In our most recent sisterhood gathering, we gathered in a forest ravine, where red ochre is found in abundance on the river walls. Within an intimate circle of five, we built an altar with crowns and other sacred adornment items, blessed the items, and painted each other’s faces with ochre and face paint. We also performed a ritual embodiment practice, tapping into the Queen archetype:
In more recent years, especially, the queen archetype has gotten a bad rap. I only need to say “Off with your head!” and you will know exactly why…. Also, so many of us associate “queen energy” with women who are financially very well off, getting everything they want and those who are in a reactive queen state of being controlling, manipulating, demanding and dominating. The flip side of this is the repressive queen archetype where one just follows the status quo blindly, where you are susceptible to brain washing/conditioning/beliefs and where you are not being able to speak up for yourself, a good cause or your loved ones.
I always find it helpful to visualize the balanced queen archetype as a person whose life is playing out on a holographic touch screen in front of her (or him), and she (or he) can then shape, move things and structure things around on the screen in accordance with the bigger picture, i.e., compassion for the sacred needs and values of Self and other. How do we then find a golden mean between the unbalanced queen polar opposites in SELF AUTHORITY, where we sit in our dignity - which has nothing to do with circumstance – knowing what is for us, and what is not for us? How do we speak our true “Yes!” and our “No!” in a way that it will have the desired effect? The short answer to this is to be fully grounded in Mother Earth, at all times. The longer and more practical answer lies in the following:
1. We need to firstly be very sure of what is true for us personally in terms of Yeses and Noes, and this is as little of an intellectual, left hemisphere pursuit as it is based on our perception of what is expected of us or what is right and what is wrong. This means that we need to get clear on the message we are actually wanting to convey, with having no mixed feelings. This also means that we take the false sense of urgency away into having to make a decision, NOW, even if it means not knowing for a while and getting comfortable with befriending the mystery. With pausing and taking some time, we can then become aware of our instinctual, internal compass, with a constantly moving true North (due to ever changing situational cues, or the possibility of different conditions), which responds in the moment and not from concept. Your body informs you of how a Yes (the impulse of I am drawn to this) and a No (the impulse of I am repelled/repulsed/moving away from this) feel, in the moment, and it may differ from one person to another. Also, since childhood, most of us have learned to override these impulses and signals in favour of the culture, people and institutions desires’ around us. This then becomes a practice of getting hindsight on what it felt like in your body when you said yes or consented to a request when you actually meant no and vice versa. I personally find saying no more difficult and have experienced a fair amount of self-betrayal or betrayal of my service to humanity or the wellbeing of the people who show up for me (my queendom), when I had non-existent or weak boundaries. This pertains especially to opportunities that arise or people who are wanting to be close. In hindsight, I can now see when I convincingly told myself that my feeling of no will change to a feeling of yes if I just allow myself to open up to the experience, essentially bargaining with my No. I can also now see at which points in time I could have laid down a boundary earlier in the sequence of events, and in so doing I can harvest the wisdom from past incoherent choices, refining my sense of what is my yes and my no.
2. We need to become aware of our sacred needs, i.e., soul needs which your being will never stop trying to get them met, see where we are “starving”, and witness how we have in the past or currently are trying to get them met but in a compromising way, especially when we make choices based on the urgency of those needs. For example, a sacred need can be “to be seen” or “to be cherished”– in which ways are we contorting around relationships trying to figure out a way to have these needs met, where these situations do not reflect our value and worth? In which other ways can I create the optimal conditions for increasing the chances of that need to be met, from a place of confidence in “I am enough and I got myself” and with magnetism, without having to “reach out of myself”?
3. We then need to allow ourselves to be drawn to what we yearn for and to move away from what we find repulsive, based on our compass, and we do this by giving voice to our yes and our no and our sacred needs with a neutral delivery: free from pushing away, debating, projections, or having to be validated and free from emotional charge. An inarguable boundary is not when we speak, and then pull back a little, or speak and then make sure the other person is comfortable with that or lean far outside of ourselves to make sure that it will happen. It is one where we do not need to fight for it, where we are not apologising for it, but also not going to attack the other with it. In my sisterhood circles, yoga classes and therapy sessions, I teach a ritual embodiment practice which over time helps to cultivate the capacity to speak with self-authority. This practice incorporates mudra (hand gestures that activate specific nadis/energy channels in the body), the earth and chanting, so as to help strengthen the relationship we have with the earth and our throats. Also, I teach women when the best time in their menstrual cycles is to embody the queen archetype and how and when (cyclically) to become aware of our Noes as women.
All three keys of the queen archetype exist in a deep grounded connection with Mother Earth (not in circumstance), where we learn how to sit down in the moment and then offer our boundaries, standing behind it, and speak from a place of poise and charisma. When you embody this energy you are poised in your posture: not up and out, and also not collapsed and down in, but resting in the moment while being engaged. The world responds to what is actually being delivered to it. Let’s keep it simple and clear, by practicing to knowing and speaking our truths - life is too short to make half-hearted requests…