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Anamchara and Soulmate

Quote:

It seems to be a commom misconception that the Irish word anamchara (literally soulfriend) means soulmate (in the modern English sense of true love, perfect mate, etc.)

Anamchara traditionally means spiritual advisor/’confessor’/'spiritual mentor’, etc. I believe it has its origin in medieval times when (younger) monks sought advice from older more spiritually mature monks.

It was never used to mean soulmate in the modern English sense.

I was thinking about this question yesterday and how one would properly translate the modern English meaning of soulmate into Irish. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no exact equivalent (there rarely is) but that there is a word/concept in Irish which is similar enough in meaning to be used as the Gaelic equivalent of soulmate :

Sonuachar

As in the blessing :

Sonuachar chugat !

which I would translate roughly as

May you find a soulmate !

Sonuachar roughly means a good spouse (sona = happy ; sonuachar = someone you’re happily married to) and would be an appropriate word to use to translate expressions like

To my soulmate = Do mo shonuachar

Youre my soulmate = Is tú mo shonuachar

And so on.

Spread the word !

Contributed by: Tadhg an Mhargaidh, Redwolf

Brotherhood

Bráithreachas = Brotherhood
/BROY-RUH-HUSS/

Contributed by: Ailill, Aisling_M

34 Comments »

  1. Angel.D said,

    May 14, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

    I remember when i was very young my grandmother used to describe our “guardian angels” or as she would say our “spirit protectors” as Anamchara. She would never refer to them as angels, so I grew up understanding anamchara as “a soul/spirit friend” and not as soulmate. So thanks for clearing that up, I was begining to think I had it wrong all along!

  2. Izeya said,

    July 19, 2009 @ 9:27 am

    Please tell me the pronunciation of anamchairde (I belive it means soul friends) I wish to establish a sanctuary for abused, abandoned
    and orphaned animals and children where the children heal through the animals and the animals heal through the children. Do you think
    that anamchairde would be an appropriate name for the snctuary?

  3. Princess Kessie said,

    April 27, 2010 @ 1:22 am

    I was brought up being told that Mo Anam Cara meant My Soul Friend(Mate). Perhaps my Irish roots were wrong all along…

  4. Elle said,

    June 7, 2010 @ 3:35 am

    Hello,
    Does the ‘mo’ part change depending on the gender of my shonuachar? In other words, if I want to say “Do mo shonuachar” to my husband, is it correct just the way it is?

    Thank you

  5. Kevin said,

    November 28, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

    I have recently joined a association in Western Australia called Anamchara pronounced ahn-im-kar-uh we do phsychic dinner parties as I am a 6th generation Celtic Psychic Medium I was amazed at the energy and spirit at the venues as the name being energy in it self brought in an amazing amount of Celtic guides

  6. carys said,

    February 28, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

    In my Celtic Christianity class, we have learned that anamchara is a common feature of Irish Hagiography (the study of saint’s lives).

  7. kirsten said,

    March 5, 2012 @ 6:31 am

    Does anyone know how much anam chara would change to translate “friend of my soul” or do the two words convey this sentiment?

  8. tcell said,

    May 24, 2012 @ 12:11 am

    @kirsten,

    Anamchara is a compound word in Irish, but I think you could literally translate “friend of my soul” as Cara m’anaim with anam in the genitive case. I think Cara m’anaim would be more literally ‘friend of my soul’, whereas Anamchara is a concept by itself. It’s like in English if you say ‘dogcatcher’, dogcatcher is a separate concept of its own, a profession which happens to involve catching dogs, whereas if you say ‘someone who catches dogs’, it is more literal and clearly separates the two ideas of ‘catching’ and ‘dog’, while ‘dogcatcher’ is its own concept built from those two ideas.

  9. traducere simultana said,

    June 21, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    There is an ancient meaning to the phrase “anam chara” that dates back a long way. In recent years the phrase has been used in many contexts and with various spellings.
    Founder ,Peggy Quinn, in 1987, was invited to join an international conference on healing through illness and death, on the island of Iona, in Northern Scotland. There she met a man, whose family had lived on the island for seven generations, who shared with her the story of the Celtic tradition of the “Anam Chara.” Anam Chara is a Gaelic term for “soul friend.” Women who were known as the Anam Chara, served as a mid-wife and mourner for their local village.

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  18. Stephen said,

    January 9, 2014 @ 1:40 am

    Could someone please better explain to mean anam cara or is it anam chara? I have read a lot of different things about what it means and the meaning behind it. One being a spiritual advisor, “friend of my soul” and represent rare friendships that transcend time and distance. With the Anam Cara you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. This friendship cuts across all convention to create an act of recognition and belonging that joins souls in an ancient and eternal way.

    Trying to figure out the right way to spell this word and to better understand it.
    Thank you!

  19. Stephen said,

    January 9, 2014 @ 1:52 am

    LIke in the book Anam Cara: a Celtic Book of Wisdom, by John O’Donohue who was an Irish priest and poet

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