Book reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW
“There was a silence so sacred, it was as if the earth beneath us was knitting its soil into a blanket and placing that blanket around us to honor our desire to acknowledge, respect, love, and help heal her wounds.”
Written by noted author Weam Namou, this memoir delves into a deep relationship between her past, present, and future with insights from her varied cultural experiences. Her autobiography (Book 1) has 28 chapters that stretch over 341 pages. Interesting chapters include her first meeting with her shaman, the history of growing up in Iraq and what it was like to move to America, and the story of her eating disorder and how she struggled with self-worth issues, including her over-eating. The chapters on the Great Nurturing Mother and the Creative Rainbow Mother explore how women are taught to take care of others while struggling with finding their own creative paths in life. The “Personal Evaluation Paper” chapter evaluates how the ancient teachings have helped her to heal, and the book ends with an exquisite poem dedicated to her mentor.
The story begins as the author contacts Lynn Andrews, a noted American shaman and author whose Mystery School teaches about sacred practices for healing. She makes this contact as she has been struggling to regain her voice in her literary pursuits, especially in light of family struggles, cultural differences, and trying to live within these two cultures while raising her two children with her more traditional husband. She commits to four years at the school, primarily working with Leslie, her guide. Through this, she discovers her Rainbow Mother self, that self that wants to fly into creativity and expansiveness, while being married to a Nurturing Mother energy husband who is more about tradition and control. She especially examines the relationship with her own mother who was a Nurturer but became a Death Mother that focused on negativity and misery. Throughout the memoir, she develops ways to set boundaries, work with both familial and cultural differences, and pave the way for a balance within herself, family and others—as well as within her endeavors of writing and film making.
The creative writing within the juxtaposition of the past and the future allows the reader to delve deeper into an understanding of not only the author and her varied life experiences but also within the Middle Eastern culture in which she was born. Being born in Iraq, the family immigrated to Detroit, Michigan, when she was age ten because of the ongoing struggles within the Middle East. The story weaves back and forth between her Christian Iraqi upbringing, the beauty of the Quran, mysticism, and the struggles for Iraq and democracy, all while facing issues in her personal life. Because of the work she does through the Mystery School, the reader is enveloped in her range of feelings from joy to sorrow, from struggle to acceptance, and from the here-and-now to the transcendent.
The writing is well-researched, eloquent, crisp, concise, and, at times, beautifully poetic. This is an honest, heart-driven account into the reflection of her personal issues. It provides a depth within the education she provides the reader about Iraqi culture including mystical beliefs and traditional healing. Along with her own healing through various teachers and practices such as Native traditions including shamanism, Reiki, yoga, chakra work, and Seichim, this work allows the reader to delve into the depths of the author’s belief systems and how she started on a healing path for herself and for her family.