Reviews by Publishers Weekly / US Review of Books
Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School (Book 1) $15 trade paper (241p) ISBN 978-0-9776790-3-4
Spiritual coach Namou (The Flavor of Cultures) describes her personal journey in this first volume of her four-part memoir. It begins with a phone conversation between Namou and author Lynn Andrews that was an essential part of Namou’s development; quotes and themes taken from this conversation are woven throughout the book, which recounts how Namou processed and came to terms with her childhood arrival in Detroit, Mich., after emigrating from Baghdad at the age of nine.
Andrews encourages Namou to participate in the Mystery School, a lineage of learning based on Native American shamanic teachings, and this brings Namou a sense of release from the traumatization of being suddenly uprooted at such an early age to move to a vastly different culture. This thorough and descriptive first installment includes a deep look into her Iraqi past and Chaldean Christian background, and explores how that spiritual upbringing has influenced her present life. Spiritual terms and symbols that could be new to some readers are explained well throughout the book. Readers interested in personal journeys of faith will be eager to follow Namou along her spiritual path.
reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW / Recommended by the US Review
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.
Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life-Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School (Book 2) $15 trade paper (328p) ISBN 978-1-945371-99-8
In this second installment of her four-book series, spiritual coach Namou continues to describe her personal journey through a shamanic school known as The Mystery School. Taking up where the first book left off, Weam shares some of her meaningful telephone discussions with mentor Lynn Andrews—for example, it’s important to “be responsible for yourself, before you can be responsible to deal at all with anyone else.” As Namou’s second year in The Mystery School requires her to expand her studies, the book includes descriptions of conversations with her second-year mentor, Fiona.
During these conversations with Fiona, other participants from Namou’s Mystery School cohort chime in to ask pertinent questions that push their collective spiritual journey forward. In addition to relating her experience with The Mystery School, Namou divulges more about her personal and family life, including her relationship with her husband, Sudaid, and their eight-year struggle with immigration into the United States. By the end of book two, readers will see firsthand that settling her undecided immigration status gave way for Namou to feel more freedom to write.
Healing Wisdom for a Wounded World: My Life-Changing Journey Through a Shamanic School (Book 4) $15 trade paper (198p) ISBN 978-1-945371-94-3
Accomplished spiritual coach and author Namou (The Flavor of Cultures) concludes her four-part memoir by describing her final year in Lynn Andrews’s shamanic school, Storm Eagle. Her new mentor, for the fourth year of the school, is Nancy. Just as in the other three books of this series, this new spiritual teacher has a profound impact on Namou’s journey. Nancy explains that the fourth year is about the apprentices working on themselves and that the year is designed to “help you come out into the world.”
A major portion of the book focuses on the preparation for the graduation ritual, and the ritual itself, which Namou describes in detail that draws the reader in. Familiar names from the previous books in this series make appearances. By the conclusion of this fourth book, it is apparent how Namou has benefitted as a person and writer. The weaving of family life and spiritual life throughout the series helps forge Namou into the person she is today, and she uses what she has learned to help others on their spiritual paths.
US Review of Books
The Great American Family: A Story of Political Disenchantment, Weam Namou, Hermiz Publishing – The true and gripping story of an all-American girl charged with illegally selling telecommunications equipment to Iraq. However, her co-conspirator turns out to be a CIA operative, possibly working on a project to bug Saddam Hussein and his top henchmen. The author makes good use of firsthand accounts, skillfully weaving them together to show how the “War on Terror” has blurred or perhaps frayed our criminal justice system. As an Iraqi-American journalist the author has the prefect background to tell this story. Settings are well-depicted and characters come to life so that it’s tempting to skip ahead to learn the resolution. This book takes a hard look at how terrorism, oppression, and sanctions invite hypocrisy, abuse of power and double-dealing. One hopes this isn’t an example of the new normal for America but fears that it is.