Sunday, May 3, 2009

Anam Ćara

In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love. The old Gaelic term for this is anam ćara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and ćara is the word for friend. So anam ćara in the Celtic world was the “soul friend.” It originally referred to someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the anam ćara you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam ćara, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul.” The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul. There is no cage for the soul. The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other. This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special relationship. This bond between friends is indissoluble. The ancient Celts believed special soul friendships were a mystical linking that was essential for a complete life. Soul friends are those whose spirit lifts and expands your own and whose mentoring is in your best interest.

In everyone’s life, there is a great need for an anam ćara, a soul friend. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. When you are understood, you are at home.

Taken from John O’Donohue’s Anam Ćara – A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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