Leaving Pompeii : An Archaeology of Grief (healing through hidden and buried rituals of the world) travel narrative  

Yoga for Creativity: Rituals to Free Your Creative Block (non-fiction)


Mara Raye

"I love to dig in inner and outer worlds for buried treasures that are the rituals of ancient cultures, which support and enhance personal and artistic power."

I am a student of medical anthropology, a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and apprentice of the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path.  My academic interests, spiritual fascinations personal history and sacred purpose have led me to share my learning in written and experiential form through workshops, retreats and books.


When I was 24 years old, my mother died suddenly from cancer. For the next 10 years my healing journey took me to Turkey, India, Italy, Belize, Costa Rica and Mexico, and found me living in Montreal, Toronto and at home in Wakefield Quebec. Throughout my travels through the inner world of grief and across the landscapes of these countries, I encountered healers, mentors and teachers from diverse paths, schools and traditions. I encountered Mayan shaman, Indian sadhus, North American yogis, medicine women, reiki healers, osteopaths and life coaches, all while seeking a way to free myself from the paralyzing pain of loss. Through each ritual and ceremony that was shared with me, whether ancient and buried or modern and innovative, I peeled back the layers of my suffering as I dealt with grief, drug addiction, anxiety disorders, fear and uncertainty. During one encounter, a long- buried event of my childhood, an obsession with the archaeological discovery of Pompeii, I realized that the sordid travelogue I was living in my own personal Pompeii, a state of paralysis in a bedrock of fear and pain. I also understood that writing my story was the ultimate ritual necessary to free myself. As I write this story of death, loss, adventure, and the quest to find freedom and personal power, I examine how we can integrate ancient healing rituals into modern life to live in health, happiness, hope, humor and harmony.

As first a yoga teacher and student of numerous paths with heart, I not only attempt to transmit and preserve the teachings in written form, but also in the experiential wisdom and joy of individual and group practice and ceremony. I call these our 'digs''. Whether an hour class or a week-long retreat every minute of ritual, of movement, song, prayer, stillness, insight and power happens because we have decided to pick up the tools of our spiritual archaeological quest, to uncover and know ourselves TO DIG GENTLY, BE FEARLESS, FREE YOURSELF. The tools are the multiplicity of rituals, inner and outer new and ancient, from near and far that can be used in everyday life for healing, freedom and personal creative power.