice.

This is a book of only 200 pages, yet it took me almost a month to read, and not only because I was grading hundreds of research papers at the same time. It discusses a 21-year-old Irish girl (Brida) who is strangely drawn to a local forest-living Magus who describes his profession as Teacher of the Tradition of the Sun, whatever that is. Brida goes to him for "lessons," and he leaves her alone on a rock in the middle of the forest. This annoys her, so she finds herself a different teacher, this one a middle-aged woman named Wicca, who is a Teacher of the Tradition of the Moon, whatever that is, and through a variety of mystic gizmos and hallucinations, she informs Brida that she is a witch. Brida has been a witch in all her previous lives, will be a witch again in future lives. Being a witch is her Gift.

Now, for some reason, I've read several books about witches this year, but Brida is certainly the first in which the witches are devout God-loving Christians. I mean, the witches do typical Pagan witch things -- they bemoan their ancestors who were burned at stakes, they dance naked around bonfires in the forest, etc. -- but they also talk incessantly about God and His plan for witches, who are His Gardeners of the Universe. This intrigued me for a while, but I decided I was ready to move onto another book about the time Wicca informs Brida that the only way to truly connect with God was to have an intense orgasm. This Brida accomplishes twice, with two different Soul Mates, and both times in the public outdoors. Oh brother.

Perhaps you've noticed how many times I've capitalized non-proper nouns in this review. Perhaps you've been distracted by the same. If so, Brida certainly isn't a book for you. In every paragraph Coelho introduces some kind of Universal Truth (that phrase itself is capitalized in the novel) that we as readers are apparently intended to take to heart. Some of these are legitimate life lessons (everyone has a Gift, but only a lucky few seem able to discover and utilize it), while others are silly (God allowed Adam and Eve to fall from Grace because He needed the "Universe" to be set in motion). He does the same in The Alchemist, but the strength of that book is its focus. Here, there were so many Truths that I was at first overwhelmed, later confused, and ultimately so annoyed that I found myself skipping over them.

Will Byrnes

“So what is magic?” she asked.

…”Magic is a bridge,” he said at last, “ a bridge that allows you to walk from the visible world over into the invisible world, and to learn the lessons of both those worlds.”

“And how can I learn to cross that bridge?”

“By discovering your own way of crossing it. Everyone has their own way.”
My first exposure to Coelho was many years ago. I read The Alchemist at a time in my life when I was experiencing some major changes and I found very real comfort and guidance there. I enjoyed several more of his novels but after a time there seemed to be a repetitiveness to them that left me unsatisfied.

Brida is yet another enlightenment quest story from Coelho. I enjoyed it for a while, but well before reaching the end, I found that I was getting bored. It seemed like I was reading Casteneda after he had scarfed down a peyote button laced with Robert Heinlein. Despite the mysterious base of the subject matter, a young woman seeking to learn about magic and gain insight into her special “Gift”, there is too much bright and cheery obviousness here. I recall once reading a book about auras in which the author assumed that after a few exercises the reader would be able to view human auras as easily as one might see the color of a hat worn by someone you pass in the street. There is that sort of presumption here, a presumption of a magic realm, a presumption of rituals that allow people access to that realm. Yes, it is a novel, but I expect that that is a politic way of marketing what Coelho believes to be more of a self-help book.

Paulo Coelho - image from Post-Gazette

I suppose it is possible that Coelho has some insight into other layers of existence, although I do not accept that as given. This book made me wish that he had made better use of what mystical powers or insights he might have to have written a more engaging story.

Read /posted - 2009
Revised/re-posted -12/18/15

Ahmad Sharabiani

Brida, Paulo Coelho

Brida is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It is the story of a beautiful young Irish girl and her quest for knowledge.

She finds a hermit mage who teaches her to overcome fear and a witch who teaches her how to dance to the hidden music of the world. They see in her a gift, but must let her make her own voyage of discovery.

As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to transform herself. The story makes reference to catharism and is woven around marrying the art of witchcraft to contemporary life.

People give flowers as present because flowers contain true meaning of love. ... “When you're in love, you're capable of learning everything and knowing things you had never dared even to think, because love is the key to understanding of all the the mysteries.”

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه می سال 1999میلادی

عنوان: بریدا؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: آرش حجازی؛ بهرام جعفری؛ تهران، کاروان، 1379؛ در 331ص؛ چاپ دوم 1379؛ شابک 9647033036؛ چاپ سوم آبان 1379؛ چپ ششم 1380؛ چاپهای هفتم و هشتم 1381؛ چاپهای دهم و یازدهم 1383؛ چاپ دیگر از سال 1381 در 319ص؛ شابک 9647033370‬‬؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان برزیلی - سده 20م

پیمودن جاده ی «سانتیاگو»، الهام بخش «پائولو کوئیلو»، در رمان کلاسیکش «کیمیاگر» بود، و پیمودن جاده ی «رم»، الهام بخش نگارش کتاب «بریدا»، داستان دختری «ایرلندی» جوان، که میخواست جادوگر شود؛ «بریدا» ناچار است، میان دو سنت کهن، یکی را برگزیند: «سنت ماه»؛ که مکتبی اسراری است، و برای دست یافتن به آن، باید تمرینهای دشوار، و آئینهای گوناگون را به کار گیرد؛ «سنت خورشید»، سنت هزاران ساله ی بشر، برای دست یافتن به معرفت است؛ و در آن تنها یک اصل حاکم است: اعتماد به شب تاریک ایمان؛ و تنها یک تمرین وجود دارد: نیایش به درگاه خدا، با قلب و روح؛ «بریدا» باید دریابد، که عطیه ی روحانی اش، او را به حرکت در کدام یک از این دو سنت، وامیدارد؛ به باور «کوئیلو»، یگانه راه کشف ماهیت راستین خویشتن، «عشق» است؛ آدم‌ها به‌ هم‌ گل‌ می‌دهند، چون‌ معنای‌ حقیقی‌ «عشق‌» در گل‌ها نهفته‌ است؛ کسی‌ که‌ سعی‌ کند صاحب‌ گلی‌ شود، پژمردن‌ زیبایی‌ اش‌ را هم‌ می‌بیند؛ اما اگر به‌ همین‌ بسنده‌ کند، که‌ گلی‌ را در دشتی‌ بنگرد، همواره‌ با او می‌ماند؛ چون‌ آن‌ گل‌ با شامگاه، با غروب‌ خورشید، با بوی‌ زمین‌ خیس‌، و با ابرهای‌ افق‌، آمیخته‌ است؛ کتاب «بریدا» نخستین بار در سال 1990میلادی به زبان «پرتغالی» منتشر شد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی


"How will I know who my Soulmate is?" Indeed, we are all looking for something. Someone to love, someone who loves us, something that adds meaning to our life, our existence. Some sign, to know we are not alone. Some indication to know that our thoughts, feelings, memories, will not die with us when our physical body perishes.

Brida addresses all this and much more. The story is presented as a young woman's quest to find answers - to questions that mean the world to her. Questions, which if we introspect, come to us as well, albeit in different paraphrasing.

Its not the story in itself as much as its elements - the progression of the human soul, with all its elements (feelings, memories, experiences, people around us, thoughts, actions, choices) through time, is portrayed like a charcoal sketch - black and white, stark, with elements of the distinct unknown in various shades. The rituals and the steps culminating in a merry Sabbath party, the Tradition of the Sun and the Tradition of the moon, the four forms of expression of the self, and the ultimate epicenter of the book - The Gift (Yes, we all have one, even if we do not carry a 2 pronged dagger, or remember who we were in the 12th century).

There are no fancy characters and descriptions. Brida, Magus, Wicca and Lorens. There are vivid guest appearances, but the simplicity of the cast makes the book more profound. It does have a love story, even a love triangle (make that 2), the whole book is supported by a spine consisting of the Occult, and yet to me it was not a fantasy story.

This is definitely not a comparison, but if a certain JK Rowling makes the term "witch" seem innocent,cute and funny, the Coelho adds an ethereal beauty to the word.

I haven't been able to read any comments or feedback about the Portuguese version, but this translation does deserve an ovation.

Pick it up, if you believe in signs. Pick it up, if you think you are alone in finding that elusive something or someone that adds meaning to your life. Pick it up, if you simply want to believe that there is a bigger world waiting out for you when you die. that you are not alone in your journey through time, whether in your current physical body or out of it.

P.S: I also especially love the part where the women are standing naked, and do not feel ashamed of their bodies, irrespective of its flaws or perfections, because it is theirs as a facilitator to view this life through a physical form.

P.P.S. : One thing about this book, though, it has too many references to God. Being borderline Agnostic myself, it was slightly uncomfortable to digest, but it makes equal sense if viewed through a Spiritual perspective also, instead of a merely Relegious one.


The only quotes that I liked and made sense in an otherwise rambling narrative:

"Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day"
~ Brida's father (Pg.99)

"What is now proved was once only imagin'd"
~ William Blake (Pg.174)

"I learned that the search for God is a Dark Night, that Faith is a Dark Night. And that's hardly a surprise really, because for us each day is a dark night. None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, and yet we still go forwards. Because we trust. Because we have Faith."
~ Brida (Pg.24)


Paulo Coelho is clearly a genius--and not a literary one. The fact that he can write something this unfathomably dull and make millions of people buy it is a feat of marketing brilliance.

This book relies on a series of vagueries that one would imagine the author might at some point explain. I suppose Coehlo thinks the mysteriousness of arcane-sounding phrases like "Tradition of the Moon" and "Dark Night" are substantial enough to keep a reader captivated with neither qualification nor tact. Perhaps he feels that capitalizing such phrases will provide sufficient proof of their worldliness.

A boggling aspect which I can't quite get past is the fact that there is not a single real conversation in this book. Everyone speaks to each other in brief, billowy ambiguities and somehow knows, with no indication other than the author's repeated assurance, what everyone else is thinking at all times.

I would not recommend this book to anyone with an I.Q. higher than a tomato's. A more soul-stirring story about witches can be found in the Wizard of Oz.


I survived this book!
I am a champion!
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I had an extremely violent, visceral reaction to this story, not because of the mixing of religion and witchcraft, not because of the amorphous way this world worked, not because of the insistence that man and woman are the polar opposite sides of the same thing and that everything everywhere is binary - black and white, yin and yang, light and dark, sun and moon, day and night, no gray area ever. Not even because I rolled my eyes at nearly everything anyone said or did or thought.
No, my hackles were raised throughout my time with this book because it's wrong. It's so terribly, deeply, ignorantly wrong.
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So you know how youths often romanticize an idea they know little to nothing about firsthand? I felt I was listening to that kind of writing. It's simplistic, not simple or unfussy but simplistic, as if words are hard and turning an entire imagined journey into those words is even harder. It's naive, filling in gaps of knowledge with vague references to things that sound lovely. It's insulting.

But moving on, let's meet our three main characters, the protagonist and her two mentors:

First, our heroine, Brida.

She’s young, she’s not the sharpest spoon in the drawer, and she wants to be a witch when she grows up. Hooray! So she travels to the forest to find a wizard she heard about and he initiates her into The Dark Knight.

Oops. Sorry. I meant
The Dark Night
You know, like Of the Soul.
The dark night of the soul.
That kind of dark night.
And it's not as erotic as it might sound. He leaves her alone in the woods all night, watching from afar as she talks to herself until the sun comes up.
First test: Passed! She can now enter into the learning of witchery.
Oh, by the way, she's Irish and they're in Ireland but except for Dublin showing up here and there and mention of Celtic wise ones back in the day, there's no way to know this other than being told a few times. The narrator doesn't even use an accent when voicing these characters.

The second character we meet, The Magus, is her male mentor, a warlock who lives in the aforementioned woods.

He is fascinated by her because he can tell that, clearly, she has a gift but also, she is his soulmate. He is twice her age and is something of a creeper, as you may have noted from the whole watching her in the woods thing I mentioned earlier but it’s ok because they’re soulmates. It's not gross if it's your soulmate.

We meet the boyfriend but he's not really important right now because we need to get to the next mentor, Wicca.
Wicca? The female mentor’s name is Wicca?
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But! But, she's so hip, so cool, so beautiful, so distant. She’s such a good teacher except for all the information she withholds. She's a real modern-day witch and you know this because the author tells you. And she's really beautiful. But old. Like, 40. But still beautiful.

She wants to teach Brida who, clearly, has a gift, and Wicca wants to know both what that gift is and why The Magus was interested in Brida. Lessons abound but are not so much teaching tools and learning moments as they are strange things that this weird (but hip and cool) lady does because she's kind of arrogant and imparts that the devil is in the details but that there's a magic to be found in zoning out during phone calls. Remember, she's a great teacher. Even if you don't agree, you'll be reminded of her great teacherly ways several times throughout the story.

Alright. We've got the main characters. Now we must puzzle out a few things, such as learning witchcraft via The Tradition of the Sun (which has something maybe to do with Christianity but I'm not sure and it might be the way artists learn but I'm not sure. The Magus is a spokesperson for the Way of the Sun but he teaches the Way of the Moon...I think. I'm not sure) or through The Tradition of the Moon (I think this is stereotypical female witchcraft, the kind that got you burned in Salem, but I'm not sure. I want to say this is the feminine version of magic but I don't think it is but, again, I'm not sure). Also, soulmates. We have lots of soulmates because there was a group of original souls and they shattered and became many souls so it's possible to meet up with other people who contain shards of the same soul you have a shard of...I think. I'm not sure.
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And this all falls under the umbrella of God. And also Jesus because he was a Way of the Sun dude. I think. I'm not sure. I think you collect soulmates to find a path to God over a bunch of lifetimes and when you win, you finally get to die one last time and move on to an astral plane? Maybe?
It's all pretty vague and not really important because soulmates.
And God.
And suns and moons and ways.

Did I mention this is also sorta sexist?

Exhibit A. That’s the great problem with anyone wanting to study magic...when we set out on the path, we always have a fairly clear idea of of what we hope to find. Women are generally seeking their soulmate and men are looking for power. Neither party is really interested in learning, they simply want to reach the thing they set as their goal.

Exhibit B. In a sensual but non-consensual moment of learning, Wicca unbuttons Brida’s jeans and pulls her tshirt up to expose her belly but doesn’t ask permission or explain what she's doing. Then she puts a stone on Brida's belly and another on her forehead and this is the equivalent of magical pillow fights while wearing negligees and kitten heels.

Exhibit C. Also explained: Women have the power of transformation. Male knowledge + Female transformation = Great magical union = Wisdom.
Apparently, there is no homosexuality here because soulmates can only connect as man and woman as we sort of glimpse when two men with the same soul shard come into contact later on in this tale.

Exhibit D. Women choose to find revelation through four embodiments: The Virgin, who lives for love but lives in solitude; The Martyr, who sacrifices all; The Saint, has to give and give because that is what leads to receiving; The Witch, who finds revelation through pleasure. This is a terribly skewed idea of women. It’s another Virgin/Madonna/Whore/Crone

Exhibit E. Wicca schools Brida with fashion advice. The Magus never gives or receives fashion advice. No male in the story does. But Brida, witch-to-be, finds she has a complicated relationship with her clothes because outfits have power and some were meant for you but those that were not will always bring you bad luck.
And then they go shoe-shopping (they don't...but they do go shopping for other stuff)

Exhibit F. And then feminine intuition rears its head toward the end because we all know witchcraft and magical femaleness are inseparable, the same thing, really.

Dude, stop. Just, stop. This is not your mysticism to explain so please stop trying. Stick to your own brand of spirituality, k? And, you know? We already got the message, actually, in The Alchemist which, amazingly enough, shows up here, too!
...we realize that there is a reason for us being here and, for us, that is enough. We plunge into the Dark Night with faith, we fulfill what the ancient alchemists used to call our personal legend and we surrender ourselves fully to each moment knowing there is always a hand to guide us…
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In addition to all that nonsense, there's general silliness.

“... you have a gift”
“How do you know?”
“By your ears...People born with a gift have very small, attached earlobes.”
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And why is the magus growing bromeliads in the forests of Ireland? Because magic? That’s cruel to the bromeliads which are tropical plants. Ireland is not tropical. Wet, maybe, but not tropical.

I realize that perhaps a lot was lost in translation. Even so, I couldn't help but feeling like the author had taken someone else’s story about a subject he doesn’t understand and tried to make it his own but ruined it. He had to use smoke and mirrors to fill in for his gaps in knowledge and his gaps were wide and frequent. In addition, I felt like he was trying to shoehorn the stolen story into a framework that makes him comfortable because it seems witchcraft, which is tied into the Female, apparently, can’t be what it is but has to relate to his brand of religion and spirituality in order to make it acceptable.

While listening to this, I went into a trance and saw the author as a young boy, sitting with his aunts and mother, grandmothers and sisters, girl cousins and lady neighbors, listening to them talk about their powers, their divinities, their understanding of the mystical. Maybe he saw things he couldn't explain. He obviously loved and respected these women but knew that, as a male, he had to somehow find a way to be in charge of all they had, all this power that was beyond him, he had to control instead of understand this thing these women spoke of. As he aged and gained experience, he carefully created a loose narrative to fit his own beliefs around theirs and he felt very good about himself afterward.

But I just made that up. I don't know anything about this author beyond the little Goodreads bio. I can't say what he did or did not experience that lead him to write this book. All I know is that I deeply, instictively felt this story was never his to tell and yet tell it, he did, and he did a piss poor job because instead of sharing wonder, he stole it, trapped it, and framed it in a way to showcase his own path to enlightenment.

But whatever.
I'm out.


It broke my heart into a jillion pieces. I feel like crying. Love is when you'll be able to understand that at some point, you were never meant to be together. That, sometimes, even if you're just in time, it isn't still sufficient. It isn'r selfish. It allows you to grow and to go in search of your path, in search of your soul. It does not hinder you to become the person you wanted to be. It doesn't require you to give up all the important things you have just because...

Of all the Paulo Coelho books, I believe, this this the best book I've ever read. There's so much to learn and so much to understand in life. He wrote it in a way you'll learn.; not just on one side of life, but for the whole package. I waited a year to acquire this book, and waited for Christmas as well to have this as a present. there are other things i wished i received. But the one who gave it made the best choice of picking it out on the book shelf.

Life is so complex. Sometimes, it requires us to choose a difficult path. And even if its hard to chose the other choice and leave someone behind, broken, we have to.


Ok, so this book came recommended to me by a freind, so I was pretty excited to read it. Once I got started, however, I was a bit disappointed (soory M.C.)

First off, the main charachter was niave and a bit juvenille. Everything that she thought of and said was almost infintile.

Secondly, She was supposed to be searching for a "Gift" and there was never really a solid confirmation as to what this gift was, even when she found it.

Thirdly, who ever heard of witches being Jesus loving Christians? That really threw me off.

Fourthly, everything in the book was based on this concept of the Tradion of the Sun, Tradion of the Moon, and the Dark Night, none of which were every fully explained either.

I was not a big fan of the book and the climax was some what disappointing. I really wanted more to happen or maybe something a little more dramtic to happen.

Saadia B. || CritiConscience

1.5 Stars

As much as the title intrigued me to read this book. The story itself was sluggish and tedious to be exact.

Brida wanted to learn magic and goes all the way to the forest from Dublin. There she met a Magus who knew the Tradition of the Moon. But he left her alone in the forest in order to test her endurance. She passed the test but decided to go back to Dublin.

She went to a bookstore regularly but never bought anything then one day the bookstore owner gave her a number. She called and went for a meet up with Wicca who told her that she is a gifted witch. Magus was her soul mate yet he left her for another man at the Witches Sabbath.

In every other paragraph Coelho introduces the readers to a Universal Truth. Some of these were legitimate life lessons such as everyone has a Gift but only a few are able to discover and utilise it while others are silly like God allowed Adam and Eve to fall from Grace because He needed the Universe to set in motion.

There are too many distractions and truths in this book which at first are overwhelmingly, then confusing and contradictory and eventually annoying because they made no sense with the story.

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