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The Autumn Queen, a Fable

By Maggie Marangione September 17, 2023 Mindset

The vermilions, salmon and raspberry shades of spring give way to the greens of summer and then autumn’s tangerine, yellows and scarlets remind us about grounding and identity. This is the place the Queen knows well for she has harnessed all her power and magic with the growing ripeness of spring and summer.

Autumn reminds us to celebrate the power of our own inner Queen. While the fresh beauty of the maiden is exquisite, and the fecundity of motherhood is beautiful, I would not wish for spring in winter. Every mother who has weaned her children knows this is the time for her.

The recurrent archetype of the moon is seen in a woman’s lifecycle. The maiden is the new moon, all innocence and dressed in white. The mother representing the fullness of the moon, fecundity, our mothering when we give to all – children, work, family and friends. Then the Crone, the going within, the waning dark moon associated with winter, finds us in our 60s, sometimes earlier, or later.

But then there is another stage in the life of a woman, The Queen.

The Queen

The Queen rests in her abundance, strength and authority. It is the last stage of gathering before Samhain, the harvest, and in Celtic mythology, when it becomes the reaping of the fairies after October 31.

The corn is chopped and the fields gleaned. Persephone, eternal Spring, descends to Hades just like the sun has been descending in the Northern hemisphere since midsummer. Demeter, her mother, relaxes on her throne with a goblet of wine waiting for her consort in winter to visit her at her invitation, for all men must climb the hill to her. She is blessed for she knows her daughter will return because nature, and life, is all about transition: birth, life, death, and rebirth.

I delay starting my wood stove, just like the last crickets delay the end of summer, because once the crackling of the sweet smell of locust, maple, and apple wood warm my bones, I am married to it until spring. The hint of winter is banished by the warm and hot crackling fire.

I snuggle in safety. While I might bank the embers on an Indian summer day, I stoke those orange embers at night as the salamanders of the fire wrap themselves around me and my farmhouse.

Hanging from the oak beams above me are comfrey, mullen, motherwort, chamomile, elderberry, calendula, nettle, sweet Annie and fragrant geranium. I have dried tomatoes and peppers. Stored pumpkins, squash, potatoes, cabbages. Greens might come up all winter long. A reminder that nothing ever dies in the cold of winter, not even us.

Luckily, in the Autumn of my life, I am aware of my place in the wheel of the year, and I celebrate. This is a sweet place to be in. I am beholding to no one, and I choose who I will befriend, sleep with, and love. I have set the stage for my old age, and I in this time before infirmity, I dictate the pace of my days for I have built my resume. Perhaps, as we look into our crone years, we can become the models for the world’s daughters. Honor your Queen. You came here by hard work and honor.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What did you learn about yourself in each of the four stages of your life? Now, in your 60s and after, what does the Autumn of your life look like? What does your Queen look like?

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Mary Lou

Spring was childhood. Sometimes carefree, sometimes full of anxiety and worry. Summer was the busy season full of energy and plans – career, children, house, noisy holidays. Fall is the season of slowing down, gray and wrinkly. Fall is full of introspection, a certain grieving about the lack of things to head towards. In the Fall it is easy to look back on the Spring and Summer and wish for them to return, paint them as perfect. Fall is a time of gratitude – for the lovely Spring and Summer and for all of the lessons there, be they uplifting, be they difficult. Winter will come. For now, I need time to become accustomed to the Fall.

Wendy Kurchak

Thank you for your beautifully written perspective.

Iris avalon

How beautiful! I was so happy to read this post and discover there are more Goddess Women here. It’s true. We are everywhere. Blessed Be, Sisters

Joella Aragon

Love this❤️

Marian Camden

Oh, my sweet goddess, how I enjoyed this post! The Celtic Wheel of the Year and accompanying stories and traditions are so real, grounding, and orienting to me. I haven’t seen anything like this on Sixty and Me and would love to see more.


Blessed be!

The Author

Margaret S. Marangione is a Professor of writing at the University of Virginia and Blue Ridge Community College. Her novel, Across the Blue Ridge Mountains, has been submitted for the Pen Faulkner award. Additionally, her short stories, essays and poetry have been published in Appalachian Journal, The Upper New Review, Lumina Journal, Enchanted Living and Sagewoman magazine.

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