Anam Cara - 'soul friend'
Anam Cara is a phrase that refers to the Celtic concept of the "soul friend".
The phrase is an anglicization of the Irish word anamchara, anam meaning "soul" and cara meaning "friend". The term was popularized by Irish author John O'Donohue in his 1997 book Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom about Celtic spirituality. In the Celtic tradition "soul friends" are considered an essential and integral part of spiritual development. It could be described as spiritual accompaniment or counselling.
Longing & the Celtic spirituality of 'journey'
The Celtic Mysteries offer an ancient path enveloped by mists of bewilderment that obscure the goal and discourage the merely passive seeker. A guide should have knowledge of the landscape and offer help and encouragement in penetrating these mists.
"Adopting the relaxed and humorous style of the Anam Cara tradition, which knows how to laugh at itself, it is a joy to share my experiences, help others find the door to their own unlimited source of inner peace" Aindriú
The Celtic tradition of Anam Cara frameworks the insights gathered in mutual inquiry and spiritual friendship. By simply looking at the ego's strategies, we can learn to see beyond them, and into freedom.
The Anam Cara involves a friendship that has been described as "compassionate presence".
According to O'Donohue, the word anamchara originates in Irish monasticism, where it was applied to a monk's teacher, companion, or spiritual guide. However, Edward C. Sellner traces its origin to the early Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers: "This capacity for friendship and ability to read other people's hearts became the basis of the desert elders' effectiveness as spiritual guides."