Anam Cara


"I have found the one whom my soul loves." - Song of Solomon 3:4

'Anam Cara’ is a beautiful Irish phrase that is loosely translated as ‘soulmate’. ‘Anam’ is the Gaelic word for ‘soul’ and ‘Cara’ is the word for friend! It’s the perfect phrase to describe any special relationship; lovers, best friends, family, or any other significant person in your life.

‘Anam Cara’ wasn’t just a phrase for the Celts, but a concept with a deep meaning – so much so that the Irish philosopher, poet and scholar John O’Donoghue wrote a whole book about it. In it he defines Anam Cara as “a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.”

As a concept, anam cara is all about spirituality and the bonding of two souls. The Celts believed that the soul is an intangible element that radiates all around the physical body – basically the equivalent of what we call an ‘aura’ today. Each person’s aura is connected to someone else’s since before time began. Once two souls have joined, they will always recognize each other.

When you make a deep connection with another person in an open and trusting way, your two auras will flow together, and it is said you have found your soul friend.

An anam cara friendship allows each person to recognize their own inner potential and spirit and reflect that of their partner’s. O’Donoghue again puts it very nicely in his book when he says “you are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home.”

The Celts believed that an anam cara did not necessarily have to be a husband of wife; it could just as easily be a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. They also believed that everyone, either directly or on a more subconscious level, sought to find their soul mate throughout their life. Without an anam cara, they could never be fully understood or seen as they really are.

Even Saint Bridget, Ireland’s most significant saint after Patrick, is said to have declared that “A person without an anam cara is like a body without a head.” Once missionaries from mainland Europe had arrived on the island of Ireland (around the 6th century), the tradition and concept of anam cara transferred from Celtic practices to Christianity.

O Holy One in Three and Three in One, bind my soul to that of another, that I may not walk this journey alone, but one with You and with them. Amen.
Nov 4 2017