A Sound Accord teacher friend, Gabrielle brought my attention to a beautiful writing on a web page of Tony Crowley. His writing is his interpretation of Anam Cara, a Gaelic term of “Soul Friend”
This was shared with a group of wonderful people who toured Ireland together and have remained close friends since, with a few reunions too.
I was immediately drawn to respond to this, and this is what I wrote …
Why love does not need a name
When folks arrive in Ireland, I now try to encourage each visitor to use our labyrinth garden for a ritual of connection to their soul friend, no matter how they identify it.
It does not matter whether its their Christ, their angel, their well visioned guide or even their friend, like Harvey, from the James Stewart movie of 1950/51 time.
I have always established this to be important due to my own childhood experience.
When my mother passed on when i was 4 years old my father re-married quickly. Though my new step mother was the introduction to my storytelling life domestically things got very, very difficult, a sort of personal Children of The Lir or the Scottish "Ohureo".
Near where I lived was a passage cairn, though the one I speak of is academically named as a long barrow.
I spent a lot of time in there, and believed its where my protecting friend came to me, guided me.
As a child I wondered if it was the spirit of my mother. As I grew older I did not place any importance on trying to name
what or who this guiding spirit is.
I just accepted this guidance as a gift of love.
Maybe that's an important step, not being concerned with categorising what it is and labelling with a name as I feel both these reactions create resistance to the path of unconditional "love".
Do we really need a name for our soul friend?
Do we have to put a name to the love that flows through us as guidance?
Putting a name to what guides our heart, through history, has caused divisions, through the demand to be loyal to a "name".
Even the word "Celtic" causes incredible divisions, even arguments about what is "Celtic"
To many people the love and guidance that flows through them they name as "Celtic" one of many names for this guiding flow.
Last night I watched a documentary about Brother Walfrid from Ballymote, the nearest town to where I live. Walfrid founded the
"Celtic Football (soccer) Club" in Glasgow, Scotland.
When he founded this club he deliberately called it Celtic pronounced "seltic" and this was probably the first known time that Keltic had been changed to Celtic in spelling.
Walfrid did not want the club to be pronounced "Keltic" as through history this had been used to name Gauls and later Gaels much the same way that "Nigger has been used insultingly towards negros and "knacker" to insultingly name Irish travellers.
Father Walfrid wanted to use a word of identity that would change from insulting suppression to passionate pride,
Keltic to Celtic (seltic) in 1883
....... but even the name change still caused hurtful divisions, another story ....
Accepting the gift of guidance as love
I feel that Anam Cara is about accepting the gift of guidance from the guiding flow of love that chooses you
As many mothers have replied, when their child asks what is in the food served,
"be quiet, appreciate what you have, eat it up, it will do you good"
because a mother instinctively serves a child love, even in nourishment and does not need it to be questioned.
For a child, their mother from who's womb their body was born from is their first Anam Cara. Then the child grows and matures to discover that “mother” is a greater spirit that still serves nourishment, serves love, serves guidance and does not need a name,
….. though many call this spirit “God” and even “Father”, and that leads to another shaggy dog debate.