Interview with the Red Queen
Playing with my daughter, I notice she is much more “girly” than I was at her age. I never wanted to be a princess, waiting for some prince to rescue me. When I was a kid, the only role models I had — which even remotely reflected what I aspired to be — were more like She-Ra (a tough-and-tumble feminist), Rainbow Brite (who was really more like Strawberry Shortcake meets thoughtless little girl), and Barbie (ruining girls’ self-images since before my mother was born). We were playing in my daughter’s princess dresses (she settled on Merida) when she told me “Mommy, I am the princess and you’re the Queen, okay?” I asked her, “Why do I have to be the Queen? Why can’t I be the witch in the dungeon?” And she reminded me: “Mommy, Queens can be witches TOO!” She made a good point.
This reminds me of the “sovereignty” which has been a theme in the Pagan community lately. Here in the Bay Area, I feel it is fair to say that I am blessed with seeing the microcosm reflecting the greater magickal population. It started flowing through with the work of T. Thorne Coyle with Morpheus Ravenna and the Priests of the Coru Cathubodua at Pantheacon last year: a blood ritual to the Morrigan. It was through this “donated” blood that participants became part of the same tribe, under the leadership of this Queen. And what does this mean, “sovereignty” — for the Pagan community in general, not just devotees of the Morrigan? Why would a bloody war Goddess be interested in modern Pagans embracing their own power and independent nature? Does being a Queen mean authority over others as well? Is it a superiority complex or Satanic focus of self-fulfilling prophecies? Perhaps it’s not so much this particular deity/entity/being which is requiring it, or should I say commanding us all to look at self rule.
The sorority of feminine sovereignty is pretty big: ancient Ishtar/Inanna, Babalon of the New Aeon, blood thirsty Queens such as Morrigan and Kali; red dakinis are reaching out in Her name as Lilith and Tara/Kurukulla. Heeding the call are priestesses, witches, energy workers, and many others who are attuned with the currents our planet passes through. This wave of new generation community leaders reflects how our Paganism is evolving and changing with the times. They are initiating and ushering new ways of thinking and practicing ancient concepts. I was deeply reminded of this during conversation with another initiator in this sovereign wave, Lasara Firefox Allen; Priestess, International Author, Educator, and Activist for sexual liberation and revolution. Allen published Sexy Witch (2005, Llewellyn Worldwide) and is currently preparing to facilitate a weekend workshop she has titled “Embracing the Red Queen: Women, Competition, Cooperation and Co-Creation.” She reminded me that the actual etymological root for the word Queen is actually wife… “a sovereign woman as in one who does not need a King… (symbolic of ) the evolution of consciousness.” This is interesting in that lineages were at one point carried through the royal lines of women; a King was made by the Queen he married, not the other way around. Women are learning to have worth, not in comparison to her consort, but in standing in her own community of women.
For Lasara Allen, the Red Queen is not just the Sacred Whore but a kind of “egregore” which has evolved from the consciousness of all the ones who connect with this red current, something beyond the simple Archetype. “For now just think of it as RED; power, sex, love, anger, passion, desire, strength, blood, wounds, healing, birth, death. QUEEN” (Lasara Firefox Allen). Something I have known for a long time, and that is also a factor for many other women, is that ladies have a tendency to “tear each other down.” Sure we might be supportive face-to-face, but even at rituals or other public events I have overheard the cattiness which still lingers, usually spurned by envy or cowardice. Allen explained to me how “Women do not have a language for competition… this is about stepping into full power, full actualization.” She describes an idea that many feminists promise, but eventually fail to deliver: a real sharing of power. In her 30-something years of training and service (which consists of several formal titles along with applied practice), Allen draws from her experience in reviewing patterns and seeing what stages of development worked in success situations:
“COMPETITION: Learning how to claim our power in an authentic, straight-forward, honest way. Owning the edges that we stand at and sometimes step over. Admitting we are powerful. Admitting that we are vulnerable. Entering into a willingness to become naked in our RED QUEEN energy.
COOPERATION: When we come together in our truth, we learn to become true allies to one another. We learn how to support one another in full expression and creative action. We learn how to hold one another up while staying strong in our core.
CO-CREATION: Building from cooperation, we move into the ability to trust ourselves and one another enough to give ourselves over to the process of creating a whole that is more beautiful, powerful, complex, healing and healed than we may have ever thought possible.” (Lasara Firefox Allen)
As a Queen, Allen also holds a title I find many leaders in the Pagan community lacking: Mother. Allen does what she calls “Transparent Parenting” — not hiding the services she provides or teachings from her family. Surrounded by a supportive network of family and friends, Allen, like many Priestesses, lives her life “walking with the entity.” “Our life is the biggest prayer we can offer,” she tells me. The openness shared with her children and spouse gives me something I can realistically envision for myself: the Queen rules the house, with one hand on a child and another on a scepter.
***Embracing the Red Queen Retreat will take place on privately-owned, beautiful, Goddess-blessed land in the Willits area. It’s out Pine Mountain way, Southeast of the valley. Spending the weekend in the great outdoors, we will ground our practice and process in the Earth Itself. Sleep under the stars, bring a tent, or sleep in the large, common-room tent space. There may be space inside the house to sleep on the floor by prior request, and there are a couple of beds that will be available by prior arrangement. There is a jacuzzi (bathing suits optional!), a beautiful fire circle, a lovely little garden, and a beautiful home in which meals will be prepared and served. Directions to the location will be made available with your other registration information before the event.
Fawn Russell reporting, Pagan Newswire Collective Bay Area