Mama Donna: Urban Shaman

***image1***Most would think shamans exist deep within the indigenous tribes of Africa, the lush tropical rain forest or even of the American Southwest. However, if you’re looking for a shaman, you need not look beyond your own home town. Brooklyn is home to New York’s most interesting people — an urban shaman, or rather “sha-woman”, known to many as Mama Donna.

Mama Donna, whose real name is Donna Henes, is a eclectic patchwork quilt of talents, services and knowledge, as she wears many spiritual hats in order to help her community, both at home and abroad. As an artist, writer, counselor, scholar, activist, international event coordinator, psychic and Wiccan, Mama Donna is both an urbanite and a globalite, but most importantly, a revolutionary.

Her intention is to bring her message of international spirituality and cooperation to the public, and in doing so, she has won several fellowships from various cities, organizations and corporate sponsors as well as from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

***image3***In addition, she has written three books, The Moon Watcher’s Companion (Marlowe & Co. 2004), Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles & Celebrations (Perigee: Penguin/Putnam 1996) and Dressing Our Wounds In Warm Clothes (Astro Artz 1982) and currently publishes a quarterly journal entitled, Always In Season: Living in Sync with the Cycles .

On the international front, Mama Donna has served as a children’s book award judge for the United Nations Jane Addams Peace Association from 1980-1988. However, her influence is not only on an international level, but a celestial one as well, as she composed the first satellite peace message in space: “chants for peace * chance for peace” in 1982.

Marching to the beat of her own drummer, Mama Donna’s writings, philosophies and activities incorporate the mythology, religion, feminism, psychology and mysticism of many different cultures around the world. And her ritual events which can take place, not just in Manhattan, but anywhere on the globe, are created to specifically bring people together to raise their consciousness and awareness of the planet as a whole, and instill the interconnectedness of the international community of humankind, as Mama Donna writes, “ All of my work emphasizes community involvement and creative expressions of interconnectivity. I strive to bring all sorts of people together in unusual and non-threatening ways to interrelate with each other in the spirit of sharing, caring and peace.”

***image4*** Mama Donna will be hosting a fascinating trip to the Mediterranean this October, entitled, A Sacred Journey to Greece for Women, where she will share with visitors the mysticism of ancient Greece with its matriarchal and spiritual connections.

When not lecturing around the world or leading a ritual, Mama Donna runs a ceremonial center in Brooklyn, known as MAMA DONNA’S TEA GARDEN AND HEALING HAVEN , where such things as drumming circles, spiritual counseling and her spirit shop can be found. To find out more on Mama Donna, her work and her Tea Garden and Healing Haven, please email: , visit: or contact:

Mama Donna’s Tea Garden and Healing Haven P.O. Box 380403 Exotic Brooklyn, NY 11238-0403 Phone/Fax: 718-857-2247

by C.Tallon
Donna Henes is an acclaimed urban shaman, contemporary ceremonialist, artist and writer. She has designed and produced countless public participatory ceremonial events in celebration of the universal cycles of the seasons in more than 100 cities in nine countries since 1972. She is the author The Moon Watcher's Companion, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles & Celebrations and Dressing Our Wounds In Warm Clothes as well as a CD, Reverence To Her: Part One: Mythology, the Matriarchy, & Me. Henes is a founding member and on the Board of Directors of the International Center for Celebration, and she served as a children's book award judge for the United Nations Jane Addams Peace Association from 1980-1988. For more info visit