Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
offers an exploration of the secret universe we all carry inside us, the connections we forge with the worlds of our friends and loved ones, and the products of our worlds reflected in the things we create outside of ourselves. Anam Cara
, Gaelic for "soul friend," is an ancient journey down a nearly forgotten path of wisdom into what it means to be human. Drawing on this age-old perspective, John O'Donohue helps us to see ourselves as the Celts did: we're more than just flesh, blood, and bone; we comprise individual worlds. The comprehension of the sublime architecture of the worlds we are born with will engender a new appreciation for the outside world and the way we contribute to its evolution.
The Gaelic title refers to the "soul-friend," a lovingly stern companion to whom you can, in stringent honesty, unburden your heart as you move toward enlightenment. O'Donohue positions himself to be that soul's companion for readers who yearn for a spirituality that is accepting of bodily wisdom but does not deny the power of the Christian vision. The Celts--well, the Irish, anyway--grappled with that yearning more than a millennium ago. Irish traditional ways were never subjected to the kinds of discouragement--racks, skewers, lions, and the like--practiced on the continent and so were able to wed pagan sensuality to the ethical challenges of the new creed. Reperforming that marriage, O'Donohue is as much at ease with Heidegger as with Yeats, with Rilke as with Jung, as he discourses on solitude, work, love, and death and works snippets of ancient Irish poetry seamlessly into the fabric of his text. Eloquent and learned, O'Donohue is more than just another Paddy-come-lately cashing in on River Dance
era Celtophilia. He is the real thing: a poetic priest with the soul of a pagan. Expect demand! (HarperCollins does, to the tune of a 150,000-copy first printing.) Patricia Monaghan