We are pleased to welcome to our blog today Dr. Jikun Kathy Sankey, who joins us for a Virtual Book Tour featuring her novel, My Name Is Mahataa. Kathy is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and treats patients using acupuncture, nutrition, Chinese and Western herbs and Jin Shin Jitsu. She’s participated in meditation retreats for years and currently heads the One Drop Zendo in Los Angeles.
Her Mentor Center: Welcome, Kathy. The title of your novel is intriguing. Who is Mahataa and can you tell us more about her?
Jikun Kathy Sankey: Mahataa was the name of my maternal grandmother, born in 1902, in the northern province of the island of Okinawa. She received this name, which means “Great One” in Sanskrit, but no one knows how or why she got this name as her parents died when she was a little girl and she was raised by an older brother. There is no one else on the islands of the archipelago who has this name. It is unusual and unique inside of the now-Japanese culture.
HMC: In your book, what topics do you introduce to your readers as you tell Mahataa’s story?
JKS: I introduce the three main matriarchs of the culture, the high priestess (Noro), the healer (Yabuu) and the soothsayer (Yuta). There is a fantastical yet serious exploration of each matriarch – with partial fact, partial fiction – as these characters teach Mahataa. The high priestess was a very important figure in ancient times, acting as mouthpiece of Divine counsel to the King. She received guidance from celestial powers to counsel the King on many matters. The healer received indigenous healing methods passed down from predecessors as well as from surrounding countries in the Far East, as Okinawa was a go-between for trade ships throughout the Pacific. My belief is that the earliest soothsayer was extremely gifted and could tap wisdom from other Seers in surrounding lands through important Divinely inspired works such as the I Ching that I mention in my book.
I also include an old monk who brings the teachings of Clear Mind Meditation. The novel also introduces the beginning of a love interest.
HMC: How much of My Name is Mahataa is fact, how much is fiction?
JKS: Although my book is a novel and a work of fiction, I have tried to use not only a historical backdrop but have also woven many facts throughout the work. I must have done a good job of melting and mixing fact and fiction because my own brother, while reading the book, called me citing a passage from one of the chapters and plucking a bit of information about our family history, asked quite startled, “Is that true? Was our great-grandmother a storyteller?” My answer was: I think so. I am not sure.
HMC: What was your motivation for writing this book?
JKS: The name of my grandmother was always a subject of interest to me. How did she receive this name when no one on the island has such a name and when, in fact, according to a Sanskrit dictionary I consulted, it means “Great One.” As I mentioned, her parents died when she was young and no one knew how she received this name. She was a well-respected person and known for her wisdom. I wanted at first to write a biography but was not able to get enough information about her so I embarked on my Mahataa Project – which would have to be a book of fiction. I allowed myself to receive a kind of stream of consciousness writing. That is why I believe this book is true! I think I tapped information that resides in my own cells, inherited from all who came before me.
HMC: Will there be a sequel and/or prequel?
JKS: This book has been published now for almost a year and I am just now inspired to write both a sequel and prequel at the same time! Both of these will be more commercially oriented whereas this current book is a teaching novel.
HMC: Thank you, Kathy, for joining us today and introducing us to your grandmother, Mahataa, as well as to her spiritual values. Readers if you would like to ask Kathy any questions about her life, her novel, her process of writing it, please go to the “Comment” section below and ask away.