The Queen of My Self

This comes from a sister Queen, Jo Coffey. It is in response to an article that I wrote for this column.

It was really a lift to read your piece about the Dark Time. I have been feeling out of sorts, but it helps just to realize that other people are in the same situation, and that there are ways to work with this time.

I’m passing on these thoughts from the Irish sense of the year as a way of perhaps participating in your work at a distance.

The New Year begins at Samhain (around November 1) with death. Death is probably the most powerful portal to the Otherworld, not just for the one who dies, but for those who have some connection with the dying one.

Samhain is the death of the year, so this is the time of year that the veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest. That’s where our Halloween festivities come from, of course. Death is also a time of dissolution, a time of breaking of form, in that sense, a time of destruction.

The very next significant moment in the year is the Winter Solstice, when the elements that have been liberated by death are brought back into the cycle of life through the marriage – the cosmic sexual union – of light and darkness. The 5,000-year old temple at Newgrange celebrates just this marriage, when the light from the sun enters the womb of the earth at sunrise, the junction point of night and day.

Around the solstice and just after, the period we are now in, all things – the creatures of the earth and even the sun – are quietly and mostly out of sight growing, gathering energy and strength, getting ready to be born.

Light and dark, day and night, are the two primary energies as the Irish

understand space/time. Male and female present themselves in the first instance in these forms. I found an interesting confirmation of this recently in a piece entitled “The Golden Age” that Yeats published in his Celtic Twilight:

“A while ago I was in the train, and getting near Sligo. The last time I had been there something was troubling me, and I longed for a message from those beings or bodiless moods, or whatever they be, who inhabit the world of spirits. The message came, for one night I saw with blinding distinctiveness a black animal, half weasel, half dog, moving along the top of a stone wall, and presently the black animal vanished, and from the other side came a white weasel-like dog, his pink flesh shining through his white hair and all in a blaze of light; and I remembered the peasant belief about two fairy dogs who go about representing day and night, good and evil.”

Yeats makes the patriarchal identification of dark with evil. It’s so important to work to correct that, just as you are doing.

– Jo Coffey, CA /Ireland

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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

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