Mesopotamian Goddesses

In December of 2017, I gave a talk about Priestesses and Goddesses of Ancient Mesopotamia at the Theosophical Society, which was filled with an engaging audience who listened to me speak about an important aspect of my ancestry that is often omitted from history – the women who helped build the cradle of civilization, now called Iraq.

We’re all connected to our past. So it’s important to know what it was like in ancient Mesopotamia when females and males had a more equal status and cuneiform scripts were filled with poetry of love stories rather than wars. How did women go from being writers and poets, queens, physicians, and priestesses to, thousands of years later, being sex slaves?

I’ll recap a little history from passages from my memoir, Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life-Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School (pg 164-165):

What history books say regarding the role of women in ancient Mesopotamia is true. Most girls were trained from childhood for the traditional roles of wife, mother, and housekeeper. They learned how to grind grain, how to cook and make beverages, especially beer, and how to spin and weave cloth for clothing. But in early periods, women could own, purchase, and inherit property and engage in business for themselves. High status women, such as priestesses and members of royal families, were taught to read and write and were given significant administrative authority. A number of powerful goddesses were worshiped, and in some city states they were the primary deities.

Kubaba, a Sumerian Queen, is the world’s first recorded woman ruler in history. She was a former tavern-keeper, one of many occupations that were open to women in Mesopotamia. Kubaba was said to have reigned peacefully for one hundred years. Her symbols were the mirror and the pomegranate.

Enheduanna is the world’s first recorded writer. She wrote and taught about three centuries before the earliest Sanskrit texts, 2000 years before Aristotle and 1,700 before Confucius. She was the daughter of the great Mesopotamian king Sargon of Akkad and the high priestess of the temple of Innana, known as Ishtar, and Nanna, the Akkadian moon god, in the center of her father’s empire, the city-state of Ur.

Enheduanna had a considerable political and religious role in Ur. She wrote during the rise of the agricultural civilization, when gathering territory and wealth, warfare, and patriarchy were making their marks. She offers a first-person perspective on the last times women in Western society held religious and civil power. After her father’s death, the new ruler of Ur removed her from her position as high priestess. She turned to the goddess Inanna to regain her position through a poem that mentions her carrying the ritual basket:

It was in your service that I first entered the holy temple,
I, Enheduanna, the highest priestess. I carried the ritual basket,
I chanted your praise.
Now I have been cast out to the place of lepers.
Day comes and the brightness is hidden around me.
Shadows cover the light, drape it in sandstorms.
My beautiful mouth knows only confusion.
Even my sex is dust.

Enheduanna lived at a time of rising patriarchy. It has been written that, as secular males acquired more power, religious beliefs had evolved from what was probably a central female deity in Neolithic times to a central male deity by the Bronze Age. Female power and freedom sharply diminished during the Assyrian era, the period in which the first evidence of laws requiring the public veiling of elite women was made.

I also shared my ancestor’s history of rich powerful females. This includes Inanna, the goddess of Sumerians who is known as Ishtar for Babylonians and Assyrians. She honored her femininity and used her power to do good for her people. She chose to leave all her possessions behind to go to the underworld which her sister was goddess of. To do so, she had to pass the seven gates (kundalini chakras) to meet her death and return to life.

There’s Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer. She symbolizes the role of women in brewing and preparation of beverages in ancient Mesopotamia. But this was not a light matter. Beer consumption was an important marker for societal and civilized virtues. Did you know that the oldest recipe for brewing beer comes from the land of Mesopotamia and that the straw was first developed by the Babylonians?

Back to Kubaba – the only queen on the Sumerian King list and one of very few women to have ever ruled in their own right in Iraqi history. She is believed to have fortified the city against invaders and made it strong. After her death she was worshiped as a goddess. Yet in later generations, Mesopotamians decided it was unnatural for a woman to uphold traditional men’s roles and provided this omen to make sure no other woman dares to so improperly cross that line again: “If an androgyny is born, with both rod and vagina – omen of Kubaba, who ruled the country. The country of the king shall be ruined.”

Ironically, the country of “the king” was ruined because of her absence. The thirst to wipe away the feminine energy, “her story”, in the Middle East has succeeded, causing that region to become so imbalanced that, no matter how much U.S. and international intervention, it seems unable to heal.

Yet I believe what the Dalai Lama once said, that “the Western women will save the world.” Yes, she will bring her story back to life.

After that talk at the Theosophical Society, I dug deeper into my history, retrieved more stories about queens, priestesses and goddesses from that region, and decided to incorporate them into a book. Mesopotamian Goddesses: Unveiling Your Feminine Power not only shares the stories of these women, but it’s a transformed understanding of feminine consciousness, helping you, through powerful yet practical exercises, to manifest your dreams and create a healthy marriage within yourself, your home, and society.

You can preorder your book, or learn how you can be part of this history by visiting this link:  https://www.publishizer.com/mesopotamian-goddesses

FRONT COVER (LATEST)

One of the Best-Kept Secrets

One beautiful sunny morning in March 2014, I drove to Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center to cover a story for The Chaldean News about a women’s Lenten retreat. It was a Friday and my son, a preschooler, didn’t have school that day. One of the directors of the retreat encouraged me to bring him along so I did.

Colombiere is nestled on acres of towering pines and oaks in Clarkston, Michigan. I remember upon entering the long road that leads to the building, I felt a sudden disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Inside, my son stopped to view some of the statues and look out the window at the walking trails and gardens. We took the elevators to an upper floor and went into a most lovely chapel with bluish décor. Father Sameem Balius was performing mass. He talked about the importance of retreats, how they renew peoples’ faith and help them experience the loving presence of God and to seek the wisdom necessary for good daily living.

Colombiere

 

Later we moved the cafeteria, which was surrounded by large windows. My son and I observed the green acres of land. A few nuns were doing their morning walks. I interviewed the priests and organizers of the retreat, who initially started it years prior “to combine prayer, meditation and spiritual education”, and went home feeling blessed to have had the opportunity to visit this place, especially with my young son. (I included below a link of the article I wrote in 2014).

Two years later, my family and I went to Cancun, Mexico and I ended up participating in a spiritual ceremony that had me thinking to bring home the experience I enjoyed in the Riviera Maya. As an author of 12 books, I wanted to also combine writing workshops with it. I’ve worked with many writers and have found that oftentimes, there are spiritual blocks preventing them from moving forward in their career. I’ve also worked with many people who have healed several issues in their lives through the process of writing. I decided to start a writing and spiritual retreat and named it The Path of Consciousness, based on the sign welcoming patrons to the spiritual ceremony in Mexico. Last year, Reverend Barbara Yarnell of the Center of Enlightenment and another dear friend Lisa Argo offered to help me find the right venue and prepare other necessary work.

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Someone suggested we visit Colombiere. The name didn’t ring a bell but when we arrived to the building, upon driving into the long road, I immediately remembered the day my son and I went there, the peace that enveloped me and I’m sure him as well since he was so good throughout the day, allowing me to enjoy mass and interview people. From that one visit, we agreed this is the perfect place for the writing and spiritual retreat and didn’t end up touring other retreats. Later, I discovered that Colombiere is said to be “one of the best-kept secrets.”

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As someone who loves history, when I learned of the story behind Colombiere, I invited Janice Seeley, director of conferences and retreats, to come on my show and share it. Colombiere opened as a Jesuit training facility in 1959. It is named after Claude de la Colombiere, a Jesuit teacher, orator and spiritual director, who lived in France from 1641 to 1682 and was canonized May 31, 1992. In the course of preparation for the priesthood, the young Jesuit undergoes fifteen years of training, years of formation. Some examples of the classes offered in liberal arts were English, Latin, Greek, French, Literature, History, Education, and Speech. This rich background prepares the young Jesuit for further studies in philosophy and theology.

From the beginning, the Jesuit Healthcare Center for retired priests and brothers has been located there, as well as a large community of Jesuits involved in the operation of Colombiere. After the number of seminarians declined by the late 70s and 80s, they decided to open up an infirmary/retirement center for the Jesuit priests. In addition, the remainder of the building opened up as a retreat center. Although the facilities reflect the Jesuit influence, they are not limited to those of the Catholic faith. Colombiere hosts a wide spectrum of non-profit and for profit groups and is available for educational, religious, and governmental day and overnight programs, as well as both corporate and religious retreats.

Aside from having the writing and spiritual retreat there, I’m also considering having the Girl Scout troop which I lead to spend a night or two there, where mothers and daughters can enjoy quiet time without the interruption of electronics or television. If you want to check out the spiritual and writing conference and retreat which will be from October 5 to 7, visit this link The Path of Consciousness
Read Article about Chaldean Women’s Retreat

Continue reading “One of the Best-Kept Secrets”

The People Around You

Before the publication of my first book in 2004, I was eager to launch my writing career. I imagined the wonderful life of an author that awaited me and expressed this to my Native American teacher as he sat crisscross in his La-Z-Boy, smoking his pipe, staring at me with his inquisitive eyes. After some silence, he said, “The only people that matter are those around you.”

His words remain in my heart today, revealing their wisdom whenever I get too caught up in my work. Although I always strive to improve my craft, to expand my career, and to create beautiful things in the world, what my teacher had said becomes clearer and more meaningful with time. I see a lot of people get mystified and obsessed over famous names or becoming famous themselves – neglecting to discover the treasures within their own circle.

Myself, I try to see the wonderful attributes of those who cross my path, like Siete16 Guevara. He’s an author who cares to make an impact on the lives of those around him. That’s the first thing I recognized when we met over a year ago at a book signing. He didn’t talk about his books as much he did about creating unities between literary communities. He has regular poetry readings, free for the public. In honor of National Poetry month, he will host two Open Mics at the Dovetail in Warren, Michigan (April 13th and 20th) where performers, poets, storytellers, musicians and singers are welcome to join.

Siete 16 was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and after high school moved to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas where he lived for about eleven years. When he returned to Michigan, he sought out the artistic scene of poets and writers, like the community he encountered and became a part of in Texas. It was happening in Saginaw for about three to four years, but it had dissolved so Siete16 moved out to the Metro Detroit area and found several groups and communities where he made friends and connections with.

His work was accepted by college magazine – The Gallery at the University of Texas and in ARTIFEX at Macomb Community College. He has published three books of his own poetry, and currently works on his fourth book. He’s also publishing a second book of poetry written by students in Sterling Heights. The first book of student poetry was from Saginaw.

“My greatest accomplishments are two things, my daughter, and my nonprofit organization that I started with my dad,” he said.

The nonprofit is called Artistas Latinx en Accíon Siempre (A.L.A.S.) In Spanish it means, Latinx Artists in Action Always.  A.L.A.S. means wings in Spanish, which ties into their motto: Perform with Us, Soar with Us!

Sieta 16 reminds me of Will, an artist I met in Suttons Bay a few years ago. He owned a store called Casey-Daniels where he made jewelry and sold handmade handbags. He’s also the publisher of Exposures, a Leelanau County Student Journal that has been around for nearly 30 years. He’d said to me about his artwork, “I make weird things. I’m not going to stick myself in art shows. You know why? Because I’m not looking for the approval of others. I’m going to authenticate me. You’re going to authenticate yourself.”

With that, I returned home with a whole new perspective.  

Sieta’s books on Amazon

Siete 16

Ano Dos Mil

Siete 16 -2

Where is the Sexto Sun?

Siete 16 - 3

 

 

 

An Extraordinary Doctor

 

This time last year, I flew to Los Angeles to participate in an incredible documentary called The Staff of Mercury, which is produced by Dr. Homayoun Sadeghi, MD.  It is a visionary film intended to transform people’s lives around the world, especially with regards to health and wellness. It launches in 99 days and recently, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sadeghi on my show. It’s always wonderful to reconnect with him as he has a wealth of useful information and enormous positive energy. Furthermore, his story is truly fascinating.

For the longest time, Dr. Sadeghi dreamt about being a healer, but it was years of hard work and persistence before he found his true purpose in life. In his 20s, he felt a calling to be a healer, to do something greater than himself. He went back to school to become a doctor. After he attained his license, he realized that being a doctor didn’t necessarily make him a healer. He was helpless in trying to cure chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Little did he know that this is the beginning of his “Medicine Man” journey.  

“People do get healed here and there but when they do it’s often not because of what we doctors do but because of the inner resilience and tenacity they themselves must erupt to overcome their challenges,” he said.

He spent the last decade of his life interviewing, experimenting, and researching and studying things like alternative medicine, mind-body approach and the like. He found none of these in and of themselves are 100% effective. The ultimate cure for all these disease probably already exists. We just haven’t found it yet.

“We keep searching for answers in darkness,” he said. “As we touch new sign posts, we keep shifting our beliefs and mindsets.”

Dr. Sadeghi reminds us that there was a time not long ago when we thought the earth was flat; when we gave our soldiers free packs of cigarettes; when doctors endorsed their favorite cigarette brands; when we gave estrogen to even pregnant women. He adds that most doctors who practiced long enough know that many of the treatments they once learned in medical school are now considered acts of gross negligence.

“That’s because we keep learning and shifting our mind sets,” said Dr. Sadeghi. “We constantly keep changing the landscape and growing, evolving.”

He asks, “What if there was a way for you to be healthy and disease free well into your retirement years? What if you can live a much more vibrant and energetic life with just a slight shift in your mindset?”

Over the years, through a lot of ups and downs and trials and errors, he has gained amazing insights and knowledge that he hopes will change and inspire people’s lives. He shares it through these incredible insights through a brilliant mind expanding documentary called The Staff of Mercury.

“Why do I want to share?” he asks. “Because my own life and growth depends on it. Long ago, I realized that my own redemption depends on my ability to give, help, love, and serve others. We are all on the same planet. We breathe the same air and share the same earth grown food. We all depend on each other. I can’t elevate myself unless I help elevate you.”

Dr. Sadeghi is the author of The Art of Healthy Living: A Mind-Body Approach to Inner Balance and Natural Vitality. In it, he explains how health takes effort, and that this effort starts from the inside out. 

To learn more about the Staff of Mercury, visit

 

A Journalist Serves Through Tarot Reading

I had no idea that my friend’s daughter, Christina Salem, did Tarot readings, but once I found out, I invited her on my show. Aside from all the other aspects that make Christina interesting, I wanted a Tarot reading!

Last year, Christina called me asking for advice about traveling abroad. She was then a senior at Oakland University, majoring in Journalism and Public Relations, and she was getting ready to travel as a PR spokesperson for a study abroad program to teach international journalism while observing the economic and refugee crisis in Greece.

Christina had studied astrology, Tarot reading, and other supernatural phenomena. After venturing the other side of the world and walking in and out of refugee camps as a student journalist, she realized her true calling by helping others along their journey through life’s obstacles. 

As she did more research and history on her Chaldean culture, she came across fascinating information about its history regarding astrology. The Chaldean astrologers were famous for their love and pursuit of knowledge in every branch of science and the basic characteristic of ancient Mesopotamian religion was its view of the numina (spiritual force) behind natural phenomena. 

Christina was gifted The Wild Unknown tarot deck in 2017 after studying tarot for two years and has given readings, clarifications and counsel all around the world. The information and experience she gathered led her to start a Tarot readings business online called Salem’s Vision. 

“After enduring a lifelong battle with confusion, discovering my vision gave me the opportunity to help people understand theirs,” she said.

Most people envision Tarot card reading to be performed by a woman in flowing robes, leaning over a small table with a crystal ball and candlelight, maybe with a little incense smoke too. They think that it’s a form of fortunetelling, but really, it more so helps you look within. Similarly to coffee grain or tea leaf readings, Tarot reading highlights the aspects of your life which you may not be entirely aware of at the moment.

Tarot Cards are a tool used for divination and the reading is usually performed by someone with strong intuition and clairvoyance who uses his or her gifts to provide answers and guidance for people. They help you take a look at what are the influences in your life, what conscious and subconscious control you are exercising on your life, and how these numerous aspects may manifest in the future. It puts specific weight on what blocks are in your way and how to overcome them.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 

Watch the half-hour segment to learn about Christina’s story and to watch the Tarot reading she did for me which was pretty insightful.  

For more information about Salem’s Vision, visit https://www.salemsvision.com/

 

Hypnotic Regressions and Past Lives

Marie Gates has led a most interesting life, along the way helping countless writers and those seeking the spiritual path. I met Marie over 20 years ago when she led the Rochester Writers Group at Barnes & Noble. This group introduced me to many wonderful people, some who have since passed away, and others who I became good friends with including Marie.

Over the years, the more I learned about Marie, the more I respected and admired her as a person and as a writer. She has had a most interesting life. As I’ve often said, “What’s the use of having a great book if you have a lousy life? These days, especially, having a great life can easily translate into a great book.”

That’s the case with Marie Gates. She has translated her great experiences into several books and is currently working on her third book.  Marie holds an M.A. in psychology, and for several years she taught in colleges and universities. Her first book, Shadows on My Mind: A Psychologist Explores Reincarnation and PSI, describes how she first became interested in reincarnation.  As a university instructor, she encountered a student acquainted with a hypnotist who regressed people to their past lives, and curiosity about a vivid dream led her to him.  He uncovered five of her incarnations, including that of the woman in the dream.  Under hypnosis, Marie gave her name and that of her husband and their city.  She was able to verify this life by finding the woman’s daughter.

Marie spent the past thirty years exploring reincarnation and other spiritual topics.  Hypnotic regressions and spiritual healing sessions revealed a number of her past lives.  Research confirmed the existence of Rev. Jacob Gruber, the 19th century circuit-riding minister described in her second book, Are We Our Past Lives? 

“Everything we are can be traced to past lives,” Marie said, explaining what the book is about. “Before birth we select our physical appearance, health, values, habits, talents, disabilities, and many other qualities.  We also choose our family members and close associates as well as factors such as our occupation and where we will live.  All of these choices are made to work upon our past-life karma.   Knowing this helps explain who we are, why, and the dynamics of our relationships.”

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The main objective of this book is to illustrate how former lives affect people and their relationships.  Each of the first nine chapters of Are We Our Past Lives? begins with one of Marie’s past lives.  Then comes a historical perspective showing the factors that may have influenced that life.  Next she relates aspects of her current life, such as tendencies, abilities, challenges, and relationships, to that incarnation.  Marie’s claustrophobia originated in a life as Tim, a young gold miner who suffocated in a cave.  Relationships with people who were relatives both in a past life and a present life are discussed with karma, unresolved emotions, in mind.  A current family member was responsible for Tim’s death in the cave, and he has paid back some of his karmic debt by teaching Marie to be less trusting of others.

Are We Our Past Lives? illustrates how former lives affect personalities and relationships in a current life in great depth and it emphasizes the cumulative origin of conditions such as depression and chronic anger.  The incarnations presented in Are We Our Past Lives? span 1,700 years.

“By reading it, you might recall events in your life which will trigger many different emotions including joy, anger, sadness, and regret,” she noted.  “You might realize the necessity of forgiving another person for an offense.  You might speculate about what happened in a past life.”

By reflecting upon their personalities and relationships, and perhaps thinking about how they relate to past lives, readers may make positive changes in their lives.  Some may seek a hypnotist or other therapist to explore the origin of a disorder such as chronic anxiety and receive treatment.

“And you’ll feel hopeful,” she said.

Spiritual work has led to the complete resolution of Marie’s past-life karma, and depression is no longer a concern. Marie hopes that this book will also “remove the stigma of mental illness.”

Watch the half-hour interview with Marie Gates and to learn more about her work, visit http://www.areweourpastlives.com/

Utilizing Masters, Shamans, and Healers

I’d invited Vince Anthony Pitre on my TV show because his curiosity and commitment to master the healing process has guided him to study sound healing in Europe and shamanic healing in the jungle and mountains of Peru. I met Vince in January 2015 when a friend invited me to join her to a lecture series by the Metropolitan Detroit A.R.E. (Association of Research and Enlightenment) Community, a non-profit organization which was founded in 1931 by Edgar Cayce. The subject was Family Constellations and the presenters were Vince Anthony Pitre and Robert Auerbach.

These men described how unconscious limits to success often stem initially from the unresolved and many times unspoken traumas, tragedies and transgressions that weave themselves into the energy, “fabric” and conversations of our family.

They explained that we hold many of our histories in our bodies, in our flesh, and how Family Constellations is used to heal resistant, stubborn patterns that might not be ours, or it might be an issue that goes back into past family generation trauma or transgressions that was never healed or resolved. This energy sticks from generation to generation because it’s an unconscious process.

Pitre holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Wayne State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Windsor. For over 20 years, he has helped people in Windsor Detroit area to develop healthier, happier lives. He’s a licensed psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and healer. He offers a long list of services, including workshops to help detox from family pain and/or drama.

“It’s done without making anyone wrong, or putting blame on anyone,” said Pitre. “It’s about seeing where issues came from so we can find a resolution. You don’t heal by chasing light all day. You have to face the dark side as well.”

Through movement and unspoken words, people in the room get psychologically reconfigured. Not only is the person with the problem being healed but so are their family members, even if they are not in the room.

“In this process, new images come up that counters what the person thought of themselves growing up,” said Pitre. “The person leaves behind their old story. This allows their brain to rewire to this new image which they step into and move on with their life.”

Bert Hellinger founded this therapeutic method, which draws on elements of family systems therapy, existential phenomenology and Zulu attitudes to family. Hellinger was a priest whose travels to Africa led him to gain fascination of how the natives honored their ancestors, and the way in which they helped each other heal.

 

Although I am familiar with similar teachings, being myself a graduate of Lynn Andrew’s shamanic school, I loved that this type of healing was evidently growing to where you can find them in local cities. For years, I have believed that holistic health is going to be as popular as yoga classes and I see it happening now. Such workshops, teachings and healings are especially beneficial for those who grew up in very old tribal mentalities that limit them from their full potential.

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I believe in taking as good care of my spirit as I do of my mind, heart, and body, so I scheduled a one-on-one session with Vince. The experience was so effective that I visited him again a year later and plan to do future appointments as I feel suitable. On February 10th, I’m going to the Reset Gong Meditation and Healing Ceremony, a magical evening that begins with a Sacred Cacao Ceremony followed by two sound healing gong sets intended to wrap us into shamanic journey mediation. Afterward, there’s a social hour with hot tea, healthy snacks and integration.

Every religion, spiritual and ancient teaching has emphasized the importance of our spirit, of us looking within, of understanding who we are and how to use our inner power and wisdom in the outer world so we can live a healthy and happy life. Yet oftentimes we place our resources in more surface solutions that give us short-term relief. As I once heard Vince ask, “How much are you worth?”

That’s the question we need to ask ourselves as we look at our spiritual well being. We’re lucky to live in a country where many healers, shamans, and masters have traveled the distance to find their teachers, study, dig deep within, and bring their wisdom, knowledge and powers to our local neighborhood.  It is up to us to utilize it. 

I’m excited to announce that Vince will be one of our speakers at my upcoming Spiritual and Writing Summit in October. For more info, visitwww.ThePathofConsciousness.com

Watch the half-hour interview and look for more interesting people in my upcoming TV show (if you’re in Michigan, CMN TV is on channel 18 on Comcast or WOW!) or To watch more interviews with highly accomplished, talented, inspirational and influential people, subscribe to my youtube channel

For more information, contact the Center for Healing Arts and Massage  38245 Mound Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48310   phone: 586-268-5444

Click here to learn more about Vince Anthony Pitre