Posted in Essay, Poems/Poetry, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space and Anam Cara

The concept of Anam Cara is “soul friend” or the Celtic belief would be “soul bonding.”  John O’Donohue writes in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, “If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” 

Anam cara accepts you are you are. As a beautifully created creature of love. They see your inner light and mirror it back to you. According to John O’Donahue, “…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.”

My awakening today, is the awareness of the love that we I give and share with Anam Cara. I offer to you this poem and ask you, “Have you seen your Anam Cara? How would you describe Anam Cara?”

anam cara

i have been meaning

to sew that quilt

together. squares

sitting side-by-side

unconnected by

physical thread.

each one a perfect

gift of solitary beauty.

she sits

in pieces

waiting and

dare I say

taunts me to change

her separateness into a

cohesive creation sewing

warmth into each stitch

from rags to riches

so to speak

such lovely pieces

held together in my heart

anam cara

i know what the finished


would be with each square

clinging tightly to one


and she calls.

complete me.

intertwine our threads.


each square a perfected

gift of beauty. together.

then i know

beyond what is seen

we are already stitched


photo by Martina Winkel cc licensed ( BY ) flickr
photo by Martina Winkel
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr

(c) 2014, Terri Stewart

REV. TERRI STEWART is The Bardo Group’s Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at ,, and


I am a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics too. (PS My photo is by Eric Lyons Photography).

3 thoughts on “Sacred Space and Anam Cara

  1. Terri – this is a wow post! It really hit me and was all cohesively sewn together in the idea of the quilt. For my Anam Cara came during a time when love seemed to die – but not really. I came during a time when real quilts were made all over the world to express deep, sincere, endless love. And now I must write about this time. Thank you.


  2. I’ve very much enjoyed reading John O’Donohue including his work “Anam Cara,” the essence of which I think you’ve captured well here, Terri. The poem is wonderful and it makes me smile to think of all souls connected in a quilt-like fashion. I envision it with its color, movement and music. An all-together lovely Sunday a.m. post. Thank you!

    Terri, I hope everything went well with you and the Board of Ordained Ministry and that you can move on now with your normal schedule and busy, productive life.

    Happy Sunday!


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