Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where are the Kings?

A reader asked me the question: Queens, okay, I get it, but where are the kings? Ah, where indeed?

To my mind, kings are a little more problematical than queens at the moment. The reason for this is that I think it’s hard to be a man these days. Think of it. When John Wayne ruled the Wild West, and when Father knew best, the rules were pretty clear on how to be a man.

Since the time of John Wayne and Father, when women were defined by their men, women have been consistently challenging and breaking down barriers and boundaries around what it is to be a woman. By virtue of living with these questioning women, men are called to do the same.

Personally, I think men have a much harder time of it. A lot of women have had to look at what it is to be a woman. Once being defined by relationship to a man was no longer the criterion for what made for value in a woman, then definitions were up for grabs. We got to make it up as we went along. This explains why there are so many definitions of what it is to be a woman.

I recently read a book by Celtic scholar John Matthews called Healing the Wounded King. In it, he uses the Arthurian legends to address the wounded masculinity in our world. Masculinity is not what we think it is. Not any more.

I think men have to start making up what it is to be a man as they go along, and some have, but the old rules about being a man aren’t quite as obliterated as are those about being a woman. Fewer men have had to define for themselves what it is to be a man. At a very young age, I remember my grandfather telling one of my brothers that big boys don’t cry. Really? Well, men do.

So here’s where the kings are. If you’re a man reading this, in you. If you’re a woman reading this, in your brother, your son, your lover, your father, your uncle--as your own animus too.

Once you recognize the king in yourself, whether you’re male or female, give him the royal treatment. What would make you feel like royalty? How would you like your royal self to make others feel? Do those things! Give yourself time to figure out how to be a king. We queens have been rewriting our own definitions for years.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar Queens

The spectrum of masculine and feminine is elongating. Just 50 years ago, there were “men” and there were “women.” No variations upon a theme, just a toggle switch, an either/or. Today, there are myriad variations, a rheostat, if you will. Just look at last night’s Oscars.

I was rooting for Helen Mirren to win for her portrayal of Elizabeth Windsor, not so much because of Ms. Mirren although she was brilliant in the film, but because of a wonderful spiritual teacher I know named Donna Henes. She’s a self-described Urban Shaman residing in what she calls “Exotic Brooklyn.” Here’s why Donna made me root for Helen.

Donna Henes is the author of a magical book called The Queen of Myself. I’ve read it, and reread it several times. Donna, bless her, gives voice to an experience many of us are having in this day and age. You’ll be familiar with the feminine trinity, no? Maiden, Mother, Crone. Well, Donna, like I, was getting ready to be finished with her Mother phase, but Crone didn’t feel right to her. It was too early to go Crone.

What Donna found for herself was a fourth face for the Goddess that more accurately reflects our time: The Queen. A better expression—a quaternity—is: Maiden, Mother, Queen, Crone. The Queen resonated so thoroughly through my being that I cried the first time I read her book. (I should probably confess that I was born a princess, but, as happens to so many of us, over time I grew up. Well, you know what happens to princesses who grow up, don’t you? They become the queen.) I’d been a queen for a very long time; Donna gave me a name for my experience.

Helen Mirren gave me a mirror for queendom. Her portrayal of Elizabeth Windsor is an homage, an honoring of the spirit of the woman who has stood for England for most of her life. The Queen is rising, dear ones, and because the consciousness of women is embracing the notion of a Queenly self, women are beginning to allow themselves to rule in their own domains.

The Queen wears many faces:

Ellen De Generes, comedienne extraordinaire, and out lesbian, hosted the Oscars. She let herself be seen. I remember when she came out on television: April 30, 1997.

Melissa Etheridge, songwriter, thanked her “wife Tammy” and spoke about this generation being the one that can make change happen to save our planet.

Helen Mirren held her Oscar up and intoned, “To the Queen.”

I raised a metaphorical glass to Donna Henes for naming the queen for all of us. Rise, shine, for the light has come—O Queen!

(If you want to know how to reach Donna, send me an email to

Dr. Susan Corso