The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Harvesting Mother Earth’s Gifts of Life

posted by Donna Henes

Throughout world mythology, the goddess of the good ground, the grain, the autumn harvest, has been appropriately portrayed as a knowledgeable mature woman of the world, mistress of all earthly domains. A matriarch. A Queen. She is the Great Mother who sustains all Her species. She was known as Astarte, Ishtar by the ancient Semites, Semele by Phrygians, Isis in Egypt, Demeter in Greece, and Ceres in Rome.

She is Tari Pennu to the Bengalis, Old Woman Who Never Dies to the Mandan and Mother Quescapenek to the Salish. To the Aztec, She is Chicomecoatl, to the Quechua Indians in Bolivia, She is Pacha Mama and  the Huichol call Her Our Mother Dove Girl, Mother of Maize.

While the Earth, Herself, is seen as the fertile mother from whom all life has issued, Her aspect as the spirit of the grain is celebrated in many cultures as Mother Earth’s child. This young one represents next year’s crop curled like a fetus gestating within the seeds of this year’s harvest.

Typically, She is the daughter, the harvest maiden, the corn virgin, although in Aztec Mexico and Egypt, the grain spirit was Her son. To the Aztec She was Xilonen, Goddess of New Corn. The Cherokees call Her Green Corn Girl. To the Prussians, She was the Corn Baby, to the Malays, the Rice Baby. In parts of India, the harvest maiden is Guari and She is represented by both an unmarried girl and a bunch of balsam plants.

The archetypal grain mother/daughter pair is personified in Greek mythology as Demeter and Persephone, also known as Kore, the Virgin Goddess. They illustrate two aspects, the Mother and the Maiden, of the same divine fertile spirit. Demeter is this year’s ripe crop and Persephone, the seed-corn taken from the parent. Like the seed sown in autumn, She symbolically descends into the underworld, torn from the breast of Her mourning mother. And, again like the seed, She reappears, reborn, in the spring.

The harvest is experienced at once as a festival of life and a drama of death. In the fall, we commemorate the seasonal demise of the light as well as the plants, which provide us sustenance. Even as we glory in the great yield, the reward of our diligence, we mourn the death of the deity residing in the grain, killed by the cutting of the crops. At harvest, we honor She Who Died so that we might continue to live.

Despite the clear and rational necessity, there is considerable and understandable reluctance to scythe the last sheath of grain. For here lives the Great Grain Mother and Her child — She who has always fed us, to whom we owe our existence. Can we slash Her body with a sickle? Can we allow Her to be tread upon and trampled on the threshing floor? Can we cook and eat Her seed and feed Her broken corpse to the animals?

Would that we still revered the gifts of life and living bestowed upon us by our mutual Mother Earth.

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

 

 

What Do You Weep For?

posted by Donna Henes

Once again Sister Joan Chittister has found the perfect words to express  what I have been feeling.

 
What Do You Weep For?
by Joan Chittister

Evagrius of Ponticus, one of the early desert monastics, counseled young monastics: “First pray for the gift of tears, to soften by compunction the inherent hardness of your soul.”

And fifteen centuries later, George Eliot wrote, too, “The beginning of compunction is the beginning of new life.”

The point is clear: Weeping is a very life-giving thing. It wizens the soul of the individual and it sounds alarms in society.

If we do not weep on the personal level, we shall never understand other human beings.

If we do not weep on the public level at the inhuman conditions that trap those around us: for the part-time employed, for instance who have no cars to get them to the jobs they need; for the innocent in the Middle East who sit in bunkers and basements waiting for the next bombs to fall; for the women of the world who are trapped in unholy religious silence and told it’s God’s will for them. If we do not weep for these and those like them-if we remain dry-eyed and indifferent-we are less than human ourselves.

There are, in other words, some things that simply ought not to be endured.

We must always cope with evil, yes, but we must never, ever adjust to it, either ours or anyone else’s.

What we weep for, you see, measures what we are and determines what we do, as well.

Weeping signals that it is time to change things in life. John Tillotson wrote once: “Though all afflictions are evils in themselves, yet they are good for us, because they discover to us our disease and tend to our cure.”

Without our tears, we have no hope of healing because we do not begin to admit the anguish.

Indeed, ironically, of all the expressions of human emotion in the lexicon of life, weeping may be the most life-giving.

The point is that our tears expose us. They lay us bare both to others and to ourselves.

You see, what we cry about is what we care about.

We known ourselves to be made from this earth.
We know this earth is made from our bodies.
For we see ourselves.
And we are nature.
We are nature seeing nature.
We are nature with a concept of nature.
Nature weeping.
Nature speaking of nature to nature.

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

 

Earth Speaks

posted by Donna Henes

Thank you Queen Elizabeth Hazel from Toledo, Ohio for sending this most beautiful poem.

Earth Speaks
By Elizabeth Hazel

Earth speaks to those who listen:
Maternal lectures in shades of green,
Sisterly riddles in coy lagoons and comic swamps,
And her epic daughters,
Mountain covens meet to ponder immortality.
 
She thinks in seasons and paints in time:
Impressionistic springs give way to pointilistic summers;
Drab and tattered autumns yield to ruthless winter whites
As frost giants gnash through horn-blasted blizzards.
 
Earth speaks to those who listen:
The North Star is poised upon the axis of her turnings,
And steers her through tides of space and time.
The pulse of her journey thrums through sand and soil,
And her blood churns through rivers and streams.
Her body communicates with force and subtlety,
And few can penetrate her family secrets.
Her moon conducts exchanges with neighborly planets
And imports overseas from remote suns.
Light year accounts in her cosmic ledger
Score tallies that beggar all reckoning.
Contrivances may take her measure
But know not her meaning
Or delight in her passions.
 
Earth speaks to those who listen
In the oldest language of all;
With the nouns of creation,
With verbs of being,
And adjectives of multiplicity.
Hers is the greatest song
The deeps call to the heights
In a symphonic canon of sea and land;
And all hearts resound to her sonorous chords.
Earth speaks to those who listen.
 
***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

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

***
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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