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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Mother’s Day Proclamation

posted by Donna Henes

 

This is the original Mother’s Day proclamation, written by Julia Ward Howe, famed writer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” in Boston, 1870 when she was 51 years old. It was an impassioned appeal to womanhood to rise against war in response to the barbarity of the Franco-Prussian War. She was appalled by “the cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. . . a return to barbarism, the issue having been one which might easily have been settled without bloodshed.”

“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have heart, whether our baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly:

‘We will not have our great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’

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In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limits of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consider with its objects to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

Let us take her eloquent plea for peace to heart. In the name of all the mothers all through time beginning with the creatrix Mother Goddesses and in the interest of our precious Mother Earth, let us lend our voice, our time, our money, our energy and our passion to the cause of peace on the planet.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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.

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Consult the Midlife Midwife™: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

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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May is Mothering Month

posted by Donna Henes

Hail Queens!

Since May is Mothering Month, I intend to post a diverse array of articles over the next two weeks by, about and for mothers.

What an extraordinarily exciting and gorgeous time of the year spring is. Life is bursting out all over. Buds, blossoms, and babies everywhere! Is it any wonder that May is the month of the Mother? Mothers are the progenitors of life and the providers of sustenance for the living. In this season of teeming birth and growth, we honor the Mother Goddesses, Mother Earth, and our own mothers, as well as our own mothering, nurturing, loving Selves.

We don’t need to have given birth to a baby to be a mother, and in fact, nearly one quarter of the Baby Boom generation chose not to bear children. The archetypal Mother is biological parent as well as the Mother of Invention. She produces and reproduces — be they children, books, businesses, careers, or political causes.

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Then She labors endlessly to nourish and sustain the fruits of Her passion: Her family, Her business, Her home, Her job, Her projects, Her clients, Her students, Her community. Full with nutriment, She is the ultimate cosmic creator, nursemaid, caretaker, and provider. She is committed to the well-being of those around Her, and the daily domestic and productive concerns of the material world are Hers. Endlessly reliable, dependable, solid, and sure, She is the woman whose work is never done.

And now, ensconced in the sovereignty of our middle years, our active mothering days done, and done very well, indeed, we are called upon to extend our mothering instincts to include our Selves. To be our own Mother. To nurture our own well-being. To hold our deepest needs in tender trust. To care for our personal concerns and inspire and encourage the development of our best potential. To honor our purpose. To celebrate our passion. And to embrace our power.

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I do hereby declare and decree that Every Day be Queen Mother’s Day!

Best regal blessings,

xxQueen Mama Donna

The Queen is firm in the Defense of Her time, Her space, Her boundaries, Her priorities, Her preferences, Her ethics, Her needs, Her desires, Her safety, and Her sense of well-being.

-QMD

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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 her at: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

***

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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Time to Mother Ourselves in Midlife

posted by Donna Henes

My dear sister Queens,

As you must have noticed, I have been absent for two weeks. My contract with Beliefnet expired at the end of April, but  I am delighted to say that I have been invited to return to this successful blog. The transition between contracts took some time, but now I am back!

So keep on visiting and spread the word to all your circles, please.

This article was intended for Mother’s Day and is now nearly a week late, but as relevant as ever!

Regal blessings,

xxQueen Mama Donna

*****

Sometime, usually between about 45 and 55 years of age, we lose our monthly blood and hormonal balance. Menopause marks the termination of our participation in the bottom-line, bigger than we are, biological imperative of our species. Our reproductive potential is now no longer an option. Whether or not we chose to use it when we had it is not the point. What is crucial is feeling that our choices have narrowed.

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Women of the 60s Generation were the first to enjoy an unprecedented access to a variety of birth control methods. It was also largely the women of those politicized times who demanded, and ultimately won, the right to legally decide the destiny of our own bodies. Once in possession of this precious, personal choice of whether or not to become and/or stay pregnant, we have chosen, on the whole, to have fewer babies and at a more advanced age than ever before in history. Freed of what we considered to be biological tyranny and possessed of sophisticated ecological concern, fully one fifth of us chose not to have children at all.

As the tenure of our Mother Time ends, it causes many of us to re-evaluate the choices that we have made about fertility, decisions that have defined our life for the past few decades. The finality of menopause really rankles. Some women who had never wanted babies now suddenly become nostalgic for what might have, could have, been.

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Thirty-three years after writing a ground-breaking piece in Look magazine about not wanting to have children, the writer Betty Rollin admitted on the pages of Modern Maturity that she was “one of those old-time ‘career girls’ who forgot to have children. At the age of 60,” she continued, “I began to mourn for the children I never had.”

Others, upon consideration, are secure and still satisfied with their earlier choice to remain childless, or what many in that category prefer to call childfree. Many of us with children now face the future with an empty nest, our family grown and our kids off creating lives of their own, which leaves us with huge amounts of unaccustomed time to use as we please. This would be extremely liberating if it didn’t also make us feel so lonely and insecure.

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I can’t tell you how many times I have heard women exclaim in jubilation as their mothering days run out, “And now, it is my turn!” — the mantra of middle age. Then they stop in their tracks, dumbstruck as they realize that now, free to pursue their deferred dreams, they have no idea any more of what it is that they want for themselves. After a couple of decades of serving the needs and desires of others, we have lost sight of our own.

Our early aspirations were sacrificed on the altar of nurturing others, murdered by self-denial, dashed by adversity and starved by neglect. Not only do we “lose” our children at this stage of life, we also lose our sense of Self. As Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis poignantly put it, “What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren’t supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children are grown — watch the raindrops coming down the window pane?”

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For the 20 percent of us who are not biological mothers, it is still extremely important to acknowledge that we have, in fact, been Mothers in the archetypal sense. We have been birthing careers, mothering social causes, nurturing creative endeavors, tending businesses, mentoring students and co-workers. If, as it has been said, “Some people give birth to children and some give birth to culture,” then we were the Culture Mothers, the Mothers of Necessity, the Mothers of Invention.

When our era of selfless mothering of others comes to an end we must begin to direct our ministering attentions toward our own care and feeding, our own growth and comfort, our own self-healing. Now is the time to lavish upon ourselves that same unconditional loving kindness, encouragement, support and solace that we have always given so freely to others. Now we become our own mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!

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*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She is the Midlife Midwife™ offering 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 her at: http://www.donnahenes.net/queen/consult.shtml

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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Merry Mary May Day

posted by Donna Henes

 

May Day is an old European spring fertility and copulation festival held in honor of the trees and their mistresses, the virgin vegetation goddesses. Celebrated as Floralia by the Romans, Walpurgisnacht by the Teutons, Whitsuntide by the Dutch, and Beltane by the Celts, it centered on romantic devotions to the nubile goddesses of spring, Flora, Walpurga, and Maia, for whom this month is named. Maia, can be traced back to Maya, the pre-Vedic mistress of perceptual reality who was the virgin mother of the Buddha. The Greek goddess, Maia was the virgin mother of Hermes. Her descendent, Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, is patroness of the month of May, which the early church dedicated to Her.

The festivities began on May Day morning when the young girls would go out in the pre-dawn hours to wash their faces in May dew, which was held to be fortifying as well as beautifying. In 1515, Catherine of Aragon was reported to have traveled into the forest with twenty-five ladies in waiting to bathe in the May dew. Samuel Pepys notes in his diary that his wife gathered May dew in 1667, “which Mrs. Turner hath taught her is the only thing in the world to wash her face with: and I am contented with it.” Oliver Cromwell who died in 1658, is said to have partaken of May dew on medical advice. This custom survived until relatively recently in the Ozark Mountains where girls washed their face in May dew at sunrise so that they might marry the man of their desire.

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At first light, the boys joined them in the forest and together they brought in the May — small trees, branches, and flowers with which to decorate the village green, streets, and houses. In England, they sang in the May, adding music to their forest procession. This custom continued well into the twentieth century in the practice of leaving May baskets filled with flowers and sweets and rhyming love verses at the door of one’s beloved at dusk on May 1.

The group of young folks then stripped a tall tree of its branches set it up in the village square. The top was crowned with a wreath of flowers and sometimes a female figurine as well. The garland wrapped pole is a clear and graphic representation of a phallus encircled by a yoni. This Maypole was then hung with ribbons which were woven around the pole in the course of a grand-right-and-left spiral dance, intertwining the young men and women in the process; bringing them, binding them, ever closer together. In Medieval and Tudor Britain, May Day was an important public holiday, still sizzling with sexual abandonment.

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Early spring rites included the wearing of the green, a symbolic modeling of the earth’s verdant new garments, a sign of imitation and identification with the natural world. A loving gesture of sympathetic magic, which has continued in the Irish tradition of putting on the green for St. Patrick’s Day. May Day festivals, which began with great public gaiety usually ended in orgiastic display of sexual licentiousness. Marriage vows were temporarily forgotten during this honey month. People coupled freely in the woods and fields, fertilizing the soil and each other, sharing a fervent participation in the regenerative magic of the earth.

It is no wonder that the puritan Anglo Saxon Protestant fathers were deeply offended by the Maypole ceremony with its not so subtle sexual connotations and pagan sensibilities. Maypoles were forbidden by act of parliament in 1644, which called for the removal of “Maypoles (a heathenish vanity, generally abused to superstition and wickedness), the lords and Commons do further order and ordain, that all and singular Maypoles, that are, or shall be erected, shall be taken down and removed by the Constaples and Church Wardens of the parishes and places where the same be; and that no Maypole shall be hereafter set up, erected, or suffered to be within this Kingdome of England or Dominion of Wales.”

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Maypoles later regained favor during the Restoration. The last permanent public Maypole was erected in the London Strand in 1661. It took twelve British soldiers under the personal supervision of James II to plant the 134′ cedar pole in the ground. In 1717 it was removed to Wanstead Park in Essex where it was adapted by Sir Isaac Newton for use as part of the support of the largest telescope in the world. In its new job, the pole, the representation of the tree of life, rooted in the ground and reaching up toward heaven, serves exactly its original symbolic function — the unification of the earth and the sky.

Like all of the devotional rites dedicated to the popular earth goddesses that they could not repress, May Day was ultimately claimed by the Church as its own. In doing so, the veneration of the Maypole was left completely in tact. The tree simply became the cross, which is venerated on May 3 as Holy Cross Day in the merry month of May, which is dedicated to Mary, the great, great granddaughter of the goddess Maia, Maya.

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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.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers 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.

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