The Ancient Series
I call the second part Ancient Katie. These next four books deal with Katie's life in 1326 BC, when she becomes Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War
As an author I have an ability to land these guys anywhere in space and time, allowing me a wide-open palette from which to paint their actions. Using time travel, and magic I place our heroes in unique situations and locations all over the world, and anytime in history, intertwining factual history with religious myths and miracles.
Katie Reynolds, a young veterinary doctor from California, is sent overseas to war-torn Kurdistan to find a disease spreading from animals to people. Unexpectedly caught in a firestorm, she is cast into the ancient Middle East, where she has only her intelligence to keep her alive in the extraordinary and archaic time of 1326 BC, the age of the Egyptian Pharaohs.
The way Katie appeared to these people caused them to understand this was their goddess come to earth, mistaken for Ištar, the ancient Sumerian goddess of love and war, a voluptuously naked, winged woman with lions on either side of her and an eight-pointed star above her head. Intimately connected with fertility, sexuality, and war, her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle emulating the planet Venus. Revered as both the evening and morning stars, the worship of this goddess was prevalent, dictating the lives of people and societies over thousands of years.
Ištar’s influence as the goddess of the Cradle of Civilization permeated all aspects of ancient life, for what else is there besides love and war? Ištar's temples sprang up along all significant river courses, the old avenues of commerce and migration. Her temples graced cities along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the Orontes, and Eleutheros, even the mighty Nile, where Ištar's priest's often disagreed with the dictates of Egyptian Pharaohs.
Ištar was one of a series of names for the same deity. Ištar adorned the temples of Nineveh in Iraq, Ugarit in Syria, and Akhmin in Egypt. She enhanced the temple in Paphos, Cyprus, laying the groundwork for the rise of Aphrodite from the sea foam a few hundreds of years later. Aphrodite became Venus when Romans inherited the world from the Greek pantheon of Mount Olympus.
Katie's real acceptance could not begin until she came to understand these ancients really and truly believed she was divine Ištar come to earth. They took her earthly appearance in stride because that is what all the religions told people: we leave food on the altars for our gods so they will come home to protect the place. And up to this point the priests used totems, called sanjaqs in place of real gods to dialog with the heavens above.
But the appearance of a real live Ištar was unheard of; hitherto, no god had deigned to walk among man, preferring to watch from high above, throwing fire and brimstone down upon the people instead of helping them. Religion told the tribe members’ people were made to serve the gods
When Katie’s accident cast her inside the ancient temple in Lalish, Moudad, the head priest immediately felt this was divine intervention. Wise enough to see how this could work to his advantage, he champions the goddess in human form, feeling special because she appeared in his temple. He may have harbored ulterior motives for Ištar's survival, but by and large, he supported her to his fullest, which was big on heart and weak on might. His people, the ancient Yezidis, were never any match for the chariots and horses of their neighbors, the Mitannis, the Egyptians, and the Hittites.
Katie fit the role of Ištar well and revealed to the Yezidis a kinder, gentler side of their beloved god. She was also an Āsûtu, a medical practitioner who had cunning and knowledge unheard of in the world of these ancient people.
The Inconvenient Goddess
Following a lengthy convalescence in a primitive and foreign place, it takes Katie a while to realize she has been cast into a very ancient time. Not even the stars are familiar, the star clusters she expects; the ones she grew up with wouldn’t be in their familiar heavenly positions for another four thousand years.
Luckily Katie finds two things to help her maintain a grip on her sanity; these ancients thought she was a goddess come to earth, and treated her accordingly. And, she was thrilled to realize René, her twentieth-century accomplice tripped through the same time portal she did during the firestorm.
Of Gods and Mortals