Carl McColman has written twelve books on a variety of spiritual topics. His works include
- The Big Book of Christian Mysticism,
- The Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader,
- 366 Celt: A Year and a Day of Celtic Wisdom and Lore,
- Spirituality: A Postmodern and Interfaith Approach to Cultivating a Relationship with God, and
- The Aspiring Mystic.
He created his first website, the “Website of Unknowing” as he called it, in 1996 (he has owned the www.anamchara.com domain name since December of that year) and has been blogging since 2003. His writing has also appeared at the Huffington Post, Beliefnet, Patheos, as well as in print publications like PanGaia and Evolve.
Carl is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and retreat leader on topics such as Christian mysticism, the contemplative life, monasticism, writing as a sacred practice, Celtic wisdom, and interfaith spirituality.
Carl first received training in the practice of meditation and contemplation at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Later he received additional training in the art of spiritual direction through the Institute for Pastoral Studies in Atlanta. In 2007 he entered the novitiate of the Lay Associates of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, a community of laypersons under the spiritual guidance of the monks of the Cistercian Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. God willing, he will make his profession as a lay associate in the spring of 2012.
Raised as a Christian, Carl has since his adolescence been interested in interfaith dialogue and inter-religious spirituality. Through Shalem he discovered the affinity between Christian spirituality and the practices of other faith traditions, such as Buddhist forms of meditation. From 1997 to 2004 his writing and spirituality were geared toward the study and practice of Neopaganism: the emerging religious culture that draws inspiration from nature mysticism and from the primal religions of Europe, such as Druidism. Because of his long-standing interest in the western tradition of contemplative spirituality, he eventually withdrew from the Neopagan community to return to Christianity, the faith of his upbringing, seeking to conduct his life according to the wisdom of the great Christian mystics, and to write and teach in light of that wisdom and its relevance for today. For Carl, part of that quest for contemplative wisdom entails a desire to remain deeply immersed in the Christian way, while simultaneously engaging in relationship- and community-building with persons of other faith traditions.
Born into an air force family in Louisiana, Carl spent most of his childhood in Virginia, and has also lived in West Virginia and Tennessee before settling in Georgia. He attended college at James Madison University and George Mason University, where he received a Master of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing. He is married to Fran and is the stepfather to her daughter, Rhiannon, who was born with polycistic kidney disease which has led to other medical complications. Carl and his family live in Stone Mountain, Georgia, near Atlanta, where they are devoted servants of three cats named Clarissa, Ferbie and Margery. Carl is a not-too-strict vegan (he cheats with honey and eggs) and keeps saying that one of these days he is going to learn to play the guitar.