crown excerpts praise reviews readers' comments
READER'S COMMENTS about The Queen of My Self
Readers' Comments

Comments Posted on &

We rule!

If I were to recommend three books to a friend in need of some reassurance that it is — truly — great to be a woman, and even finer to be a woman pushing fifty or beyond, this triad would be The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes, along with The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine and The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Well, I'd have to add The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing During the Change.

I am writing this during the breaking news of the unearthed mummy of the Queen of Egypt —
a woman who died in her fifties. The "alpha female" of the ancient world, the newscaster blares. It is delightful to hear about a woman ruler (and it is great that she was fifty and not some maiden queen). But this review is about a book about women ruling none other than herself. And that is far more important a discovery than the mummy.

The Queen of My Self is unusual and counter to the culture. There are not many books that contradict the idea that life is essentially over for a woman of "a certain age". Partly it is due to lingering taboos. There are self-help books that "help" us defy our stage, fend it off or conceal it. These books are not empowering, because it is a lie and we know it. It fools no one, so they feed the terror. We may feel invisible, but why? We are everywhere. And we are full of power, but we may not know it or recognize it. Mostly we disappear from imagery and stories in books and films, though in reality we run society (even if not compensated for it). Though rising in our eroticism, we vanish as erotic beings, and we are pressured to dye our hair and insist we mostly bake cookies — trapped in the Mother archetype — if we dare to be actual queens of the land. So much of our creative energy seems to be wasted on hiding what we are slowly — irrevocably — becoming. This has got to be as destructive to one's self esteem as racism.

Donna Henes comes to the rescue! She is a rift healer, a paradox mender. A soul retriever. It is fitting that she is also a professional celebrator of celestial seasons — for we humans also have our seasons, and she celebrates our long autumnal glory. Life isn't just Spring, Summer, and Winter, but somehow the Autumn and its bounty got skipped. Henes bridges this immense gap.

As I passed forty and began to grow out of the Mother (Summer), I knew the looming Crone archetype (Winter) did not fit me or define me, and speculated that this image arose when most women were dead by fifty, or at least toothless and wasted (as you can see in women of many poor agricultural countries today). "The Crone" did not describe my midlife friends; it didn't describe my mother when she turned a robust, imperial seventy. It really only described my great grandmother of 105. The decay aspects of the Crone seemed to have been dreamed up by men — and probably women — afraid of their mortality and projecting death onto the Feminine. Carl Jung didn't help. The Crone was an outmoded archetype — and I decided to not take it on. I would create and live my own archetype, and categories be damned.

That can be a lonely hermit road though. As Henes shows, part of the dilemma of this stage is we often isolate ourselves to process the transformation, and this isolation can make us feel we are going it alone. For women, erstwhile social creatures, that can be especially strange. Turns out, I am in good company in my "ruminations and regenerating". Uncannily (well, she is a shaman) Henes sent me her book at the time when I most needed some external sisterly affirmation, and explanation of, and highly accurate description of the amazing psychic journey I have been on.

I gladly embrace the Queen archetype: I am Queen of my Self - if not of the Land! This is not about power over others — it is about power of oneself and power over highly destructive confusing imagery and stereotypes.

Henes exactly describes what I have been going through and mulling over. Here is a favorite "aha" quote:

"Despite the rude awakening, the unsettling physical and emotional chaos of midlife and all its frightful, presumed ramification, an amazing number of women find this stage to be the most personally fulfilling and satisfying one of their lives so far...Just what are we to make of this apparent feeling among so many women that we believe ourselves to be better off once we have lost possession of the very characteristics and trappings that society seems to value in us — our sexual allure and childbearing capabilities?."

Pleasurable, iconoclastic, great writing, great wisdom (from someone not yet a Crone), bold vitality: This book will be valued companion for me in the years to come.



Hail to the Queen!

I looked forward to my 50th birthday with more joy and anticipation than any other birthday in my adult life. There was just one problem: Traditionally, women have identified age 50 and menopause as the time when they segue from Mother to Crone. But I didn't feel like a Crone! I still loved to hike in the woods, ride my bicycle, play with paints and clay and toys.

Then I met Donna Henes and read her book, The Queen of My Self. It was one of those rare, "Aha" moments for me. Here, at last, was a woman who understood the old archetypes were outdated; that menopausal women in this millennium are still vibrant and full of life. Smart, yes; wise, well....maybe in another few years.

Henes explains how the idea of the three stages of a woman's life —Maiden, Mother, Crone —are not, as often thought, the faces of the triple goddess. Rather, they are the creation of a man, a man who clearly feared the strength, power, and bohemian spirit so prevalent in today's midlife woman.

She offers lots of fun and fanciful ways to celebrate Queendom, from rebirthing and coronation ceremonies to personal affirmations and chants. And she doesn't do this from an impersonal distance. Henes bares her soul, talking about her own path to Queendom, writing in such an intimate manner the reader feels like the book is a personal letter from the author to her, and her alone.

Read this book. Give this book to every woman you know who is a Queen, or is approaching Queendom. Then, pour yourself a delicious bubble bath, a glass of wine or cup of soothing tea, put a crown on your head —one you've made yourself, of course —slip into the tub, and sing, "Hail to the Queen!"

You deserve it.



Put on your crown

Donna Henes states that she has thirty years experience as an "urban shaman and contemporary ceremonialist." She says that she was a "proud member of the pioneering Sixties Generation." When she found herself lacking in role models to mentor her through middle age, Henes chose to use her own leadership abilities. She developed "The Queen" image for herself and her cohorts. In doing so, she created not only a royal attitude, but also a lifestyle guide. Henes has established an enriching experiential "how-to" for stepping into middle age with aplomb.

Henes uses the classic "Queen" as a continuous theme throughout the book. Each of the eight chapters has a heading befitting the regal premise, plus a sub-heading of real world methods toward fulfillment. For example, Chapter 5 is titled "The Queen and I" with a sub-title of "Embracing Her Majesty." The readers are encouraged to "design our own roles and ideals, compose the scripts, and author the sagas of our own futures." The author presents personal experience and case studies of women who have successfully reinvented themselves in middle age; readers can easily relate to these examples.

Each chapter offers multiple suggestions to help readers identify their own wishes and wants. The author has a way-with-words in taking a topic to the top with lists, affirmations, alliteration, quotes, clues, metaphors, similes and analogies. If one style of story telling is not suitable for a specific reader, another style for the same subject is sure to meet the reader's needs. Henes even uses her own poetry to get the point of self-improvement across to the reader. The result is a book that is well-crafted, engaging, and entertaining.

Henes also gives the readers practical applications within the context of The Queen. With all that the author offers, Queen of My Self is a gift that keeps on giving. Ladies, put on your gem-studded tiaras! You are in for a great read from a thoughtful and thought-provoking author who is for and about a well-lived middle-aged life.



The New Cool Queen is Me

Baby boomers take note: there is an alternative to middle age meltdown! Donna Henes' wonderful book, The Queen of My Self describes a new approach to the middle passage, in which women are encouraged to reject negative cultural stereotypes associated with aging and claim our personal (and collective) power. Henes' beautifully written book is not a self-help volume. Rather, through personal narrative, anecdote, myth, and history she explains why "stepping into sovereignty"—becoming a queen of one self—is worth all the hard work. An inspiring person and writer, her reformulation of what it means to be a woman of a certain age will appeal to everyone searching for a better way.



A Landmark Book for Women

The passage into midlife can be a harrowing one, but thanks to Donna Henes' brilliant new book, I am ready to dive right in! This book is instructive, inspirational, and wise. Henes is a very gentle and funny teacher. She lets us know that if we follow our purpose, our power, and our passion, we are primed to live life to the fullest with the very best years ahead of us. She gives us confidence that we can create the life that we desire for ourselves and that we can be the woman who we have always wanted to be. I am the Queen of my own destiny thanks to the encouragement I found in the pages of The Queen of My Self. Brava to Queen Donna!!!



A Must-Read Guide to Midlife

This book made me excited about turning 50! Great inspirational advice, interesting historical perspective, and a lot of practical suggestions for stepping into your full power in the prime of your life. Henes writes in a down-to-earth voice, with a sense of humor. Nothing stuffy or "head in the clouds" about this book. If you take it to heart, and do some of the activities on the "Queen Pages," you will feel like you are well on your way to becoming your best self!



The Queen and Me

Donna Henes's extraordinary new book addresses an important chapter of our lives, one that most of us have simply avoided thinking about: entering middle age. The Queen of My Self articulates a new model for the middle passage, one in which women are urged to cast aside negative cultural stereotypes so that we may claim our personal (and collective) power. Henes, a talented writer, interweaves anecdotes, myths, and personal stories to explain why “stepping into sovereignty” (becoming a queen of one self) doesn't happen automatically. She encourages her readers to dig deep. After all, reformulating one's idea of what it means to be a woman of a certain age is not easy. But, if my experience is any indication, reading this book will inspire you to change your life.


A Book That Will Change Your Life

There are chapters in our lives for which we're simply unprepared. Entering middle age is one of them. Donna Henes' wonderful new book, The Queen of My Self—the terrific title is an appetizer of what's to come—articulates a new model for the middle passage, one in which we're urged to cast aside cultural stereotypes and claim our personal (and collective) power. This is no easy feat and, make no mistake. Henes' is not a self-help volume. She explains why "stepping into sovereignty"—becoming a queen of one self—doesn't happen automatically. Reformulating our own ideas of what it means to be a woman of a certain age is an integral part of this challenging process. If my experience is any indication, reading this book will profoundly change your life.



Urge to Purge

Are you around 50 or so and feeling the urge to purge? Do you have a burning desire to make changes in your life—becoming more creative while you focus on yourself for a change? Donna Henes' book The Queen of Myself blows the triple goddess out of the water and creates a new paradigm of selfhood. Like the four seasons and the four phases of the moon, Donna introduces the four stages of womanhood—Maiden, Mother, Queen and Crone. The Queen of Myself incorporates the personal with the mythological to create a new concept for women and aid women in midlife. Pick up the book and explore what it means to be "Queen."


Just in Time

Mama Donna celebrates a unique season of the psyche and invites us to dance. An exercise in graceful playing and blossom watering. A leap into your own loving arms.


To read more, please click here. more comments
Donna Henes is an acclaimed urban shaman, contemporary ceremonialist, artist
and writer who specializes creating rituals in celebration of the cosmic cycles of the seasons and the universal seasons of our personal lives. She has designed and produced countless public and private ceremonial events in more than 100 cities in ten countries since 1972.

More information about the author.

back to the top

For more information about Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman, visit:
To shop for goddess goods and ritual supplies from around the world, visit:
web design by Janet Fish 2018©