Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

This week’s theme is Dancing Queens. And Crones.

My friend Kay is the official folklorist of Brooklyn. A couple of years ago she organized a month long Arab music festival. One of the evenings was a belly dance extravaganza, which I attended with my entire Goddess Group.

I was still on my cane following my fall a few months earlier, but that didn’t prevent me from getting up to swing my hips with everyone else during the participatory dance jam sessions in between the performer’s sets.

How could I stay in my seat? The music was so mesmerizing and the dancers so alluring. A sea of swaying, undulating arms, breasts and bellies, moving to the rhythms of the ages. That room was filled with fiery female energy. We were all, men and women alike, enveloped in the embrace of the Goddess.

“I want to learn how to belly dance,” I announced and Suzanne immediately said that she would take lessons with me. But I was hesitant about attending a class full of twenty-something skinny girls.

I really didn’t want to be the only zaftig mama old enough to almost be their grandmother in the bunch. But then, again, the Queen doesn’t deign to think such petty thoughts. Or does she?

Andrea, one of the women in one of my spirit support groups, a long time belly dancer who is twenty-something, lovely and lithe, directed me to the perfect class. A beginner’s class with women from their twenties to their sixties, every shape, size, color and aptitude.

And so, at the age of 62 I took up belly dance. Or perhaps I should say it has taken me up and held me in its thrall. It feels so natural, somehow. Sensual, earthy. elemental. Slightly sinful and delicious. It got my juices flowing big time.

I first saw belly dancing in Morocco thirty some years ago. The women were much older than me, mature and fleshy. Real women with real bellies. Mature women who had seen a lot of life and who knew a lot of things. Secure in their own power, they danced with assurance, and emanated an authoritative energy rather like Gypsy flamenco dancers.

Belly dancing gets better with age. My friend Serpentessa is an extraordinary belly dancer who performs with her snakes. She moves like the serpents, who are her familiars. She is no spring chicken, but a juicy autumn hen. My teacher’s teacher is coming to New York this fall to give classes in double veil technique. She is in her 80’s.

I gave a keynote address and workshop about The Queen at the International Goddess Conference in Glastonbury. On the last day there was celebration to honor the 90th birthday of Grand Dame Lady Olivia Robertson founder of the Fellowship of Isis.

She appeared in a transparent gossamer toga-like garment, trailing veils and her long flowing white hair behind her. She danced slowly, with a concentrated reverence. Every movement was a prayer — in touch, intense and internal. Essential. Archetypal.

A ceremony to crown the Queens and the Crones followed Lady Olivia’s awesome dance. The mature women at the conference chose whether they were Queens or Crones.

There were maybe a hundred Queens sitting in a large circle and about a dozen Crones in a small circle inside of that round of Queens. The Maidens and Mothers sat outside of the circle and bore witness to the crownings. Nonagenarian Lady Olivia, Goddess bless her soul, insisted on being crowned a Queen. And so she is! It’s got to be the dancing.

If I can’t dance – I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
– Emma Goldman

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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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