I’ve just returned to the United States from The Spirit of Tengri festival in Kazakhstan. What a powerful celebration of culture! Dancing in circle with the Kazakh people touched me deeply. Sharing sacred dance on stage with Karavan Sarai is truly an honor. This moment connected me back to myself and my ancestral lineage. Our voyage spoke deeply to my intuitive knowing. I heard the whispering of these ancestral lands. Do you want to know what the ancestors told me Beloved? They told me to be courageous. They told me to honor my lineage, and empower others to connect to the ancient pulse of life felt within. Listen as I share my story. I’ll bring to life for you how I’ve aligned with my soul’s purpose. I manifest in alignment when I courageously speak my truth through the grace of my ancestors. You can too Beloved. Are you ready to reclaim your ancestral heritage? Reclaim your ancestral empowerment beloveds. Now is the time to courageously clear your ancestral karma my love. I want to empower you with this teaching to live your truth. Kazakstan is close to my own ancestral roots, both geographically and energetically. My ancestors are Azeri. Azeri is our native language. Iranian Azerbaijan is the NW portion of Iran. It borders Iraq, Turkey Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. If you are a lover of Rumi then you will know his master Shams of Tabriz. Tabriz is the most populated city in NW Iran. Of course, I am Shams as well. The Azeri minority are revered people. Farah Diba was the last Empress of Iran. She was Azeri and we share her name. We are connected to this beloved icon as family friends. I carry this exquisite lineage. This is my deep central asian blood line. My ancestral karma echoes in my being. My Story I was conceived two months after my mother had a traumatic experience fleeing Iran. She was pulled out of her native place and her Indigenous understanding. When the revolution happened in 1979 my father was in a top notch brain surgeon training in Germany. He carried the intention of returning to Iran to set up a practice there. Like many others, my parents had no concept of what an Islamic state would be like. My mother returned home to Iran with my brother. She had come to set up a family home and begin a new job, awaiting my fathers eminent return. Within a week the Iraqis attacked. The telephone lines were down. There were no lines of communication My grandmother realized a complete shut down was on the horizon. My mother and brother may not have been able to ever see my father again. They needed to get out of Iran fast if that was even possible. She got on a bus. The bus driver ensured my mothers safety, along with a pregnant woman. It was very dangerous to say the least. They drove up towards Turkey along the border, hiding during the day time and traveling under the cover of night. There were many bombings happening on this Western border of Iraq. My father couldn’t reach any of his family. There was no way to communicate with Iran. You can imagine his concern. My mother rode this bus through Anatolia, and into Ankara. She finally was able to call my father after five days. My mother finally made it back to Cologne via Bulgaria with my brother. Reunited with her beloved, but torn asunder from her ancestral land. Thus far living in Iran was joyful. My mothers life was full of love, warmth and community. My family was secure and abundant. When my mother moved to Germany initially with my father it was just a few years after WWII. The holocaust had left many Germanys cold, frozen and guarded in their trauma. My father as an emergency surgeon worked all the time leaving my mother alone for much of the week. She had to learn German on Sesame Street with my brother if you can imagine. Not knowing if she would ever return to the beauty of her ancestral place tore her apart. I was conceived just two months after the onset of the Islamic Revolution. My mother processed this trauma with me in her womb. She was plagued by fear for her family. After all, you never know what can happen in a war zone. The anxiety was palpable. This was my experience in utero. I get emotional just telling you about this. I have always felt this sense of displacement. This is my ancestral karma inherited from my mother’s displacement. I grew up in the diaspora. My substitute family became a community of people who went through that same story. We shared this collective trauma.
My parents were the lucky ones. We were set up with my father's German education in neurosurgery. However, many of my friends parents were educated people in Iran, but in Germany they were relegate to be taxi drivers. Their degrees were not acknowledged in Germany. Everyone was my Auntie and Uncle. Their children were my cousins. This theme of displacement left us kids confused. Germans are only similar to Iranians in the fact that your education and work are central in life. The values of emotional relating, duty to your family and many social constructs we cherish are not part of German culture.
The level of politeness of Iranians clashed with the abrasiveness of German culture at this time. I felt out of place growing up in Germany. In Germany we were always outlanders. We never integrated. We were social outliers. We were ok, but we were reminded that we were other. We were not German. To have such a strong Iranian name, not Sarah or Mona, made me resent my heritage at this age. My name was so unusual. My family even cut our name in half, and just called ourselves Diba. Yet, we are Shams Diba! We did this to accommodate Germans, and make it easier for them of course. I count myself so lucky to grow up in Germany. I had so many friends from all walks of life. Yet, I carried this feeling of not knowing where I belong. This theme of belonging is central to my life path. I am more very sensitive, very empathic. As a little girl I saw that the cultures of the east were warm and beautiful. Yet, they are so burdened and heavy also. There is so much expectation and social protocol for girls down to their mannerisms. What a girl can do and can’t do is heavily dictated. It is very patriarchal in these Sicilian and Anatolian working class families. You can see this even more so where there is a lack of education in immigrant communities. My experience with my educated Iranian family was more liberal, but I still was expected to be a “good daughter”. I was very sensitive and empathic to it all. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t intellectualize or verbalize what it was. I relate to the world emotionally and intuitively. Yet, the over intellectualization, and over emphasis of german culture, was very strange for me. These conflicting contexts did not always work well together. It took Iranians a long time to adjust their ideas of how to raise their kids living in Germany. They had to adapt to where they were living in many ways. I grew up with full on Persian culture. My parents made sure of this. We went to all the concerts, dance performances, cultural gatherings, we celebrated all the customs and rituals. Our home was full of Persian food, and Persian carpets. We spoke our languages, received spiritual guidance from our Persian traditions, (which are not muslim). Miniature art and all the beauty of Persian culture adorned my life. Our home was always open to community and to family. There was always enough for everyone. All of this rich and beautiful culture was kept alive. That understanding was in place. Every time I went to Iran I felt connected to the people. I felt that I belonged, that I was not an outlier. I felt roots with the land. I love Germany, but I did not feel this umbilical connection. My parents loved Turkey so we regularly went to Istanbul. There was this kinship. When I was in Turkey I had the sensation of completely blending in, or being absorbed despite my diaspora accent and mannerisms. I felt good about all of this, yet I needed to find out who I was without my ancestral karma. I ended up rejecting my heritage. I needed to be free to find myself. There was too much pressure. I have an autistic older brother. He was accepted, but I was expected to compensate for him. I was expected to fulfill the good Iranian child’s capacity because I was the one with full abilities. Letting Go I had to leave all of it behind. I needed to become my own person. I needed to let go and heal. I realized watching my dutiful mother that she carried so much sadness inside. She was weighted by a resigned bitterness. My beautiful mother like so many women never had a chance to live life fully on her terms. I didn’t quite understand it, but I knew that I could not live such a restricted life. I went to Iran regularly, after the Iraq war every two years, until I was sixteen. Every time I went to Iran I felt connected to the people. I felt that I belonged, that I was not an outlier. I felt roots with the land. I love Germany, but I did not feel this umbilical connection. My parents loved Turkey so we regularly went to Istanbul. There was this kinship. When I was in Turkey I had the sensation of completely blending in, or being absorbed despite my diaspora accent and mannerisms. Yet, at the same time I sensed deeply that I could not carry forward the burden of my ancestral karma. That was not the life I wanted for myself. I would not have restrictions placed upon my femininity, my sensuality, my sexuality, my choice of work or my choice of partnership. I was born to be free. I was determined to make my own choices I finished high school and could have gotten into medical school. That was such a disappointment to my parents because I could have so easily done it. The idea that my talent was a waste on someone like me. Everything I manifested to break free from my ancestral karma was by shear believing in myself. I went out and got a job in Germany selling newspaper subscriptions. I did catering work, distributed fliers, all the things. I made a crazy amount of money in just a few months! I took my destiny into my own hands. I didn’t take money from my parents thus opening my own financial portals. I came from a household where I was taken care of. Yet, I knew I had to break away and manifest my own life. I needed to breath. I needed to feel myself. I needed to ask, “who am I without all of this?” I left behind all the expectations to become a doctor or lawyer. I dropped all the expectations to date and marry certain types of men, to dress a certain way, to express a certain way. My parents loved me more than themselves. They thought these cultural prerogatives were what was best for me. My mom wanted me to live for her. When I left there was such a riff with my parents. I was told, “we sacrificed everything for you. We did everything our parents wanted, this is how you pay us back? I am always a good daughter, and you are not.” I didn’t take it on. I was 19, but I understood her pain. I understood intuitively what was going on. I had to go and find my way. I thought about going to India. The idea of going to another country where womanhood is contrived and controlled was not compelling. A Healing Place An emerald land in the middle of the south pacific called me. New Zealand beckoned me to her shores. I knew the land was going to heal me. New Zealand’s strong Maori culture runs deep, yet the land feels fresh. It didn’t seem to have the same collective karmic burden created by ancient civilizations. There was something about the lightness in the quality of the land that was deeply healing. I had no idea what I was doing. I bought a van and live out of my van in NZ. I had the courage to trust. I would sleep on beaches by myself. Go on hikes by myself in nature for the first time. It healed me. I got in with the spiritual community. I stayed with hippie communities, gardening, woofing, making medicines, stayed at a yoga ashram. I started bellydance. My life in NZ was all roots, organic and down to earth. It was all on my terms. Iy was a revelation and it was magical. I was aligned with grace. It shifted me. I didn’t dream of another life anymore. I was living the life I wanted. I followed my intuition. This was the only way for me. I fall into anxiety and depression if I am not living my life aligned with spirit. This new way of living healed me. New Eyes Then I applied for herbal college in NZ. I went back to German, but I made it clear I wasn’t staying. I was living on a camp ground out of my van when I was in school. Eventually, it was time to find a home. I thought now it’s time to find a home in NZ. The first place I looked at was a woman who loved world music and Eastern music. She had travelled in the east, and set up her home on the inside like a Bedouin tent! We met and it was sparks and magic. We were perfect flat mates to each other in NZ. She was one of the most precious beautiful beings. She had such a heart for the east. She loved me for me, but also because of my background. She embraced me and shared with me her delight for eastern culture. That was the first time I met a westerner who appreciated eastern culture. She truly appreciated my heritage. Her celebratory perspective helped me to rediscover and reclaim my own heritage. Germans were not really that into the oriental culture in my experience. So this was a bit of a revelation to me. Then studying herbal medicine in NZ also awakened me to the profundity of my culture. Ancient Persia’s contributions to medicine and astronomy, herbs and alchemy helped me also to reconnect to my roots. Even the lineage of my family comes from renowned ancient physicians of Persia. Having this space to reflect back gave me new eyes to appreciate my ancestors. One day I found myself in a book store. I stumbled across some Persian miniature art and broke into tears. Weeping I bought the art and placed in upon my altar. Concerts and festivals helped me find an outside appreciation for my culture. I saw my culture anew. A Place to Stand I also started to bellydance at that time. I was the only one with oriental roots who actually was doing this dance in NZ. I realized what an advantage this was because I was able to connect to the heart of the dance so naturally. The quality of bellydance was rooted in my DNA. I am truly able to embody bellydance. I don’t believe in race or separation. I believe we’re all children of the earth. However, we carry our ancestral karma in darkness and in light. I was also very connected to the Maori culture. They are all about lineage. In Marori culture, you have to know where you come from in order to know where you’re going. Tūrangawaewae is your standing place on the earth. It means, a place to stand. If you have a place to stand then you can do anything, you can be anywhere. It is literal, but is it is also transcendent. Tūrangawaewae has to do with your lineage, and land. Amazingly, their Maori word for land is the same as placenta. They always praised me saying, “You have that. You know you're lineage. You’re rooted in culture.” Dancing with my Ancestors At this time in my life the art, the music and the dance all came flooding back to me in my heart. All it took was for me to take ownership. It was always there. I just had not taken pride and ownership in my culture. Th moment I integrated ownership and pride something happened. Now, I can feel that my ancestors are so happy that I let them walk behind me. They are by my side. I kept pushing the away. My ancestors are happy that I'm dismantling the social conditioning. They support me in saying no to oppression, all the while keeping the culture alive. This is the purpose of my incarnation in this life. Everything I had experienced played into this bigger picture of untying my ancestral knots so I can truly dance. Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from a situation to be able to change it. I am doing this healing work for all the women in my family. This is my divine plan. This is my sacred story. I feel my ancestors hands on my back since I took ownership of my ancestral lineage, and karma. I feel so supported. If I fall backwards they will catch me. Even talking about it I can feel it. I did not have this support before when I divorced myself from my roots. Reunited with my Mother I went to Turkey with my mom for the first time as an adult. We went to see the dervishes, folk dances, bellydances, and sacred sites. Turkey is a place where we’re invited into the family. We’re seen as the same. My mom always would say to me. :I always get butterflies when I fly to Turkey and Iran. I feel finally I belong again.” This was the first time I felt that with her. I said, “Yes me too. I feel that too.” We had tears in our eyes. Finally we were not displaced people in the diaspora. Rather, we were accepted and belong. Have strong boundaries with your ancestors. I saw a lot of things that were not working well in my lineage. My mother had to override all of her needs to be there for everyone else. She was over burdened, and would not speak her needs because it was disrespectful. I would implore her to say no. We must listen to our bodies. We must connect to that which creates harmony in our being. Body based spirituality helps us navigate life. Having our awareness around our body as our central navigation system is the way of discernment. Listen to your body. Listen to you intuition. Drop into sensitizing to the truth in your body Beloved. You will begin to actually feel what arises from conditioning, and fear, or what is authentic to us. Observe your sensations. This happens for everyone in the present moment, but it is also a unique experience for everyone at the same time. I hold space for all of this in my workshops and retreats. Clearing Ancestral Karma There are ancestral themes that all women have in common. We can all clear our wombs. We can create a sacred space where everyone can share. Then we heal and clear together. There are different stories, but then we all come into unity through our shared story. We heal through unburdening ourselves, by seeing we are not alone, by expanding through another woman’s pain and courage. I had to grow into discernment of my cultural treasures and the ancestral burdens. I had to use the tools of therapy, nature, movement medicine, flower essences and all the things. I had to respond to and work through each layer of ancestral limitation and disharmony and samskara. How do we dismantle all of this? Step by step with great courage you will find healing. You can clear your ancestral karma for yourself, our ancestors and the generations to come. Having the tools and support is really important. My work is to help others own their own sovereign being and their individual makeup. I am not here to tell you what is appropriate or not. I am simply here sharing my own journey and the powerful practices that evolve from my transformation in a loving and compassionate way. Ask yourself, how can you be in alignment with what expands you're being? It’s about creating awareness and mindfulness. Conclusion I really feel nothing is a coincidence. This journey of transformation is part of my incarnation. It is my pain that has become my biggest gift. My life has been all about coming home within myself. This is reflected beautifully with my north node in cancer, my purpose in this lifetime being so much about the mother and home. My life’s circumstances lead me on this path of coming home to myself. I realize this truth more and more everyday. I have learned to honor my journey. I guide you to do the same. I will be sharing more content on how to connect with your ancestors Beloveds. I also have a beautiful new book coming out The Mystica's Guide to Sacred Space! I would love to share it with you. So please do sign up for my email list and I will send it to you as soon as it is released. Otherwise, I will see you at Spirit Weavers Gathering in Oregon this weekend. Halo and I will be in Crete for our annual Path of the Mystica Retreat in just a few weeks! The journey continues!