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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Mining For Meaning

posted by Donna Henes

The shamanic assumption from which I operate is that every person has her own significant mission in this lifetime: her own path, her own dreams, her own symbols and sensibilities, her own visions and designs, her own way of learning, her own personalized hard-won lessons. That we each have our own singular life to live. That every one of us must figure out for ourselves the fullest, richest, most effective, ethical and satisfying way in which to do it; and moreover, that each and every one of us possesses the wisdom, the power and the responsibility to make it so.

Easy enough said. But so many folks feel awash, helpless and worse — hopeless — floating from one thing to the next without a plan or sense of meaning. How often people come to me saying “I feel like there must be a deeper purpose to life than just working… I must be here on this planet to do something special, but for the life of me I don’t know what that is…I don’t have a clue… I keep thinking that by this time in my life I should know what my true path is… I am at a loss… What can I do?”

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There is only one thing to do and that is to dig deep down into ourselves to find out what makes us tick, what tickles our fancy and what touches our soul. We can only discover our own truth by paying close attention to the promptings of our inner selves and to our honest reactions to the external energies that surround us. It is ultimately up to us whether we succumb to an unexamined life or try to figure out what the hell is going on inside us and around us, and to engage in it, alter, change, and grow with it, so that we might fulfill our greatest destiny and dreams.

We can encourage our inner voice by listening to it. For this we need to concentrate, turn off the static of our hectic daily lives and tune in to the subtlety of spirit speaking on subconscious sound waves. And most important, we need to be open and willing to hear the message. I once consulted my spirit guide, Kanin, by means of a ouji board and asked her if it was she who I hear singing in my ears when a new chant comes to me. She allowed that it was, and then she chastised me. She told me that I needed to do more automatic writing because I was sometimes so hard to get hold of!!

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Perhaps it isn’t always clear or conscious, but somewhere deep down inside of us, in the very core of our being, we do know our authentic path. We know what we want and what we need; what feeds us, and what defeats us. We know our life’s purpose. It is just a matter of paying attention. We know what’s right, because it feelsright. By listening to our inner voice, we discover our true intentions and direction. And when it feels wrong, we really know it.

Our lessons, and our understanding of them, are often not immediately available or obvious to us. They come encoded in signs and symbols that seem like a foreign language. But, no matter how difficult, it is up to us to access them — if we dare. If we care to earn our sovereignty and walk our destined path, we must excavate the buried treasure of our own value and infinite worth.

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By keeping track of the circumstances and situations of our lives and our own conscious and unconscious responses to them, we can plot our course, chart our progress, project our aspirations, alter our habits, adjust our attitudes, and plan our actions.

I call this practice, “Noting the Process of Noting the Process.” I use the term “practice” advisedly. Practice implies focus, attention, concentration and discipline. But the mental effort and dedication required, is well rewarded by the Self-knowledge that we stand to gain.

The word “practice” also serves to remind us that there is no perfect. Whether we maintain a spiritual practice, a creative practice or a professional practice, we are always in the process of learning, adapting, accommodating, growing and changing. The only end comes when we die. In the meantime, all we have is the means, the very process of living, itself, the path that we follow. We try, we move forward, we trip, we fall behind, we start again and eventually we become, while not perfect, perhaps, perfectly in line with our life’s purpose.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

 

 

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Life Begins at 42

posted by Donna Henes

Saint Hildegard’s Guide to Becoming a Midlife Powerfrau
By Mary Sharratt

We live in a youth-obsessed culture. The cosmetic industry pushes wrinkle creams and hair dye on us while celebrities resort to Botox and surgery to preserve an illusion of eternal girlhood. We live longer than ever before, yet advancing age, once a mark of honour, has become a source of shame.

But what happens when women embrace midlife as an inner awakening and call to power?

One such woman was Saint Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), powerfrau and late bloomer par excellence.

Her youth was dire. Offered to the Church at the age of eight, she was entombed in an anchorage. Though she had been haunted by luminous visions since earliest childhood, she didn’t dare speak of them. Her entire existence was bent on silent submission to her superior, Jutta von Sponheim, an ascetic whose regime of fasting and mortification of the flesh eventually killed her.

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Only after Jutta’s demise could Hildegard step out of the shadows and carve out a spiritual life based not on suffering but on celebrating life in all its burgeoning green beauty. Even so she might have remained obscure, lost to history.

But when she was forty-two, everything changed. “When I was forty-two years and seven months old,” she wrote, “Heaven was opened and a fiery light of exceeding brilliance came and permeated my whole brain, and inflamed my whole heart and my whole breast, not like a burning but like a warming flame, as the sun warms anything its rays touch.”

Dazzling visionary experiences descended upon Hildegard, along with the divine summons to write and speak of her revelations. Reluctantly at first she embarked on her first book of theology, Scivias, or Know the Ways. After putting quill to parchment, she could never go back.

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Hildegard went on to found two monasteries, go on four preaching tours, compose an entire corpus of sacred music, and write nine books on subjects as diverse as cosmology, botany, medicine, and human sexuality, thus leaving her indelible mark on history.

Most of us believe we live in a more enlightened age than Hildegard’s—after all, children are no longer offered as tithes to monasteries. Yet many young women find themselves in modern and secular forms of servitude—dead end relationships, soul-crippling jobs, credit card debt, a life of junk food and junk television—all the sadness and waste of an unexamined life.

We don’t need to be visionaries to break free. We just need to remember who we are, that we all serve some higher purpose. Each of us has our own unique gift to give the world.

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In youth, it’s easy to be beguiled by the glamour of the surface of things—if we get the right job, the right partner, the right clothes we’ll be happy forever.

But in midlife we are gifted with the maturity to see through the false scripts consumer society hands to us. After a certain age we can see just how absurd it is to kill ourselves to emulate airbrushed supermodels. We realize that the greatest lover in the world can’t fulfill us until we are at peace with ourselves. And so we can let ourselves go. Paint the pictures we’ve always longed to paint. Learn French and travel the world. Dance under the stars. Play the saxophone. Offer our own song to the vast symphony of life.

Remember, it’s never too early or too late to embrace your inner powerfrau.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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De Sancta Maria

posted by Donna Henes

Hail to you, O greenest, most fertile branch!
You budded forth amidst breezes and winds
in search of the knowledge of all that is holy.
When the time was ripe
your own branch brought forth blossoms.
Hail greetings to you!
The heat of the sun exudes sweat from you
like the balsam’s perfume.
In you, the most stunning flower has blossomed
and gives off its sweet odor to all the herbs and roots,
which were dry and thirsting before your arrival.
Because of you, the heavens give dew to the grass,
the whole Earth rejoices;
abundance of grain comes from Earth’s womb
and on its stalks and branches birds nest.
And, because of you, nourishment is given the human family
and great rejoicing to those gathered around the table.
And so, in you O gentle Virgin,
is every fullness of joy, everything that Eve rejected.
Now let endless praise resound to the Most High!

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–Hildegard of Bingen
11th Century German Mystic

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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Nature, Our Mother

posted by Donna Henes

In the beginning, there was woman. And she was versatile. She breathed, she stretched, she strode, she sat, she foraged, she trapped, she planted, she cooked, she ate, she bled, she danced, she laughed, she slept, she dreamed, she played, she prayed. She made art, she made ceremonies, she made love, she made babies. Our modern minds automatically make a connection between these last two activities. But this is only a relatively recent conception, if you’ll pardon my pun.

Woman, like the female of every species, produces young. And she appears to do so with out any particular help. Parthenogenic. Of course, we now know that this feat is accomplished with a certain modest participation by the male, but the outcome of copulation was not always apparent. What was perfectly clear and obvious, was that she was somehow able to fashion from herself the stuff of life. To bear from her own blood and body a new generation. And, as if that wasn’t wondrous enough, she could also manufacture the substance of sustenance so that she could continue to nurture her consummate creations.

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She was prolific, capable of repeating the entire miraculous process again and again. In fact it was — and still is in large parts of the world today — quite common for a woman to wean one child only to immediately conceive the next. Our own grandparents commonly came from families with eight, ten, twelve children. Mme. Vassilet, a nineteenth century Russian peasant is the undefeated record holder in the World Fertility Cup. It is well documented that her twenty-seven full term pregnancies produced sixty-nine children, most of whom grew to adulthood. She gave birth to sixteen pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. Mother Vassilet was well known in her time and was honored at the imperial court of Czar Alexander II.

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Is this not the way of Nature Herself? Does She not constantly produce and provide? Reproduce and recycle? Engender and embrace? The Earth is alive with the fruit of Her fecundity — nconceivable multitudes of animals, vegetables and minerals. There are more than a million species of animals, 4,000 species of mammals alone. There are more than 350,000 species of plants, 100,000 species of fungi, 100,000 species of protista (algae and the like) and 10,000 species of monera, including bacteria. Each species made up of how many families, how many individuals?

Nature, then, must be female: Mother Nature, Mother Earth. Father Earth was a totally nonexistent concept and has forever remained so. I have never heard, read or dreamed even one reference to him. Have you? Herodotus wrote that all of the known names for the Earth were female. “Nature is our mother,” the Latin proverb proclaims. The Gypsies say, “The Earth is our mother. . .the secret of life comes from the ground.” Asase Ya is the Earth Mother of the African Ashanti. They tell, “We got everything from Asase Ya, food, water: we rest upon Her when we die.”

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The land is a mother that never dies.
- Maori Proverb

Humankind, in its infancy, clung to the primal comprehension of a maternal Earth, in the same way that any completely dependent child hangs onto her mother’s hip. The reality of our utter reliance incontrovertible, we held on for dear life.

Until only five, six thousand years ago, the archetypal Great Mother, creatrix of all existence, matriarch of the races of god/desses, reigned supreme everywhere. Homer sang her praises, “I shall sing of Gaia, Universal Mother, firmly founded, Oldest of all the Holy Ones.” Foremost in all early religions, She was personified and identified in many ways, but always everywhere She was regarded with reverence and deference as a living mother.

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But now, we, her naughty children, have managed to deface Her every surface and sully her beneficent life-giving gifts. Have we no shame? Like bad seed, humankind seems hell-bent on matricide. Unless we — the Mothers, the Grandmothers, the Queens — have our say and demand our way. It is up to us. W have the whole world in our hands.
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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Previous Posts

Mining For Meaning
The shamanic assumption from which I operate is that every person has her own significant mission in this lifetime: her own path, her own dreams, her own symbols and sensibilities, her own visions and designs, her own way of learning, her own personalized hard-won lessons. That we each have our own

posted 6:00:56am Mar. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Life Begins at 42
Saint Hildegard’s Guide to Becoming a Midlife Powerfrau By Mary Sharratt We live in a youth-obsessed culture. The cosmetic industry pushes wrinkle creams and hair dye on us while celebrities resort to Botox and surgery to preserve an illusion of eternal girlhood. We live longer than ever befo

posted 6:00:00am Mar. 27, 2015 | read full post »

De Sancta Maria
Hail to you, O greenest, most fertile branch! You budded forth amidst breezes and winds in search of the knowledge of all that is holy. When the time was ripe your own branch brought forth blossoms. Hail greetings to you! The heat of the sun exudes sweat from you like the balsam’s perfume.

posted 6:00:55am Mar. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Nature, Our Mother
In the beginning, there was woman. And she was versatile. She breathed, she stretched, she strode, she sat, she foraged, she trapped, she planted, she cooked, she ate, she bled, she danced, she laughed, she slept, she dreamed, she played, she prayed. She made art, she made ceremonies, she made love,

posted 6:00:25am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Spring Cleaning
Happy Spring! In winter, we spend inordinate amounts of time inside, dwelling, stewing, stagnating in enforced inactivity. When our hibernating energy finally re-awakens in the spring, it is with a pronounced case of morning breath. After the dust, the must, the rust of winter, a thorough spring

posted 6:00:14am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

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