13 August 2010

Celebrating Crones

This year marked our family's 7th annual woman's gathering of my daughter and 8 nieces with my sister-in-law and me, for a yearly circle of sharing and support. A bit about the wonderful history of this gathering is on my 11/07/09 post entitled: "The Gathering, 2009".

Each year we select a theme and this year's was "Celebrating Crones" (that would be us above!). For the first time the young women of our next generation did all the planning and carrying out of the day's agenda. It was a lovely "croning" ritual, a day of affirmation and honoring for me and my sister-in-law. I felt very special on the receiving end of their ministrations and deeply touched by their thoughtful words and beautiful ceremony.The 4 little ones of the 3rd generation even made our "crowns" to be a part of it all. A great symbol since Jean Shinoda Bolen in her book: "Crones Don't Whine" says that becoming a crone is the crowning inner achievement of the third phase of a woman's life.

This croning ceremony is a wonderful way to celebrate reaching this phase and I recommend it as a way to acknowledge our age  and wisdom and claim our unique place in the circle of our families and life.

I formerly posted a wonderful quote about crones from Frank MacEowen's book "The Spiral of Memory and Belonging" that bears repeating: "In contrast to these modern usages, the words 'crone' and 'cailleach' were traditionally associated with healing, wisdom, initiation into the ways of the Otherworld, and the stirring mysteries of the earth. The crone, sometimes appearing as the dark goddess, is the keeper of hidden knowledge and is considered a guardian."

Healing, wisdom, initiation, mysteries of the earth, keeper and guardian! Doesn't that sound luscious? We older women have become separated from this powerful place of ancient knowledge and energy. A ceremony can  inspire us to seek ways to reclaim this role which our culture sorely needs but is afraid of. Initiatory energy is about the importance of finding ways to mentor younger women that happens when we gather together to grow individually and collectively and support one another.

Crones are elder women, wise and powerful. Bolen in her yummy little book describes crones as "juicy"- full of zest and deeply involved in life! And Margaret Meade described this stage as women with "pmz" - post menopausal zest!  All the authors encourage finding new ways to be, become and benefit community as we listen to our inner wisdom. As we change ourselves and give ourselves, we change the world.

Bolen ammends the fourth prescription for how we change the world from:
1. Show up.
2. Pay attention.
3. Speak your truth.
4. Let go of the outcome. to: Pray for the best outcome.

These 4 simple, powerful goals have always seemed reassuringly doable to me and keeping it that simple has gotten me through some tough times when I felt paralyzed. My friend, Annee, taught me these when I was in such a time. I posted them on my refrigerator to read them each day to remind myself that that's all I had to do. She (and they) saved my life then and here they are again to re-inspire me in this new phase.

Bolen also says: "As spiritual beings on a human path, what we do at a soul level in the third phase will likely turn out to be the most important." This yearly family woman's gathering is part of what I do at this soul level. It matters deeply to me. It brings me joy. And I love each one of these amazing women! I savor my time with them. I'm grateful for my relationship with them.

What's getting you excited these days?


  1. Wow. I love this! My family and friends matter to me. I am going to buy that Crones Don't Whine today! What a wonderful reminder....

  2. What a wonderful tradition, and I love this concept of crones. From the photo, I'd say the younger women are feeling empowered as well. I'll have to look up the "Crones Don't Whine" book.

  3. What a beautiful tradition! Lucky you to be among so many friends.

  4. Wonderful tradition! And some real words of wisdom. We "femmes d'un certain âge" should embrace our crone-hood. Crone-ness? Crone-dom? We need a new word!

  5. M P Mama, You'll like the book- very empowering!
    B O Grandma, You're right about the younger ones, bless their hearts!
    Lakeviewer, Lucky indeed! I'm grateful.
    Patti, Crones in our prime... Or, it's not our mother's elderhood!


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