BLOOD ON THE VEIL:
A Bellydancer's Journey Towards Healing,
Transformation & the Divine Feminine
Written & performed by
Carol Tandava Henning
Thurs-Sat, July 19-21
Sun July 22 @ 2pm
Can bellydance heal the body, stimulate the soul and change your life? Find out in this poignant, compelling and wickedly funny solo dance-theater show that explores themes of feminine empowerment, body-image and the transformative power of dance.
"Beautiful, moving, touching, humorous and engaging" ... "A must-see for every woman who has struggled with self-image..."
... "A great insight into the personal realm of being a bellydancer" ... "Spectacular
... transcendent and ... mesmerizing!"
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|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 and currently writes for the Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum, and serves as ritual consultant to the television and motion picture industry. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.
"Donna is an iconoclast. Is an archetype not right? No problem. We'll find a new one. Because she's the real thing, Donna dug deep into herself and discovered the Queen. In her book, she tells you how she found her own inner Queen, and how we can find our own - if we choose."
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Midlife Crisis into
Your Crowning Achievement!
Welcome to the 50th issue of The Queen's Chronicles!
Over the years I have received countless correspondences from women who have read The Queen of My Self and/or attended Queen presentations and workshops expressing the desire for continued connection with me and with each other.
"How can we keep this inspiration alive in our lives?" "Who can we talk to about the process of becoming the Queens we want to be?" "What if we backslide?" "How can we stay focused on our empowerment?"
The Queen's Chronicles was an obvious answer to that need for a sister support network. And now, after 50 issues, it is clear that The Queen's Chronicles is functioning as a point of connection and a clearinghouse for the many interests and concerns of Queens everywhere.
And we are everywhere! The Queens in our Court live in every state of the US and also in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Panama, Scotland, Spain, and Wales. (If you live someplace else, please let me know!)
Your response and eagerness to interact has been most gratifying. We are well on our way to creating a community of Self-identified, empowered women who can serve each other as role models, advisors, supporters, and partners, as we each strive to reach our highest potential and live the lives of our own invention.
Hail to us, one and all!
Is The Queen of Her Own Heart
Every woman is the Queen of her own heart.
She must decide how to govern her own domain.
She seeks friends and allies that honor
who she is now
and who she is becoming.
She has the power to create miracles.
Her prayers and intentions manifest in right order.
She does not know how
or when her needs will be met,
but she trusts the will of the Divine.
Being the Queen of one's domain is not about being
the ruler over anyone else's life or ideas.
And it isn't even about calling herself a Queen.
It is about self honor. It is about choice.
It is about knowing her limits
and setting her boundaries.
And about encouraging others
to live their possibilities.
It is about learning how to live
with what comes her way,
with as much grace,
majesty and justice as she can.
And sometimes, yes, she has to have her own way!
She claims her unique destiny and recognizes
she has a calling.
A calling to greatness within her own life.
And within her own heart.
The Queen of Her Own Heart isn't something she does,
it is a way that she is.
When she if full, bountiful
and living from the overflow
she invites others to join her there -
in the middle of her awakened sacred heart.
She encourages others to love powerfully - unconditionally -
while at the same time practicing discernment
She is forgiving. And she believes healing is at hand.
She leads her own life as grand experiment
in happiness, in creativity, and in abundance.
She offers her gifts to others,
but not to her own detriment.
She rests as she needs to,
ruling one's own life takes energy.
She chooses to embody wholeness, her sovereign essence,
even when she feels fragmented
by all there is to do, and be.
She holds the prayers of the world within her
because she cares what happens - with everyone -
even though she cannot reach them all.
She reaches whom she can.
She often feels like she is not pulling it all off,
and sometimes she isn't.
But she keeps reaching anyway.
She keeps opening her heart
and being in her own power.
She chooses to govern her life in gratitude.
- Shiloh Sophia McCloud, CA
"Men walk, women talk." The veracity of this the popular saying was recently proved in a landmark study conducted by two women scientists at UCLA.
The long-held idea that the familiar "fight or flight" mechanism was the universal human response to stress, (based on studies that were conducted with only male subjects), was turned on its ear by Drs. Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor. Their research suggests that women don't necessarily run away or engage is confrontational combat when they are threatened. According to their stunning findings, women seem to operate from a larger range of behavioral options.
"Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers."
But women react completely differently. In stressful situations, women experience a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. Specifically, the hormone oxytocin, released as part of the stress response in women, lessens the fight or flight response and prompts us to tend children, old people, and animals, and gather together with other women and stand our ground instead. This is a circling of the wagons response.
And once women do engage in this tending or befriending, studies suggest, more oxytocin is released, which further counteracts stress and produces a comforting effect. "This calming response does not occur in men," says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone - which men produce in high levels when they're under stress - seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen seems to enhance it."
What do you do when you are worried, or threatened, stressed to the max, or scared shitless? You call your girlfriend! Consider the enormous significance of this behavior and the ramifications of its effect on our health and well-being. Study after study, years of research, has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live longer."
Friendships not only keep us alive, they enhance our quality of life. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop serious physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading joyful lives. The results were so significant that the researchers concluded that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight!
Even the event of the death of a spouse, perhaps the most intense stress inducer, failed to result in any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality in women who had a close friend with whom to confide and commiserate. Those without friends did not fare nearly so well.
There is a web of women living lightly in the world.
As gently as hand upon forehead, checking for fever,
the web touches the pulse of the planet
There is a flood of women weeping softly for the world.
As tender as hand upon heart, cherishing her precious children,
the web cries for lost intention
There is a circle of women dancing joyfully through the world.
As exultant as hand touching yoni, celebrating our mysteries,
the web sings for intention found again
There is a web of women tenderly enclosing the world.
As sturdy as hands setting roots, knowing that we all are kin,
the web encircles intention held
- Barbara Ardinger, CA
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 council/counsel when you are need of sage advice or wish to explore a particular topic of interest.
The last issue on Mothering, featured a question from a sister Queen asking how she could find the mother in herself without having had a positive and nurturing relationship with the women in her family.
Here again is the question and two spectacular responses from our Queen readers:
Q. I have a question. 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.
- Julie, CA
A. A thought or several to Queen Julie and her request for info re: the negative mother. As I approached the magical age of 50, I began to take mini-retreats once a month at a lovely facility in Central NJ. Sadly, it is no longer there. It was called the Cenacle. I am not Catholic, but found the Catholic Sisters of the Cenacle to be so welcoming and wise.
During those retreats I spent quiet time listening for the deep voice I knew was within me. It was a voice of wisdom that led me to do these retreats, so I knew it would have something to say to me during these quiet times.
So much came out of those little gifts of sacred time that I gave myself. I am sure that my leaning toward the concept of the Divine Feminine Mother was nurtured and developed then. I was not strongly aware of it then, but now, more than 10 years later, I am almost certain.
In the last several years I have had many mystical and wonderful encounters with the Divine Feminine manifestation of La Guadalupe, La Nuestra Senora, La Morenita, etc. It has been most amazing! Her presence in my life has become a mothering presence. The Guadalupe Presence is now, for me a very strong symbol of the mothering concept.
Many years ago when I was traveling in Brazil, I went to a wonderful Candomble House (terreiro) that was led by a powerful Mae da Santo -the primary governing spiritual force, priestess, etc. She introduced me to the concept of Yemanja (Imanja), a Yoruba ocean ruling manifestation of the Divine Feminine Force. I was unfamiliar with the faith tradition, but have since studied much with many other incredible women who serve as leaders in Candomble, Santoria, and other Yoruba religious traditions.
The mother of all the other gods in this tradition is Yemanja. She became for me, before Guadalupe, a most important mother energy in my life. And to round off the triumvirate who grace my little altar is Kwan Yin, the Chinese Compassionate One. She too has shared with me the much needed spirit of the Great Mother of the universe energy as I continue to seek and sit with the Divine Feminine.
Each of these manifestations has taught me that I am not alone, I am loved, and I am mothered from the best source of mothering - that which is AllMother, PrimeMother, UniversalMother, ForeverMother. I have been blessed. I hope some of this helps Queen Julie and any of the other readers.
- QueenDelight, NJ
A. On the Mothering question that was posed to you, I really loved your answer. I was fortunate enough to have parents who were united in their raising of me and my siblings, and although their roles were defined they both shared in the nurturing bond of family values. But through the years there have been a dramatic breakdown of the family unit. Material things replaced love in many instances, and electronics replaced communication between us humans even more. It's not a wonder that the family unit as we knew it became a thing of the past. The isolation of this phenomenon within the family structure has indeed severed ties and brought about a dysfunctionalism that leaves some of us still searching for that motherly presence.
Yet life places in front of us that which we need. It is a most incredible discovery when you realize this. For the mother in all of us, it is also something that the universe gives to each and every feminine creature on this planet. I discovered it when I went through mynopause. When I took back the blood of creative lifeforce, and kept it for myself. The journey to do so was hard and intense and sometimes frightening, but what emerged was someone who had an epiphany of self-discovery. Through this grand event I found many things flowing out of me that were pure bliss.
The essence of who I was became realized. I felt more feminine than ever before, and although I could not give life, I could certainly nurture life. Everything about the natural world became sacred. I felt deeply connected to Mother Earth, and how much more motherly can you be than to be the mother of this earth?
From that point forward my inner journeys brought me even closer to the Great Mothers who have come before us, the Divine Goddesses whom we can honor and serve. I am humbled to know their history of suffering and perseverance yet they harbor great love and nurture without hesitation that which holds the seed of life.
Once we release our doubts and worries and embrace ourselves for who we are, we will find ourselves listening, sharing tears of joy and sorrow, embracing with healing hugs, and loving with passion and compassion. I am certain of this - you are already a mother by right of your gender. It is part of us from ancient times through our ancestry. We inherit our mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's traits, and with that the innate ability to mother. So be comforted, Queen! And rest well knowing yourare your own mother after all.
- Charlene, NY
I would love to continue this thread of discussion. Please send your thoughts, opinions, and personal experiences in response to Queen Julie's query or the answers by the Queens.
I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.
- Anna Quindlen
Please send your questions or responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your letters will be printed in the next Queen's Chronicles.
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 June 2012 Issue
Your latest newsletter was intriguing and, as always, your piece on the conditions that women are living under in the world was very well written. I like the way you turned the disheartening statistics around and focused on the courage and accomplishments of women throughout time.
- Teri, ON, Canada
I love that you use pictures of women from many cultures. And I especially appreciate that the women you picture are of a certain age and average looking. How sad it is to read More magazine that purports to celebrate mature women, but has models who are in their teens and twenties and airbrushed into unreal so-called perfection. Yay for you.
- Saundra, NH
Thank you dear, sweet, amazing Queen. Your e-newsletter made my day. Back in my 20s and early 30s I played soccer in Minneapolis on a team called the Amazons (my jersey number was 13!). And I have long been a fierce Amazon warrior, dedicated to living my life out loud so as to widen the circle for all women and to embolden, encourage and inspire us all to be bold, brave, bad, and bodaciously beautiful! You are one of my sheroes!
- Mary, CO
I just love receiving your Queen's Chronicles, there is so much great information and insight all packed into this newsletter. Thank you so much for putting it out there and giving us so much "food for thought."
- Charlene, NY
Thank you for this! You have given me a whole new appreciation for my grandmother who started a business on her own in 1907 - yes, over a century ago! Love,
- Basia, NJ
A wonderful and rich celebration of the DIVINE GODDESS in all of her trappings, in all of HER walks. We take HER into our lucky bodies and dance, as the harvest approaches and our life circles are full of HER abundance. Love to you for bringing Her forth.
- Janet, CA
Thanks for this. It is revolutionary and you express it in such a light and accessible way. Right under the radar but all out there. Thank the Goddess for your life and Presence.
- Carol, PA
Shine on, Queen Mama Donna!
- Nancy, MA
- Anastasia, NY
Letters In Response to the May 2012 Issue
You are a gift, a goddess and a joy. Your email filled my heart, as I am one woman who has chosen not to bear children. Your acknowledgement means much to me.
- Janet, MI
I never had kids of my own. But in my own way, I mentored and nurtured many children and pets. I also started my own company and kept it alive for decades. So I was enormously pleased to read your words about how we are all mothers of something. Thanks for this affirmation.
- Clarissa, NV
We extend hearty congratulations to our multi-talented circle of Sister Queens for their impressive accomplishments and successes.
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.
- Marie Curie
Robin Bady, NY; Alessandra Belloni, NJ; Lynn Book, NC; Marcy Gordon, NY; Simone Forti, CA; Marcy Gordon, NY; Barbara Hammer, NY; Suzanne Lacy, CA; Yoko Ono, NY; Elaine Silver, FL; and Diane Torr, Scotland; on their performances and/or performances of their work.
Rita Cannata, NY, Thoughts, Feelings & Manifestation: Awakened Through The Stillness (Book); Miriam Sharon, Israel, Miriam Sharon: A Book Retrospective 2012 (Book); and Teresa Schreiber Werth, NY, Pink on Pink: Writing My Way Through Breast Cancer (Book); on their new publications.
Judith Bernstein, NY; Emma Amos, NY; Janet Goldner, NY; Micki Watanabe Spiller, NY; Joyce Cutler-Shaw, CA; Robin Tewes, NY; and Linda Vallejo, CA; on the exhibitions of their artwork.
Kristin Allocco-Fields, NY on her new home.
It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.
- Gertrude Stein
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!
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:
Adrianne, NY; Alison, TN; Amora, FL; Amy, NY; Bebee, DE; Berenice, NY; Betty, AL; Chrissie, NY; Dana, CA; Dani, WI; Dee, NY; Deni, NY; Dominique, NM; Ellen, NY; Glenys, Australia; Gloria, CA; Jo, AZ; Judith, NY; Karen, NJ; Kathleen, PA; Kay, NY; Kazuko, NY; Kim, NY; Kimi, NJ; Laura, NY; Lorie, KY; Lydia, CO; Lisa, PA; Lucia, TX; Mari, VA; Marna, NY; Mary, MD; Nancy, NY; Naomi, DC; Pat, MA; Patsy, NY; Pearl, NY; Roberta, NY; Ruth, NY; Sandi, NY; Sandy, CA; Sharon, NY; Shelley, NY; Shirley, IN; Sherli, CA; Sid, PA; Smriti, CA; Susan, MA; Susan, NC; Terri, FL; Wicki, NY; and Yvette, NY; who are in the process of healing themselves from illness, accident, injury, or surgery.
Amy, NY; D. Barbara, NY; Beverly, NY; Carol, NY; Glenys, Australia; Joanne, NY; Kimberly, NY; Kimi, NJ; Linda, NY; Linda, NY; Maureen, NY; Meryl, NY; Dee, NY; Patricia, Australia; Regi, CA; Sheryll, CA
and Svetlana, NY;
who would benefit greatly from some spiritual support.
Ali, VT; Annie, NY; Chrys, NY; Deni, NY; Erica, New Zealand; Gaetana, NY; Gail, NY; Hemetra, PA; Kat, NY; Kathrine, Denmark; Lois, NY; Marla, NY; Nancy, NC; Roslyn, NJ; and Sharon, FL; the caregivers who are in weary need of care themselves.
May Their Spirits Rest in Peace:
Nora Ephron, NY
Joyce Miller, IL
Sylvia Woods, 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.
The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.
- Marianne Williamson
I'm praying for women I've never met.
As I lay down and close my eyes, names tumble into my consciousness
Like cottonwood seeds, descending from a quiet, summer sky.
Each day I'm touched as the tangled threads of our lives entwine.
A daughter of a friend, a mother, a neighbor's sister, cousin,
One by one, they take their place in my nightly prayers:
Theo, whose tumor they hope to shrink. Lisa, who's traded chemo for morphine.
Maureen and Suzanne, strangers all, but sisters of a stranger sort.
We've never met, but we have met the enemy
And it's not us.
We've cried and cursed, wailed and shaken angry fists at a rotten fate,
at a physical failing, a cause unknown.
We've hoped and prayed, trusted, queried,
Asked, begged and believed
Until there are
no more words,
Only the slish of oars skimming the water,
Softly whispering, "Hope, hope, hope..."
- Teresa Schreiber Werth, NY
PENNSYLVANIA & BEYOND
For the past 15 Junes I have presented workshops and rituals at Where Womyn (sic) Gather, an annual goddess festival in rural Pennsylvania.
I was unable to attend this year and was really nostalgic, for the Queen programming that I have shared these past years - especially last year.
The women who participated were an eclectic bunch. They ranged in age from 30 to 66. They were heterosexual and lesbian; married, single, divorced, and widowed; mothers, grandmothers, and childless by choice or circumstance. They were every shape, size, and color.
They were nurses, healers of various modalities, social workers, astrologers, librarians, entrepreneurs, teachers, and retired. They came from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, and Florida.
They were Every Woman.
What they all had in common was their desire to achieve an enhanced sense of Self: Self-acceptance, Self-forgiveness, Self-respect, Self-esteem, Self-confidence, Self-identification, Self-direction, Self-appreciation, Self-care, Self-love.
Their common goal was to step into their sovereignty: To find their center and stay in their authenticity. To say what they mean and ask for what they want. To speak with conviction in a clear and loud voice. To be heard.
We couldn't have had a better atmosphere for our time together. The amazing Queen Tracey Baum-Wicks from Syracuse, NY created a luxurious tent made of satin fabrics, lined with rugs and pillows of regal hues for our royal court. It was absolutely magical and completely fit for any Queen.
This is the program we followed:
The Full Spirited Four-Fold Goddess Workshop
A presentation and discussion of the new Queen archetype and how it completes the inadequate Triple Goddess model.
High Tea with the Queen
A playful gathering where we dressed in garden hats, pearls, and gloves and shared tea and cookies as we got to know each other better.
Stepping into Sovereignty: An Initiation for Queens-to-Be
A ritual of personal empowerment that included blessings, sharing, releasing obstacles and resistance, as well as drumming and chanting.
The Queen's Guide to Power
An investigation into what power is and isn't, and how it is used. A rethinking of how to be powerful in a new, non-patriarchal way.
A Crown and Scepter Making Playshop
What fun we had creating the symbols of our sovereignty to be used in the Crowning Ritual.
The Royal Coronation Ceremony
Our time together culminated in ritual in which we proclaimed our intentions as empowered Queens and crowned our own heads with the authority to manifest them.
I was so impressed, honored, and deeply touched by the level of trust that we created, which facilitated deep sharing, profound honesty, and open vulnerability. There was lots of weeping as the layers of resistance were shed, and also exuberant joy, growth, and ultimate transformation.
And after two workshops, two rituals, and two special events, the women all left - ready, willing and able - to create and live their dreams. To manifest their own destinies. To rule their own domains. And to execute their own will,
And now these crowned Queens are walking their talk and proudly wearing their mantle as they spread their royal magic wherever they are.
Hail to all the Queens everywhere! We are the powers that be!
If you would like a Queen of My Self workshop for your group, club, school, or private gathering of friends, I am available! Have Crown Will Travel! Just contact me if you are interested:
Please Submit Your Royal Reports
Tell us about your Self and/or your Queen Group: who, what, where, when, why?
What Queenly topics do you explore?
What projects do you engage in?
Describe some golden moments.
for Personal & Planetary Transformation
By Mama Donna, Urban Shaman
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