Becoming an Anamcara
Drawing on the classical healing traditions of antiquity, Sacred Art of Living Center has developed the Anamcara Apprenticeship Program. This two year training will create a new generation of caregivers in the dual role of the traditional anamcara: namely, the sacred art of living and the sacred art of dying.
SACRED RELATIONSHIPS have the potential to transform suffering and bring meaning and healing to oneself and others. How we are with ourselves, with each other, with the earth, and with the Divine, however we define it, affects everything that we do and are in the world. When the heart and soul of the caregiver are aligned with clinically-proven best practices, “the art, science and practice of sacred relationship” becomes a transformative model for healing.
ANAMCARA APPRENTICESHIP offers a contemporary model of training for care providers of every background, lay and professional. The purpose of the program is to deepen the quality of relationships and enable caregivers to become “compassionate companions” through all the stages of living and dying. The Apprenticeship Program applies the tools and lessons from the world’s sacred art of living and dying traditions in all aspects of life, particularly aging, loss, serious illness, and the end-of-life. As a result of this program, apprentices will re-introduce time-tested wisdom and skills within the modern culture of health care including hospice and palliative care. Work of the Apprenticeship can also be applied in faith communities of all traditions— as well as in our educational and social institutions.
ANAMCARA [pronounced aun-im-KAHR-ah] is an ancient Gaelic term meaning “soul friend” [Anam = soul; Cåra = friend]. The Anamcara draws from many wisdom traditions but especially from Celtic mythology and spirituality. Historically, the role of Anamcara was essential for every person’s well-being. More than a millennium ago, the Anamcara legacy helped to create the Ars Moriendi, or the “sacred art of living and dying” — the world’s first health care, palliative care and hospice movements. The Anamcara tradition continues to offer a timeless, holistic approach to suffering, healing, and wellness in terms of the whole person: body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
This program is open to persons from all spiritual and cultural backgrounds. While the Anamcara Program draws significantly from the historical Celtic and Ars Moriendi lineage— it also builds on the common ground between psychology and spirituality, between the mystical and the scientific, and between Western and Eastern healing practices.
The work of an Anamcara is ultimately for the transformation of the individual person and society. The essential vocation for the apprentice is the bringing together of one’s soul and role.
The highest calling for a human being is to be an Anamcara for another.
The Celtic Book of Living and Dying