Tag - queen of my self

The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife

With a modern woman’s life span increasing, perhaps we are too quick to Crone ladies at age 50

By Donna Henes
Monarch Press, 2005
211 pp., $16.95

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In The Queen of My Self: Stepping Into Sovereignty in Midlife, Donna Henes boldly and audaciously – as any Queen worth her salt would do – challenges the popular paradigm of the three phases in a woman’s life, that of Maiden, Mother, Crone. She very sensibly argues that with a modern woman’s life span increasing, perhaps we are too quick to Crone ladies at age 50. This refers to the current trend in the Goddess community to honor women who have hit this milestone birthday – the half century mark – with a ritual/coming-out party which pays homage to the celebrant’s status. Henes is all for celebrating a woman’s midlife achievements. However, she suggests a new archetype be introduced (instead of jumping the gun to “crone”), and that is of “the Queen.”

Henes speaks about her own experience in approaching her 50th birthday and her hesitancy in being croned. “How could I,” she writes “in all honesty and any modesty, claim the mantle of the Crone while a mere middle-ager? That would be like saying that someone who is in their twenties is as smart and as practiced as I am.” The author points out that just as there are four seasons, perhaps there are four phases in a woman’s lifetime, with Queen representing what would be autumn, and winter reflecting the true Crone.

Incredibly generous and honest in her personal saga, Henes shares her own experience during the Mother aspect of her life, where she confronted and lived with much tragedy. She even refers to one period as being “in the hospice zone.” Having come to terms with losses that sapped her very essence in her forties, Henes found herself experiencing a renewed vigor and a respect for the sacredness of life in her early 50s.

Punctuated with thought-provoking quotes throughout, such as “You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame” (Erica Jong), the book also features segments entitled “The Queen Suggests” – just in case you are firmly entrenched in midlife and are not experiencing the self-confidence and independence that Henes vehemently believes is your sovereign right. Some suggestions are for your coronation or crowning ceremony, and others are breathing exercises to connect to your Kundalini energy which is suspected to be unleashed with the hot flashes of menopause. The author even gives feng shui advice – I did not know that your kitchen stove represents the central furnace of the self. Henes points out that most folks use only the same one or two burners, and suggests lighting all four at once, even for a moment, to ensure that you are “cooking on all four burners.”

Written in a tone which is reminiscent of a wise girlfriend encouraging you to take on life, Henes also made me laugh out loud several times. As I seemed to need bifocals the exact day I turned 40, I related to this: “Now, I love the fact that we lose our vision and our youthful beauty at the same time. What we can’t see can’t hurt us. It is a brilliant kindness to our vanity that reinforces in me the belief that God is surely a Goddess.” Throughout, the author has been there and done that. The Queen of My Self: Stepping Into Sovereignty in Midlife serves as the motivation for women in midlife to ascend to their thrones. Surely with the experiences garnered by a 50th birthday, every woman deserves that right.

Review by Diane Saarinen


A Question of Mothering

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.
*Ask Your Mama™ Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™
by ©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Dear Mama Donna,

I’m enjoying reading your book, The Queen of My Self. I have a question, though.  My own mother and both of my grandmothers were never the nurturing type of women. In truth, they weren’t the kind of people I’d care to be around if I wasn’t related to them. Both grandmothers have passed, and I try to have very little contact with my mother, as she is a negative and disruptive influence. I made a conscious decision to not have children of my own.

How do I find the “mother” in me and celebrate the part of me that I never developed in myself, and that wasn’t encouraged by the elder women in my life? I hope that doesn’t sound like a silly question, but I believe I won’t find my full power and purpose without this reconciliation with myself.

Thank you so much for your work!
– Julie, CA

Dear Queen Julie,

Of course you question isn’t silly. It is a most common one, and I thank you for sending it. I know that it will resonate with many of our sister Queens, and hopefully some of them will share their own insights and experiences with you.

The best way to find your mothering Self is to become your own mother! Now in your middle years, it is time to turn your attention to your own needs and desires. It is crucial that you nurture your body, as well as your most precious dreams, and lavish upon your Self an endless flow of emotional and spiritual sustenance and physical care.

How do you do that, you ask, without a role model? Make it up! Be your own role model! If you did not have a loving, giving, nurturing maternal influence, you now have the chance to change that karma and learn how to be your own caring mother.

And the exciting thing is that you can be the sort of parent that you always wished for — for me it was the cheerful, optimistic, fun-loving Mary Poppins that my little girl-Self needed so badly, rather than the negative, critical, demeaning mom that I had.

Whatever your childhood was like, that was then and this is now. Now, you can give your Self the unconditional love and support that you did not have as you were growing up. You can and must assume the responsibility to feed, nourish, encourage, and comfort your Self, pamper and challenge your Self, and whisper into your own ear each night as you slip off to sleep, “Good night, honey. I love you.”

Think about caring for your Self as an act of love, rather than a duty. Attitude is all. Your Self-care is, after all, strictly a gift you are giving to yourself. And you deserve it!

With blessings of mother love,


* Unofficial Commissioner of Public Spirit of NYC. – The New Yorker
* For 35 years Ms. Henes has been putting city folk in touch with Mother Earth. – New York Times
* Part performance artist, part witch, part social director for planet earth. 
    – The Village Voice
* Globally significant theater-in-the-round. – Brooklyn Bridge Magazine
* The woman is balanced. – Paper Magazine
* Solstice Sister. – TimeOut New York
* The Original crystal-packing mama. – NY Press

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. She has created and officiated public ceremonies for two mayors and a governor and serves as the ritual consultant on Hollywood films. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.



Revisiting the Queen

Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff’s new release, Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman’s Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life That You Deserve (Harlequin, March 2010) sends an important message: The Queen has gone mainstream! This in itself is a cause for celebration.

It was five years ago that I reviewed The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife by Donna Henes (Monarch Press, 2005.) At that time, Henes wrote: “I craved, but could not find, an existing prototype of a passionate and empowered female middle age…A new archetype was definitely in the air, but I felt that it had not yet been completely articulated.” The Queen of My Self then proceeded, in its burgeoning, self-published and empowering pages, to serve as a guide for midlife women to facilitate a serious attitude adjustment regarding aging – the crowning glory being, well, a crowning ceremony where mature, realized women literally crown themselves as a symbol of their new authority as architects of their own destiny.

Kinney and Ratzlaff’s work continues on similar themes, also including a crowning ceremony. Henes’ book states the work ahead “…will not be a resort vacation, but a challenging and extraordinarily rewarding journey into the wilds of heretofore unmapped realms.”  But Kinney and Razlaff do take the resort vacation approach, with attaining queendom being a perfectly good reason to throw a party – with lots of cake.

The Queen of My Self and Queen of Your Own Life have much in common, aside from the obvious similarities in the titles. Both have inspirational quotes scattered liberally throughout: Kinney and Ratzlaff, in the introduction, implore “If not now – when?” where Henes asked in her introduction, “If not now, honey, when?” But where Kinney and Ratzlaff offer examples throughout their guide where it appears they have suffered from low self esteem for their entire lives (stating numerous childhood examples,) Henes stays true to the midlife course. If you are feeling lousy as you get older, Henes illustrates, it may just be because of menopause. An empty nest. Divorce. Death. You get the idea. “Old age is no place for sissies,” said Bette Davis — and either is middle age.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two books is in its applications. Kinney and Ratzlaff sum it up in the title – the goal is to claim happiness and get the life you deserve. Henes is a bit more far seeing. In Henes’ final chapter, “Empress Energy,” the guide gives pointers on extending queenly influence out into the world. “We wise, mature, accomplished women are called upon to step up to the challenge and ascend the throne of conscious, conscientious leadership.” Henes seems to understand that, innately, all queens rule.

Reviewed by Diane Saarinen