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Book Reviews
Woman Through the Ages
By: Ann Merivale - O-Books, $43.95

Description: Woman Through the Ages is a Life (vs!) story with a difference, showing from personal experience the varied and contrasting roles, and attitudes towards, women.

Verdict: Did you know that the first named piece of writing was the work of a Sumerian woman in approximately 2085 BC, while the world’s first novel was written by a Japanese woman in the eleventh century?

Or that Hildegard of Bingen, the great twelfth century Abbess, writer, and composer, defied the Church’s traditions by viewing feminine sexuality as a gift of God?

Or that one of China’s most powerful Emperors was a woman?

These are but a few examples of the facts in this autobiography with a difference, Woman Through the Ages. Author Ann Merivale, a deep-memory process therapist, has used previous lifetimes in her own history to illustrate the roles we all play in preparation for returning to the source whence we’ve come.

Skillfully weaving her personal story into each area and time period covered, author Ann Merivale highlights the injustices wrought on women for centuries, as well as their many achievements.

Throughout history, women have had very different experiences at different times. Some past societies had women who were warriors, powerful priestesses, and political leaders. At other times strict expectations have been placed on women, with (male) writers portraying them as inferior to men.

Looking at how a society treats its women can be very enlightening. Thus, this highly relatable and wholly spiritual odyssey from Merivale opens a poignant investigation, if you will, into the position of women at different points in history, thus showing us how our society has grown and changed (for better and for worse).

Surprisingly perhaps, ancient history records many strong female figures - rulers and warriors who did deeds the history-writers thought worthy of recording. Cleopatra, Boudicca, Esther. Their names echo down history to the present day.

As aforementioned, the first poem written down, which has survived to the present day, was written by a women called Enheduanna. She was a priestess in Sumerian civilization and her poem is a prayer of praise to a female deity called Innana.

So, the first known author was a woman - very interesting given that in later times women were discouraged from writing and even from learning to read!

Recollecting her very own past lives, allowing us to join her reflections on journeys taken, let alone evoking within us out own personal thoughts over the nature of consciousness and the identity within our spiritual world connectivities, with each passing recollection it raises more and more profound questions.

For what Ann also does well is keep an open mind about her various reincarnations, also called transmigration or metempsychosis, in religion and philosophy; a rebirth of the aspect of an individual that persists after bodily death — whether it be consciousness, mind, the soul, or some other entity — in one or more successive existences.

Also discussed is Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and the Sibyl of the Rhine, who was a German Benedictine abbess and polymath active as a writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, visionary, and as a medical writer and practitioner during the High Middle Ages.

As noted, the great twelfth century Abbess, writer, and composer, defied the Church’s traditions by viewing feminine sexuality as a gift of God. Hence, she has been considered by many in Europe to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

In closing, Woman Through the Ages gives a fascinating and comprehensive picture of womanhood through the ages and concludes that the time for equality and greater respect for feminine energy is finally arriving.

For at the end of the day what is important is that women have a choice about how they want to be, and behave and how they spend their time. Women through history have not always had that choice - often society has placed strict controls on them. Ergo, we owe a debt of gratitude the women who went before us and changed the rules forever.

About the Author - Ann Merivale is a Woolger-trained Deep Memory Process therapist. She lives in Worcestershire but also works at the Ripon Natural Health Centre in N. Yorks.

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