John O’Donohue


Irish Poet, Author, Priest and Hegelian Philosopher

Author Quotes

Your body is as ancient as the clay of the universe from which it is made; and your feet on the ground are a constant connection with the earth. Your feet bring your private clay in touch with the ancient, mother clay from which you first emerged.

Your identity is not equivalent to your biography. There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility.

Your life becomes the shape of the days you inhabit.

Your noble friend will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.

Your soul is the priestess of memory, selecting, sifting, and ultimately gathering your vanishing days toward presence.

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.

You lose the balance of your soul if you not learn to take care of yourself.

Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.

A Blessing for Death: I pray that you will have the blessing of being consoled and sure about your own death. May you know in your soul that there is no need to be afraid. When your time comes, may you be given every blessing and shelter that you need. May there be a beautiful welcome for you in the home that you are going to. You are not going somewhere strange. You are going back to the home that you never left. May you have a wonderful urgency to live your life to the full. May you live compassionately and creatively and transfigure everything that is negative within you and about you. When you come to die may it be after a long life. May you be peaceful and happy and in the presence of those who really care for you. May your going be sheltered and your welcome assured. May your soul smile in the embrace of your anam ?ara.

A person's beauty is sophisticated and sacred and is far beyond image, appearance or personality.

At a deeper level, each person is the custodian of a completely private, individual world.

Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.

For the dying may death come gently toward you, leaving you time to make your way through the cold embrace of fear to the place of inner tranquility. May death arrive only after a long life to find you at home among your own with every comfort and care you require. May your leave-taking be gracious, enabling you to hold dignity through awkwardness and illness. May you see the reflection of your life?s kindness and beauty in all the tears that fall for you. As your eyes focus on each face, may your soul take its imprint, drawing each image within as companions for the journey. May you find for each one you love a different locket of jeweled words to be worn around the heart to warm your absence. May someone who knows and loves the complex village of your heart be there to echo you back to yourself and create a sure word-raft to carry you to the further shore. May your spirit feel the surge of true delight when the veil of the visible is raised, and you glimpse again the living faces of departed family and friends. May there be some beautiful surprise waiting for you inside death, something you never knew or felt, which with one simple touch, absolves you of all loneliness and loss, as you quicken within the embrace for which your soul was eternally made. May your heart be speechless at the sight of the truth of all belief had hoped, your heart breathless in the light and lightness where each and everything is at last its true self within that serene belonging that dwells beside us on the other side of what we see.

I give thanks for arriving.

If you try to avoid or remove the awkward quality, it will pursue you. The only effective way to still its unease is to transfigure it, to let it become something creative and positive that contributes to who you are. Nietzche said that one of the best days in his life was the day when he rebaptized all his negative qualities as his best qualities. Rather than banishing what is at first glimpse unwelcome, you bring it home to unity with your life?..One of your sacred duties is to exercise kindness towrd them. In a sense, you are called to be a loving parent to your delinquent qualities

It could be a meeting on the street, or a party or a lecture, or just a simple, banal introduction, then suddenly there is a flash of recognition and the embers of kinship glow. There is an awakening between you, a sense of ancient knowing.

May I have the courage today to live the life I would love postpone my dream no longer. But do at last what I came here for and waste my heart on fear no more.

Often there might be a big boulder of misery over your path about to fall on you, but your friends among the dead hold it back until you have passed by.

Poetry is the place where language in its silence is most beautifully articulated. Poetry is the language of silence.

The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows.

The heart is the inner face of your life. The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful. It is here that love gathers within you. Love is absolutely vital for a human life. For love alone can awaken what is divine within you. In love, you grow and come home to your self. When you learn to love and let yourself be loved, you come home to the hearth of your own spirit. You are warm and sheltered.

The mind is an old crow who knows only to gather dead twigs

There is a desperate hunger for belonging. People feel isolated and cut off. Perhaps this is why a whole nation can assemble around the images of celebrities. They have no acquaintance with these celebrities personally. They look at them from a distance and project all their longings onto them. When something happens to a celebrity, they feel as if it is happening to themselves. There is an acute need for the reawakening of the sense of community.

To be holy is to be natural; to befriend the worlds that come to balance in you. Behind the fa‡ade of image and distraction, each person is an artist in this primal and inescapable sense. Each one of us is doomed and privileged to be an inner artist who carries and shapes a unique world.

We are custodians of deep and ancient thresholds. In the human face you see that potential and the miracle of undying possibility.

First Name
Last Name
Birth Date
Death Date

Irish Poet, Author, Priest and Hegelian Philosopher