Perched on a cliff in Cala Carbo, overlooking the islands most powerful landmark, Es Vedra, stands a villa known as Anam Cara. With its Moorish design featuring three domed roofs, the villa has a revered position in an area of natural beauty, where the ancient conversation between ocean and stone continues without interruption. The meaning of Anam Cara translated from Gaelic as, Soul Friend, reflects a spiritual guide and an act of forgiveness. The Irish Christian missionary Columbanus, introduced its practice into Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth Century. Before Anam Cara, Christians were taught that forgiveness of ones sins could only be redeemed once before death. Columbanus, practiced that we could ask for forgiveness daily, if we were sincere and confessed it through an Anam Cara, a profound understanding of human friendship and the beauty of nature around us.
This brings us back to Ibiza and the location of the Villa Anam Cara. Es Vedra has long been a place of pilgrimage for those who seek to cross the threshold of understanding into the spiritual being. It holds that power as a gateway to an invisible world which can be touched through stillness and solitude. In 1854 following in the footsteps of Columbanus, Carmelite Priest Francisco Palau spent time living a hermit life on Es Vedra, connecting to the elements and achieving a deep sense of depth which resulted in an epiphany to build the beautiful Church at Es Cubelles, which stands today as a monument to inner sanctuary. I have written in the past about the thin veil of wistfulness that makes Ibiza special for me. The Carthaginians and Romans believed that Ibiza was a holy land, a gateway to the next life and they buried their nobility on the slopes of Dalt Villa at the famous necropolis of Puig de Moulins the pyramids of the Carthaginian Empire that dedicated the Goddess Tanit to Es Vedra.
Is it significant that the Phoenicians traversed the island to Es Vedra to quarry the stone from Atlantis that built the important Pre Christian trading post of Dalt Villa, a citadel that has survived into the second millennium undamaged by fire or cannon. It is through music and dance that many express their inner soul and Ibiza has always been a conduit for those who seek enlightenment. It was a refuge for travelers fleeing persecution, conformity and conventional life and the hippies that arrived in the 60’s and 70’s have left an indelible mark on the islands modern culture. It was Columbanus who preached that harmony of diversity was a positive energy that brought peace and unity. Like a choir, different voices add to a combination of chords that together flow with lyrical fluency. The simple beauty that the island once celebrated through its natural landscapes, is being replaced by the fast material allure to glamour.
This is why a new generation must protect what is special to the island. Places like Es Vedra and the fragile beauty of Ibiza and her landscapes, remind us that saints and scholars looked to nature when they sought the divine. There is so much more to this mystical place than meets the eye. This is why many visitors who capture a glimpse of its soulful beauty cherish it in their memory to sustain them through dark times. Some call it the Ibiza Hangover others will feel a loss inside as they depart her shores. Ibiza provides those moments that reassure us we are alive, warm summer days surrounded by music, friends and the Anam Cara that helps us receive time.