“Anam cara” was an old Gaelic term for deep and abiding friendship, made widely known again by the Irish poet John O’Dononhue. Anam means soul and cara means friend and placing them together makes a “soul friend.” Such friends of the soul recognize, support and nourish the unique gifts and distinct radiance trying to grow within each other.
In ancient Jewish traditions the essence of friendship is creative and generative. When two people meet and become friends the conjoined lights of their souls intensify the light of creation and add living presence to the world. When two people mate under the right circumstances a child can be conceived. Whereas, if two people become “soul mates” the union occurs in the inner realm and the two lights beget, not a human embryo, but an Angel of Friendship.
Angels of Friendship help bring something to life at the level of the soul and this coming to life nourishes the true nature and the life-purpose of each friend. When in contact with the Angel of Friendship each soul becomes nourished, each person feels more present in the world and more truly alive. However, should the soul friends be separated for an extended time, the angel of their friendship begins to waste away and might die.
Those who learn to be friends of the soul also become, in some way, friends of the world. They can bring a light into the darkness that can so easily spread when the world seems increasingly a threatening, unfriendly place.