On this St. Patrick’s Day it is fitting to receive a blessing from a grand Irishman whose writing reaches into my soul. Followers of this blog know that John O’Donohue is one of my favourite sages. I am indebted to a follower of the blog for sending me this podcast of Krista Tripett’s interview of John O’Donohue recorded shortly before his death in 2008. O’Donohue’s words continue to open my soul.
John Philip Newell is a poet, author, and peacemaker. He is the co-founder of Salva Terra: A Vision Towards Earth’s Healing. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is currently Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico. For more about Newell follow this link Newell’s progressive insights are permeated by his deep understanding of Celtic spirituality. It is no surprise then that Newell calls for a renewed understanding of the sacredness of matter.
In response to the current crisis of institutional Christianity, Newell sees three responses: denial of the crisis, shoring up of the old, or to ask “What is it that is trying to be born? What is it that is trying to emerge from the human soul and how can we within the Christian household be part of leading that and serving it with humility?” Newell’s gentle invitation is challenging the church to serve the deep knowing that is in the hearts of people everywhere and to empower the deep knowing of the sacredness of the knowings that come up from the deepness of our being which is of God.
Followers of this blog know that John O’Donohue is one of my favourite sages. I am indebted to a follower of the blog for sending me this podcast of Krista Tripett’s interview of John O’Donohue recorded shortly before his death in 2008. O’Donohue’s words continue to open my soul.
Treat yourself to a listen:
The art of creating blessings is not what it once was. There are days when I wonder if the lost art of blessing will ever escape the dull drums of the hallmark-esk drivel that is passed around to masquerade as sacred text. John O’Donohue is one of my favourite poets. He manages to delve into his Celtic roots to tap into the desire to bless another without resorting to the trite cliches that dominate our modern attempts at this ancient art art form. His blessings are so carefully crafted to open our very selves to the possibility of the Divine.
Morning Prayer Liturgy from Casa del Sol, Ghost Ranch. Led by John Philip Newell, Ali Newell, David E. Poole, Winona Poole. Chants from “Chanting For Peace, Praying with the Earth”
Moved by the humble and holy desire to learn wisdom from other traditions John Philip Newell looks beyond the Christian household to explore the wisdom of the East.
T’is a glorious summer weekend and so it is a perfect time to get yourself an ice cold glass of your favourite beverage, find some shade and sit back and listen to the wisdom of one of my favourite humanoids John 0″Donohue. I have been eating up his writings for the past few months and delighting in his Irish lilting way with words. From Anam Cara, to Beauty, through Eternal Echos and now lingering over Benedictus I have come to love this kindred spirit! Sláinte!
I am currently reading John Philip Newell’s “A New Harmony: The Spirit, The Earth, and The Human Soul. It is a wonderful excursion into the depths of a modern Celtic soul which I find difficult to put down. Newell provides a new vision of what he sees as the “new Pentecost” and I’ve already discovered several sermons waiting to be written. Happily Newell will be speaking in Guelph next week and I will have the opportunity to journey further along the way with this gentle soul. I suspect that his vision of Pentecost will spark some flames of the Spirit as I prepare for the celebration of Pentecost!
Newell is a poet, author, and peacemaker. He is the co-founder of Salva Terra: A Vision Towards Earth’s Healing. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is currently Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico.
Enjoy this video “Prayer for Creativity Chant: You Shall Be Like a Garden”. Music composed by Linda Larkin.
The sunshine of these May days have beaconed me outside into the newly awakened garden. My companion on these respites is John O’Donohue’s “Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.” Anam Cara is Irish Gaelic for “soul friend”. As the gentle breezes and the warm sunlight caress me, I am struck by the pleasure of knowing the Earth as my anam cara.
Having only recently been introduced to the work of John O’Donohue, (thanks Susan!) I find myself totally enthralled! O’Donohue was an Irish poet, philosopher, theologian, environmental activist, and storyteller whose writings explore the wisdom of Celtic Christianity. O’Donohue was an imbiber of beauty which he heralded as a human calling and an aspect of God. I’ve spent a good deal of time this week absorbed in the beauty of his masterpiece Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom (1998). Anam Cara is Gaelic for “soul friend” and the book is just that as it gently guides you through the spiritual landscape of Irish imagination. The book reads like a prayer. O’Donohue insisted that “it is within our power to transform our fear of death so that we need fear little else this life brings.” Sadly, O’Donohue died young (just 52 in 2008), but he left a legacy of wisdom in a series of books that I look forward to immersing myself in.
“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.” (Anam Cara)
As I bask in the beauty of O’Donohue’s wisdom, I am delighted to discover a film he made shortly before his death to compliment Anam Cara. The film in and of itself is a “soul friend.” You can enjoy it below. If you are familiar with O’Donohue’s wisdom or if you’ve never encountered the man, you will enjoy the brief video of O’Donohue speaking to a gathering of psychotherapists on the subject of observation. Quoting Heidiegger “true listening is worship” O’Donohue draws in his audience with humour and makes listening a joy while slipping in his subversive advocacy of a “kind of un-thearaphy”. His humour will wet your appetite for the longer film, which is well worth the time. I recommend putting your feet up with wee dram to add to your enjoyment!
Anam Cara – 2008