“In everyone’s life, there is great need for an anam ćara, a soul friend. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to realease yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.”

John O’donohue, Anam Ćara, a book of celtic wisdom

What is Spiritual Direction?

A wonderful explanation of Spiritual Direction from Spiritual Directors International member Marian Cowan, CSJ:

Spiritual direction is a time-honored term for a conversation, ordinarily between two persons, in which one person consults another, more spiritually experienced person about the ways in which God [or however one names the Divine, Holy or Universal] may be touching her or his life, directly or indirectly. In our postmodern age, many people dislike the term ‘spiritual direction’ because it sounds like one person giving directions, or orders, to another. They prefer ‘spiritual companionship,’ ‘tending the holy,’ or some other nomenclature. What we call it doesn’t make any real difference. The reality remains conversations about life in the light of faith… Although spiritual direction has had a burst of new life, it is really quite ancient. Across both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures, we find people seeking spiritual counsel. The Queen of Sheba sought out the wisdom of Solomon. Jesus gave us examples in his conversations with Nicodemus, with the woman at the well, in the ongoing formation of Peter and the other disciples. In the early church, people flocked to hermits in the desert for spiritual counsel. Across the centuries we find striking examples in some Irish monks, in some German Benedictine nuns, in Charles de Foucault, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, and others. Today, spiritual directors come from many traditions … [including Judaism, Sufism, Buddhism and other faiths].

Where to Find Spiritual Direction/Companionship

Listening with the Spirit, Benedictine Priory –  Lacey, WA

SEEL Puget Sound Retreat in Everyday Life – Seattle & Tacoma

Ignatian Spirituality Center, Seek and Find Spiritual Direction Services – regional

Christian Formation Direction Ministries Spiritual Direction – regional

Spiritual Directors International (SDI) – international

Jubilee – Online and Canada

Helpful Tools for Exploring How Personality Affects Spirituality

Enneagram Personality Test – The objective of knowing your enneagram type is to help you know yourself better and to enrich your personal development.

Myers-Briggs Personality Test – The Myers-Briggs personality inventory is a tool which uses Carl Jung’s psychological types to make them understandable and accessible for people.  This inventory for self-knowledge has been helpful in various professional settings, such as spiritual direction.

Book Recommendations

Anglican Spiritual Direction, by Peter Ball

Attending Parishioners’ Spiritual Growth by Thomas P. Williamsen

Candlelight : Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction by Susan S. Phillips

Care of Mind, Care of Spirit by Gerald G. May

Companions On the Inner Way by Morton T. Kelsey

Counselor’s Prayer Book by Kathleen Fischer

Embodied Spirits : Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color, Edited by Sherry Bryant-Johnson

Exploring Spiritual Direction by Alan Jones

Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren

Group Spiritual Direction by Rose Mary Dougherty

Holy invitations : Exploring Spiritual Direction by Jeannette A. Bakke

Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther

Inner Way by Joseph J. Allen

Inviting the Mystic, Supporting the Prophet by Katherine Marie Dyckman

Mentoring by Edward C. Sellner

Practice of spiritual direction by William A. Barry  

Reading Your Life’s Story : An Invitation to Spiritual Mentoring by Keith Anderson

Romancing the holy by Debra K. Farrington

Sleeping With Bread: Holding What Gives You Life by Dennis Linn

Soul Friend by Kenneth Leech

SOULTYPES: Matching Your Personality and Spiritual Path by Sandra Krebs and Jane A.G. Kise

Spiritual Awakening by John Ackerman

Spiritual Direction 101 : The Basics of Spiritual Guidance by Teresa Bluthe

Spiritual Direction : A Guide to Giving & Receiving Direction by Gordon T. Smith

Spiritual Direction in Context, Edited by Nick Wagner

Spiritual Friend : Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction by Tilden H. Edwards

Spiritual mentoring by Keith R. Anderson

Toward Holy Ground : Spiritual Directions for the Second Half of Life by Margaret Guenther

When Leadership and Spiritual Direction Meet : Reflections and Stories for Congregational Life by Gil W. Stafford

Where Two or Three are Gathered : Spiritual Direction for Small Groups by Daniel L. Prechtel

Women at the Well by Kathleen Fischer

(Recommended by Spiritual Director, Tom Cashman)

Watch Spiritual Direction – An Invitation to Deeper Discovery and Connection Workshop, Better Together 2022

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