The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Slow Dancing with the Queens

posted by Donna Henes

Here are some stunning Queens of a certain age, dancing from deep within their souls. These sinuous, sensual women move the way water does. Or silk charmeuse. In waves of slow flow like lava. Fiery molasses.

Their ecstatic expressions are luscious. Their mature surety, intoxicating. The young women are dancing. The Queens are communing. Theirs is a sultry spirit dance developed through the dark night of the soul and the long day’s journey into the Self.

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

Dance, Dance, Dance

posted by Donna Henes

This week’s theme is Dancing Queens. And Crones.

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.
- Agnes De Mille

I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words.
- Ruth St. Denis

Dance is the hidden language of the soul.  
- Martha Graham

The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.  
- Mata Hari

Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain.  
- Martha Graham

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.  
- Hopi Saying

Dance for yourself, if someone understands good. If not then no matter, go right on doing what you love.
- Lois Hurst

Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn.  
- Terri Guillemets

Next time you look into the mirror, just look at the way the ears rest next to the head; look at the way the hairline grows; think of all the little bones in your wrist. It is a miracle. And the dance is a celebration of that miracle.
- Martha Graham

Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.  
- Martha Graham

Next time you’re mad, try dancing out your anger.  
- Terri Guillemets

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to be over, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
- Author Unknown

Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health — it rusts your spirit and your hips.  
- Terri Guillemets

Dancing is the world’s favorite metaphor.  
- Kristy Nilsson

Maybe we can use a metaphor for it, out of dance. I think for many years I was aware of the need, in dance and in life, to breathe deeply and to take in more air than we usually take in.
- Sharon Olds

The journey between who you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.
- Barbara De Angelis   

It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It is the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.  
- Bette Midler

If I can not dance, I shall die!
- Anna Pavlova

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.
- Angela Monet

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.  
- Faith Whittlesey

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


La Mariposa, Butterfly Woman

posted by Donna Henes

This week’s theme is Dancing Queens. And Crones.

La Mariposa, Butterfly Woman
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

…To the visitors, a butterfly is a delicate thing. “O fragile beauty,” they dream. So they are necessarily shaken when out hops Maria Lujan. And she is big, really big, like the Venus of Willendorf, like the Mother of Days, like Diego Rivera’s heroic-size woman who built Mexico City with a single curl of her wrist.

And Maria Lujan, oh, she is old, very, very old, like a woman come back from dust, old like old river, old like old pines at timberline. One of her shoulders is bare. Her red-and-black manta, blanket dress, hops up and down with her inside it. Her heavy body and her very skinny legs made her look like a hopping spider wrapped in a tamale. She hops on one foot and then on the other. She waves her feather fan to and fro. She is The Butterfly arrived to strengthen the weak. She is that which most think of as not strong: age, the butterfly, the feminine.

Butterfly Maiden’s hair reaches to the ground. It is thick as ten maize sheaves and it is stone gray. And she wears butterfly wings-the kind you see on little children who are being angels in school plays. Her hips are like two bouncing bushel baskets and the fleshy shelf at the top of her buttocks is wide enough to ride two children. She hops, hops, hops, not like a rabbit, but in footsteps that leave echoes.

“I am here, here, here…
“I am here, here, here…
“Awaken you, you, you!”

She sways her feather fan up and down, spreading the earth and the people of the earth with the pollinating spirit of the butterfly. Her shell bracelets rattle like snakes, her bell garters tinkle like rain. Her shadow with its big belly and little legs dances from one side of the dance circle to the other. Her feet leave little puffs of dust behind. The tribes are reverent, involved. But some visitors look at each other and murmur “This is it? This is the Butterfly Maiden?” They are puzzled, some even disillusioned. They no longer seem to remember that the spirit world is a place where wolves are women, bears are husbands, and old women of lavish dimensions are butterflies.

Yes, it is fitting that Wild Woman/Butterfly Woman is old and substantial, for she carries the thunder world in one breast, the underworld in the other. Her back is the curve of the planet Earth with all its crops and foods and animals. The back of her neck carries the sunrise and the sunset. Her left thigh holds all the lodge poles, her right thigh all the she-wolves of the world. Her belly holds all the babies that will ever be born.

Butterfly Maiden is the female fertilizing force. Carrying the pollen from one place to another, she cross-fertilizes, just as the soul fertilizes mind with night dreams, just as archetypes fertilize the mundane world. She is the centre. She brings the opposites together by taking a little from here and putting it there. Transformation is no more complicated that that. This is what she teaches. This is how the butterfly does it. This is how the soul does it.

Butterfly Woman mends the erroneous idea that transformation is only for the tortured, the saintly, or only for the fabulously strong. The Self need not carry mountains to transform. A little is enough. A little goes a long way. A little changes much. The fertilizing force replaces the moving of mountains.

Butterfly Maiden pollinates the souls of the earth: It is easier that you think, she says. She is shaking her feather fan, and she’s hopping, for she is spilling spiritual pollen all over the people who are there, Native Americans, little children, visitors, everyone. She is using her entire body as a blessing, her old, frail, big, short-legged, short-necked, spotted body. This is woman connected to her wild nature, the translator of the instinctual, the fertilizing force, the mender, the rememberer of old ideas. She is La voz mitológica. She is wild woman personified.

The butterfly dancer must be old because she represents the soul that is old. She is wide of thigh and broad of rump because she carries much. Her grey hair certifies that she need no longer observe taboos about touching others. She is allowed to touch everyone: boys, babies, men, women, girl children, the old, the ill, and the dead. The Butterfly Woman can touch everyone. It is her privilege to touch all, at last. This is her power. Hers is the body of La Mariposa, the butterfly.

- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Excerpt from Women Who Run With The Wolves

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

Queen of Bellies and Shimmies

posted by Donna Henes

This week’s theme is Dancing Queens. And Crones.

My friend Kay is the official folklorist of Brooklyn. A couple of years ago she organized a month long Arab music festival. One of the evenings was a belly dance extravaganza, which I attended with my entire Goddess Group.

I was still on my cane following my fall a few months earlier, but that didn’t prevent me from getting up to swing my hips with everyone else during the participatory dance jam sessions in between the performer’s sets.

How could I stay in my seat? The music was so mesmerizing and the dancers so alluring. A sea of swaying, undulating arms, breasts and bellies, moving to the rhythms of the ages. That room was filled with fiery female energy. We were all, men and women alike, enveloped in the embrace of the Goddess.

“I want to learn how to belly dance,” I announced and Suzanne immediately said that she would take lessons with me. But I was hesitant about attending a class full of twenty-something skinny girls.

I really didn’t want to be the only zaftig mama old enough to almost be their grandmother in the bunch. But then, again, the Queen doesn’t deign to think such petty thoughts. Or does she?

Andrea, one of the women in one of my spirit support groups, a long time belly dancer who is twenty-something, lovely and lithe, directed me to the perfect class. A beginner’s class with women from their twenties to their sixties, every shape, size, color and aptitude.

And so, at the age of 62 I took up belly dance. Or perhaps I should say it has taken me up and held me in its thrall. It feels so natural, somehow. Sensual, earthy. elemental. Slightly sinful and delicious. It got my juices flowing big time.

I first saw belly dancing in Morocco thirty some years ago. The women were much older than me, mature and fleshy. Real women with real bellies. Mature women who had seen a lot of life and who knew a lot of things. Secure in their own power, they danced with assurance, and emanated an authoritative energy rather like Gypsy flamenco dancers.

Belly dancing gets better with age. My friend Serpentessa is an extraordinary belly dancer who performs with her snakes. She moves like the serpents, who are her familiars. She is no spring chicken, but a juicy autumn hen. My teacher’s teacher is coming to New York this fall to give classes in double veil technique. She is in her 80’s.

I gave a keynote address and workshop about The Queen at the International Goddess Conference in Glastonbury. On the last day there was celebration to honor the 90th birthday of Grand Dame Lady Olivia Robertson founder of the Fellowship of Isis.

She appeared in a transparent gossamer toga-like garment, trailing veils and her long flowing white hair behind her. She danced slowly, with a concentrated reverence. Every movement was a prayer — in touch, intense and internal. Essential. Archetypal.

A ceremony to crown the Queens and the Crones followed Lady Olivia’s awesome dance. The mature women at the conference chose whether they were Queens or Crones.

There were maybe a hundred Queens sitting in a large circle and about a dozen Crones in a small circle inside of that round of Queens. The Maidens and Mothers sat outside of the circle and bore witness to the crownings. Nonagenarian Lady Olivia, Goddess bless her soul, insisted on being crowned a Queen. And so she is! It’s got to be the dancing.

If I can’t dance – I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
- Emma Goldman

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

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