Melissa Miller first traveled to Turkey in 1986, on a folklore tour that by chance was guided by Dr. Rashid Ergener. She was struck by the plentiful evidence of the ancient Goddess that is seen everywhere in Anatolia.
Rashid, who was already very interested in the ancient Great Goddess, was delighted to know someone else was equally excited. He suggested creating a Goddess-oriented tour together, and after a few years of planning and preparation, we made the first tour in 1990.
Our tour was so magical and rewarding for everyone that we continued with the tours through the 1990s. After a five-year hiatus, we have decided to do it one more time!. The tours are transformative, life-changing journeys for our tour members. Tour participants frequently say, even many months later, that they are still absorbing and integrating the sights, sounds, and experiences of the tour.
Melissa Miller has degrees from the University of California at Berkeley (BA, Russian), and Santa Clara University (MA, Counseling Psychology). She is an outstanding dancer in many different ethnic styles, as well as musician, singer, and student of folklore.
She integrates her interests in feminism and the Great Goddess through dance. Melissa considers it a privilege to bring followers of the Goddess to the land where She first appeared, to provide seekers with the opportunity to meet Her in their own ways, and to help them to explore Her many homes in Anatolia.
Rashid has been a professional tour guide for over twenty years, leading both general-interest and special-focus tours of Turkey. It is his pleasure to show his country to hundreds of visitors each year. He loves with passion his job, which he regards as his opportunity to give and to share, not only the history and riches of his country, but also friendship and compassion.
Rashid is a student of the Great Goddess, and is proud to call himself a feminist. He is the author of Anatolia Land of Mother Goddess, which is now out of print but a second edition is due soon. Together with Melissa Miller, Rashid initiated the first ever goddess tours to Turkey, which were possibly the first ever goddess tours anywhere. During the course of these tours, Rashid and Melissa organized petitions to be sent to the Culture Ministry in Turkey, which they believe contributed to the gathering of the momentum to resume the excavations at Çatal Höyük. Following the resumption of excavations at Çatal Höyük, Rashid founded the Turkish Friends of Çatal Höyük Society, of which he is currently the President.
Dr. Rashid Ergener has degrees in Economics from Yale (BA) and Oxford (MA) University and Istanbul University (Ph.D.). He taught for twenty years at the distinguished Bosphorus University in Istanbul. His current research is on the economic activities of ancient temples and he is teaching a course entitled "History of Trade and Finance: Sacred Beginnings."
Rashid has published numerous articles in journals and newspapers and translated books into Turkish, including Good Soldier Schweik. His informative book About Turkey is an invaluable source for visitors to and students of Turkey and a key reference book for Turkish guides. Rashid has taught Turkish guides about the goddess, about church history in Turkey and about the First World War Gallipoli Campaign. He is also a published poet: "Dip me/ at the tip of a toothpick/in poetry/I'll be delicious."
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