Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

 

Today is Midsummer. The halfway point of summer is like a well-seasoned woman. The galloping growth and sweet blush of spring have slowed and faded in her sweltering heat. She’s slower now, and surer. Strong and steady. She’s salty and sultry and a little bit dusty. A little wrinkled. A little weary. A whole lot wiser. She bears the fruits of her own labors, and she wears them well. By midsummer, Dame Nature has grown tired of Her wardrobe with its dizzy palette of vibrant greens, vivid pinks, randy reds and profusions of pretty pastels. She now prefers the warmer, deeper, richer tones more flattering to Her present station. The Lady is now of a certain age, after all.

Midsummer marks and celebrates the glorious bounty of the ripening season. Trees and vines, stems and stalks are hung heavy with the abundance of the Earth. Mushrooms push themselves up uninvited onto the musty floor of the dark forest. Animals, birds and fish, fat from their greedy feasts and lazy, all but offer themselves up to the hunters who are a step above them on the food chain. Summer crops are ready for the table and to be collected and prepared for the larder. But it is the growth of the grain that holds the strongest significance of the midsummer season in agrarian societies. Grain, the staple, the sustenance, the stuff, the staff of life.

The reaping of the first ripened grain was great cause for celebration in honor of the Great Grain Mother who feeds us all. She has been known by many names: Astarte, Ashoreth, Isis, Demeter, Ceres, Op, Terre Mater, Tailltiu, Chicomecoatl, Green Corn Girl, Blue Corn Girl, Mother Quescapenek. The English word, “Lady” is derived from the Old English, hlaf-dig. The root word, hlaf  means loaf and  dig  means knead. Used together, they have the connotation of woman, lady of the house, matriarch, as provider of nourishment, the “giver of daily bread.”

The midsummer cross-quarter day is the only one of the four seasonal midpoints that is not still actively celebrated in our contemporary culture. Midsummer is celebrated in Europe, but there it refers to June 21, the first day of summer and not the middle, at all. Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” actually takes place on the Summer Solstice. Many celebrations of the first corn were observed on August 1. Named for Juno Augusta of Rome, August was particularly sacred to the Goddess Who Gives All Life and Feeds It, Too. It was considered for this reason an especially propitious time to be born. To this day, when a Scot says that someone was born in August, it is a compliment in praise of skilled accomplishment, with absolutely no bearing on the person’s actual birthday.

The summer cross-quarter day was celebrated by the Saxons as Hlaf Mass, “Feast of Bread,” and by the Celts as Lughnasadh, “Commemoration of Lugh.” Lugh was the grain god, son of Mother Earth. Every August He was sacrificed with the reaping of the corn only to be born again in the new shoots of spring exactly as the Egyptian, Osiris, had been. Loaf Mass and Lugh Mass evolved into Lammas, the Druid corn feast, one of the four cornerstone festivals around which their year revolved. When the Church adopted, co-opted, Lammas, it was referred to as Lamb’s Mass in commemoration of St. Peter in Chains, and the practice of the offering of the first fruits on the altar remained exactly the same.

The only living vestige of Lammas in the United Stated is a rural holiday called Second Planting. But unless you read the Farmer’s Almanac or belong to the Grange or 4H Clubs, you would have no reason to hear about it. It is celebrated exactly as Midsummer has always been celebrated. The first grain is harvested, threshed, milled, baked into bread and cake, brewed into beer, and then shared in community. After a night of feasting and dancing, work starts again at first light planting the second crop of summer wheat that will the mature by the fall harvest.

How can we, separated from the agricultural process by city and century, appreciate the atmosphere of the season which surrounds us, but which we cannot see? What is the Goddess of Grain to us of the boulangerie? The patisserie? We who buy our grain in bags, in boxes, premixed, pre-measured, prepackaged, prepared; sown, grown, harvested, hulled, milled, by someone else, somewhere else. How can we identify with the Earth values taught by Terra Mater during this time of year from where we are held captive in the synthetic heart of the genetically modified Pop Tart culture that claims us?

Well, we can behave, as they say, as if we were born in August. We can, in fact, become august — wise and generous and gloriously noble, each on our own chosen paths. We can hone our skills as the tenders of Mother Earth. We can hoe our row. We can carry our load. We can break bread together. We can feed the hungry.

We reap what we sow.

*****

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™

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

Many women now in midlife have always been pleasure seekers. Our generation created and experienced the Sexual Revolution, after all. And we are not likely to stop now, thank you very much. The time for loving has never been better. By midlife, those of us who have had kids are liberated from the constraints of child rearing and can now afford the uninterrupted time and energy to attend unabashedly to our sex lives. Heterosexual sex, finally divorced from any worries or pressures of pregnancy, free of the rigors of birth control, is now simply for its own sake, pleasure rather than procreation at its source. We are free to indulge ourselves in the joys of seduction, intimacy, sensuality, passion, and satisfaction. As Virginia Wolfe observed, “The older one grows the more one likes indecency.”

By middle age, we have come to know who we are. We know what we like and we know how to get it. As in every other area of Her existence, the Queen cannot tolerate living in any way that constricts the expression of Her true nature and desires. She assumes responsibility for Her own enjoyment and makes sure that Her sensual and emotional needs are met. Most important of all, we are more inclined now to go out and manifest what we want.

Our new take-charge sexual attitude can be just the catalyst needed to refuel the lethargic passion of our long-term marriage or partnership, or it could send us out in other, sometimes completely unexpected, directions. We could decide to take a lover, or a different lover, or an additional lover. If we have long been single, we might decide to begin dating and establishing relationships. We might, as is becoming more and more common, liberate our previously hidden, unfulfilled yearnings and “come out” as a lesbian in midlife. Or, if we have always been sexually active, involved and/or coupled, we could choose a period of celibacy, Self-exploration, Self-indulgence, and Self-love. The world is our oyster and we pick and choose according to our own persuasion.

A positive attitude is a Self-fulfilling prophecy cycle. When we look good, we feel good and when we feel good, we look great. The brain, the mind, is said to be our most sensitive sexual organ. Time after time, I have seen that being in possession of a vivacious, fully engaged, energized personality is much more enticing and erotic than having an outwardly pretty face or perfectly honed physique. It seems to me that the popular misperception that midlife marks the end of a woman’s sexuality, her attention and appeal, has less to do with her losing her looks than her losing her way, her sense of adventure, her enthusiasm, her spirit, her relationship with her Self. Allure is visceral and shines from within.

The Queen uses the power of Her own purpose, growth, and gratification to claim and proclaim what is rightfully Hers, including — especially — Her own Self-image, charisma, and sexuality. When we are comfortable in our own skin, we carry ourselves with presence and pride, and project our formidable inner beauty out for all to see and appreciate.

Our emotional maturity and depth of character make women in our middle years extraordinarily and vitally attractive. We are substantial and robust, heady with the flavor of all that we have seen and done so far. We are pungent with profound experience, with pain and loss, exploration and transformation, glory and joy. The myriad lessons learned from lives intensely lived are reflected in our palate, which has become sophisticated, subtle, firm, and complex. Like fine wine and good cheese, women ripen and improve with age. Our essence becomes stronger, clearer, and infinitely more powerful. What could be more sexy?

*****

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™

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Why do women over 50 lose their sex drive?

By Dr Ruth Westheimer 

 

Q. Why do a large percentage of women over 50 lose their sex drive? It is not just my wife, but many others that I know about who have husbands of their own. As hard as we try to satisfy them either with oral sex or straight, the results are the same. If it was just happening to me, I would blame myself.

A. There are also many women over 50 who start having the best sex of their lives. Their children are grown up and out of the house so that they have complete privacy. They don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. And they know their bodies better so are better equipped to have orgasms. I know that as a woman ages she undergoes hormonal changes, but there seems to be no scientific proof that menopause causes a woman to lose her sex drive. So if your wife is having problems, along with these other wives, the likelihood is that the problem is psychological. Perhaps your relationship isn’t as good as it used to be. Maybe you don’t spend enough time being romantic when you’re not having sex. If her body has undergone physical changes, then she might be feeling vulnerable and need extra attention from you. There could be lots of reasons why a woman over 50 isn’t as responsive to sex as she used to be, but it’s as likely, or more than likely, that her partner is a bigger part of the problem than her age.

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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.

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™

***

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is summer, hot and horny, and I am on a roll. So I am going to continue this theme of beauty, attraction, seduction, sex, love and self-love until I run out of content — or steam, whichever comes first.

 

I posed this question to our cyber Queens’ Court — The Queen of My Self  Page on Facebook.

Q. SEXY QUEENS: I am wondering: What is your sex life about as a Queen? How has your attitude about and/or your practice of sexuality changed with age? Are you less interested? More interested? More or less satisfied? Freer? More or less adventurous? These are pertinent questions for our Queen’s Court. Please reply here or, if you choose, you can email me at: thequeenofmyself@aol.com. Merci.

A. toward sex has changed very little. I have always enjoyed sex, and as I age I find out that it really does get better with age, something that I would have never believed at 30. Intercourse, meaning communication and also meaning coitus, is so appropriate I think because it is communication, and bonding.    At least for me, age has not dulled my interest, and that age has made me freer and more appreciative and understanding of the powerful place sexual intercourse holds in our lives. Not to mention the rewards and delights. Sex is not just for the young. Afterglow is good.Since learning that sex and love were not the same things, that didn’t take long, my attitude

– LoisAnn, PA

A. As a Queen, I am definitely less interested in sex as just something to do or feel. It seems that my body is becoming more sexy in its sexual energy rather than in my physical being. For example, I can have an orgasm energetically if I open my womb space energy and allow Shakti Energy to flow through me. LOVE IT! WOWEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

– Sheryll, CA

A. I have found that initially I was much more free… relaxed. After a few years of this stage, I began to place my energies elsewhere. In many ways this was enlightening as I had no idea how much focus I had given sex and its pursuit. But I do miss it…even though married.

– Michele, IL

A. Much less interested. I am too busy discovering parts of me that I didn’t know I had.

– Susan, NY

A. I find, as I grow deeper into my Queen self, that I am much more sexual and confident about my sexual desires. When I was younger and even into my mother years, my sexual self was focused more on what he (my husband) wanted or needed. At this stage of my life, I am much more interested in what I want and need as it pertains to sex. Experimentation, whether as a couple or alone (yes, the untalked about “M” word) is much more free and exciting for me. I’ve noticed as well, that since my hysterectomy in 2009, I am much more frisky and flirtatious and able to climax quite easily. I love being a Queen and seasoned woman :o)

– Kimi, NJ

A. This Queen is reveling in her sacred sexuality. The ecstatic pleasure I am able to experience is a gift as I see it. I do wonder at times what could possibly happen if I was able to channel some of that energy elsewhere. I love what Kimi said, I too, shall consider myself a seasoned woman!

– Alys, CO

A. During my menopausal years (50-53) my sexuality increased wonderfully! Orgasms were longer and much more frequent. I ended my relationship and within a few years, my sexuality decreased. When I started dating again, I experienced pain upon penetration. My doctor told me my vagina was atrophying. That relationship ended shortly after that diagnosis and I’ve been single since then (five years). I’ve not missed it, actually. I’ve not missed having a man around either. LOL. I’ve realized that there is SO much more to life and that my earlier years were so focused on sex that I missed many wonders of our beautiful world. I am free and glad of it.

-Sonia, NY

A. For me, part of feeling sexy is owning my power as a woman — the seat of that power being that which makes me a woman — my womb, my vagina. Being aware of the power that resides there.

– Lisa, VA

And what about you, my dear sister Queens? What part does sex play in your lives now? How do you feel about it? I would love to further this discussion. Do send in your experiences, thoughts and ideas

*****

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™

***

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