The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Clean Sweep

posted by Donna Henes

Dear Queen Mama Donna,

This has been the year from hell. I feel used, abused, and grimy. My entire life has gotten out of control. In my depression I have even let my normally orderly house go. My family is disgusted. What symbolic act can I do at New Year that would help to make me feel like I can make a clean start?
- A Mess in Michigan

Dear Ms. Mess,    
As we enter the New Year, our thoughts turn to new beginnings, new possibilities, new hope. This fragile interval which separates one year from the next is pregnant with potential. We find ourselves taking time out of time to evaluate our past experiences and actions and to prepare ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually for our future. Our reflections and resolutions at this transition period of the great turning of the annual wheel are critical, for they create the ambient atmosphere and attitude for the entire year to come.

A new year represents another chance, a fresh start, a clean slate, and so we embark upon the shift as on a dangerous journey, freshly bathed and outfitted, full of purpose, fingers crossed in blessing. People enjoy elaborate toilettes; bodies washed, dressed, groomed, combed until they are thoroughly cleansed — often internally as well through fasting. On New Year in Bengal, pilgrims bathe in the River Ganges. The Cherokee spend the eve of the New Year in vigil on the banks of a river. At dawn they immerse themselves seven times, emerging purified and new like the year.

In addition to purifying our person, special care has always been taken to clean and maintain the temples, churches, synagogues, cemeteries, groves, and shrines, in which prayers for the propitious New Year are made. By obvious extension, this New Year’s urge to purge includes our home environments, where the most intimate and ordinary prayers of daily life are uttered. If a man’s home is his castle, surely it is a woman’s shrine.

Cleaning house to make ready for a new year is a universal task, symbolic and reverant as it is practical. Out with the old and in with the new! Death to dirt! Removing the dust and detritus accumulated during the previous year ensures the ridding of a dwelling and its occupants of the shortcomings and disappointments delivered during that time as well. Domestic renovation signifies spiritual and social renewal.

All over the world, houses are scrubbed spic and span from top to bottom and yards and walkways are swept spotlessly clean. In old England, New Year’s Day was the annual sweeping of all chimneys. The expression “to make a clean sweep” comes from this New Year’s custom. In Hong Kong, ten days before the New Year, women observe a Day for Sweeping Floors. At this time, an intensive house cleaning is begun in readiness for the New Year. Nothing, no corner, is left untouched. On New Year’s Day Moroccans pour water over themselves, their animals, the floors and walls of their homes.

Some peoples, like the Incas, like the Creeks, discarded everything, EVERYTHING, used in the past year. In a grand operatic gesture, Italians throw all the household belongings, which they no longer want out of their windows on New Year’s Eve. Everything from used bars of soap to broken sofas is dispatched in this abandon; and every year there are many injuries to hapless revelers on the streets below. In a more tame tradition, symbolic of the same spirit, the Mayans replace all of their domestic articles of everyday use.

In many Native American cultures, in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, hearth fires are extinguished annually and ritually rekindled in a New Year ritual of new fire. In this way, sins and devils are purged in purification ceremonies symbolizing spiritual renewal. Zuni women throw out their live embers, then sprinkle their entire homes with corn meal in a rite called House Cleansing in order to ensure good fortune in child birth in the coming year. During the Iranian New Year celebration of Narooz, wild rue is burned in households because it is believed to drive away all evil and usher in a happy and propitious new year.

So, darling, get out the brooms and the buckets, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Scrub the grime out of your environment and your mentality. The act of cleaning will help you to feel like you are back in control of your life, and an orderly, cheerful house will definitely improve your mood. Light some incense and some candles and invite in some fresh, new energy.
 
Happy New Year to you.

xxQMD
       
***
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.

We Shed The Skin Of One Year

posted by Donna Henes

Here is a lovely New Year poem by a talented and wise sister Queen.

New/Year
By Mary Saracino, CO

We shed the skin of one year
lay bare the fragile bones
of fresh dreams
our serpentine souls slither forward
we know the way by heart
by heart we sing
by heart we dance
by heart we hope & pray
for good things
only good things
though ugly things will come
the spiral blesses everything
breath & blood & memory
and everything is holy
tears and laughter
pain and joy
life and death
we know
we know
we know
every thing
every thing
every thing
is love

***
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.

Happy New Year!

posted by Donna Henes

New Year is a return to the eternal beginnings. Back to where there is only hope and promise and enthusiastic, well-intentioned energy. Back to the original big bang back seat cosmic conception. Back to the future. New Year is the birthday of everything. In accordance with this understanding, New Year’s Day throughout Asia, is celebrated as everybody’s birthday. Everyone within society is automatically one year older all at the same time. Older and ostensibly wiser.

The time of the Great Turning is critical, for it creates the ambient atmosphere and attitude for the entire year, decade, century to come. The period preceding the actual New Year is typically devoted to reflection, repentance, restitution, resolution and focus on rebirth. Once a year, on New Year, or on our birthday, we take the time, make the commitment, to confront our true selves. To think about the intention and direction of our lives. To evaluate our progress. To assess our sins and redress the wrongs of our own doing. To promote positive personal change. To cultivate compassionate forgiveness, understanding, and acceptance of ourselves, and empathy for others so that we might truly begin anew with a clean slate.
       
The New Year rituals of many lands enact a literal removal of the old year and an attendant readiness for the new. At Asura, the Moroccan New Year, the figure of the mythical being, Baba Aisor,The Old Year, is buried in the earth. Similarly, in Ecuador, effigies of the old year, Año Viejo,are constructed from clothes stuffed with straw and then burned at midnight on New Year’s Eve. In Laos, the Goddess of the Old Year departs on the last day, leaving the people for one full, dangerous day before Her replacement arrives. Today, in the West, the old year is personified by Old Man Time who limps out leaning on his scythe. He exits upon the arrival of the brand new baby year, scattering the used pages of the old calendar behind him.

In a grand operatic out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new gesture, Italians throw all the belongings that they no longer want out of their windows on New Year’s Eve. Everything from used bars of soap to broken sofas is dispatched with abandon. In a more tame tradition, symbolic of the same spirit, the Mayans replace all of their articles of every day use. And in many Native American cultures, in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, hearth fires are extinguished and ritually rekindled. On Songkran, Thai New Year, birds are released from their cages to fly free and bowls of fish are returned to the rivers. In Japan, all debts are paid.

All over the world houses are scrubbed and walkways are swept clean. In old England, New Year’s Day was the annual sweeping of all chimneys. The expression “to make a clean sweep” comes from this custom. Moroccans pour water over themselves, their animals, the floors and walls of their homes, and in Wales, children scatter water over the houses of their neighbors in order to bless them. At New Year in Bengal, pilgrims bathe in the River Ganges. The Cherokee spend the eve of the New Year in vigil on the banks of a river. At dawn they immerse themselves seven times, emerging purified and new like the year.

The old year never goes out with a whimper. Worldwide, the great turning of the year is greeted with raucous noise, which effectively shatters and scatters any evil spirits lurking about. Jews sound a ram’s horn strong enough to cause the walls of Jericho to come tumbling down. The Chinese set off fireworks in the streets. Hungarian herdsmen crack their whips to turn the year as they would their herds. In Denmark, people smash all the year’s broken crockery against the doors of their friends in a New Year benediction. In cities across America, drunken men gather on rooftops and shoot their firearms into the sky.

As the moment of the New Year approaches, Igbo children dash home and bolt themselves inside so that they won’t be carried off by the old year. They bang on the door and wail the whole while, joining the village-wide loud lament. Tibetan magicians perform New Year exorcism dances wearing demons masks, brandishing daggers and beating skull drums. At midnight New Year’s Eve in Japan, the watch gong rings out 108 times to purge the 108 human weaknesses describes by Buddha.

On New Year’s Eve, bells, horns, whistles, and sirens ring all over the world, sending shrill cheers into the middle of the night for the grand changing of the annual guard.

In the first week of this New Year, may we all together chant, sing, shout our vision for a world of peace, understanding and goodwill among all people. May women lead the way toward a global healing for people, nations and 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.

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.

This Is A Test

posted by Donna Henes

Dear Sister Queens,

Beliefnet has had a bit of a techno glitch and my blogs have not been posted as per normal this week. So sorry about that.

This post is a test.

We hope to be back to normal tomorrow, Thursday, January 6, 2011. Please tune in then to resume our royal entries.

In the meantime, I want to wish each and every one of you a wonder filled year,

xxQueen Mama Donna

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