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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Fiery Fetes of Summer

posted by Donna Henes

Happy Solstice!

Though summer is the season of long, light, hot days, each day actually gets shorter, losing about two minutes of sunlight every 24 hours. Light is not lost lightly. Light equals life for most living things. The grim prospects of life in the dark prod one to take action. To join the solar cheering section and enlist in the service of the sun. The stars need stirring, the atmosphere a charge. This is the task at hand if all is not to be lost.

On the Summer Solstice ask not what the ailing sun can do for you, but what you can do for the sun. Sympathetic magic is called for to fan the floundering flames of El Sol. It is the tradition of the people of the Taos Pueblo to race up the mountain to welcome the rising solstice sun. To meet it half-way, as it were. For them, it is a form of reciprocation. A returning, in much gratitude, of some life-giving energy back to its original source. An allegorical passing of the life force torch.

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In pagan Europe and North Africa people sent burning wooden hoops and wheels woven of straw rolling down steep hills to illustrate the retreat of the sun, spinning, turning, traveling away. These wheels descend from a much older solar symbol, the chariot. The Norse <em>Eddas</em> tell of the Goddess Sol, Sul, Sulis driving the chariot of the sun. Ancient Buddhist texts speak of the Sun Chariot as the Great Vehicle, or the Chariot of Fire.

The ancient Greeks pictured the sun carried across the daytime sky in a golden chariot. On the Summer Solstice, the priests of the Sun and Poseidon, along with the priestess of Athena processed in front of the Acropolis with gift offerings of fruit and libations of honeycombs. Wine was not served because it would make the Sun tipsy and he had to drive.

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The actual lighting of bonfires is, by far, the most prevalent — practically universal — practice for celebrations around the time of the solstice. What more fitting offering could be made in the aid of the failing mother of all light? It is the ultimate act of flattery by imitation. A primal sacrament of obiscience to the first flame of the firmament. A symbolic feeding of restorative fresh strength to the sun. And at the same time, certainly, the light and heat of the fire serve to soothe and affirm that, though departing, the sun will surely return.

In ancient Egypt, the Summer Solstice was celebrated by the Burning of the Lamps at Sais in honor of Isis, Queen of Heaven. In Rome, the day was dedicated to Vesta, also known as Hestia in Greece. The Vestal Virgins, Her oracular priestesses, were the guardians of the public hearth and altar. On this day the perpetual fire representing the mystical heart of the empire, was extinguished, re-kindled and blessed.

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People across the European continent as well as the New World colonies built great bonfires on the solstice. They danced around them the whole night long in a joyful, spirited vigil. They danced in great circles, winding to assist the sun on its celestial course. They leapt through the flames and drove their animals through them to be empowered and purified by the heat, the smoke. They waved torches in the air, passed them over crop and stock, and sent them out to sea. Blessings, all, of the sun’s supreme power.

The age-old worshipful awe of nature, the respect, the reverence, has all but disappeared in contemporary western society. We have tampered with the perfectly functioning divine order of Nature, trying to fix what wasn’t broken. The universal scenario has shifted, and the world will never be the same. We have turned the heat up too high and the fires burn out of control. The deserts are spreading. The icebergs are melting. The oceans are sullied. The atmosphere is shrinking. The crops are scorched and fertile soil is washed away. The hot air dries out the foliage and sears our lungs. Mother Earth is on a slow burn and Mother Nature’s patience is fried. The sun — the bringer of light and life, the center of our once-adoring orbit — has now become something to stay out of.

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This summer let us honor our debt to the sun by making friends with it once again. We can show our respect for the gift of its power by putting it to good use. We can collect this cosmic resource and utilize it as fuel to power our lives. We can plant arbors for shade and trees to prevent erosion. We can conserve, reuse and recycle. And most important of all, we can be the emissaries of the sun, spreading warmth and light and energy wherever we go, whatever we do.

****

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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The Summer Solstice: As Good As It Gets

posted by Donna Henes

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun has been inching its way back into our lives ever since the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Rising slightly earlier each morning and setting a minute or two later every night, it graces us with light gradually gained. The change, the shift, is at first imperceptibly slow. But it is steady, and soon the minute?by?minute accumulation of daylight asserts itself in measures of hours. More and more hours of sun warmed shine.

By the Spring Equinox, the half?way point in the annual solar swing, the days have become about three hours longer for us in most of the United States. The length of day and night is equal everywhere on Earth. The constant accretion of light continues for three more months until the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. That’s about fifteen hours in New York City, twenty-one hours in Fairbanks, Alaska. In Sweden, it is indeed the land of the midnight sun. And at the North Pole, the sun doesn’t set at all.

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The seasonal ascendance of light and temperature is not — despite popular belief — due to our distance from the sun, but to the degree of directness of its rays. It would be logical, on the face of it, to assume that in the smarmy summer the earth approaches closest to the sun, and that we are furthest away in the cold, dark of winter. Not so. The earth reaches its perihelion, the point on our orbit which brings us closest to the sun, in winter (this year it was on January 1); and conversely, during summer (July 6, 2011) we attain our aphelion, the furthest reach of our range from the sun.

Though the distance from the sun is greatest in the summer, it is around the Summer Solstice that the sun sits highest in the sky. The steep path of its rays is angled directly overhead. Vertical. Its energy aimed arrow?like straight down on us. The Summer Solstice is the lightest, brightest, most brilliant summit of solar power. The peak, the potent pinnacle. The absolute apex of radiant energy extended toward us from our own shining star.

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The Summer Solstice is the height of the glory of the season of the sun. And it is all down hill from there. For once it is as light, as bright, as ripe as it can possibly get, it just can’t get any better. It is then that the dark must begin to creep back. Back and back in tiny daily increments, bringing cold and death in its wake. The eventual return of the dark completes the annual solar circuit, the swing shift of sunlight.

On the solstice and for several days surrounding it, the sun stands sentinel at dawn, hovering, as it were, before beginning its descent into dark. It seems to stand stark still in the sky, which is exactly what the word solstice means — “sun stands still.” It stands proud and tall for our total admiration and enthusiastic tribute. And like the sun, we stand still and tall, as well, basking in its full attention.

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If we celebrate the birth of the brand new sun and the return of the light at the Winter Solstice, we salute its vibrant expansive maturity at the solstice in the summer. We exalt in the season’s vital strength — and our own — even as we acknowledge its impending and inevitable loss of virility, fertility and ultimate demise. With bittersweet recognition of the impermanence of the season, we glory in that golden gift of heat and bright light. While we can.

A Simple Summer Solstice Ceremony

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. How long is that? Here is one way to ritually experience it:

•   Get up at dawn on June 21.

•   Watch the sun rise.

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•   Greet it.

•   Bless it.

•   Put a circular mirror outside in a sunny place.

•   Fill a glass container with cold water and several tea bags­ — black, green, or herbal — and place it on top of the mirror.

•   Go about your business for the day.

•   The mirror reflects the longest, strongest sun of the year.

•   The tea steeps in it until dusk.

•   Watch the sun set.

•   Drink the tea.

•   Look into the solar-powered mirror.

•   Bless your self with the warmth and energy of the sun.

•   Bless the world with your warmth and energy.

*****

Join Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman for her 35th Anniversary Summer Soulstice Celebration.

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Tuesday, JUNE 21 at 8:00 PM EDT

SUMMER SOULSTICE SUNSET CEREMONY

A sizzling Celebration of Summer. A family friendly event. Bring kids, dogs, drums, percussion instruments and plenty of rousing spirit.

Socrates Sculpture Park

32-01 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, Queens

For info: 718-956-1819

www.socratessculpturepark.org

FREE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phenomenal Woman

posted by Donna Henes

June is traditionally the month for weddings and it is also now celebrated as Gay Pride month. Love is in the air all around. This is a juicy time of making whoopy.

But while June is the jolly season for Brides and Grooms, Brides and Brides and Grooms and Grooms, it is important to remember that the most primary and important love is that of Self Love. All relationships are built on the respect, esteem and affection that we have for our self.

 

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

 

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

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But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms

The span of my hips,

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

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That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them

They say they still can’t see.

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

 

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.

When you see me passing

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,

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The bend of my hair,

the palm of my hand,

The need of my care,

‘Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

*****

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 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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How I Transformed My Life After 50 – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

June is traditionally the month for weddings and it is also now celebrated as Gay Pride month. Love is in the air all around. This is a juicy time of making whoopy.

But while June is the jolly season for Brides and Grooms, Brides and Brides and Grooms and Grooms, it is important to remember that the most primary and important love is that of Self Love. All relationships are built on the respect, esteem and affection that we have for our self.

 

How I Transformed My Life After 50 – Part 2

By Diane Gilman

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5 Easy Ways to Shift Your Thinking from Aging to Ageless

Make the List: Five years ago I made a list of everything about myself I didn’t like and wanted to change. On the same page I made a list of all things feminine I wanted to embrace or achieve. No different from a general attacking the enemy on a battlefield, I turned around each area of my life. Overnight my life went from Bucket List to Boundless!

Play in Today: In my twenties, designing for Jimi Hendrix and other rockers from San Francisco to London, “living in the moment” was easy. Throughout the years, evolving into “The Jean Queen” on HSN, I’m confronted with staying relevant in fashion and television — two industries driven by youth and beauty. My secret? Every morning I look myself in the mirror and say, “Today is the youngest you will ever be. What are you going to do with it?” Don’t just stay in today… make it a point to play in today!

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Break Through the Age Barrier: Recently I was asked, “When are you going to stop making jeans for old ladies?” I had to laugh. “Honey,” I replied, “there is nothing old about making ladies feel sexy at any age.” Challenge yourself to break through the preconceived ideas handed down to us as women. As if you’re in your fifth, sixth, or seventh decade, you must be “an old lady.” Forget it! Just like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, my mission is to break through the age barrier by redefining what’s sexy for Baby Boomer women now.

Picture This: Every moment of my life I imagine myself as a camera, with my heart as the aperture. I capture it all: the sights, smells, words, feelings. When you feel shut down, ask yourself, “Can I open my heart to new possibilities?” I’m living proof that when you do, more opportunities, productivity, fun and love are just waiting to come through. Remember, even a little light creates a big picture.

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Think Tapestry, Not Atrophy: My work enables me to travel the world, crossing paths with women of all lifestyles, ethnicities and ages. It’s human nature to compare how we feel on the inside with how others appear on the outside. When that happens, think tapestry, not atrophy. Every woman’s journey is a vibrant thread weaving its own unique path through the fabric of life. Turn a walk down the grocery aisle into a celebration of yourself. Make the ordinary extraordinary!

If you had told me going from aging to ageless was this easy, I never would have believed you. So along with everything else, I learned the hard way: on my own. Now that these five simple shifts in my thinking have created the five most successful, romantic and surprising years of my life, I want to share them with all my Baby Boomer sisters. It’s never too late to make life better and make your dreams come true. So turn it around! Plant the seed that you, too, can age agelessly. Tend to the garden of your life by taking simple actions. And watch yourself blossom bigger than ever into the best Baby Bloomer you can be!

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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 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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