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Donna Henes is an urban shaman, residing in Brooklyn, NY and is approaching her topic, the menopause years of a woman’s life,  from a very Goddess-oriented standpoint, addressing an audience that is new to self-empowerment. The Queen of Myself does not start off as a very uplifting book, although Donna introduces the concept of a Queen archetype between Mother and Crone as a new archtype for modern menopausal women to look to during this time. The Queen is a model of wisdom, empowerment and ability that bridges the gap between Mother and Crone. The book contains many small histories of women with a lot of upheavals in their lives (including Donna, who’s had many deaths in her immediate circle) but I got really depressed reading about them.  I guess in my own menopausal throws, I’m more likely to throw my support behind a very affirmative and uplifting work or one that is closer to Susun Weed’s Wise Woman – the Menopause Years – that offers very succinct healing opportunities. The first three chapters of The Queen of Myself recount Donna’s story in coming to this book, the Triune Goddess, and a brief history of women’s menopause/later life. This is not covering new ground for anyone who’s studied Goddess spirituality, so that by the time she breaks new ground with the Queen concept, I’m already impatient. A lot of the women recounted in the book to this point have experienced marital/relationship breakups. I feel that although it may be reasonable and totally on point to say that women of a certain age have nurtured children, careers and relationships and are now ready to explore their own considerable talents, to allow that they woke up one day after several or many years of discontent and left their spouses still sounds callous to me. Now, it may well be that counseling or other things went on and this did not resolve the issues. But I still am coming away with the impression that these women – in their 50’s or so, never stood up and looked at their situations and tried to expand their own horizons before a relationship breakup was imperative. And that the resulting emotional hurt to families and relationships was non-existent, or less important than their journey.  My problem with this – and it may simply be the way I read this text – is that it presents a conflict in my idea of a Queen, one who cares for her “subjects” which probably include more than just herself. The second part of the book has celebrations for embracing this time in our lives and creating rituals that honor who we are and who we’ve become. There is encouragement to explore new areas or interest, including a call to action to support causes you believe in. I wish this part came first in the book! By the time I reached it, I was a bit down and felt slightly overwhelmed. ~review by Karen PhillippiAuthor: by Donna HenesMonarch Press, 2005pp.217, $16.95
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