crone

Perimenopause: A Spiritual Threshold

July, 2019

The special powers and sensibilities of women (especially menstrual powers) are central to the Wise Woman tradition. Men in the Wise Woman tradition find the wise woman within themselves and become her. In the Wise Woman tradition, we nourish. We do not fix or cure or balance…health/wholeness/holiness comes through nourishment. Healing occurs in the ground of woman power, in the ground of heart-centered compassion…Nourishment encourages expansion and growth. Nourishment includes. Nourishment supports each being as unique, holy, individual. Nourishing our problems encourages love for all parts of ourselves.

-Susan S. Weed from “Healing Wise”

(Haida Gwaii Beachcombing Collage by Jennifer Engracio)

Recently, I was talking to a friend who is also at the threshold of perimenopause about the changes she is experiencing as a woman at this age. Neither of us have ever been forty-four before, after all! And it turns out that we are feeling similarly at this point in our development even though we lead quite different lives in many ways. Ellen Besso’s article on menopause being a time for women to go inside in order to heal deeper emotional wounds makes sense to me. I feel my psyche is mature enough now to go there–that I can finally parent myself compassionately through the pieces I discover: pretty and ugly. Recently, I’ve been able to unearth the root cause of many issues that plagued me my whole life. And I have faith that my body will continue to heal as that process completes itself with the support of homeopathic medicines, practicing living aloha, and ceremony. I also feel that there is a deeper level of spiritual fulfillment that I am starting to venture into. I don’t know what this is going to look like and I am curious about how all of this is unfolding.

When these psychological shifts started happening along with the physiological ones, I didn’t put the two together. I initially thought I was losing my zest for life or that there was something wrong with my dreaming and manifesting skills that I’d always been able to lean on. What I see now is that there is a really profound change happening in all of my energy bodies requiring me to rest and introspect more. Gone are the days of rushing through life to get as many things done as possible. I find myself reflecting on what I’ve accomplished in my life so far. Morbid thoughts come and go: If I died tomorrow, would the legacy I leave behind be enough? Somewhere along the way, part of life has become about achieving things as a way to validate my existence somehow. As if taking up space isn’t alright unless I am contributing in ways that the mainstream culture approves of. These thoughts are fleeting though. These false beliefs are what I am letting go of as they arise in my consciousness. This is the transcendence that is presently taking place.

I’ve been going on the long walk to the beach most mornings here on Haida Gwaii in Northwestern Canada. It is late spring and nature is alive and blooming. Most mornings, I walk through the bird sanctuary, the dark and cool rainforest and its ethereal cemetery until I get spat out onto the big open ocean. I breathe in the salty air and thank the Goddess I am here in all this beauty. It is all I can do to keep taking it all in, allowing its magic to fill every cell of my body. This morning, I rode a bike so I could spend more time on the beach looking for agates, shells and beach glass. I haven’t ridden a bike around the ‘hood like that since I was in elementary school; this made my inner kid indescribably happy. I bumped up and down the trails giggling to myself as I went. Ironically, even though I work with children, there are things I forgot about slowing down to kids’ pace–like the details and moments I notice when I am not on a mission to get somewhere. I spend my days wandering and beachcombing for treasures that maybe only I will find beautiful. But then, when I was a kid, I didn’t care if other folks thought these finds had value. I am going back to a time when all there was was me and Spirit. Back then, I was conscious of what was happening in the now and nothing else. I can sense something being rejuvenated inside myself even while I don’t know exactly what it is. And I don’t feel I need to know. I know it’s all as it should be.

This is the first time I’ve given myself a “victory vacation” where I am celebrating all of the accomplishments and challenges I’ve transitioned through in my life. And there have been a lot of them! My inner landscape has completely changed. I am in a space where nothing new has emerged to place my focused energy on. I am in the dreaming of creation. Little wisps of inspiration and interest come my way, yet something has yet to really take hold. Strangely, I am not panicking about this like I would have done in my thirties. My ego keeps telling me I should be worried, but I am really not and this is liberating. I feel more present lately–like I did when I was a kid. Susun S. Weed describes this further in her incredible book “Healing Wise”:

In the Wise Woman tradition, all health…begins with a return to the void. To…become whole, we turn again around the spiral of our life…The void is woman power: simultaneously dynamic and relaxed; empty yet completely full, satiated yet always consuming; creative, abundant, insatiable, unfillable, unquenchable, wild, having nothing to receive, knowing everything is already present, completely calm. Here in the void lives the Crone.

If I had a wish for women my age, it would be to surrender to this process. Fear of the unknown is natural, however, I hope we can remember to celebrate all of the things we’ve accomplished and overcome in our lives and to “nourish” our current challenges. It’s good to acknowledge the enormity of this with all of the responsibilities pulling on women in the world! I recommend that women take time for reflection so they can really be in this new psychological and spiritual landscape they find themselves in as they prepare to enter their crone years. I’ve found solace and insight speaking to fellow sisters who are going through this stage of life and I really encourage you to do the same if you are in the same boat with us! I have a feeling an exciting and edgy new journey is beginning…for all of us if we can find the courage to welcome the elder we are becoming.

Resources:

icle: The Change: Medical Problem or Spiritual Passage? By Ellen Besso

https://www.life.ca/naturallife/0608/spiritual_menopause.htm

Book: “Healing Wise (Wise Woman )” by Susun S. Weed

“Haida Gwaii Beachcombing” collage by Jennifer Engrácio

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.

Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:

The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”

Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing

Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’S Shamanic Journey into Healing on Amazon

Crone’s Corner

May, 2019

Meditation and Divining Incense: uses & recipes

I used to shy away from sharing my personal experiences and practices with other people, but then I asked myself, “Why do you keep everything that you love all to yourself?” That’s when I decided to open a Facebook Group called “Pagan Plannertarium” and I started sharing my love of a working book of shadows and graphics that I create to make my working book everything that I want it to be. It is a work in progress and you can follow along with me in the other article under “crafts” Working Book of Shadows in PaganPagesOrg. My group eventually morphed into what it is today, which is a “Home” of likeminded, free spirited individuals who share their own personal gnosis, their own musings, and their paths with everyone for the greater good. My heart overflows in that group and I am so proud to be a part of it.

I love divination and mediation, which are passions for me. Finding the time is not impossible, but does require discipline and sacrifice at times – but so well worth it in the long run!

(Photo by truthseeker08 on Pixabay)

Settling in, creating your sacred space, and visualizing yourself going to a deeper more serene level to meditate can be facilitated by the setting and the mood around you. In order to bring yourself to that most comfortable and deepest place for complete meditation, the area around you should be as comfortable as possible and the atmosphere should resonate with peaceful and serene flowing energies. Likewise, when attempting any forms of divination, your surroundings should be as conducive to reaching outward to reign and bring in those visions and aspects that we need for effective readings.

One of the easiest ways to make your space ready for meditation and/or divination is to mix an incense blend that will bring you to a place of heightened awareness and that will effectively assist you in opening yourself up to the channels of energies that will lend themselves to your introspection or workings. The incense blends that I prefer to use are whole herbs and resins which are burned over an incense charcoal. The whole herbs and resins, once ignited, burn for the precise period of time required to enter a deep meditative state or to achieve the visions that come during divination.

(Photo by Thomas Stephan on Unsplash)

Incense Recipe: I prefer dried whole herbs and resins. For meditation and divination I use a blend of equal parts Mugwort and Wormwood. Since I use these incense blends frequently, I blend them once a month on the night of the New Moon, in quantity. I use 2 cups of Mugwort and 2 cups of Wormwood, I mix them together in a bowl and place them in an air tight container until I need them. I then mix the resins Frankincense and Myrrh (in whatever amount I purchase and equalize between the two) and place them in an air tight container until I need them.

Mugwort: A Druid Sacred Herb. Mugwort was placed in barns to protect cows from the influence of fairies. The herb’s powers are strongest when picked on a Full Moon. It can be used for good luck and rubbed on ritual tools to increase power. Mugwort can be used as an incense (mixed in equal parts with Sandalwood) to aid in strengthening Psychic Powers (or mixed with equal parts of Wormwood) to aid in divination and meditation. Try using it while scrying or during divination and meditation.

Mugwort can also be placed next to the bed to aid in achieving astral projection.

Its other magical uses include strength, protection, prophetic dreams, and healing.

Keeps one safe from dark forces and it protects children and the incense brings protection as well. Carried, it brings loved ones safely home from journeys.

A tonic for the soul, it keeps us aware of our spiritual direction. A mugwort infusion sweetened with honey will enhance divination. Carried, it also increases lust and fertility.

For use in Clairvoyance, Scrying, Protection, rub this herb on “Magic Mirrors” and “Crystal balls” to strengthen their powers. Add to scrying, clairvoyance and divination incenses. Use 3 tablespoons to 1/2 gallon spring (or rain) water to cleanse your “Magical mirrors” crystals and stones. It is used in magic as a love-divining herb. To experience interesting dreams that are said to reveal one’s future, stuff a pillow with about a pound of this herb and sleep on it.

The Indians used a decoction of the leaves for colds, bronchitis, rheumatism, and fever, and a poultice for wounds. The fresh juice is used to ease the itch of poison oak. To cure a headache, stick a leaf up your nose.

Wormwood: A sacred herb which was very magical as well as sacred to Moon deities. Burned on Samhain to aid evocation, divination, scrying and prophecy. Combine with Mugwort for added effect. Thrown onto fires on “Samhain” to gain protection from bad spirits roaming the night.

One of the major ingredients in “Absinthe”

Burn in incense to raise spirits.

Wormwood, when added to herbal incense, is an aid in opening the psychic centers. When these centers are open and receptive, we may better communicate with those who have “passed over”. It has been written that wormwood and sandlewood (an herb of purification and high spiritual energy) burned together near a grave-site will summon the spirit of the departed.

Wormwood is a banishing herb, used to rid a person or an area of anger and negativity.

Meditation: After turning the ringer off of the phone and ensuring complete solitude, I retreat to my sacred space and light the incense charcoal (not the BBQ variety, which is toxic if burned inside) and allow it to reach its red glow. I prepare the Mugwort and Wormwood combination in a small bowl and I add about a teaspoon of the resin blend into the bowl, mix it up and place about a tablespoon of the mixture onto the burning charcoal, I allow it to smolder and burn about half way out when I add the second scoop onto the charcoal.

Then, I call on the Spirits of the East and its components of air, communication, and inspiration to lend energies to meditations. I settle myself into a comfortable position conducive to meditation and I ground my spirit and center my self before beginning the meditation. If the meditation that I am planning requires music, I ensure that I have placed a CD on a loop so that the immediate end of the music does not disrupt the flow. Often I discover that the music is replaced by the sounds of the newly heightened awareness achieved through meditation in any event. And so the deepening meditative state ensues.

The divination: I follow the same routine for divination as I do for meditation; however, I tend to replenish the incense on the charcoal throughout the divining session. If I am scrying, I do not want to interrupt the flow, and I tend to follow precisely the same steps as described in the meditation portion. If I am reading Tarot, then I am continuously replenishing the supply on the charcoal, as it aids in receiving and deciphering the messages and pictures for this form of divination.

***

About the Author:

Shirley Lenhard has been a practicing Witch and a Pagan since 1983 and lives in New England with her husband. She is employed full time in the legal field and has her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Shirley looks forward to living her best possible life by giving back to the Pagan Community and has created the Facebook group “Pagan Plannertarium” where she provides a safe home for fellow pagans to have discussions about their path and to get free planner stickers and layouts. Shirley is a past writer for Llewellyn Publishing and The Peace Paper.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

October, 2017

Baba Yaga

(Photo Credit – journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com)

In Slavic and Russian folklore, Baba Yaga is the old woman of autumn. She was a fearsome witch-like woman with iron teeth, who rowed through the air in a mortar, using a pestle as an oar. As she travels, she sweeps away all traces of herself with a broom made of silver birch.

She is the epitome of the fairy-tale witch, who lives in a hut deep in the forest, this hut having the legs of a chicken and would spin around and around. Its’ windows are its’ eyes. This hut is surrounded by a fence on which skulls are placed, with eyes a-blazing. She would scare people with just a look, and her appearance would cause the wind to blow wildly, leaves blowing helter-skelter. It is said that her traveling companions were spirits. She has bodiless pairs of hands that act as her servants and could call on the White, Red and Black Horsemen. She was also called Baba Yaga Bony Legs, as, even though she had a ferocious appetite and ate those who did not complete the tasks she had given them, she was extremely skinny. She had two older sisters, both of whom were also known as Baba Yaga. She would sleep sprawled out on her stove, which was the length of the hut and her long nose would hit the ceiling as she snored.

Baba Yaga would always ask visitors if they were sent to her, or if they came of their own free will. She had no power over the pure of heart or were protected by love or virtue.

One of the most famous stories of Baba Yaga was about a young girl named Vasalisa.

(Photo Credit – Wikipedia)

Vasalisa was the daughter of a merchant, whose wife dies when the girl was 8 years old. While on her deathbed, the mother gives Vasalisa a small wooden doll. She told her that if Vasalisa fed it a small amount to eat and drink if she were in need, then the doll would help her. She did so and the doll comforted her. Eventually, as men will do, her father remarried, to a woman who had two daughters of her own. This woman was very cruel to Vasalisa, who was always able to do all of the chores assigned to her, with the help of her little wooden doll. Her stepmother would not allow her to be married before her own daughters and send all suitors away, as they had no desire to wed Vasalisa’s step-sisters.

On a day that Vasalisa’s father left on a trip, the stepmother sold his home and moved them to a hut in the forest, which was very dark and gloomy. She gave each of the girls a chore to do and put out all the fires in the hut, except for one candle. The older step-sister sent Vasalisa to see Baba Yaga to fetch more light. With the help of her doll, she knew where to go, and so she went.

As she traveled she passed a man, dressed in white, on a white horse; then a man dressed in red, on a red horse. She soon came to a house which stood on chicken legs, whereupon she noticed that the fence was made with bones. A man dressed in black on a black horse, then rode past here. She was frozen with fear and so Baba Yaga found her when she returned home.

(Photo Credit – Pinterest)

To earn the fire, Baba Yaga told Vasalisa that she must perform certain tasks or she would be killed. Vasalisa cleaned the house, the yard, washed Baba Yaga’s laundry, cooked her food and on and on. Vasalisa was exhausted and scared that she would never complete the tasks given to her. Her small wooden doll once again came to the rescue, completing the work while Vasalisa slept. Each of the horsemen rode by again, and when Baba Yaga returned home, she found nothing that she could complain about. She allowed Vasalisa to ask questions of her, and when she inquired of the horseman, Baba Yaga explained that the white one was Day, the red one the Sun and the black one, Night. She also asked Vasalisa how she was able to complete her chores and was told that it was by the blessing of Vasalisa’s mother. Baba Yaga threw Vasalisa out of her home, not wanting any blessings. She gave Vasalisa a lantern made out of a skull that was full of burning coal for her family. When she returned home, she learned that no one in her family had been able to light any candles or fire while she was gone. Vasalisa’s step-mother and step-sisters were burned to ashes by the coals in the skull, and so Vasalisa buried the skull so that no one else would be harmed by it again.

In origin, Baba Yaga was an ancient Birth and Death Goddess, whose death in autumn, led to new birth in spring. She lives in the last sheaf of grain harvested and whichever woman would bind that grain would bear a child that year.

She is the Arch-Crone, the Goddess of Wisdom & Death, who brings the death of ego, the re-birth through death. Baba means “grandmother” or “old woman”. She is the Eternal Mother. She is the Earth Mother, wild but kind, as the Earth is in both it’s gentle rain and it’s furious hurricanes. She is the Guardian to the Fountain of the Waters of Life and Death. She is the Ancient Goddess of Old Bones. She brings us from our darkness to Light, death to re-birth.

She is the Wise Hag, giver of wisdom and magic gifts. She is all-knowing and all-seeing and shares her gifts with those who are brave enough to ask. She keeps her promises to those who come to Her.

She is the Crone within the Triple Goddess.

As Goddess, Her themes are the harvest, prosperity, rest and giving thanks, bringing us awareness of the Wheel of the Year. You can bring Her prosperity to you by bringing a wreath of harvest items into your home.

(Photo Credit – Etsy.com)

Her symbols are corn, sheafs of wheat and wild flowers.

Her colors of White, Red and Black, the colors of Her horsemen, the colors of the Maiden, Mother and Crone.

Stones: Black tourmaline, smoky quartz

Her season is Autumn and She is the Waning and Dark Moon. Her tree is the silver birch.

Her festival is celebrated on January 20th.

The following is an excerpt from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marachinsky, with artwork by Hrana Janto.

“I walk in the forest

and speak intimately with the animals

I dance barefoot in the rain

without any clothes

I travel on pathways

that I make myself

and in ways that suit me

my instincts are alive and razor sharp

my intuition and sense of smell are keen

I freely express my vitality

my sheer exuberant joyfulness

to please myself

because it is natural

It is what needs to be

I am the wild joyous life force

Come and meet me.”

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, WriterTeacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess, as well as Mago Publications She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Womens Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

Spiralled Edges

March, 2016

Spiralled Edges – What Makes a Crone?

Mid-February I celebrated by 50th birthday, a full half century of living. As I have moved towards this mark, I have turned my thoughts to who I am and what I want to be in my life. Now more than ever I face my own mortality as I have realised I most likely have more years behind me than in front of me.

I am okay with this. I am ready to take my place as an elder, as a crone, both in the Pagan community and in the world at large.

Who am I to self-proclaim: I am an Elder!

Is it age alone, or something more that makes one an Elder? What makes a crone, I ask myself.

So, I look to see what others have said on the subject…

  • A crone is a woman who has past her 50th, or 55th, or 60th year.
  • A crone is a woman who has gone through menopause.
  • A crone is a woman who has grandchildren.
  • An elder is someone with X number years of experience.
  • An elder has wisdom.

And, I ask myself, do I fit these definitions? Can I declare myself to be a village elder/crone or is this yet another title of respect that should rightly be bestowed by the community?

For the most part, yes. I’m post-menopausal. I have over 20 years’ experience as a healer and Pagan witch. I have just hit my 50th year of life. No grandchildren yet. And no village/community/coven group to bestow a title upon me. Wisdom? If finally understanding that there is no magical age upon which one finally knows and understands all, and accepting this with patience and confidence counts as wisdom, then yes I have it.

I am a crone and I wear this title along with my head of grey hair as a crown of honour. It is an honorific that I have earned and I have been working towards for many years.

Now that I am accepting and wearing my crown many idiosyncrasies from my past are finally making sense. Mother Goddess, Modron moving away and telling me that Her time as my Patron Goddess has come to an end. Brigid making herself known as a Patron Goddess, but saying as well that She is not the one I will be following. The blue-faced mask of Mareninka which I created over 15 years ago. The hag stones collected and carefully kept for just as long. Blue-faced Kali being on the periphery of my work as a critical care nurse 20 years ago, but not showing up again as I begin doing my life work as a Soul Midwife and facilitator of healing for women. The beautiful owl butterfly, merging owl with butterfly as a symbol of transformation, wisdom, and the healing work I am now doing. And always over everything as awareness of a great, ancient crone who is both awe-some (to be filled with awe) and terrifying and has been setting me challenges to be met for more years than I was aware.

In the past week, as I contemplated this article and also a ceremony to mark this rite of passage in my own life, She made Herself known to me clearly, and I realised She had been speaking to me all along. Accepting my role as crone also means accepting the mantle of being Her Priestess. (While I have had Patron Gods and Goddesses, I have never been called to dedicate myself to the service of one in particular. – Until now.)

I am speaking of the Crone of crones, the ancient Hag of the British Isles, The Cailleach.

I find that I am excited about what the future may hold for me in my waning years. And excited about where my practice and work as a Priestess of The Cailleach may take me.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

September, 2015

Croning : miscellaneous

Merry meet!

This month is the last of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone.

As we prepare to enter the dark half of year on Mabon, I wanted to offer some final thought about the celebration of croning.

In the world of muggles, the crone is an old, ugly, unproductive woman. Her proximity to death makes her dark and scary. In the pagan community, she is the wise woman who is respected. She is a teacher and a mentor. Her proximity to death makes her powerful and able to walk in both worlds. Not only does she preside over death, she presides over rebirth, for she knows the two are linked and that all endings are beginnings. She can feel it in her bones.

When the croning ritual is competed, the candles extinguished and the circle opened, it’s not over, it’s just beginning. Now that you have the title, you get to live it.

In this past year, I have grown more and more comfortable with myself even though we live in a world of where youth is still coveted. Women of a certain age are targeted with commercials, articles and infomercials encouraging them to dye hair, use make-up, get rid of wrinkles, lose weight and have procedures done in an effort to look younger. While I now understand it, I only aim for healthy and, after almost a year, I have made changes I had been resisting.

I am more at peace with where I am – and am not – in life. I was able to lay aside some dreams and some burdens. I’m planning a bit less and trusting a bit more. I have bounced back from blows quicker, accepted more and expressed more gratitude more often.

I no longer think someone else has the answers and will look inside. I am more comfortable sharing knowledge and giving advice. With two other crones, I have been helping run a pagan discussion group for LGBTQ youth. When co-workers, neighbors and others who cross my path ask for help with smudging houses, spell work or defining the influences of a particular moon phase, I am more comfortable answering without feeling a need to do extensive research. I’m also honoring my ancestors more – including the elders who are still living.

My croning ceremony was one of the most meaningful events in my 61 years. The change it signaled was not the end of a journey, but very much a beginning. Grandmother Spider is back with me, and snake is close by as well. Both have helped me through previous transitions, and I know there will be others as as the wheel continues to turn on my crone years.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

June, 2015

Croning Part 3

Merry meet! 

This month is the third of a six-part series on croning – a feminine rite-of-passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone. It touches on some of the symbols of the crone you can consider incorporating into your ritual.

Croning : Symbols

Amethyst:

amethyst

This is often considered the gem of the crone because it is associated with spirituality and wisdom. Everyone who attended the weekend event at which I croned was given a small piece of amethyst and the instruction to give it to me with a personal message. I was given an etched champagne glass to collect them in.

Braid / stole / shawl: A wearable symbol of the level of crone is a stole or braid, that is placed over her shoulders. It can be round woven from ribbons representing the elements, or it can be of colors that have meaning for the crone. Charms, beads and crystals can also be added. I chose a black shawl as the garment I wished bestowed upon me because old women of all nationalities have worn shawls.

Cauldron: This customary witch’s tool is associated with the crone goddesses Cerridwen, the Celtic Keeper of the Cauldron; Hecate, Greek Goddess of magic and the underworld; and Kali, the Indian Goddess of destruction and rebirth. It is a symbol of germination, transmutation and transformation. It is the merging of the Great Goddess and the Great Mother. Crones stir their wisdom in the cauldron. I used mine to hold wisdom scrolls (to be described next month).

Crown:

crown

The placing of a crown on the head symbolizes rising to a higher rank – in this case, the rank of crone. It can be made by the crone from dried flowers, branches or other materials that are available as well as meaningful. Mine was made for me by two dear crones.

Owl: The owl – the bird of magic, darkness, prophecy and wisdom –is considered to be the totem of the crone.

Staff:

Staff

A staff is another symbol of initiation into cronehood. I chose to make a ceremonial one modeled after a medicine stick I had seen. The skull of a grandmother goat was a gift from a fire witch and farmer. Leather laces were strung through three holes to which I attached a variety of charms, amulets and other meaningful objects that previously had been on my altars or tucked in various places. It is both personal and powerful, and remains a work in progress. Staffs need not be elaborate. They can even be disguised as walking sticks.

Waning moon: As the moon decreases in size going from full to new, it is known as the waning moon and is associated with the crone. It’s a time of intuition and divination.

Next month I’ll prompt you to reflect on your life and the wisdom you have to share. My croning ritual will be a large part of the August column, along with some ideas for your own and some references. We’ll wrap up in September with any questions you may have as well as some details that did not fit into previous columns.

Merry part. And merry meet again…

SpellCrafting: Spells and Rituals

April, 2015

Croning : Are you a Crone?

crone

Merry meet!

This month begins the first of a six-part series on croning – a feminine a rite of passage ritual for those reclaiming the power and wisdom of the old woman, the crone.

Crone is one of triple Goddesses, the third stage, the wise elder.

Two characteristics generally used to determine cronehood are reaching menopause and having moved through your second Saturn return, a sort of cosmic transition, which generally happens by your 58th birthday. (You can enter your birth day, month and year and learn your dates at www.astrocal.co.uk/saturn-return.php.)

Saturn return marks the time when the planet that rules lessons, responsibilities and limitations returns to the same point it was when you were born. The first time it happens is in your late 20s. It comes back around again in your late 50s (A good reason to have mid-life crises.) and then again in your late 80s. Each time, the entire influence lasts almost three years.

Known as “the teaching planet,” Saturn comes to let you review your life and account for your choices. You may feel smacked down, put through the meat grinder and tested. During this time you may come face to face with all sorts of situations you probably would rather avoid.

When my second return came, I found myself becoming very aware that I was aging and that ageism exists. Our society is obsessed with youth, often dismissing women as they mature. To crone was a way I found to celebrate those decades, and to raise awareness around the issues of aging while challenging the image of old hag. To me, it was an honor to accept the title of crone.

A crone is no longer a mother raising children. She knows the value of time, and takes some to care for herself. Her creativity flowers. She is weathered and realistic, but she still dreams. She may be slower, but she’s steady.

Those who only see she is becoming “old” miss the ripeness that comes with experiences and the wisdom gleaned from them. She may have a sense of empowerment and a willingness, even an urge, to pass along her knowledge. While society seems to place little value on her wisdom, I believe the world is in need of it.

At this stage, a woman is moving into the greatest time of her life and a croning marks that. It celebrates older women, for they have always been the keepers of the mysteries. Nowhere else in my life was that milestone recognized or honored as it was among my magical family. I viewed my croning as my acceptance of my passage into elderhood. I embraced my life for getting me to where I am, and embraced myself for arriving.

I first wanted to crone at Mabon in 2013. My second Saturn return had come; it was more than a decade since my last flow; I was a grandmother. To pull it together in time would have rushed the process, so I did not announce my intention. Little did I know the events, challenges, losses and changes that would occur beginning that very Mabon afternoon and continuing to pummel me for months. It was clear I still had work to do around the issues of surrender and trust. The more my spiritual self was tested, the higher it soared. Come that next year I knew I was ready; I felt deserving.

I had a wonderful sense of having come into my own, of realizing I have a voice and I have power – and that I’m not afraid to use them. One of the items I placed on the altar during my ritual was a drawing of a woman with wild botanical hair and these words by an unknown author: “A wild young woman can be tamed by time and circumstance but a wild old woman is untamable by any force.” I was now a wild old woman and proud of it.

If you found yourself nodding a few times as you read this, perhaps you, too, are a crone. If you would like to honor that with a ceremony, my columns in the coming months may help.

 Next we will begin to explore the ritual of croning: what, when, where and who to invite.

In June we will talk about the symbols of the crone. July will prompt you to reflect on your life and the wisdom you have to share. My croning ritual will be a large part of the August column, along with some ideas for your own. We’ll wrap up in September with any questions you may have as well as some details that did not fit into previous columns.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Tink About it

November, 2014

Crown the Crone!

Last month I turned 46. That’s when people start saying things like “oops, you are on the wrong side of 40 now” or “50 is coming soon”. Often disguised as a joke, but every so often with a serious tone of voice. It was the same when I turned 40. To be honest I didn’t really care, on the contrary: I gave a big party to celebrate it and had a great time! If someone says ‘you are getting old’ I always reply with ‘I hope so!’ Of course getting older isn’t all fun and games, but I refuse to give in to the negative stereotype of ‘the older woman’. People (but especially women) are tricked into being afraid to grow older. ‘Old’ being the synonym of obsolete, outdated, ugly, or worse. Commercials and adverts are trying to make us hate our aging body and be ashamed of wrinkles and grey hair. I still embrace my inner child, but growing older brings a lot of good things too. My mother often sighed: “oooh, to be young again and know what I know now…” Understandable, but I wouldn’t want to go back to when I was younger. I had a wonderful time then and horrible times too, but together it made me into what I am now. Over time I’ve learned to accept myself with all my virtues and vices. Still a work in progress though, but that’s okay. I’m slowly shifting into a new phase, and I hope I’ll be a proud and dashing crone one day!

If you google ‘crone’ the first you get is this:

 

crone

 

 

The etymology is full of negative annotations: old, useless, carcass, carrion (the decaying flesh of dead animals), etc. Not a nice picture at all… but a crone is (can be) more!
Barbara G. Walters, author of ‘The Crone’, says:

 

“The crone’s title was related to the word crown, and she represented the power of the ancient tribal matriarch who made the moral and legal decisions for her subjects and descendants. It was the medieval metamorphosis of the wise woman into the witch that changed the word Crone from a compliment to an insult and established the stereotype of malevolent old womanhood that continues to haunt elder women today…”

In the pagan community the word ‘crone’ has a different meaning. The goddess and in her image a woman goes through three phases in order of age: maiden, mother, crone. So yes, a crone is an old(er) woman, but not the useless, ugly person from the dictionary. Quite the opposite: a crone is a valued member of society, a wise woman who earns respect. She is a teacher and a mentor.
Or, as Wikipedia explains it:

“The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale, an old woman. In some stories, she is disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in manner, often with magical or supernatural associations that can make her either helpful or obstructing. The Crone is also an archetypal figure, a Wise Woman. She is marginalized by her exclusion from the reproductive cycle, and her proximity to death places her in contact with occult wisdom. As a character type, the crone shares characteristics with the hag. The word “crone” is a less common synonym for “old woman”, and is more likely to appear in reference to traditional narratives than in contemporary everyday usage. The word became further specialized as the third aspect of the Triple Goddess popularized by Robert Graves and subsequently in some forms of neopaganism, particularly Wicca in which she symbolizes the Dark Goddess, the dark of the moon, the end of a cycle. In New Age and Feminist spiritual circles, a ‘Croning’ is a ritual rite of passage into an era of wisdom, freedom, and personal power.”

Does this apply to women only? No, of course not. Although society seems to judge less about aging men than it condemns aging women, it’s no secret that nowadays men are also ‘targeted’ in the same way. More and more commercials, adverts, articles and the like are focusing on men. They too are encouraged to dye their grey hair, get a facelift, lose weight and look younger in any way possible. Of course there’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and your health and appearance, but there’s no need (or at least there shouldn’t be) to hide or be ashamed of getting older. Not for women, not for men.
The sage is the masculine form of ‘The Wise One’ and thus the male counterpart for the crone. You know me, all about balance. 😉 Some time ago when I was looking for chants I found a new couplet to Zsusanna Budapest’s song ‘We all come from the goddess”. Author/source unknown unfortunately, but the lyrics (sung in the melody of ‘Hoof and horn’) are:

cron2e

Both crone and sage are regarded as ‘pagan elders’. They have a lifetime of experience and most of them are very willing to share their knowledge. Personally I love to listen to people who have witnessed things I only know from history books. I try to listen to them, learn and pay attention. Not only in the pagan community, but also in everyday society. I feel we should value elderly people for what they are, give them the respect they deserve, hear their stories and pass them on. When we are honouring our ancestors, let’s not forget the living ones!

 

Sources and interesting links:
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crone
book: Crones Don’t Whine by Jean Shinoda Bolen – I like this review: http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.nl/2013/08/sunday-salon-shes-crone.html
book: The Crone by Barbara G. Walker – review by Ana Rundic: http://rimstead-cours.espaceweb.usherbrooke.ca/ANG553H9/Ana%20Rundic.pdf
blog: A Rolling Crone – http://arollingcrone.blogspot.nl/2009/09/what-is-crone-anyway.html
Crones Council – http://www.cronescounsel.org/
http://www.legionofpagans.com/crones-and-more/5601/crone-to-sage
lyrics-image found on http://merrymeet.tumblr.com/

She is Crone

January, 2011

she moves with care now,
her limbs aching with each step
eyes shining in the darkness.
now, she is old, old as time,
beckoned by the gods,
needed by so many.
they call upon her now
to birth their babes,
lay out their dead.
a-night, they leave her solitary
in her home, wary of angering
this old, old soul
who has such knowledge in her
that it carves upon her face
deep and careless lines.
for pain, they need her,
fearful of its claws
they beg for aid
and always and anon she answers
she is all three, maiden, mother,
and, now, as aged as the Goddess
that she smiles upon in the night.
she is the centre,
the hub of things.
her travels now are done,
and yet she stays,
carven, almost, in stone,
serene in knowing
all is well.
she is Crone.
Copyright 2007 by Sama

Wicca 101

November, 2010

The Crone

I decided that as the seasons pass through, that I’ll cover each of the aspects of the Goddess. Instead of covering the Aspects as “Maiden, Mother, Crone” I’ll be covering them in the opposite direction. I believe that to understand the bringer of life, you should also understand the bringer of death, and vice versa; as the two are inextricably entwined with one another.

With the end of October is the turning of the season into winter, the aspect of the Goddess for this time of year is the Crone.

Without further ado, I bring you the basic information on: The Crone

Season: Autumn (dependent on your path) and Winter (generally agreed as the season of the Crone)

Holiday: Samhain

Colors: Black, Dark Blue, Dark Purple

Moon: Waning or Dark Moon

Representation: Death, Rebirth

Animals: Crow, Owl, Wolf, Snake, Spider

Goddesses: The Morrigan, Kali Ma, Nephthys, Tiamat, Hel, Hecate, Cerridwyn and many others.

The Crone is the representation of death and rebirth, and often is feared because of the aspect of death. The cycle of life is birth, life, death, and rebirth. The Crone is the guide in the last phase of your cycle, she will walk with you as your cycle comes to a close, and guide your way, easing you through the transition. Often the Crone is the Goddess of the Underworld, or death. However, she is many other things as well. She is the Grandmother, the wise-woman who has experienced life. She understands, and has the wisdom of how to deal with the problems that arise in life.

Celebrate the Crone, this is her time! She has much knowledge and wisdom to offer, and the patience to help you learn and grow!

Brightest Blessings!

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