Celtic wisdom understanding of friendship finds inspiration in the Anam Cara concept
Anam is Gaelic for soul, Cara is the word for friendship, so Anam Cara means soulmate (literally "soul friend")
[from Anam Cara by John O’Donohue]
Soulmate Spiritual Friendship
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Finding Soul-mates: Wise Quotations
Thousands of years ago, our Celtic ancestors placed great value on spiritual friendships - the "Soulmate", "Spirit Sister" or "Spirit Brother" relationship. The Gaelic word for this was anam cara. In his book of Celtic wisdom, Anam Cara, John O’Donohue says:
"Your anam cara was 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."
Some of us were born an "only child", had few siblings or perhaps have never felt close to our birth brothers and sisters. The good news for those who feel deprived of a close brother or sister relationship is that a "spirit sister" or "spirit brother" can appear at any time in your life! Indeed we can even encounter a "spirit child", "spirit mother", "spirit father", "spirit grandmother", "spirit grandfather", "spirit uncle" or "spirit aunt".
Sometimes these emerging relationships are experienced as more powerful and more nourishing than the relatives we are linked to by birth. An important point about them is that they appear when we have reached a certain stage of maturation - a phase of our life and development were we are fully able to appreciate and develop this rich new relationship coming into our life.
A mystical aspect of true soul mate relationships is that they require very little effort. Usually from the very first meeting we have a sense of "knowing this person already". Perhaps we have indeed met them before in a previous life! - Who knows?
A word of caution!
A healthy relationship is a mutual one, based on loving respect. Check that the other person feels the same way that you do. Beware of projecting your "needy fantasies onto someone else. If you feel close or "a recognition" but they do not, respect this and keep a respectful distance. Do not chase or pester someone, even if you feel that "they need to see"! Just because you feel a soul mate connection or sense a past-life recognition, does not give you the right to force anyone into a relationship that they do not feel comfortable with. Everyone in an active relationship is a volunteer with the right of choice and free will.
A Friendship Blessing
May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul
Where there is great love, warmth, feeling and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant and cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion,
kinship and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them.
May they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth
And light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging
With your ANAM CARA!
[from Anam Cara by John O’Donohue]
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Handfasting [A Pagan Marriage Ritual]
"Handfasting" was (and still is for many modern pagans) the Celtic pagan version of the marriage ceremony of other religions.
The traditional time for a couple to make Handfasting vows is the Beltane festival on the evening of the 30th of April, although modern pagans may hold this marriage ritual a few days before or after. Traditionally, the Handfasting vows binding a man and woman together would last for a year and a day but modern pagans may vary this length of time. The vows can be renewed or abandoned when the agreed time period has passed.
The Beltane (or Beltaine) festival has various mystical associations with "union of opposites" and marks the beginning of warm summer weather. In northern Europe it is the time when May tree (Hawthorn) and Elder tree are conspicuously in flower in the hedgerows. Their white blossom lights up hedgerows throughout Britain at this time.
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