The Queen's Chronicles
The Newsletter of The Queen of My Self Community
February 2009
In This Issue
All About Eve's Garden
Salsa Queen
The Queen's Court

Queen Mama Donna

Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, 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 quarterly journal and writes a column for UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum. 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.

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The Queen of Myself is just exactly what I need right now, and I am enjoyably, slowly, repeatedly devouring it in every available moment. It is just what I was looking for, I was ready to move into the Queen phase, and had made a start by myself, and now your wonderful writing provides a so helpful, authenticating guide. Thank you very much. Bless you.
- Ailsa Haslehurst, England


The Queen's Chronicles

Offers upbeat, practical, and ceremonial inspiration for all women who want to enjoy the fruits of an influential, passionate, and powerful maturity.

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You have always been so supportive and honest with me. It is so good to have you in my life, because I can trust you with my heart and my true self. I look forward to sharing the next part of my journey with you.
- Eve, SC

Consult the
Midlife Midwife
bio portrait

The transition from Maiden and Mother to Queen can be a difficult one, fraught with hard lessons and lots of loss. It takes great determination and courage to confront and embrace the changes brought about by the midlife passage.

It can be really helpful during this confusing time to have the inspiration, advice and encouragement of a counselor/coach/mentor - someone who has been there and done that and is ready to help you do the same.

Queen Mama Donna offers 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.


Further information: www.thequeenofmyself.com
Click on Individual Consultations.

Sessions are available in person and by phone. To make an appointment, call 718-857-1343 or email the Queen at TheQueenOfMySelf@aol.com

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
- Virginia Woolf



Ever since I first introduced The Queen as a helpful archetype for midlife women, I have received hundreds of requests for detailed instructions on how to become a Queen.

"Dear Mama Donna," women would write, "I want to be a Queen, too. How do I access my power? How can I feel good about myself? How do I change my life? How do I find magic and spiritual wisdom? How do I know what to do? How do I learn how to rule?"

The reality is that I cannot possibly know how anyone else will attain her Queendom, I only know how I came into mine, and that is largely through hindsight. The truth, my truth, at least, is that there is no one true truth. We must each find our own way in this world.

As a shaman, I teach through example, but not through dictum. I can and do offer information, exposure, personal experience, encouragement, inspiration, suggestions and support to my constituents, but I cannot - dare not - pass judgment or establish rules and laws. It is simply not for me to say.

When you come to me for help and spiritual guidance, I listen to your concerns and embrace your needs. I pat you on the back, give you a good, swift kick in the butt, or let you cry on my shoulder, as needed. I can tell you what I did in such and such situation, how I did it, what I learned from this or that lesson, but I cannot tell you what you should do. How do I know what your soul needs?

Only you know what you know. I can, of course, aid you in reaching into the well of your own deepest wisdom, and help you to hear the messages from your best inner Selves. And I can offer tools and practices to help you develop the confidence to follow your own purpose, path, passion and power.

A woman who I have been working with recently told me that I had changed her life. "Well, no, of course, I didn't, honey," I assured her. "You changed your own life." The fact of the matter remains that I could not give her what was not already hers.

A Queen Event
Near You



Saturday, April 4
* Mama Donna reads from The  
  Queen of My Self
Listen live or check out the archives.



Saturday, February 14
with Mama Donna Henes
* A ritual exploration/ 
  celebration of Self: -definition,
 -permission, -acceptance,
 -affection and -esteem. 
  Embrace, exalt and enjoy.
  Please be really red!
Mama Donna's Tea Garden & Healing Haven
Park Slope, Exotic Brooklyn, NY
For info: 718-857-1343
$40. If prepaid
$50. At the door

Sunday, February 22
* Donna Henes and Daile Kaplan
  will offer a visual presentation
  of extraordinary women.
The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11238
FREE with museum admission

Saturday, February 28
* Are you in your middle years or
  about to enter them? Are you
  living your true potential and
  following your fondest dreams?
  If not, why not? And if not now,
  when? Now is the time to leave
  behind old patterns that no
  longer serve you and to make
  way for the Queen - that
  wonderful midlife stage of
  meaning, moxie, and majesty
  that is rightfully yours to enjoy.
The Grace Within
195 Blue Point Avenue
Bluepoint, New York 11715
$100. (includes crown and amulet bag of royal treasures)


Sunday, March 1
with Mama Donna Henes
The Grace Within
195 Blue Point Avenue
Bluepoint, New York 11715

Saturday, March 7
A Spirit Support Skills Workshop With Mama Donna Henes
* Learn the basics about the
  tarot. This beginners workshop
  will be required for future tarot
Mama Donna's Tea Garden & Healing Haven
Park Slope, Exotic Brooklyn, NY
For info: 718-857-1343
$40. If prepaid
$50. At the door

Friday, March 13
THE LIVES AND LOVES OF LADY LUCK: A sizzling Shakti Ceremony to honor our Goddess Selves
with Mama Donna Henes
* Friday the 13 is a Holy Goddess
  Day. Let us bless and chant and
  drum and dance and shimmy
  and shake our power up to the
  surface. Please wear your
  reddest finery.
Mama Donna's Tea Garden & Healing Haven
Park Slope, Exotic Brooklyn, NY
For info: 718-857-1343
Advance reservation required.

Friday, March 20
with Mama Donna Henes
* A sunrise ceremony to usher in
Pier 16 South Street Seaport
For info: 718-857-1343


Saturday, April 18
SPRING CLEANING: Detoxing Body, Mind, Spirit and Home
with Mama Donna Henes
* In Winter, we tend to get lazy,
  sloppy, heavy, and slow. This, in
  turn, makes us feel depressed,
  out of control, and out of sorts.
  Now is the time to emerge from
  the hibernating  mode, shake
  ourselves  off, and get
  centered. A mental, emotional,
  physical, and spiritual seasonal
  cleansing can make all the
  difference to your health,
  happiness and sense of
  well-being. Learn simple
  techniques from cultures
  around the world to rekindle
  your perspective, sanity,
  equilibrium, good cheer, and
  positive attitude.
Mama Donna's Tea Garden & Healing Haven
Park Slope, Exotic Brooklyn, NY
For info: 718-857-1343
$40. If prepaid
$50. At the door


Have Crown, Will Travel!

To discuss booking Queen Mama Donna for a reading, presentation, workshop, or a keynote address in your area, call her at 718-857-1343 or e-mail her at TheQueenOfMySelf@aol.com
donna speaking

The Queen's Emporium
Anita Roddick

Make sure to visit The Queen's Emporium, which specializes in all manner of elegant, practical, and frivolous goods to fulfill all the royal needs and fantasies of The Queen of Your Self. Therein you will find a choice collection of goods to augment and accessorize your royal prerogative.

Anoint, Adorn, Enjoy!

The Queen
on the Record

Read and listen to Queen Mama Donna's words of information and inspiration.

Recent Articles about QMD:
New York Times
Irregular Times: New Unfit to Print
Village Voice
Whole Life Times
Common Ground
Chicago Tribune
Houston Chronicle
The Columbia State
Bloomington Pantagraph
Lexington Herald-Leader
The Fort Meyers News-Press
The New York Observer
Boston Patriot Ledger
Minneapolis Star Tribune
ODE Magazine
Gaia Community
Arizona Daily Star
Variety Magazine column Stylephile feature
Martha Stewart online
CA Psychics Newsletter

Recent Articles by QMD:

Women's Wellness Magazine
Global Grind
SIBYL Magazine
In LA Magazine

Regular Columns:

Always in Season
Spirit Living
Creative Essence Magazine

Ask Your Mama
The Oracle
New Age Journal
UPI Religion and Spirituality
Wisdom Magazine

Wisdom of the Queen
Aspire Magazine

Regular Articles:
Ezine Articles
Soulful Living Magazine
Self Growth
Shaman Portal
Global Goddess

Inauguration Purification Ritual. Part 1
Inauguration Purification Ritual. Part 2
Stock Exchange Blessing with Mama Donna
Mama Donna House Blessing
Mama Donna Blesses Wall Street
Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman
Vernal Equinox with Mama Donna
Interview with Marion Weinstein

Recent Radio Interviews:
Mama Donna's New Year Radio Special
Mama Donna's Christmas Radio Special
Living Juicy Radio
Positive Living Radio
Romance Radio
Journey to Self #2
Full Power Living
Journey to Self #1
Women's Radio
Mother's Day Special
Soul Connections
Karen Tate Radio Show
Studio1 Thinktank
Blogtalk Radio
KZYX Radio

Women Talk Live Radio
Heal Yourself Talk Radio with Rebecca White
Personal Life Media
Podcast Directory


Wikipedia listing:

Queen Mama Donna was named Baby Boom Woman Blogger to watch out for in 2008 for The Queen's Chronicles by Virtual Woman's Day!

Imagine Your Ad Here!

Welcome to our new advertiser, Eve's Garden, the wonder store that celebrates the sacred power of women's sexual energy and supplies us with everything we need to spice up our lives.
Thank you for your support and your desire to network with our fabulous royal readers around the globe.

May you be successful in your endeavors and blessed with spiritual and material abundance.

Would you like to reach the 4500+ Queens in our royal network across the country and around the world with information about your business?

Advertising listings in the Queen's Chronicles are available for $50/per issue with significant discounts for ongoing listings.

For more information and to place your order contact: thequeenofmyself@aol.com or call 718-857-1343.

Royal Resources
for Queenly Women

Our extended circle of Queens includes some mightily talented women. Please support them by availing yourself of their superior services and by buying their excellent products.

Diane Fusco - Spot-On Transcription
Transcription of Teleseminars, Podcasts, and More. "I hear you!"

Eve's Garden
Celebrating the sacred power of women's sexual energy.

Melissa Harris
Inspirational women's art and messages - Spirit Essence Portraits - Painting Outside the Lines workshops

Dr. Susan Corso
Omnifaith spiritual insights for
 seekers and finders

Maguire Pubic Relations
Expertise in journalism and marketing qualifies us to position and deliver the news of our clients

Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist.Focusing on women's health and other chronic issues

Psychic reader, medium,
pet communicator

Simple Recipes for Hibachi
Herbal Magic & Sacred Space

SpiritLiving E-Magazine
Offering Everyday, Practical Eco-Spirituality to Connect the Hearts, Minds and Spirits of People Across the Globe

Your Advertisement Here!

Circle of Concern

Please Offer Your Purest Thoughts, Your Heart-Felt Prayers, Your Great Good Feelings, And Your Very Best Blessings For Healing and Peace of Mind to:

Alice, CA; Amy, NY; Amy, TX; Barbara, CA; Berenice, NY; Carol. NY; Carolyn, MA; Chrissie, NY; Daile, NY; Deni, NY; Dominique, NM; Donna, NY; Edie, PA; Gail, OH; Geraldine, CA; Ilene, NY; Irma, FL; Janet, NY; Jo, AZ; Joan, ME; Josie, MI; Kimi, NJ; Letitia, VA; Linda, NJ; Linda, NY; Lucia, TX; Lynne, NY; Margaret, NY; Mary, TX; Maureen, NY; Marjorie, NY; Naomi, NJ; Randi, NY; Regina, NYRoberta, NY; Susan, NY; Susan, MA; Terry, CA; and Valerie, CA.

May Their Spirits Rest in Peace:

Coosje van Bruggen, NY/France
Joan Katz, FL
Judith Hoffber, CA

Sue Sentz, PA
Ana Sisnett, TX
Karel Weissberg, ME

With Sincere Condolences:

Weslea Sidon, ME
Eve Katz, NY

Please send your requests for physical and spiritual healing and positive energy so that the powerful women of The Queen's Court might send their prayers and blessings to you in your time of need.

All activities should be done with one intention. That intention is to realize our connection with all beings.
- Pema Chodron

Kudos to the Queens!

Idell Conaway, NY; Barbara Hammer, NY; Lisa Levart, NY; and Linda Vallego, CA; on the exhibitions of their artwork.

Shulamith Burton (A.K.A. Susan Corso), MA, Oklahoma! Hex; Erika Duncan, NY, Paper Stranger: Shaping Stories in Community; Beverly Naidus, WA, Arts for Change: Teaching Outside the Frame; Laura Simms, NY, The Robe of Love; andDeborah Vaughan, AZ, In Search Of The Menopause Ranch; on their new publications. And to Karen Tate, CA, on having her book, Walking An Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, be chosen as a finalist in the spirituality category of National Best Books of 2008 Awards.

Shari Zisner, NY, on the birth of her new baby, Ian Kelleher-Zisner.

Andrea Gonzales, NY; Janice Pemberton, NY; Laura Thomas, NY; and Liz Tortolani, NY; on their new jobs.

Diane Saarinen, NY, on her new Women's Rights Blog for Care2.com.

Marcy Gordon, NY, on her stand-up comedy debut.

Send your good news, achievements, accomplishments, successes and  celebrations so that our international circle of sovereign sisters can send you blessings and accolades.
And we are glad to so. It is a joy and a privilege to share in the fortune of another woman. I recently heard Oprah say the saddest thing ever - "The hardest thing about being successful is having someone to be glad for you."

It takes a centered and confident Queen to break that pattern. There are 60 million thrones out there. One for each of us. There is plenty of purpose, passion and power for us all. May we use it well!

It is important that you recognize your progress and take pride in your accomplishments. Share your achievements with others. Brag a little. The recognition and support of those around you is nurturing.
- Rosemarie Rossetti
It is my hope that as more and more women rise to reign in the fullest potential of our supremacy, we will harness our purpose, passion, and power and direct it toward creating a more balanced and peaceful world. This is the legacy of Her majesty.

Lucretia's Crown

Turn Your Midlife Crisis
into Your Crowning Achievement!

Hail Queens,
Earth, like a woman, in Her soft and rugged contours, carries in Her body, in Her sex, in Her nature, the power and potential of creation, procreation. Woman, like the earth, in the cycles of her system, in the passion of her changes, in her constant tranceformation, embodies and embraces the same essential energy. Her electric lust is the force, which fashions all life. Her love is the fuel, which maintains it.

From the beginning, women were exalted as the image, the echo, the counterpart companion of the Goddess. Their access to ecstasy, imbued with spiritual significance. As priestesses, they tended the fires and fanned the generative flames from Her sex, the seat of Her power.

The vulva as religious symbol can be observed in such sacred architecture as Druidic stone shrines and the lyrical arches, which grace Hindu and Islamic places of prayer. The popular horseshoe, hung as protection over thresholds, owes its power to its shape - a stylized yoni.

Paleolithic carved figures refer to woman as matrix, as creatrix. They celebrate the connection between moon cycles and menstrual magic, and resonate profound reverence in their rendering. These grandly voluptuous female forms with sturdy stature suggest commanding confidence and authority. Though small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, these goddess totems project a primordial potency.  

The Venuses of Willendorf, of Meton, of Lespugue, with their big breasts and belly, huge hips and ass, stand frank and fecund, formidable and efficacious. Faceless, their limbs are abbreviated. Their focus is centered on their own nubile torso, which tapers to a point. The tip of the vortex of their sex.

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips              Lucretia's Crown
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
pretty places, these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved.
they go where they want to go.
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!
- Lucille Clifton
Some thirty thousand years ago, The Venus of Laussel presided over the entrance of a cave in southern France. Glorious, she stands with one hand caressing her own swollen belly. In the other, she flourishes a crescent moon marked with her thirteen annual periods. She was originally painted with the red ochre of her holy blood. Inside the cave are scenes of sexual pleasure and purpose. What ceremonies might have been celebrated in this cleft recess inside Mother Earth?

These ancient images sanctify female sexuality as religious expression.  The carnal knowledge of universal power links sex and prayer etymologically. Venerate and venereal both stem from the Latin name of the licentious Goddess of Love, Venus. Lust in the old Germanic language meant "religious joy."

The same spark, which ignites to conceive children, also kindles culture.  This is the mother of invention. Around 9000 years ago, Mediterranean cultures venerated a supreme goddess of seduction and fruition. The intensity of her desire, potent enough to produce generations, agriculture, poetry. She guided all growth, and especially loved lovers and art. Beauty and Heart. Ishtar, Isis, Cybele, Inanna, Aphrodite. She was not shy.

My vulva, the horn.                Lucretia's Crown

The Boat of Heaven
Is full of eagerness like the moon
My untilled land lies fallow

As for me, Inanna,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will plow my high field?
Who will plow my wet ground?

As for me, the young woman,
Who will plow my vulva?
Who will station the ox there?
Who will plow my vulva?
- Text on Sumerian tablet, 2000 BC

Sex invoked in myth and ritual is symbolic of the primary life force.  Sex as energy. Sex as creation. Sex as abundance. Sex as unification.  Sex as divine spirit. Sex as celebration. Sex as sympathetic magic.

During the Iroquois Naked Dance, a woman and a man coupled in the fields to fertilize the crops. Until the end of the last century, European peasants did the same. The Christians called the fertility song-prayers of pagan Norsemen, "female gyrations."  Sexual licentiousness was central in the harvest celebrations of the African Bantu and Badago.

Hunters also had intercourse with nature. The married women of the Cheyenne and Mandan of the Great Plains performed a rite called "Intercourse with the Buffalo." They shared sexual relations with the elder men of the tribe who impersonated the bison, thereby channeling the Great Spirit. Celtic kings would copulate with a mare, who was then killed, butchered and cooked in a soup. This, the king consumed in order to partake of the power of Epona, the Equine Goddess.

Hindus maintain that sex with any woman is the same as sex with the Goddess Shakti, Herself, whose vibratory energy charges all life. Exhausted by orgasm, men are prostrated to the point of suffering a small death, while women's multiple orgasms serve to strengthen them.  In Tantra, as well as Taoism, the male taps into the infinite energy of the female - fuses with her like a space capsule refueling in orbit. He then recycles, as it were, his sperm, directing its flow to the top of his head to elevate his spirit. 

Sufis and other Middle Eastern mystics consort with a fravashi, a mystical lady-love to reach enlightenment. Tantric-like techniques were taught in Greek temples of Venus by Her harlot-priestesses, the venerii. Ovid, an initiate, wanted to die while making love. "Let me go in the act of coming to Venus, in more senses than one let my last dying be done."

The Romans celebrated the sacred febris or sexual frenzy of the Goddess Juno in mid February, the time when the birds in Italy mate.  On Lupercalia men and women drew love lots to determine their partner for this festival of erotic games.

At last love has come. aphrodite
I would be more ashamed
to hide it in cloth than
leave it naked.

I prayed to the Muse and won.
Venus dropped him

in my arms, doing for me
what she had promised.
Let my joy be told, let those

who have none tell it in a story.
Personally, I would never
send off words in sealed tablets
for none to read.

I delight in sinning and hate to compose a mask for gossip.
We met. We are both worthy.

- Sulpicia, 1st century BC Roman poet
Lupercalia was the original Valentine's Day. Early Church fathers were unable to outlaw its lewd and heathenish practice. So they created a sainted martyr patron of lovers whose feast day would be February 14th, thus, sanctioning a celebration they could not suppress.   

The symbols of Lupercalia are still intact, if somewhat antiseptic. The Valentine cherub is an insipid characterization of Cupid, the Roman equivalent of the Greek Eros, the Hindu Kama. Child of Venus and Mercury (Aphrodite and Hermes), s/he was an Herm-Aphrodite, an embodiment of sexual union. Cupid's arrows are phallic projectiles of passion, penetrating a red heart.  

Just what is this heart-shape supposed to be anyway? Certainly it bears no resemblance to an anatomically correct actual heart. Desmond Morris, the famous zoologist, speculates that it is reminiscent of a bending-over buttocks, because our ancestor kissing cousins, the apes, do it from behind. Please!  

torso heart  The horizontal-double-dip-cone-
  of-a-shape that we call a heart
  has to be two round breasts
  above a triangle of love. A
  female torso. The tits and lips of
  our lady, the fabulous Great
  Mother Earth, Herself. The love
  of our lives.

  May She never be out of our

  With blessings of passion and
  purpose, power and pleasure.


All About Eve's Garden

dell williams  This is the story of Dell Williams, a
  Queen who dared to take her
  sexual pleasure into her own
  hands, as it were, and in the
  process succeeded in making the
  world a more sexually accessible
  place for women.

"Women didn't have orgasms. Not officially. Not in 1922, the year I was born," tells Dell who can remember a time when women's sexual pleasure was officially nonexistent. An odd and sadly depressing thought for those of us who came of age during the sexual revolution. We have Dell, one of the first women sexual revolutionaries, to thank for our freedom to feel and express our sexual Selves.

During the 1930s and 40s, she spent her late teens and early twenties as a free-spirited singer, actress, artists' model and writer. She then shifted gears and went into advertising, where she had a meteoric career, rising within the ranks to become one of the first successful female advertising executives in New York City.

When she was in her late forties, which was then considered to be middle-aged and well past a woman's prime, Dell surprised everyone (including herself) by experiencing a life-changing sexual awakening. Her epiphany came, so to speak, when a boyfriend introduced her to her clitoris. "I didn't even know I had one," Williams said.

For me, the two greatest discoveries of the twentieth century were the Cuisinart and the clitoris.
- Gael Greene

The realization of her full sexual potential was extraordinarily liberating for Dell. When she was 50 she took herself to Macy's to buy a vibrator. This turned out to be an extremely awkward and humiliating experience that left her scarred and shamed.

But righteous indignation soon overcame her embarrassment and she vowed that no woman should have to feel embarrassed about her sexuality again. So she left her high-paying executive position and became a visionary activist, diving into the liberation trenches of the sexual and feminist revolutions. 

Queen Dell was influenced by the writing of Wilhelm Reich, by the work of sexuality educator Betty Dodson and by her experience organizing a Women's Sexuality Conference for the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women in 1973.

In 1974 she established the now legendary Eve's Garden, eve's gardenwhich she envisioned as a safe, private and supportive way for women to purchase vibrators, educational materials and sexual aids without feelings of shame or self-consciousness. These instruments of pleasure were more than simply sexual aids, they were tools for subversive political and social movements, as well.

This oasis of friendly, discreet, supportive sex-positivity was the first store of its kind. Her inaugural advertisement read, "Eve's Garden is a feminist sexuality boutique and mail order catalog created by women for women and their partners." Eve's Garden thrives today as a shop in Manhattan and an international web-based email marketplace of all things sexy.

Written 35 years ago, her mission statement is still resonant and relevant:

Eve's Garden was created to empower women to celebrate their sexuality as a positive, nourishing and creative force in their lives. An outgrowth of the Women's Rights Movement, Eve's Garden seeks to erase the sense of shame and guilt experienced by countless women as a result of a society that historically condemns the sexual nature of women as sinful. Our version of "Eve" is a transformation from a fallen, shamed woman to a strong, powerful woman proud of her strength, sensitivity, and sexuality.

Queen Dell, you are my shero! I shimmy at your feet in sincere appreciation.

Long live the Queen!

Salsa Queen

Wonder what life is like at 90?

Check out this Red Hot Salsa Mama and start dancing!

salsa queen

It is never too late and you are never too old.
You were wild once. Don't let them tame you.
- Isadora Duncan

Remembering the Pin-Up Queen

bettie young  As recently as the 1950s, nice girls
  were not supposed to like sex. Or at
  least they were expected to behave
  as though they did not. Nor did they
  take their clothes off in public or
  pose in outrageous S&M regalia for
  the camera. No, no, no!

  Then along came Bettie Page, a fresh-faced-girl-next-door type who did it all and made it look like great good fun. The girl with the perky smile and dark bangs clearly got a big bang out of a big bang!

Her enjoyment was palpable and infectious. Her free spirit image and unabashed sensuality captured the imagination of a generation during an era of 1950s sexual repression. She became a hugely significant pop culture icon, who influenced style, fashion and female sexual expression.

I don't know what they mean by an icon. I never thought of myself as being that. It seems strange to me. I was just modeling, thinking of as many different poses as possible. I made more money modeling than being a secretary. I had a lot of free time. You could go back to work after an absence of a few months. I couldn't do that as a secretary.

Bettie's early life in Nashville was hardscrabble and mean. Her family was extremely poor, her mother indifferent and often absent, her father a ne'er do well who abused all three of his daughters. He went to prison for stealing a police car and Bette and her sisters were sent to an orphanage.

But our girl had an ambitious dream to become an actress, which she pursued along with an A average in high school. She graduated from the Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, where she studied on a Daughters of the American Revolution scholarship.

Bettie eventually moved to New York to study drama, which she supported by working as a secretary. Her notorious career began one day in 1950, while she was walking along the beach at Coney Island. An amateur photographer admired the 27-year-old's curvy body and asked her to pose for him at his studio.

Nudity didn't bother her. She likened it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Explaining her total lack of inhibition in the buff, she said "God created us naked." She gushed, "I love to swim in the nude and roam around the house in the nude. You're just as free as a bird!"
Lucretia's Crown
Her modeling career took off, and she was the centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then- fledgling Playboy magazine. In 1951, Bettie fell under the influence of Irving Klaw, a photographer who specialized in S&M photos and films. He created her brand, as we say now. He cut her hair into her trademark bangs, and posed her in spiked heels and little else.

Bettie became renown as the "Queen of Bondage," famous for her bangs, saucy come-hither stares and extremely controversial sadomasochistic poses. These photos were sold on a lucrative subscription basis, where the customers could request specific scenarios and layouts. She also appeared as a performer in over 50 burlesque films.

I was not trying to be shocking, or to be a pioneer. I wasn't trying to change society, or to be ahead of my time. I didn't think of myself as liberated, and I don't believe that I did anything important. I was just myself. I didn't know any other way to be, or any other way to live.

The photos and films were publicly denounced as perversion. Klaw was later arrested for "conspiracy to distribute obscene material" through the U.S. Mail, and Bettie was called to testify in a private session. Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, her home state, even launched a congressional investigation against her.

Bettie was hounded by federal agents. Her life became emotionally harrowing and by 1957 she began to retreat from public view. She moved to Florida, had three failed marriages and a nervous breakdown. By 1959 she had bottomed out.

Then, one day while lying on a sea wall in Key West, she saw a church with a white neon cross on top. She walked inside and became a born-again Christian on the spot. After attending Bible school, she wanted to serve as a missionary but was turned down. Instead, she worked full-time for evangelist Billy Graham's ministry.

For the next 50 years until she died in December 2008, Bettie lived a quiet and obscure life as do-good Christian lady. But despite her strong religious beliefs, she never renounced her past. Moreover, she never denounced sexual expression. Nothing would ever diminish the glee she experienced when she put on that bustier (or took it off) and felt her full-blown sexual power. 

In an interview when she was in her seventies, she purported that bondage modeling "was such fun," even at times "hilarious," except for when the elaborate gear became uncomfortable. And sex itself, she assured, was always "pleasurable and joyful." This, despite her early incest, a gang rape as a young woman, and life with an abusive husband. She never expressed bitterness toward men.

bettie old  Her obituaries paint a bleak picture
  of her later years, but Bettie Page
  was no victim. No how, no when.
  Despite her trials, she retained in
  her senior years a zest for life and
  always took pleasure in memories of
  the work that she'd done. Queen
  Bettie looked at life the same way
  she looked into the camera -
  defying anyone to tell her she was
                                  bad or wrong.

I say Amen to that! Rest in peace, Queen Bettie. Clothing optional.

The Queen's Correspondence

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to the Queen's Chronicles. Please keep your comments coming. And do feel free to make suggestions about content you would like to see. Or anything else, for that matter. It is a joy to connect with you.

Letters in Response to the January 2009 Issue

If 2008 was a trying and testing time, I believe that 2009 is a year in which we will be asked to consider who we trust, bearing in mind that trust is earned and that it often comes through work, fortitude and is proven over time. The most trusted people I know enjoy a prosperity that isn't volatile like the stock market, or subject to devaluation like real estate. Their kindness and generosity are rewarded both by those around them, and by the satisfaction they enjoy when they do well by doing good. I wish for all a 2009 filled with experiences that are enriching, people who make you happy, and wellsprings of trust that are earned and repaid by those you love and those who love you back.
- Gail, NY

This is one of the most positive and powerful newsletters I have received this year. Many of our fellow torchbearers need a dose of your light and love. Thanks so much for brightening my day.
- Debbie, RI

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the marvelous e-newsletter. Your words came at an especially pressing time for me and helped me to renew my faith in things unseen. You are a LIGHT in the world, a precious and wondrously rare gift. I'm so pleased you are doing the Washington smudge with Kate Clinton. I've long been a fan of her and her right-on political humor. I will be with you both (and all the others) in spirit on January 19th. Clear out the old oppressive, death-loving crud and ring in the Maenad energy! Much love and many blessings!
- Queen Mary Immaculate, CO

I really enjoyed this issue. I wasn't aware of all these women leaders. Thanks.
- Debby, OH

Sooo beautifully written.
- Angela, CA

On behalf, (if I may be so bold), of all of us who receive these wonderful blessings of wisdom in your ongoing email invites and subscriptions, I thank you deeply, for all of your well placed thoughts, the sharing and offering of your work, efforts and time. As always this passage was taken beautifully, with radiance and hope. I am also grateful for the you-tube links you send out from your fascinating ceremonies and lectures. The work you are doing is greatly needed in the world now more than ever.
- Blue, NJ

How well said, how totally and wholly to the point. As usual, you have a perfect way of expressing what I feel! I share all the sentiments, and only pray that our hopes are not bashed in the proximate future. Over here in Greece, half way between the Middle East and "civilized democratic" Europe, the commentary is gloomy. I am praying for peace, for real and lasting change, for these hard times to create a new model of values and human fellowship that will outlast the crisis, something that didn't happen after the Great Depression. It is heartening to hear your comments and observations from the people around you, and I want to believe, truly I do. Keep writing and keep on inspiring! Love,
- Charoula, Greece/OH

Thanks for your wonderful Chronicles, which I always enjoy. You wrote: "One of my New Year resolutions is to entertain more this year. Not big parties, but intimate dinners with six or eight people who can be depended upon for fascinating conversation and true communion. I am craving old-fashioned one-pot suppers - soups, stews, casseroles, salads. Good bread. Good wine. Good talk. Good quality time." Many months ago, long before the economy totally fell apart, I made this same resolution. I even bought dishes and glasses and began re-reading old recipes. I must have been in tune with the stars. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! Warmest good wishes,
- Lorraine, NY

I'm a subscriber who enjoys your newsletter and especially the good news about the fabulous women finding their purpose in the world today. Warm regards,
- Deborah, AZ

GREAT newsletter yet again. Love love love,
- Anita, Australia
Letters in Response to Posts About
the Queen Published Elsewhere
The Inauguration Purification Ritual on YouTube*


What a wonderful ceremony! And you were blessed with a huge crowd who appeared to believe that they could make a positive difference. What a good start for the new era... of positive change.
- Linda, NY

Thank you for this. I feel that I was there and that I, too, was purified and blessed. I love your Reverence chant and will use it myself in my smaller circles. How wonderful to know that you are there Donna, doing our sacred work and in such a public way! I am so touched by the efforts of my sisters. The witches, the shamans, the priestesses. It gives me faith in the healing of this sacred Mother Earth. (More Her healing us than the other way around.) Blessed Be.
- Winona, NM

Thank you for allowing me to be part of the purification ceremony in DC. I felt like I was there! Reverence!!!!!
- Celtic Queen Colleen, NY

You really walk your talk, my Queen! What an amazing job you did with such gigantic gathering on such a freezing day. How could that effort not result in a raised energy frequency?
- Monica, UT

Wow! That sage smoke and your gorgeous ceremony reached all the way to the Pacific Ocean! This video was almost as good as being there in person. Thanks for all your prayers and blessings. Keep them coming!
- Sheila, WA

*Click here to see the ceremony:

Inauguration Purification Ritual. Part 1
Inauguration Purification Ritual. Part 2

Please send your responses to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.
Your letters will be printed in the next Queen's Chronicles.

The Queen's Court

The Queen's Court is a gathering of sovereign women of a certain age - our dear peers - who graciously offer information, guidance, inspiration and encouragement to each other.

We Queens know what we know. And we know a great deal. Our experience has made us wise. So, feel free to consult with our cyber counsel when you are need of sage advice or wish to explore a particular topic of interest.

Who knows what can come out of these sister alliances we are building?  

Here are two notices from sister Queens
asking for your participation:

Dear Sisters,
One of the ways women become queens of themselves is to share their stories. I'd love to encourage your readers to try their hand at Flash Fiction/Flash Prose. Writer Advice's Fourth Annual Flash Prose Contest seeks flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction that mesmerizes the reader in 750 words or less. DEADLINE: April 15, 2009. Entry fee: $10. First prize: $150. Last year's prizewinners will judge. Complete guidelines, mailing address, and prizes at www.writeradvice.com. Thank you,
- B. Lynn Goodwin, RI

Hello Everyone,
There is a renewed advocacy for a United Nations 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW) for you to know about. Remember that unless advocacy succeeds, Beijing, 1995 will have been the 4th and last UN World Conference on Women. Go to www.5wcw.org/activism.html and read "Why I Persevere in Advocating a UN 5th World Conference on Women." Summing it up:
- Women who stand together for justice and peace are a
  moral force.
- The United Nations now has moral authority greater than 
  any government or institution.
- We need each other and the world needs us to come
  together for there to be peace.
- We need a UN women's conference so that the Beijing
  Platform for Action and Resolution 1325 will become an
  implemented worldwide women's agenda.
- We need to gather the women, save the world.
To be re-inspired by the spirit of Beijing, 1995, listen to Hillary Clinton's speech "Human Rights are Women's Rights." Then, explore the rest of the website and see how Carol Hansen Grey brought information together and made this so easy to navigate. The first step in activism is to be informed. If you absorb the information on this website, you will be informed. Catch the "Yes We Can!" spirit moving through so many of us - and do what you can do to make a difference! With love and hope,
- Jean Shinoda Bolen, CA

Please send your questions or responses to thequeenofmyself@aol.com. Your letters will be printed in the next Queen's Chronicles.

Where the Queens Are

Lucretia's Crown


Dear Queen Mama Donna,
Kat and I went walkabout looking for the perfect place to do our Imbolc (Candlemas, the halfway point of winter) ceremony. Near Grants is El Malpais (the bad country) where ancient volcanic activity left a landscape like that in Hawaii (except for the juniper, cholla, and chamisa growing out of the black lava rock).
There is a sandstone formation there called La Ventana, "the window." It is a natural stone arch that is amazing. It vaults four stories above the sloping ground. Behind is an alcove in the face of the cliff/mesa. Kat and I walked up the very uneven ground, slick with loose stone. There is a shelf of sorts beyond the arch, but water must run through there because there are all sorts of deposited rocks. As we negotiated the rocky ground, here was some stripling tree, putting out buds! The juniper, too, was showing new growth, already.

Lucretia's Crown
We found, in the east, a natural yoni, as Kat called it, a vulval slit in the rock wall. Here we did our Imbolc ritual. To the south, we looked back to the valley between two mesas and the sandstone face of the opposite mesa bright with the sun. To the west, the bridge of the arch flew toward us. And to the north, a cave, high up the alcove wall. How perfect is that!
Kat offered honey and cornmeal. We burned sage and sweetgrass in honor of Mama Donna's purification ritual. We toned, meditated and each drew a tarot card from the MotherPeace deck. Mine was the 3 of Wands and Kat drew the Shaman of Swords. It was glorious powerful magic!  
Our love to all our sister Queens. Sending you the blessing of a southwestern Imbolc.  
- Winona Fetherolf and Kat VanHammen, NM

Lucretia's Crown
                              Kat                      Winona

Please Submit Your Royal Reports

Tell us about your Queen Group: who, what, where, 
   when, why?
What Queenly topics do you explore?
What projects do you engage in?
Describe some golden moments.
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