When Women Ruled in the Middle East

Although we’ve been led to believe otherwise, women in ancient Mesopotamia had more rights and independence than women in those regions have today. They contributed to building the cradle of civilization and, unlike in modern eras, they were revered. As a result their lands flourished. 

The shift away from, and the attempt to destroy, feminine consciousness has caused so much pain and suffering for the people in my birth country of Iraq.  It has led to the gradual and systematic demise of my ancestors. During  my younger years, I experienced much trauma in that land where the principal hit me for skipping Saddam’s parade and  not knowing the answer to a question. We lived in constant fear. In contrast, in the United States I was coddled and supported by teachers and mentors so that I could follow my dreams, even though many of them had the “white skin” that is often criticized for having privileges that others do not.  As a result, I became an author, filmmaker, and have held many prestigious positions, which I go more in depth with in this article: https://voyagemichigan.com/interview/meet-weam-namou-of-sterling-heights/

Through a lot of healing work, I’ve gotten past the traumas but every once in a while something happens that brings the pain to surface once again. The recent tragic loss of a 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini is one such incident. On September 16, Mahsa was arrested by the morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly. She died in the hospital in Tehran, Iran, due to police brutality according to witnesses. Her death has resulted in a series of large-scale protests across the country, putting a focus on violence against women in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  On October 1st, demonstrations were held worldwide in 130 cities to show solidarity with the women and men protesting in Iran, many who have lost their lives. 

The idea that women today have to risk and lose their lives for basic human rights hurts my heart. I think about their struggles, the people we left behind in Iraq, like my childhood best friend, Niran, who I wasn’t able to say goodbye to because we fled in secrecy. I once asked my mom if she’d heard any news about Niran and her family and she said that Saddam forced them out of their home because of their Iranian roots. I often think about her and wonder where she ended up. 

From left to right: My friend Maysa in white, myself in red, and my friend, Niran, in blue

I watch the news and see women rising up, fighting for their freedom, while a broadcaster like Mehdi Hasan, host on MSNBC and NBC, says that we should stand with Iranian women protesting for their freedom, but emphasizes the hijab is a choice. He claims that “everyone wants to push their own agenda right now, their own hobby horse, while Iranian women risk their lives in the streets…”

My heart continues to weep for that land because it feels to me that the majority of its population continues to be in denial. My book event for Pomegranate was canceled last year because the Muslim community was against the storyline; a Muslim woman wanting to remove her hijab. They even refused to read the book. This happened here in the United States, 11 days before the Taliban captured Kabul. 

The Pomegranate film is led by women talent who represent the communities  in the story.  It was nurtured by well known figures in the film industry, including Scott Rosentfelt, the producer of Home Alone. The cancellation was the result of a fear to offend a highly conservative group that is not even supported by the majority of its own community.  It was the result of fearing the beauty and strength that women possess, which is a blessing, as well as their spiritual essence. 

Now more than ever, it’s important for the world to learn about the contributions and stories of women in Ancient Mesopotamia. In doing so, you will help heal old wounds and create a more harmonious way of life. You can learn about these women by reading the book Mesopotamian Goddesses. Then blast their names everywhere and teach young children about their amazing contributions to society! https://www.amazon.com/Mesopotamian-Goddesses-Unveiling-Feminine-Power/dp/1945371803/ref=sr_1_4?crid=9S4X11LV7JRJ&keywords=Weam+Namou&qid=1664815327&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIyLjQ4IiwicXNhIjoiMi40MSIsInFzcCI6IjEuNTkifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=weam+namou%2Caps%2C86&sr=8-4

Artwork circulating the Internet of Mahsa Amini

Every month, I interview remarkable individuals on a weekly basis for the Virtual Discussion Series in partnership with Unique Voices in Films, the Chaldean Cultural Center, CMN TV and U of M [Detroit Center].

Check out my YouTube channel where you can watch the interviews live and subscribe. Be sure to set reminders/alerts so you can stay updated on Live and uploaded content.

You can also now find me on Tik Tok, where I’m letting loose and sharing morsels of my life.



Partaking in Others’ Act of Power

I have been enjoying listening to audiobooks for years, imagining the day one of my fourteen books would be available in this format. Then one day out of the blue, my niece Sandy asked if she could create a sample audiobook narration  from my book Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life-Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School. I thought this was a lovely idea and gave her the go-ahead. When she sent the audio for my approval, I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting her voice to be so engaging and professional in its delivery. 

Through our conversations, I learned about her earlier interests in theater and acting and her current desire to shift careers from a yoga instructor to an audiobook narrator. The stars having aligned, as they say, I asked if she would like to narrate Pomegranate.  She was excited about the opportunity but had her reservations, since she hadn’t yet narrated an entire book and there was a lot involved, such as numerous male and female characters of various age groups and ethnicities. But I have a knack for discovering talent – it’s all around me actually – and I said, “Let’s give it a try.”

The time, effort, coaching, proper recording space and equipment, and the ability to self-direct as well as receive direction from me, created a priceless experience for both of us and a lovely audiobook. What was amazing is that ACX, the Audible.com platform, approved it from the first get-go which says a lot about Sandy’s professionalism. (Tune in on June 30th when I’ll be interviewing Sandy and she’ll discuss the process – see info. below). So far we’ve had wonderful feedback, the story resonating with listeners because it’s funny, it’s real, and it asks important questions. 

One of the first things I learned from my four-year apprenticeship in Lynn V. Andrews’ mystery school is the Act of Power, a transformation practice to help you reach your dreams. This practice propels all my projects, but particularly Pomegranate. The most magical part about it is that when you help another with their Act of Power then the blessings are doubled and tripled – as was the case with me and Sandy working together. 

Do you want to partake in our act of power? Since we just announced the release of the audiobook on May 25, it would be so meaningful if you can take a listen to the 5 hour 25 minute book on Audible – the 525 is pure coincidence 🙂 – and leave an honest review. It would be a great help in getting the word out. You can click the image or link below to get to it.

If you don’t have an Audible membership, you can get the audiobook for FREE with a 30-day Audible trial.

Just CLICK HERE TO GO TO AUDIBLE, start the trial process, and get the Pomegranate audiobook!

Thank you so much in advance and we hope you enjoy the book!

And if you listen and enjoy it, please tell a friend or two about it!



Every month, I interview four remarkable individuals on a weekly basis for the Virtual Discussion Series in partnership with Unique Voices in Films, the Chaldean Cultural Center, CMN TV and U of M [Detroit Center].

Check out my YouTube channel where you can watch the interviews live and subscribe. Be sure to set reminders/alerts so you can stay updated on Live and uploaded content.

You can also now find me on Tik Tok, where I’m currently running a series on Mesopotamian Goddesses.

HERE’S THE GUEST LINE-UP FOR JUNE 2022:

Official Audiobook Release of Pomegranate is Today!

We are thrilled to announce that the Pomegranate audiobook is now LIVE on Audible.com! Sandy, the Narrator, and I, the Author, worked very hard with all our hearts to make this project come to life and available for your enjoyment.

Listening to a book is a different experience than reading one. Hearing the story animates its characters and events. It activates the imagination in even more ways than reading with the eyes, soaking up the text and its nuances more effortlessly. If you think about how old storytelling is, it makes sense! The printing press was only invented just over 580 years ago, but humans have been verbally sharing stories verbally around the fire and the kitchen table for the majority of our existence.

This story has made a strong impression on people. It’s funny, it’s real, and it asks important questions. To give you an idea, our first audiobook reviewer said that it was like gaining access as though “a portal into a community.” The reviewer goes on:

About the book: This book was surprisingly fun. The story progresses quickly, and covers a lot of cultural territory. Some of the details were shocking to me, in a good way. The story veraciously captures the struggle between an individual will and cultural expectations. There were a few things that I did not understand, but the galloping tempo prevented me from getting hung up there.

About the narration: I was nervous at first, as the forward was a little stiff. But within a few minutes of Chapter 1, I knew I could relax and be carried away into the story. The humor in the work is extracted beautifully. The anger is captured precisely. The protagonist’s struggle to find and express her voice makes its way deep into the voice of the narrator in an amazing way. It’s clear that the narrator has “felt these emotions, felt these stories herself”. As a result, she delivers them earnestly. The narrator does a wonderful job remaining consistent between each character voice, which makes tracking dialogue effortless. I am very impressed.

We think it’s worth your time to explore Pomegranate, whether with the audio, ebook or print version!

The neat thing is that if you aren’t an Audible.com member yet, you can get the audiobook for FREE with a 30 day Audible trial.

Just CLICK HERE TO GO TO AUDIBLE, start the trial process, and get the Pomegranate audiobook!

And, if you do decide to explore Pomegranate, we would love and appreciate if you could leave an honest review.

By the way, if you’d like to learn more about the movie, Pomegranate, which is currently in post-production, you can check it out here: https://pomegranatemovie.com/

Creating the Audiobook for “Pomegranate”

A guest blog by Sandy Naimou

The births of my children gave me less and less reasons to travel.  The pandemic helped me to embrace being home-bound.  But now, my children were two thousand miles away and so was the comfortable quiet solitude of my home.  It was time that I take the next step in my life.

It was my first trip to the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California, where a small group of us were there to take on various projects that would keep us busy for the next year.  I was going to take a series of related classic texts written in the early 1900s and produce them into audiobooks.  Audiobook narration was that “next step in my life” and I was in the middle of producing Weam Namou’s book “Pomegranate,” which had to take a back seat while on this trip.

On the Krotona campus, the first early morning was still and chilly.  The rest of the residents were tucked away in their respective adobe-styled dwellings, but the birds were actively singing and fluttering about.  Michigan’s bitter January weather was behind me, but I was grateful on this first morning in the mild winter of the Ojai Valley that I had my light winter jacket where I could hide my hands away.

I walked through the Sanctuary of Connections on the campu, a garden for contemplation.  Step by step, my eyes sensed the newness in my surroundings.  At the start of the path a statue of a Lioness stood to greet those who entered.  Weathered, but revered, various offerings were placed around her majestic stance.  The plaque on her throne read:

“Touching the forehead of the lioness

Speaking the name of one who suffers

Forming the connection to nature

Embrace healing powers.”

Then I found I was moving to a statue to symbolize a world religion, and another statue and another.  Great traditions that hope to uplift humanity:  Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism, Sufism, Indigenous traditions, Hinduism, Theosophy, Judaism, Baha’i, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, and the teachings of Krishnamurti.

As I approached the end of the path, a small shining sphere caught my attention and brought me closer to the tree from which it hung.  I felt a deep connection to the tree before I realized what I was seeing and sensed it pulling me in, rather than being pushed by my own curiosity.  The sphere glistened within its small, bare, and modest foliage, the branches of the tree thin and the leaves spare.   I walked closer, still not knowing what it was.   There it was, the smallest pomegranate I have ever seen, and the only one I have ever seen on an actual tree.  The fruit’s skin had burst open, and its seeds were exposed.

I was surprised, no, I was astonished.   There I was, experiencing a parallel path with the fruit staring at me and my own life, and that moment moved the lines to create a clear intersection.

After deep soul searching in 2021, I realized that I wanted to shift away from teaching Yoga full-time to narrating audiobooks.  It was very much a “mid-life crisis” experience and through deep inner listening and self-observation, I began to realize this was the next step.  Although, when do we actually truly “know” this sort of thing? All we can do is be open to continue learning about what the steps might be.  For instance, when I began, I thought I would only be able to work on non-fiction books since I don’t read fiction and I’m not a trained actor.  And then it occurred to me that I was avoiding the things I had, once upon a time, loved to immerse myself in, but stopped doing when I was prohibited from going away to college to study acting.  I was avoiding fiction and I was avoiding acting.  When Weam was impressed with my initial reading of her book in October 2021, I realized that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, avoid either one anymore.  

And standing there in the Sanctuary of Connections, looking at the little ruby red pomegranate, I understood that the steps I have taken through the garden of my life are moving me in the direction that I am to go. 

As a second-generation Chaldean-American immigrant, Weam’s book spoke to me, a book which I know quite intimately after multiple readings, recordings, and analysis. In portraying the characters, I was eventually able to incorporate their personalities within my own being, bringing me closer to these cultural roots.  

But more than that, the book spoke to me on a spiritual level, one that goes beyond imagined lines of nation, culture, religion, and gender.  Immersing myself in it, I was able to incorporate the character’s souls in my own being.  Their desires and struggles brought me to the Sanctuary of Connections within my own heart.  Weam’s experiences and the story she shares with us, helps us to see that these desires and struggles transcend all the societal labels, these imaginary lines, that we are exposed to everyday which make us feel separate from each other.  

For ages we have been trying to teach each other that we are all One, through traditions, religions, stories, and laws.  And yet, it seems that these teaching tools, in our limited ignorance, have been used to create divisiveness in our hearts and minds.  But there is hope.  And beautiful stories like “Pomegranate,” which holds within its center the Sanctuary of Connections, will help us create a future of Unity instead.  

Author Bio: Sandy Naimou has a B.A. in psychology & M.L.A. in women’s and gender studies.  She teaches Yoga, serves on the board for The Theosophical Society in Detroit, and, as you already know, is an aspiring Audiobook Narrator.  

https://www.sandynaimou.com/


Check out my YouTube channel to learn about this week’s guest, who I’ll be interviewing live. Subscribe to my channel and set reminders/alerts so you can stay updated on Live and uploaded content.

We are exploring the effects of global war and trauma during May.

Here’s the guest line-up for May 2022: