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REVIEWS of The Queen of My Self tm


Donna Henes is an acclaimed urban shaman, contemporary ceremonialist, artist and writer. She has designed and produced countless public participatory ceremonial events in celebration of the universal cycles of the seasons in more than 100 cities in nine countries since 1972.

Henes is the author of three books and a quarterly newsletter, Always in Season. I found myself resonating so much with her latest book that I want to share stories from my own experience, and with the mighty power of the pen (or in this case, the computer disc), I can (and Queen that I am, I by Goddess, will).

Last May, my good friend Deborah approached me with the desire to mark her 49th birthday in some significant way. I priestess in my community by co-creating ritual that marks life passages and calendar events (I’m a Donna Henes wannabe). Deborah, a deeply spiritual woman but one uneducated in the ways of the Goddess, initially suggested that perhaps she would like to have a croning. Cronings have even made it to the mainstream press; therefore, we may be familiar with the concept. But I think that many of us are not ready to embrace this archetype, even though on some level we think perhaps we should. CLICK HERE to read more


Vitality Toronto

Now deep into my 40s, it is not unusual for me to wake in the night feeling warmer than normal. If these are hot flashes they’re intermittent for now, but it does herald the approach of menopause and the time referred to as the Crone years. The wizened crone is not re-inventing herself everyday. She is settled and reflects to others the wisdom of which she is certain. But I am not there yet, and I have no doubt that the crone of the traditional triple goddess archetype is premature for describing the middle years of modern women.

Donna Henes agrees and has written a book exploring this very issue: The Queen of My Self (Monarch, 2004). She feels that the wild phase of transitioning through midlife is a time to be crowned Queen; sovereign of ourselves. The maiden/mother/crone model is Roman, Hindu, Celtic, Greek and Buddhist. All these cultures have groupings of three, such as the three Graces, Fates, and Muses, the Holy Trinity. The maiden represents all things new and expansive, the mother is creation and nourishment, the crone is death, transformation, rebirth. CLICK HERE to read more


Wild Woman Network

In The Queen of My Self, Donna Henes proposes a completely original paradigm— that of the midlife Queen, a woman in her prime who has achieved wisdom, mastery, and self-esteem— that reflects more accurately the realities and needs of women today. Henes draws on history, mythology, and literature, her own life experience, as well as stories from women in many different societies, situations and stations to provide upbeat, practical, and ceremonial inspiration for all women who want to enjoy the fruits of an influential, passionate, and powerful maturity. CLICK HERE to read more


WholeLife Times

It was one of those mornings when I was struggling to get up and get going. Limping into the bathroom on my chronically sore heel, I glimpsed my face in the mirror, eyes swollen and deeper lines, and I quickly looked away! Settling into a hot bath, I browsed through a yoga magazine filled with young yoginis free of cellulite or wrinkles and thought, if I just practice more maybe I’ll look like them. With a sigh I realized that even 35 years of practicing yoga, meditation, and taking vitamins, supplements and eating organically, hasn’t kept me from getting older.

And “disappearing”. It seems like I’ve fallen off the radar screen of not only men, but the culture in general. Something I wasn’t totally conscious of— being valued simply for being young and attractive— is now gone. I feel a pang for the loss of that younger self, more aware of her imperfections than her gifts. Plus going through helping my younger partner leave to “find himself”, has left me alone really for the first time in my adult life. Even though it happens to so many women, I never expected it to happen to me. 

Over a forbidden cup of coffee (which dramatically improves my state of mind!), I leaf through Whole Life Times. I begin reading a letter to the editor by a woman complaining about a recent cover featuring a beautiful young woman. Perusing magazine covers has convinced me that only young and beautiful people are newsworthy, so I know how she feels. Then she gets to the Sports Illustrated bathing suit issue, which brought up such conflicting feelings for me— disgust that women are still primarily valued for their attractiveness to men and the wish that I looked like that myself. CLICK HERE to read more


Sunburst Oasis

I first became aware of “Mama Donna”, the urban shaman, when living in Manhattan. She fought for the right to take a team of people to celebrate the full and new moons on a Brooklyn beach. After an initial arrest, the police accepted this rite, at least under her leadership.

Donna Henes has written The Queen of My Self to explain the need for a fourth archetype added to the classic three stages of woman: Maiden, Mother & Crone. As an astrologer, it made immediate sense to me that rather than three phases of life, a woman would go through at least four, to mirror the main phases of the moon. Henes supports the “four” in a literate and colorful way. Following her logic and discovering the many reinforcements to her theory was wonderful fun to read.

Henes lives her life with ritual awareness and has filled this book with ideas for you or your loved ones to celebrate this stage in a woman’s life. Henes is a natural storyteller, and the book is a fascinating mix of memoirs, vignettes about women from all walks of life, ancient herstory, mythology and folklore. The work is full of well-chosen quotes and poems as well as Henes’ humor and unique perspective. There are ideas for rituals, journaling with intention and methods to look for symbolism in your everyday life. CLICK HERE to read more


Goddess Network

Donna has written a landmark book that celebrates a new mythic model for the middle years of a woman’s life— the Queen! A guide on how to take ownership of your life, Henes explains how you can enhance your own midlife power. An insightful read from one of America’s best urban shamans and spiritual practitioners.

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