Anam Cara

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Anam Cara

Postby Randall » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:48 pm

I came across this some years back when I was looking for answers....

[quote]In Celtic Spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates all about the physical body, what some refer to as an aura. When you connect with another person and become completely open and trusting with that individual, your two souls begin to flow together. Should such a deep bond be formed, it is said you have found your Anam Cara or soul friend.

Your Anam Cara always accepts you as you truly are, holding you in beauty and light. In order to appreciate this relationship, you must first recognize your own inner light and beauty. This is not always easy to do. The Celts believed that forming an Anam Cara friendship would help you to awaken your awareness of your own nature and experience the joys of others.

According to John O'Donahue, an accomplished Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic priest, "...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."

As I was looking for more information about the Anam Cara idea I came across this short story. Its rather long but worth the read I believe.
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Re: Anam Cara

Postby Randall » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:49 pm

Return to Tir na Nog

Dedicated to R M
– Part One

They say it can’t be done. They say that it is only a story. That it is a story that is too old for modern times and modern minds. They say that it is a nice story and some even admit that they would like it to be true. Only it is not true. No one can return to Tir Na Nog. No one can return to the land of enchantment and the land of the forever young.

Except that George does. George seems a little crazy. She can be seen dancing in the moonlight. She can be seen spinning like a top and running wild along the beach barefoot at midnight. They say that if you get close enough to her that there is nobody there. They say there is only a sort of luminous figure that moves as if it where the dance of life beyond any form.

In the snug of the pub Aggie McFarland still smokes her pipe. She has always prided herself in living beyond any law other than the law of the other world. “Sure you can’t see her, she huffs. “Sure hasn’t she gone to dance in the other world. Are you stupid? Can’t you feel the presence of the fairy?” Aggie mumbles and grumbles and sinks another whisky. She never pays for a drink. Aggie is over one hundred years old. It is rumored that she is often seen in two places at once. Those who live on the edge of the world of time are said to visit her in times of trouble. They go to sit in the silence of her room. There it is said she transforms their illusion and disillusion in the world that Aggie calls, “The land of never enough.”

George had been one of those people on the edge of the land of never enough. She was from Dublin 4. Now she lived alone in the big house by the shore. It was said she had had one of those things called “a nervous breakdown.” No one spoke of this openly. This nervous breakdown was talked about in whispers by people who love gossip. As the whispers grew so did the exaggeration.

Only Aggie McFarland knew the real story and it would stay with her as the gift it was. Aggie loved deeply. She lived alone in a small cottage half a mile from the nearest road. Although she was alone she was not lonely. She knew the true meaning of aloneness. She was despite appearance ALL ONE. It was said that the blood of the ancient ones flowed in her veins. This was the blood of the Tuatha De Danaan. The blood of the beautiful ones.

George they say had it all. Only she was not all one. She was lonely. What she was lonely for she could not say. She had a caring husband who adored her. She had a beautiful home; two beautiful children, a prestigious job and a family who adored her. She was very beautiful. It was said by the locals that you could tell she was so well put together that she was not made on a Friday. She was in general good health except that George could not sleep. She had not slept in a long time.

The nightmares would come. Through the door of sleep would come riders dressed in long cloaks from ancient times. They came from beyond the sea on white horses. They carried swords and each carried a shield that was polished as fine as the finest mirror. In the dream these faceless warriors surrounded her. She watched in the mirror of the shields as they cut her to pieces with their swords. This was until she woke up in a cold sweat with her body shaking and the sound of screaming in her ears.

The doctor gave her some pills. For a while they worked until the dreams returned. Stronger tablets were prescribed in addition to a holiday. Only on the holiday she began to feel and act in a way that was most unlike her. She would bust into tears for no reason. Of course she told anyone who would listen that it was that time of the month. It was the time when woman behave in strange ways. Only those like Aggie McFarland knew why woman did this.

The mood swings George experienced worsened. She took to drinking more. Her appearance became more unkempt. She neglected the children and ignored the support from her husband and her family. They said that she was depressed. George was given a three month leave of absence by her employer. Her boss was her children’s Godparent. He felt helpless and hopeless. If he were honest part of him was afraid for her sanity. He was glad to see her go even though he would never have admitted it.

So it was that George went to the big house by the shore accompanied by a friend. Each day she walked the long beach. She would look out to sea and feel afraid as she watched the white horses break atop the waves. Locals said you would see her walking with head down without as much as a smile. They said there was often moistness in her eyes even on the brightest of days. She seemed, they said, to be dragging some invisible weight behind her.

Late into the night Gorge would go drinking alone in the pub were Aggie McFarland spent the evening smoking her pipe. Aggie took particular pleasure in ignoring the new smoking ban. She continued to drink whiskey that was given as gifts. These were gifts from too many people who owed her more that they could ever say. These were gifts from locals living far in foreign lands who would return each year on holiday simply to settle what was owed on account of Aggie McFarland without any questions asked.

Aggie had noticed George. She had seen the like of her before. Aggie felt sad. More and more there seemed to be the like of her. “Sure wasn’t that the way of the world,” she thought. Then she remembered and in the silence of her heart she affirmed her real connection and said, “At least it is the way of this world.” Aggie had increasingly seen the affects of what was called in the old stories, “the sleeping sickness.” This she knew was a sickness older than time. She also knew how to cure it. So she waited. Aggie knew that this beautiful woman would eventually arrive at her cottage. There she would be given the time it needed and the silence it needed to go beyond sleep.

And so it was. One evening George and Aggie McFarland met before the fire when the troubled young woman had arrived at some unrecognized cottage. George thought she had taken a wrong turning. Aggie McFarland knew that this turning was not in her ankles. It was in her heart. Aggie knew that George was ready.

George entered a small and dark room. Although the old woman sat smoking by the fire the air was clear and in the room there was a sweet and pleasant smell. George would recall that there was something in the room that she could not describe. Later she would say it felt like some other presence was there. She said that it felt that she had gone, not only through a door into the cottage, but also through a doorway in time. It was, she said, as if time had stopped in this little cottage half a mile from nowhere.

George felt a little strange. Sitting beside this old woman she felt as if she was known in ways that no one else knew her. She felt that this old woman was like a mirror and in this mirror she could see all that she had put away as unacceptable in herself. These were the shadows of her life that no one knew about. These shadows were not known to her husband and to any of her family. Yet this old woman knew. She knew what troubled George and George felt that soon she too would know. George felt that soon the nightmares would end and she could get some sleep. Soon, very soon she felt she would get her old life back.

But she was wrong. She would not get her life back. Aggie McFarland would see to that.
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Re: Anam Cara

Postby Randall » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:54 pm

And so it was that George and Aggie McFarland sat alone in an old Irish cottage one half mile from nowhere. One sat as a being happy to be all one. The other sat as a person of deep sorrow. They sat in communion. This was the real communion were at least one of those present can disappear and still be there.

Aggie listened. Aggie listened in a way that no one in his world of time ever listens anymore. Aggie listened from a deep pool of silence that is the most creative place any one of us can ever gift the other. In this deep pool of silence all judgement has gone. All that is left is a space full of clarity and compassion. This was the space that allowed George to pour her heart out.

George told her story as far as she understood it. She kept the dream to the end. This was the one were the dark riders come on white horses and cut her to pieces as she watches in the reflection of their shields. When she had finished she sighed deeply and said, "I am so tired, I feel I am going insane. I just want my old life back.” Then her body was flooded with sorrow and she shook from a lamenting that even she could not imagine was any part of who she was or ever had been.

Aggie waited and watched. She said nothing. Her simple observation was enough. She simply poured her presence into this shadow woman. She poured and poured into this one who no longer lived in the bright house of a body in love with life. When the sobbing subsided Aggie spoke. The voice resonated a peace that would keep the distraught George calm.

“I have some good news and some goods news for you,” Aggie said with a smile. George felt relieved. She could really do with some good news. Aggie continued, “The good news is that you are already insane.” Having heard this George asked, “And the other good news!” Aggie smiled again and said, “You won’t get your old life back.

George started to cry again. She started thinking that she couldn’t go on the way things were. She couldn’t spend another month, week, day or even shorter time feeling the way she did. She had to find a way out of this pain. Then she pulled herself back from the edge. She mustn’t think such thoughts a voice in her head reminded her. Such thoughts are wicked. So, as she always did, she put them away in her bad thought bag and locked it away in her personal Pandora’s box.

Aggie could read Georges mind. She watched her eyes dart here and there as the young woman wrestled with the shadows of judgement. “This is the way they all wrestle thought in the world of time,” thought Aggie. “This way they never get any real peace of mind. They are always trying to escape from the prison of there own making never realising the doors and gates are never locked and the key is always on the inside.”

“Do not distress yourself child,” Aggie said reassuringly. “You are being invited to a banquet. You are being invited to feast on your life. You are invited to a wedding feast and to live in your bright house once again with the windows wide open to joy. You may not be able to sleep but in another sense you are being awaked into the world beyond the ninth wave. You are being invited to Tir Na Nog.

It was more the sound of the voice than the words that resonated with George. Her mind resisted this invite. Yet what Aggie spoke about had her heart convinced. George’s heart felt there was truth in what Aggie said although she could not say why.

Aggie spoke again. “This dream you continue to have is the invitation. You will continue to have it until you do one of two things.” Either you accept it or you fight it. If you fight it you will fall deeper into the sleeping sickness and the windows of your bright house will become smaller and smaller until all light has gone.”

Aggie continued,” Do not be afraid of nightmares child. They are invitations from the deep. They come from across the ocean on white horses and cross the doorway into sleep. They come from Manannan Mac Lir the God of the deep who rules from the Place of the Apple trees in the Land of Promise. Your dream is especially powerful.

Aggie spoke softly and powerfully, “This dream is saying that you are ready. If you were not then it would not be revealed to you. It is telling you that you want the real life and not the one you live now. The riders who are faceless are the warriors of Manannan Mac Lir. They come to cut away all that is unreal and leave only the real. They come to renew your innocence and your beauty. All that they leave you with is the real. Your choice is simply this? Are you ready for the real life? Are you ready for the real life of love?

George wasn’t sure what the real life was. She wasn’t sure if she wanted this real life. Love had hurt her enough she thought. As she was pondering this real life question Aggie pulled on her pipe. She stood up and left the room although she was still present with George. When she returned she took the shadow woman’s hand in hers, she turned it upward and placed in her palm a golden ring. "This ring was tempered three times in the fire of the other world,” Aggie McFarland explained. This is the world beyond time. This ring was made by a smith of the Tuatha De Danaan and now it cannot be destroyed by fire alone.”

Aggie again read Georges mind. “Take it child. You do not have to choose now. If you say yes to the invite from the world beyond time it will not be easy. Neither will the other path be easy. This ring is a symbol of your commitment to the real life. Only put it on if you are prepared to let the old life go. If not this ring will come back to me.”

George felt the golden ring warm in the palm of her hand. She felt calmer than she had done in many months. Something had shifted. Something new had come into her life in this short time that she had spent at this strange little cottage one half mile from nowhere. She couldn’t say what it was but it felt good beyond any judgement of good or bad. Aggie would later tell her that this was the experience of the body in full presence. This, she said, was the real homeplace where we all belonged and all longed to return to.

It was dawn when George left the cottage of Aggie McFarland. Each woman embraced the other long and hard. George had the strange feeling that she was embracing a flow of light and hugging more space than form. It felt as if there was nothing there and that everything was there.

Aggie said one last thing on the threshold of the cottage. George kept it in her mind as she walked her way back to the big house by the shore. Aggie had told her, “To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance.” It seemed strange but George felt young again. For the first time in too long a time she skipped along the lane and spun around while throwing her arms to the sky. She felt for the first time in too long a time that she lived in a bright house.

As Aggie McFarland sat in the snug of the pub she was not thinking. This was her favourite thing to do. As she drew deeply on her pipe she heard a clunk. It was a familiar sound. It was the sound of small half full tumbler of whisky being placed on the table beside her. Aggie did not look up immediately. When she did George was standing above her. The young woman held out her hand to Aggie who took it firmly and held it awhile. No words were said as each woman drank in the presence of the other with their eyes.

Aggie watched the young woman leave. Not much had changed in her manner except that she walked with her head higher than when Aggie had first seen her. Other than this little had changed except that she now she wore a golden ring on a finger of her left hand.

Aggie smiled, placed the glass of whiskey to her lips and raised a toast, “To life.”


Written by tony cuckson
Tony Cuckson is a storyteller, writer, workshop leader and Anam cara (Soul Friend) .

This story and the concept of Anam Cara sung to me like nothing I'd ever felt before. What are your feelings?

P.S. I actually wrote Mr. Cuckson requesting I might share this in forum and it was granted :)
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Re: Anam Cara

Postby Sabina » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:13 pm

Randall, the story is beautiful...

The concept of Anam Cara is very familiar. I do believe the concept to be universal, even thought it may be known by different names. Of course these names don't matter, and the concept itself is beautiful. A long time ago Pat said something to me about six degrees of separation.
If you believe in reincarnation, the fact that the same souls meet over and over in different lives, playing different roles, I find that idea beautiful as well. There are different lessons to be learned, but this moment of recognition of another soul is something very special. Words can't do it justice.
Most other things pale in comparison to the recognition of kindred spirits.
Kris posted her "[url=]Deep calls to deep[/url]" thread a while ago. Back then I wrote her what I thought of it, but then moved on to the word mankind vs. humankind, which is quite silly actually, because her post was in a way like a charm... a beautiful spell sent out into the world, calling all deep spirits to join together. Deep calls to deep.
Kindred spirits, soul mates, soul friends,... the detail about the auras connecting makes perfect sense as well. :)

Thank you for this addition, it is very inspiring.

[color=#5f0000]"Whether You believe you can, or you can't, you are right."[/color]
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Re: Anam Cara

Postby mirjana » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:16 pm

Hi Randall,

Your idea to connect this story with this place here came from “The land of never enough.”
The message of this story is Anam Cara compassion that enters eternal point in the heart and lifts it up into the world of Tir Na Nog.
Thank you for having feelings that have brought this story to us.

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