The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Love Your Self

posted by Donna Henes

I stumbled on this blog was delighted at what I read there. As you know, Self-love is a major ideal for all Queens to aspire to. Loving our Self is the foundation for Self-esteem, Self-confidence, Self-identification and Self-fulfillment. And it is the first step to sovereignty.

Love it all: the good, the messy, the deplorable and disgusting, the divine and endearing, the noble and profane. Love the crap you create, and the tenacity with which you continue to breathe. Especially, deliberately love the bits that you don’t think deserve it. Core confidence is grounded in self love.

I was inspired to write about self love because of this great client I have. She and I have been working together since 2007. She’s gone from morbidly obese, broke and suicidal to a sleek role model with a guaranteed annual income of 90K. I offered her another big challenge designed to accelerate her progress recently, which she received with enthusiasm and confidence, even as her fears reared their heads. Her undaunted attitude of “bring it on, I get it, I can do it!” is thrilling.

We were talking about her journey from that sad girl I met to the dynamic woman I know now. I asked her what the biggest internal shift has been for her. She said, “I talk to myself differently now.”

She went on, “I used to be so mean to myself, and constantly say bad, terrible things about myself inside my head. Somewhere along the way, that changed. I started talking nice to myself, and noticing the good things instead of the bad. Now I make myself say 10 good things about myself for every bad thing I catch myself thinking. I also find myself finding more good things about myself to praise. How I talk to myself has absolutely shifted. And it’s so much easier now to accomplish my goals because of it.”

“So you praise the good things about yourself, and that’s the shift?” I queried.

“Well, it’s more than that, actually. Things really started shifting for fast for me when I started loving all of me. I had to love the fat and the depression before they could go away. Without judging it. I just started telling my faults that I loved them. I did it all the time. I still do it. And they kinda vanished, or at least stopped getting in the way. And now I’m lots happier, and I get more done, and I love my life. But I had to love all of me first before anything else changed. I know I’d still be fat if I hadn’t started, for sure.”

I’ve watched this woman walk through Hell on the way to her dreams. I’ve witnessed her triumphs and her challenges. I’ve been honored to be her ally on this journey. Her results don’t lie.

I believe her. Don’t you?

Do yourself a favor. Start loving yourself, ALL of yourself, on purpose, deliberately. Start today, right this minute, and change your life forever.

Affirmation:, “I, <name>, love every part of me.”

- Molly Burke, CA
Queen of Confidence

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


Blood for Bread

posted by Donna Henes

At the harvest, one can easily imagine that the Earth Goddess has offered up Her life in the form of the fruits of the land, and that in doing so, She commits the supreme sacrifice. She expends all of Her generative energy. It is as if Mother Nature in autumn is in the midst of Her menopause, Her sacred seed spent. In grateful response, people fed Her fresh blood to replenish Her powers of procreation.

India has long practiced sacrificial obeisance to Mother Earth. As late as the nineteenth century, the Kandhs of Bengal sacrificed a person for the Earth Goddess, Tari Pennu, in order to ensure healthy crops and immunity from disease. Blood was especially important in the cultivation of turmeric, which needed it to develop its rich, red color.

Aztec hymns tell us that Tonacacihuatl, Our Lady of Substance, was once the Goddess of the Hunt, Blood and Night, but as the people grew to depend more on agriculture, She evolved into the Earth Goddess. The son of Her fertility was the corn, which was depicted as being identical with the obsidian knife which was Her symbol.

Here, too, fertility, death and sacrifice are connected. The husking of the corn is perceived as the same act as the tearing out of a sacrificial victim’s heart, both accomplished with the obsidian blade. At the celebration of the broom harvest of the Earth Mother, first an older woman, and then a young girl were beheaded and their blood spread on fruit, seeds and grain to guarantee abundance.

At the Autumn Equinox purification feast of the ancient Incas of Peru, families first bathed and then anointed their bodies with a substance called zancus, which was made from grain mixed with human blood. It was also applied to the thresholds of their homes as a protective charm. The Indians of Guayaquil, Ecuador, used to sow their fields with blood and human hearts to assure the harvest.

The sacrificial victim was meant to be an embodiment of the grain, and was chosen because of some obvious resemblance to it. For example, the Aztecs would kill young victims to represent young corn and mature ones to stand for the ripe. The Marimos of South Africa would choose a short, fat man, round as a seed. The Skidi Pawnees of North America would fatten their female victim before the kill to assure an abundant crop of plump corn.

The identification of the victim with the grain is also evident in the means of execution. A West African queen used to have a man and a woman killed with the implements of cultivation, hoes and spades, and then buried with the seed in the soil. One of the sacrificial practices of the Aztecs was to kill the victim by grinding her or him, like the maize, between two millstones.

With the martyred death of the sacrificial victim, the fertile blood seed, like the grain, brings life anew to the world. And, thus, the circle is complete. The death of the old grain, the old sun, the old season, feeds the continuing life of the people. The death of a representative person is then offered in obeisance as repayment of the ultimate debt of life. Death feeds life feeds death, the enduring saga of the eternal cycle of survival.

And, because the struggle is so strong, so long, those who thrive, like the grain, to the ripe age of maturity, rate our utmost admiration. The autumn ones. The old ones. The ancestors. The Queens. The Crones. The matriarchs. The ones who remember. The ones who know. The ones who show and tell, the ones who teach. The ones who pass the past and fuel the future. The ones who have gone to seed.

What a glorious deed, indeed! To bring forth from one’s Self the fertile possibility of continuity! To imbed the stuff of one’s Self in the soil and grow there! Only a culture, such as ours, critically out-of-touch and at emotional odds, divorced and dangerously disassociated from the divine life and death cycle of reality, could possibly consider “going to seed” a derogatory description of aging.

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

The Full Harvest Moon Queen

posted by Donna Henes

The full moon that occurs closest to the equinox in the fall, the huge, orange Full Harvest Moon is the most spectacular of the year. Because it rises right on the horizon just as the sun sets, it assumes a larger, more radiant countenance. According to an ancient Chinese axiom, “When mid autumn comes, the moon is extraordinarily brilliant.”

The moon, almost always associated with the archetypal female principle, is undeniably brighter now, and more lush. Evocative. It is no wonder that its wondrous waxing — from new to full — should frame so many diverse festivals of food, fortune, and fulfillment. Festivities, all, for our Mother Who Feeds Us. She Who Attends To All Our Needs.

The Mid Autumn Feast is celebrated throughout the Orient on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. The festival enjoys a widespread general popularity today, although traditionally, this thanksgiving feast of the Full Harvest Moon in honor of Chang O, the Moon Lady, was a women’s occasion officiated by the esteemed eldest matriarch of each household, befitting the yin (female) quality of the moon. This especially lovely evening is spent outside in the luminous light of the huge lunar disk. Lanterns are lit in loving, imitative tribute, and people gather in groups to moon-gaze.

Altars are made and laid by the women in the family with plump round fruits: apples, oranges, peaches, and pomegranates which are especially propitious for their many seeds, implying as they do, an earthy as well as human fecundity. Wine and tea are also offered, and chrysanthemums. The centerpiece is a platter of thirteen moon cakes, once-a-year-only sweet treat balls of rice dough filled with sweet bean paste, lotus seeds, and duck eggs, piled in a towering triangular pyramid symbolic of the fertile pubic triangle of woman. According to custom, one exchanges moon cakes with friends and colleagues as an act of goodwill.
The full harvest moon brings to a close the cycle of the Jewish New Year observances — which begins on the new moon with Rosh Hashanah  — with Succoth, the ancient and pagan-influenced Feast of the Ingathering, also known as Feast of the Tabernacles. Each family builds a simple square shelter with the roof left open to the sky in order that Shekinah, the personification of heaven’s feminine blessings, may shine down and enter the Succat Shalom, House of Peace. The interior is hung with arrangements of harvest fruits, the centerpiece of which is a special ceremonial bouquet of the branches of palm, willow, myrtle and citron, which has been shaken to the four directions.

The Cherokee, too, celebrate a new-to-full Fall Harvest Moon cycle of New Year’s ceremonies at the Green Corn Festival. In imitation of the moon, which spans the range of emptiness and fullness, the Cherokee sequence of ritual, like the Jewish High Holy Days, alternates the serious and the joyous, the meditative and the exuberant, the personal and the participatory.

 Atohuna, Friends Made Ceremony, is a preparation period during which the dwelling places of the physical and spiritual realms are cleansed. People fast and bathe in the rivers at sunset. Evil spirits are banished from the tribe, driven away with poles made of sycamore. Fires are smothered and new sacred flames are kindled. On the Full Harvest Moon, the ceremonial cycle culminates with the Great Moon Ceremony, Nuwatiega, which celebrates anew the eternal creation of the beautiful and bountiful world each year.

The Full Harvest Moon calls us to celebrate the blessings of life. All of life, the easy as well as the hard. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The moon illuminates our personal harvest, which is measured in lessons learned. For this growth, and for life, itself, we are most grateful. 

Join me tonight SEPTEMBER 23 6:00 PM

I will be leading a ceremonial procession through lovely Victorian Maple Grove Cemetery. The event culminates in participatory flotilla of lit memorial lanterns in the lake at sunset. This annual event is inspired by Asian Ancestor Worship rituals.

Maple Grove Cemetery
127-15 Kew Gardens Road
P.O. Box 150086
Kew Gardens, New York 11415-0086


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


The Autumnal Equinox

posted by Donna Henes

The Autumn Equinox today ushers in the dark season. The season of diminished light. From now until the Vernal Equinox, six months hence, the nights will be longer than the days. Shade and chill prevail. The year, the season, the sun, are slowing down, growing cold, getting old. The insidious forces of death sweep in and overshadow the vibrant life source.

The air and land, once alive with teeming species, are becoming empty in fall, and mute. Birds leave. Insects nest. Burrowing animals hunker. The trees discard their once-green mantles, shrugging off leaves aglow with the fiery patina of age and sun. Stripped, they emerge skinny and naked, shivering in the wind. The flowering and fruitful plants shrivel and wither and prepare to die with the coming cold. Fruits, nuts, ripe grains and grasses are gathered in before the fatal first frost.

Fall is like being 60. Having weathered the cycles, the rainbows and the storms, the trials and the troubles, the struggles; the teachings of a full life, it is now the season to reap what you have sown. If you planted your seeds in the spring and tended them well — watered and weeded, pruned and staked, mulched and sprayed, propitiated and prayed; and if the weather was willing — enough, but not too much, sun, wind and rain; and if you were lucky — favored by the powers-that-be in the universe; come autumn it is prime time to harvest your crop.

You have lived responsibly, raised your family. You have followed your calling, perfected your craft, participated in community. You have done your job, played your part. You have paid your dues — not to mention your payments, your taxes. You have worked your ass off. You are ready for a rest. You earned it. You yearn for the freedom and leisure that follows hard work well done. This is the future you have been saving for. In fall, you cash in and collect the fruits of your love and long labor.

Throughout world mythology, the goddess of the good ground, the grain, the autumn harvest, has been appropriately portrayed as a knowledgeable woman of the world, an experienced, mature mistress of all earthly domains. A matriarch. A Queen. 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 and the Huichol call her Our Mother Dove Girl, Mother of Maize.

Autumn age provides the perspective of the telescope of time. Here is the potential to ripen to a healthy, golden perfection before the stalk of life is scythed. To propagate the plentiful seeds of genes, of experience, of heritage, of the accumulated wisdom of the generations grown patiently over time. These are the seeds of survival. This is true for plants, too. In the fall of their lives when they are past their prime, as their last productive act and in a grand-finale flurry of display, they go to seed. They issue forth from themselves the fertile means to assure a continuous succession.

The parent plant scatters these precious seeds to the four directions. They send them out on the winds and over the waters. They arrange for them to be delivered in the fur of animal couriers and dispersed from the air by birds and bats. They are given over to the grain harvesters of many species. It is imperative that these wild and domestic seeds find their way back into the earth womb to germinate and grow again. This accomplished, their lives complete, their genetic deed done, they die. Their decomposing leaves and stalks serve to cover the embryonic seed asleep in the cold ground. Even in death, they serve to nourish new life.
Autumn is inexorably associated with ripe maturity, harvest and death, as well as the implicit understanding of an eventual rebirth, the offer of resurrection. Just as the dying sun is sure to return, so, too, will the seeds buried deep in the dark, begin to sprout come springtime. This potent promise of prospective plenitude sustains us through the empty-stomach months.

Our old women gods, we ask you!
Our old women gods, we ask you!
Then give us long life together,
May we live until our frosted hair
Is white; may we live till then
This life that now we know!

- Tewa Prayer to the Corn Mothers
Join me tonight, SEPTEMBER 22, 6:30 PM

A sunset ceremony on the first day of Fall.
This is a family friendly event. Bring kids, dogs, drums, percussions and plenty of spirit.

Grand Army Plaza, Park Slope, Exotic Brooklyn.
Meet at the Fountain. 2/3 train to Grand Army Plaza
For info: 718-857-1343

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


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