The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Protest is Good for You

posted by Donna Henes

The media likes to portray peace, environment and human and animal rights protesters as a fringe element of whining malcontents teetering on the margins of proper society. The truth is that those who step forward to speak their minds are happier and healthier folks than most.

Protesting is not complaining nor is it sending out negative messages. Pro means “for,” “in favor of.” Test means, “to speak,” as in testify and testimony. So, protest actually means, “to speak for.” Protest is a completely positive endeavor.

Albert Einstein wrote “The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything…Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.”
 
A new study by John Drury, professor of social psychology at the University of Sussex in England, shows that it is good for you to protest. Even though protesters may be depressed about the state of the world, their physical and mental ailments improve dramatically as a result of taking part in a group effort for change and the betterment of conditions.

I won’t be made useless
I won’t be idle with despair

- Jewel
From “Hands”

Involvement in social causes and participation in political demonstrations banishes sensations of isolation, discouragement and impotence and replaces them with an exhilarating awareness of connectedness, well being and empowerment.

When people participate in large-scale protests they get swept up in a communal mood of optimism that feeds their feelings of hope. They believe that their actions can help to change the course of history. “Collective action can therefore be a life-changing, uplifting and life-enhancing experience,” says Drury.

The French have a fabulous saying that when a woman loses her blood, she gains her voice. Just think! 60 million midlife Queens with voices loud and clear and determined, pro-testing for sanity, compassion, peace and well-being for all people as well as for our planet home.

Let us stand strong in our sovereignty and speak up!
 
We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation and that always seems fraught with danger. We fear the very visibility without which we also cannot truly live-and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which is also the source of our greatest strength.
-Audre Lorde

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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.

 

Water Most Maternal

posted by Donna Henes

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all. The theme for 2010 is water.

Water Most Maternal

Earth is the only planet known to have water. It is, in fact, covered with water over 70% of its surface. Oceans and rivers, ponds and streams, lakes and falls, glaciers and seas run like veins through a living body, carrying refreshment and nutrients to all its parts.

And we, being children of this earth, our mother, mimic its makeup in our own bodies, which are also comprised of close to 80% water. Before we are born, we are cradled in the belly of our creator, suspended safely in an ocean-sac of fluid. Tethered like embryonic astronauts, tied to the source of our sustenance, each in our own saline universe.

Once we are born, and for as long as we shall live, we need to consume quantities of fresh water daily in order to maintain smooth functioning of our systems. Deprived of adequate water, we quickly become dehydrated — a state which we can survive for only a very few days. Without water, we die.

Because water is such an essential element, it has come to stand for the origin of all life — cycles, seasons, species — and its sacred renewal.  The Hindu Vedas refer to water as the Most Maternal, the original sea at the beginning of time from which the whole world emerged. In India, water is seen as the bearer and preserver of life, coursing through all of nature as river, as rain, as dew, as sap, as blood, as sweat, as tears, as milk.

The Egyptian Great Goddess of the Watery Heavens, Nut, whose worship was already ancient by the time of the first dynasty, was represented by a celestial cow. Bovine symbol of motherhood, she is the first ocean of creation and mistress of all waters. She leans over the earth in a protective attitude, her bent form framing the sky. She carries the sun on her back and wets the ground with the nourishing milk from her universal udders.

Goddess figures carved in the Neolithic period, which have been found throughout Europe and Anatolia, depict the divine Mother Goddess with Her breasts incised with chevrons. These V-shaped symbols associated with both birds and water, suggest the life-giving showers She sends us from the sky. Arctic hunting peoples still see, as they have since Paleolithic times, Her breasts in the shapes of the clouds above.

About eight thousand years ago the planet experienced a drying trend of several centuries duration. Rain was sparse, water scarce. Figures from this period, which were unearthed in the Balkan region of Europe, bear witness to the aridity of those times. They depict seated women holding big bowls on their large laps. There is something humble in their demeanor. Are they simply sitting, waiting patiently for rain to fall? Or is this a posture of petition? Invocation? Devotion? Divination?

Mother Sea, mother to millennia of mothers, is one of humanity’s oldest images. She is the Goddess of the Waters of Life. Our Lady of the Holy Water, whose cosmic womb is an archetypal symbol of birth and re-birth in many creation myths worldwide. She arises from the primordial ocean. She is fully capable of issuing forth, all alone from her own body, life in all its forms. Which She then supports as well. A proficient provider, She produces and shares the stuff of survival, wet nurse to all Her offspring.

I am the woman of the great expanse of the waters
I am the woman of the great expanse of the divine sea
She is the Woman of the Flowing Water
She is the Woman of the Flowing Water
She is a woman whose palms are like spoons
She is a woman with hands of measure.

- Maria Sabina
                
Mother Sea, Mother Earth, Mother Nature were ultimately overthrown by our Father Who Art in Heaven. The Great Mother Goddess, giving and generous, evolved into God the Father, withholding and judgmental. And rain, the bountiful milk from Her eternally full breast, become the salty semen of He who fertilizes. Although there are still today indigenous cultures in Africa, Australia, Oceana, Native and Latin America who regard rain to be in the realm of the Goddess of Waters, most of the world’s peoples now view precipitation as a divine male attribute.

Rain remains the vital vivifying fluid, which flows down from the heaven. To recycle and replenish the water stores. To refresh and revitalize the earth.  Celestial substance of necessity, rain is absolutely elemental. But quite quirky. You never know with rain. Too much, too little, too late, too soon, too hard. You can’t really depend on it. And yet you have to.

Today we know how to make it rain. And snow, as well, for that matter. Cloud seeding is as simple as sitting in the cabin of small plane and tossing out handfuls of finely ground ice crystals into the clouds. Another macho trick from a culture that sees itself in battle with Mother Nature. Hey, we even know how to make acid rain! What comes out of the clouds these days could kill you.

Just a little rain.
Just a little rain.
What have they done to the rain?

- The Searchers, 1969

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

 

The Spirit of a Woman

posted by Donna Henes

There is a wonderful new anthology that I would like to share with you. The Spirit of a Woman: Stories to Empower and Inspire is the vision of Terry Lázló-Gopadze, who edited the volume. She collected remarkable true tales from remarkable women, one of whom, I am proud to say, is me.

These stories all describe pivotal times in their lives when they were called to rise to a difficult occasion, and do so with courage, high minded spirit and aplomb. Stories of illness, stories of war, stories of trauma, tales of terror. Stories of healing, of forgiveness, stories of forbearance, stories of grace and goodwill.

These women are all, with the exception of one, of a certain age. And they are all, every last one, exemplary Queens. They are rulers of them Selves, their principles, their compassion, their forthrightness, their dignity, their creativity.

Angeles Arrien writes in her forward to the anthology:

Even though these simple stories seem to be very diverse, every story within this anthology has a special and consistent quality of conviction, love, care, faith, wit, resourcefulness and humility. Without a doubt this is the best collection of stories to date that honors and illustrates the power and beauty and integrity of the feminine principle that resides in each human being.

…Demonstrates the power of the feminine principle in action, and shows us how it can, how it does, change the world. It is impossible to read these stories without having your estimation of the human spirit rise, and to experience the deep living feminine principle globally residing in Mother Earth, in aqua femina — the deep waters and oceans that embrace Mother Earth  — and in our own natures at this time in history. What committed actions wil you take to foster the feminine principle within your own nature and in the world as a result of reading these exceptional stories.

Gift your Self with this book.

And if you are in New York City, Do join Terry Lázló-Gopadze, Suni Paz and me for a wonderful evening of words and music.

Thursday, October 14, 6:30 PM

THE SPIRIT OF A WOMAN

Quest Books
240 East 53rd Street
New York, NY
For information:
212-758-5521
www.questbookshop.com
Free
Complimentary wine and snacks.

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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.

The Back Story

posted by Donna Henes

It is coming up on six years since the publication of The Queen of My Self. This anniversary has sparked introspection, provoked evaluation and evoked some amazing memories.

Seizing My Sovereignty Back From Hostile Captors

I was, of course, thrilled when The Queen was sold to a prestigious publisher with an advance that would allow me to write full time for several months without worrying about the rent. The best part was that they committed to a vigorous promotion plan — rare in publishing even back then.

My deadline was brutally tight, but necessary in order to have a big launch on Mother’s Day as they had planned. I handed in the completed manuscript exactly on time. And then waited for six weeks with no word whatsoever.

Something was wrong. They could never keep to the schedule at this rate. Finally I received a twelve page, single-spaced, eight point type letter critiquing the book. Not the writing so much as the premise, the title even. “‘The Queen of my Self.’ Isn’t that selfish?”

Uh oh.

This was odd and extremely frustrating since they bought the book based on a detailed outline and a full chapter synopsis, title and all, which they loved. And I delivered them precisely what I had contacted to.  

The criticism was contradictory: on the one hand the rituals I described were too personal, too spiritual. And on the other hand, my private life wasn’t personal enough. What are the names and stories of my lovers and my son? Basically, they wanted me to be identified by my relations to the men in my life. Please! A Queen is Her Own Self.

My editor was a man, not yet 40. He was palpably threatened by the concept of the midlife Queen. He finally said, “I just can’t relate to this book.” Duh! No kidding. But since when do you need to have diabetes to publish a book about diabetes?

It was clear that there would be no support for The Queen whatsoever. I could not just sit back and let it die on the vine. Besides, how could I deign to write a book about empowerment if I let that little twerp stand on my neck?

The Queen takes charge. She steps up to the situations of Her life
and takes back the reins of Her power.

So after much research and soul searching, I paid back the advance and bought back my rights. My first three books spanned the spectrum of publishers: one with Astro Artz, an obscure, now-defunct California house; one with Avalon, a distinguished mid-level consortium; and one with Putnam, a huge publisher with many imprints. My experience with them all led me to believe that I could not do worse!

No sooner did I make the terrifying decision to establish a publishing company and publish the book myself, than I received an amazing affirmation of the correctness of my decision. On my way home from filing the registration papers for Monarch Press, I stopped at the post office. There in my box was a handwritten blurb for the cover of The Queen of My Self sent in completely unsolicited by Dr. Christiane Northrup:

Finally, an archetype of midlife power and maturity that I can relate to — The Queen. Thank you Donna for providing this much-needed missing piece of women’s wisdom.

So, with my partner Daile Kaplan I founded Monarch Press and assembled a Dream Queen Team. Daile generously shared her resources and business acumen and came up the name, Monarch Press. Deirdre Mullane, my literary agent, supplied twenty-five years of publishing experience and know how as well as brilliant editing. Patricia Smith created the gorgeous, elegant book design and branding logo, as well as the template for The Queen’s Chronicles. Janet Fish designed the website and keeps it running. Janice Pemberton and Sarah Reynolds took on the administration and distribution.

Together we made a book that has won a very wide audience, critical acclaim and awards and Amazon.com bestseller status. But most important, we operated out of our ideals and we learned invaluable lessons in the process. We were all empowered in our personal lives in one way or another by having chosen to do what we believed in.

The Queen chooses always to involve Herself fully in the process of Her life
and living, and to actively direct the drama of Her own myth
.

Now nearly six years, thirty-one issues of The Queen’s Chronicles, one hundred and two blogs, hundreds of gatherings and countless letters and emails later, I can see the rewards of my determination to take the Queen to the women, at whatever cost — You! You are the reward. You all. Us. You and me together, mature wise women changing the world from the inside out.

Knowing through Her personal experience what is true and valuable,
and having learned, usually the hard way, to be proactive, She pledges
Her royal Self to defend and promote all that is precious.

 ***
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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