"We all lose our vision. At such times, we must seek counsel. From the perspective of the indigenous traditions, it is only the crazy person who does not seek help when conditions call for it. One of the secondary associations of the West on the Irish Spirit Wheel is counsel; the ancient and central role of Counselor was played by the druids of the Celtic world.

"To seek counsel is, in essence, to seek the living wisdom and vision of someone we trust. We trust the wisdom they have cultivated as they walk the path of life, or, in this case, as they walk around the Irish Spirit Wheel.

"When we hit a 'rough place,' such as those spoken of in the North, it is often our ego (or pride, also found in the North) that prevents us from having the humility to seek counsel. When we work with the Irish Spirit Wheel, we work out of our systems those egoic aspects that cloud our better judgment, that prevent us from seeking the resources that our wiser self knows would benefit us.

"One of the great spiritual and emotional resources that has been part of the Irish tradition for a very long time is the anam-chara (soul-friend). The anam-chara is an ancient expression of seeking counseling in the Irish tradition. Originally of druidic origin, and later adopted and built on by the pre-Roman Celtic Christians, the way of the anam-chara is a process by which we form a deep bond with someone we can bear our soul to and who will listen deeply. Formally or informally, the anam-chara listens deeply to us and assists us in kindling our own inherent wisdom and self-knowledge.

"As you travel the Irish Spirit Wheel, bringing your life issues to the wheel's different stopping places, you may find that your inner work is too overwhelming for you to process alone. In such instances you are encouraged to visit the West — the direction of learning and knowledge — and then to seek out the counsel of an anam-chara.


"It is a sign of strength to seek the counsel of someone we trust. Although she cannot walk the path for us, and she cannot solve our problems for us, an anam-chara, or soul-friend, can offer a safe space and encourage our deeper knowing to spring forth."