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Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John Odonohue
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

whimsicalcelt, October 19, 2008

If you've ever found yourself feeling envious of someone who had a special book they were always quoting from, perhaps carried around with them, Anam Cara could be that book for you. O'Donohue's prose is delicious, his view of the natural world and the body as sacred and inseparable from the spiritual breathes new life into the beliefs of the ancient Celts. "For the Celts, the world is always latently and actively spiritual. The depth of this interflow is also apparent in the power of language in the Celtic world."
W.B. Yeats said that anyone is a visionary if you scratch them deep enough, but the Celt is a visionary without scratching.
Writing about the sense of sight, visionary O'Donohue says, "It is a startling truth that how you see and what you see determine how and who you will be." He goes on to describe different ways of seeing: "To the fearful eye, all is threatening... To the greedy eye, everything can be possessed... To the judgmental eye, everything is closed in definitive frames... To the resentful eye, everything is begrudged... To the indifferent eye, nothing calls or awakens... To the inferior eye, everyone else is greater... To the loving eye, everything is real...The loving eye can even coax pain, hurt, and violence toward transfiguration and renewal..."
However, if you're thinking that this book is another one of those spiritual programs for you to follow, step-by-step toward enlightenment, you'd be wrong: "In our time, there is much obsession with spiritual programs. Such spiritual programs tend to be very linear. The spiritual life is imagined as a journey with a sequence of stages...Such a program often becomes an end in itself. It weights our natural presence against us...When time is reduced to linear progress, it is emptied of presence."

And so, a copy for me to carry around and at least one other copy to gift to my own Anam Cara. I'm no longer envious.
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