I invite you to participate in the beginning stages of a research project titled: Single, Female, & Alone: Experiences of Surviving & Thriving. I welcome your input about challenges and successes with being over 40, single, and without children. My intention for gathering these experiences is to broaden women’s sense of community and to increase information about strategies and resources for surviving and thriving.

Although my direct interest is about single, childless women age 40 and older, I also want information from women with partners and/or children; all women have useful information, ideas, and strategies for each other.

After I have designed a formal questionnaire, I will conduct follow-up personal interviews with all willing participants. In the design and implementation steps of this research project, all information will be confidential. When requested, participants’ input will be acknowledged.

Although other authors have written similar books, the combination of my Jungian perspective (wholeness and individuation) and use of practical information will offer an additional source of information and support.

Please see the following links; the first two links are my other blogs; the third link is the professional organization to which I belong.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

 Frantisek Kupka (1871 - 1957). The Lotus Soul (detail of the divine female soul), 1898.

Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916). The Birth of Venus, 1912.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011 TV hit starring older, single, childless female

Harry's Law NBC 10pm/9pm C
Emmy Award-winning writer/producer David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal," "The Practice," "Ally McBeal") weaves his rich storytelling into a new legal dramedy starring Academy Award winner Kathy Bates in the title role - about how people can embrace the unexpected and other curveballs that life can throw at them.
Harriet "Harry" Korn (Kathy Bates, "Misery," "About Schmidt") doesn't believe things happen for a reason, but she discovers that they sometimes do. A curmudgeonly ex-patent lawyer, Harry is abruptly fired from her blue chip law firm, forcing her to search for a fresh start. She finds it when her world unexpectedly collides, literally, with Malcolm Davies (Aml Ameen, "Kidulthood"), a kind-hearted college student who desperately needs Harry's help with his pending court case, and he subsequently goes to work for her.
Harry soon finds her balance as well as new offices in an abandoned shoe store just as legal hotshot Adam Branch (Nate Corddry, "The United States of Tara," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip") accidentally hits her while driving. Inspired by Harry's no-nonsense understanding of the law, Adam decides to take leave of his shiny corporate firm to go and work with her. Harry, Adam and Malcolm - unlikely but kindred spirits - along with the help of Harry's shoe-savant assistant, Jenna (Brittany Snow, "Hairspray," "American Dreams"), are now ready for whatever walks in through the doors of their unique establishment - Harriet's Law and Fine Shoes.
"Harry's Law" is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television. David E. Kelley ("Boston Legal," "The Practice") and Bill D'Elia ("Boston Legal," "The Practice") serve as executive producers. D'Elia also serves as director.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Great Goddess "Generator of All Creation"

The oldest of all goddesses is known to historians of religion and mythology as the Great Goddess. She is the one supreme being, who was later subdivided in many lesser goddesses. She is all that existed at the beginning of time.

Art is widely believed to have been made first in Africa and then in Europe, when that region was first settled, perhaps forty or fifty thousand years ago. When and where did the Great Goddess first appear in art? We will never know exactly, but it was sometime during the Old Stone Age. The earliest temples of the Great Goddess were caves; to be inside the great earth was to be within the Great Goddess.

In the oldest times, the Great Goddess had no name. One of the first names we know is Gaia, from the earliest creation myths of Greece. At least as old is Durga, in India, and Nu-Wa, in China. In the best-known Paleolithic images, such as the Goddess of Willendorf, the Great Goddess is represented as a fertile, motherly female. People, animals, plants, sun, moon, and stars are all offspring of the Great Goddess. The Goddess of Lespugue has the most exaggerated female features of all the known statues, reminding us that this art is primarily symbolic, not naturalistic. In other Stone Age images, the Great Goddess is represented as a slim young woman. This seems to be the "virginal" aspect, forever young, as continued in the myth of Demeter and Persephone - the same goddess in two aspects. Less well known are images of the Great Goddess as the Androgyne, in which the upper half of her body is a phallic symbol. She who is self-created and self-fertilizing is thus symbolized as being both female and male.

Graham, L. (1997). Goddesses in art. New York, NY: Abbeville Press.

Photo Credit: Both images borrowed from heartgoddess.net

Cast of Characters

By Lainier Graham

ALA - Ibo Mother Goddess in Nigeria.
AMATERASU - Japanese Great Goddess, supreme deity of the sun, the family, and wisdom.
APHRODITE/VENUS - Greek/Roman goddess of love. To philosophers she has two primary aspects: transcendental love (Urania) and common lust (Porne).
ARTEMIS/DIANA - Greek/Roman virgin goddess of the moon, the animals, and the woods. Twin of the sun god and beloved guardian spirit of childbirth in animals and humans. Quite possibly of Minoan origin.
ASHTORETH (ASHERAH) - Canaanite goddess of fertility, often described in the Old Testament. She holds a lotus in one hand and a pair of serpents in the other; often she is nude. Related to Astarte and Istar.
ASTARTE - ("Queen of Heaven") Great goddess of Phoenicians and Assyrians. Related to Ishtar and Ashtoreth.
ATHENA/MINERVA - Greek/Roman goddess of wisdom and war, quite possibly of Minoan origin. Virgin daughter of Zeus. Protector of Athens; the Partheneon is her shrine.
BAST - Egyptian goddess of childbirth, health, healing, and war. She has the head either of a cat (lunar) or lion (solar).
BRIGID (BRIGANTA, BRIDE) ("Bright One") - Early Christian saint who previously was a powerful Celtic goddess of healing in Ireland, Scotland, England, and France. "Baptized" by Saint Patrick.
BRITOMARTIS ("Sweet Maiden") - Minoan moon goddess, who seems to embody the female essence of nature. Possibly the name of the Great Goddess of life, death, and rebirth in Minoan Crete. Her power animal was the snake.
COATLICUE - Aztec Great Goddess of life, death, and rebirth. Androngynous mother of Quetzalcoatl. She wears a skirt of serpents and a necklace of skulls; her head is a double serpent or a skull. She is the earth and the pyramid.
CYBELE - Near Eastern Great Goddess from Phrygia who came to Rome. Sacred Marriage partner of Attis, her offspring. Usually shown with lions, but her first embodiment was a stone. She is the earth and the mother of all.
DEMETER/CERES - Greek/Roman goddess, personifying the fertility of the fields. Her daughter (Demeter's virginal aspect) is Persephone/Proserpine, who personifies the crop that is reborn from the earth each spring. Demeter and Persephone together embody the forces of eternal rebirth.
DURGA - Hindu Great Goddess of life and death, love and justice. Said to be the primal manifestation of universal energy and stronger than any of the gods who emanate from her (in the male-oriented versions of the myth, she emanates from them). Usually portrayed as a warrior who defeats evil with female helpers such as Kali, who is often considered her demonic offspring. She also grants ultimate liberation from suffering by guiding the faithful to enlightenment.
EUROPA - Minoan moon goddess, who was abducted to Europe by Zeus personified as a bull. The word Europe comes from her name.
FLORA - Roman goddess of flowers and the flowering of all nature. The word flower comes from her name.
FRIG (FRIGG, FRIGGA) ("Beloved") - Great goddess of Scandinavians and North Teutons, who is thought of as wisdom, healing, virgin, mother, and the energy of rebirth. Probably Freya (Freyja) was her name when she was thought of as the goddess of sex, war, and death. Her totems are falcons and hawks. Wife of Odin (Woden). The word Friday comes from her name.
GAIA (GAEA, GE) - Greek Great Goddess, who is the earth. Androgynous creator of time (Chronos), space (Uranus), and all of humanity's ancestors.
GANGA - Hindu goddess of rivers and healing. Half of her is the Milky Way; half of her is the sacred river the Ganges. She also provides health, wealth, and happiness.

Graham, L. (1997). Goddesses in art. New York, NY: Abbeville Press.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Crowning of the Crone

     The term "crone" has received a great deal of unfavorable notoriety over the years. For centuries, the expression was used to describe a woman's appearance rather than her ability to think and act on her feet. Characterize a woman as a crone, and people would conjure up a picture of an old, decrepit, prune-like grandmother with a sour look on her face. Or they would assume you were referring to a witch, a term which has also received its share of negative publicity.

     This fallacy of a crone being associated with old age originated in centuries past, when women who had achieved the status of crone did so without the help of modern medicine and proper nutrition. Before the 1900's, women didn't live many more years past the age of menopause. And if they did, they to look much older than they actually were. One might also think that this is how the term "crone" became associated with death. But in fact, the ties between death and the crone originated from the followers of the Great Mother Goddess who believed that the crone had the ability to both restore and take away life.

     Thankfully, times are changing, and for the most part, the word "crone" is now accurately being used as a synonym for a woman who not only embodies postmenopausal wisdom, but shares it with the world. It is the time when the wisdom and healing of a woman's menopausal journey quickens in her heart, and her desire to share all that has learned drives her back to the outer world. And so, just as the maiden years symbolized the time when a woman gave birth to herself, and the childbearing years the time when she gave birth to others, the crone years symbolize the time when a woman gives birth to the planet by sharing all that she has learned.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC

Symptoms of Menopause

These are just some of the symptoms a woman may experience during her journey:

Hot flashes
Panic Attacks
Depression (crying)
Formication (crawly or itchy legs)
Headaches (migraines)
Shortness of Breath
Heart Palpitations
Vaginal Dryness
Loss of Sexual Desire
Fuzzy or Clouded Thinking
Pain in the Joints
Unexplained Phobias
Bladder Changes
Yeast Infections
Dry Skin
Loss of Hair
Weight Loss or Gain
Allergies (Sinus Infections)

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmations for the Seven Rites

     Affirmations are a succession of words or thoughts that tweak our memory and validate what we already know to be true. They are little reminders to cheer us on our way when the only thing that seems certain is our uncertainty. And when we feel lost and all alone, they are the specks of candlelight that brighten our field of vision.
     During menopause, you will find that there is much to validate, much uncertainty, and many long, dark roads. In the following pages, you will find an affirmation for each of the seven sacred rites. I hope they help lighten and enlighten your path. Read them all at once, or read them as you find yourself in that particular phase in your journey.
     Because the power of voice helps awaken the memory, try repeating them out loud. It is also empowering and energizing if you read them to yourself in the mirror. If you like you might even write a few affirmations of your own.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmation for Summoning the Barge

It is with an open heart
and open eyes
that I consciously
and confidently
summon the vessel
that will transport
me back
through that ever winding
ever knowing
ever healing
current of transformation
into the wise-woman years.

I call on my animus
and my angels
to voyage with me
as I fully release
my hold on the outer world,
and prepare for the journey
to my inner world
with joyful expectancy
and love.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmation for Pulling Down the Mists

In order to regenerate
and restore
my feminine wisdom
to its rightful state
I recess into
the sanctuary of mists
cloaking myself in God's
infinite love
and care.

It is here
in this most holy of places
where I am one with my creator
that I find the peace
and the strength
and the order
to prepare for my
impending transformation
into the wise-woman years.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmation for the Great Initiation of Perimenopause

My time of initiation is upon me
and though
my apprehension quickens
I hold steady to the certainty
that my pain
is but a narrow gateway
through which I must pass-
a gateway that generations
of kinswomen
have passed before me
and a gateway that many more
will pass behind me.

For as the moon wanes
and the tides ebb
I know that I too
must follow the cycle of nature.
And so I soothe my anxious moments
and I redirect my depressed spirit
for now is the time
to be gentle with the process
of returning home.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmation for the Quest for Holiness

I have lived too long
with outdated, unwanted, and unproductive
beliefs about my own intrinsic worth.

In order to become both holy and whole
I vow to relinquish and denounce
any and all
malignant, oppressive, or painful
emotions, ideas, and opinions
I have about myself and others.

In my quest for holiness,
I forgive those who have
intentionally or unintentionally
hurt me
and I forgive myself for any pain I have
intentionally or unintentionally
inflicted on others.

I honor myself
as a priestess and a divine
spiritual being
and as such
I let go and let God.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmation for Bathing in the Healing Waters

I open my eyes
to the clear, cleansing water
of Truth
and behold
the Goddess
that is my reflection.

I am no longer
enslaved by
the measurements
and dimensions
of the outer world.

Acceptance is the remedy
for what ails me, now.

I celebrate my roundness
as I am encircled
and made whole
by God's divine
healing presence.

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.

Affirmation for Holding the Blood Within

The moment is here
I have arrived.

The long and painful voyage
that I thought would never end
is over.

The blood and the energy
that have been seeping from my womb
out over the world
for decades
are now held within
I feel their power quicken
in my solar plexus
as I stand on the threshold
of Avalon
waiting to take my first
steps as full-fledged
priestess and

Boylan, K. M. (2000). The seven sacred rites of menopause. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Press LLC.