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.