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You may have heard about the stages of a woman’s life: the Maiden, the Mother, the Crone.
I don’t know why it took me so long, but I only recently heard about a fourth stage—the Queen. As someone who has come out the other side of menopause feeling stronger, healthier, and more alive than ever, I can relate to the Queen archetype. I am smack bang in the middle of it now.
Even though I respect that stage and welcome it, I am not ready to be a Crone. I just don’t relate to it yet. I feel like I only just left the Mother stage. It was intense and all-consuming for me to be a Mother, and I loved that role with all my heart. I was deeply mourning my son’s loss from cancer on my 49th birthday. That has only brought me more alive as I have learned to surf the sea of deep emotions in the six years since then. My daughter is now 28 years old and thriving independently, and I have step-grandchildren. However, I feel the Mother is only just fading from the rear vision mirror.
In the Queen stage, we gather ourselves and have time freed or somewhat freed from child-rearing. We can look at what inner spark we wish to fan. What will bring meaning to our life while sustaining and nurturing ourselves. Some women are thrust out into the world at this stage, working in jobs where their steady presence and life experience can make a positive difference. Others take up creating their own business. Of course, there are infinite varieties of expressions of the Queen. Still, it is a stage of life often filled with grace, dignity, and a sense of coming home to oneself. As we get older, we become more and more ourselves, which is a gift to the world.
My mother once said to me that her 50s were the best years of her life, but she also came down with chronic illness then, too. So that can happen. But it didn’t stop her from making a difference, from learning her craft and then teaching it. She became a Master Spinner and Weaver—which set the stage for her Crone years to be a gift to others with that interest (and those lucky enough to receive some of her garments). Her mother, my grandmother, also thrived in her later years; in fact, her energy for travel and her various hobbies seemed endless.
Coming home to myself as a Queen is getting in touch with my inner guidance system. The Queen feels like a whole new stage of life where I need to trust what feels right, and what doesn’t completely—and be selfish enough to do what lights me up.
As women, we constantly have to deal with being appreciated for how we look in a male-dominated society. Men don’t suffer the same decline in social attention as they age. That means as women, we need to value ourselves in a society that no longer shines a spotlight on us. That is also a sort of freedom. To put aside more and more the need for approval for who I am and what I do and instead sense where life calls me. Where is the energy sweetest, where do I feel most alive, and how can I express myself authentically?
In this Queen stage, I do not put up with being treated poorly for long. I stand my ground and have a sense of drawing to myself what I need rather than desperately searching for it. It is a stage of sorting and sifting, recalibrating. And of no more compromise of the important things. Life is moving on; there is a sense of needing to do what needs to be done and not waste time. But also to slow down and take my time because the body doesn’t handle a fast pace for long nowadays. Yes, the body is strong, but I must tend to it diligently with good food, movement, and rest. Then I have enough energy to do what I am inspired and called to do.
And as I go through this myself, I feel called to help others orient themselves to better self-care, whether in the Maiden, Mother, Queen, or Crone phases. But particularly the Queen and Crone stages. We might consider the Queen stage the autumn phase of life, where we harvest the wisdom from the lifetime of our experiences and put it to good use. With this wider vision, I love to help people take good care of themselves through this stage, deal with health issues as they arise, and prevent future ones—so that the well doesn’t run dry and the mature body can keep going, still juicy with the vitality of life.
Meanwhile, I have no children at home, just a loving husband, a red Doberman called Mango, and Tara the Cat, and several big projects on the go. I am fairly introverted by nature, and COVID-19 has only made it more so; even so, my life feels a lot about connecting, sharing, and passing on wisdom—and revelling in the freedom and joy that becoming myself, more and more, truly brings.
How do you feel about the Queen stage of life?