On Becoming a Crone
Author: Belladonna SilverRayne
Why is it so hard to admit we’re growing older? Why do we fight it tooth and nail? Society and the media as a whole, wants to show aging as something to be fought against, to be put off as long as possible. Why? Look at any sit-com, news broadcast, music video…. it’s all about being young and “beautiful”. Youth is made out to be the epitome of what we all want to be. Who wants to get old, right? Wrong!
I will be 45 on my next birthday. A fact that, when said out loud at first, made me mentally cringe. “Me? 45?? That means only 5 more years till I’m 50!!” After I said it aloud several times, and really thought about it, I could say it with confidence. Yes. Me. 45 going onto 50.
And I love it! I am moving into the Crone stage of my life, and enjoying every minute of it!
I loved the Maiden stage, when I was young, supple, carefree, and self-indulgent. Who among us didn’t? Life seemed so simple, so easy to handle. And it was. My biggest worry was what outfit I’d wear out to the club to dance and make merry with friends.
I sowed my oats, looked out for number one (me, of course) and just basically did my own thing. I moved at the speed of light, never really stopping to appreciate the things around me, never really taking anything in. Just “doing”. As I got a little older, I met the person that would become my husband and the father of my kids and we began our life together.
And I grew.
Then came Mother-hood. My body showed great evidence of the birthing of my children, as did my energy levels, emotional (in) stability, and newfound patience. I now had three other human beings, put on this Earth by me, all looking TO me to provide, nourish, teach, and love. Wow! As they grew, learned, made mistakes, and matured, I did as well. I managed to learn along the way to slow down a bit, to really notice things as they happened around me. I watched and listened a little more carefully now. I loved every moment, good and not so good, watching these amazing people who were once actual, living parts of my own body, turn into individuals, all truly unique within themselves, seeing them overcome hurdle after hurdle. Such a reward in life I will never receive again. Or will I?
I divorced my husband, and watched my kids growing older, going out on their own, and beginning their lives as young adults.
And I grew.
When I first began my Pagan path, I was still in what is considered the Mother stage, my kids were still relatively young and “needed” me in a mommy way. I was still very fertile, and the idea of having another baby sometime was not out of the question. Time passed and that idea faded, along with my monthly menses. (Can’t say I miss them much!)
It took me quite awhile to realize that I was no longer in that stage once the Croning period began. I wanted to fight it, to deny it, all for vain reasons, I’m sorry to say. I wanted to cling to that youth, or at least the image of it. Or so I thought. Now, after having met, gotten to know, and come to love, many admirable women, all in the Crone cycle of life, I am fully aware that I too am at that stage. And come to find out, it’s not so bad after all!
As I move into my Croning time, I don’t look at it as an ending, but a beginning, very akin to giving birth (only this time, I don’t think I’ll need all the medications!) . I will be giving birth to my Self. I can allow my Self to now grow, learn, and experience life, as I once allowed my children to do these things.
I am eager to gain more wisdom as time goes by, as the Great Wheel turns, and as season drifts into season.
I am learning to cherish the lines on my face, as each one stands for some lesson learned, some path walked down, perhaps a hardship suffered and come through stronger because of it.
I have begun to admire my stretch marks as battle scars, won not on the field of some war, but fighting to bring life into this world, one wonderful child at a time.
I now embrace the fullness of my softened body, knowing that even though it may not bring life into this world any longer, or be as taut and supple as it was two decades ago, it can still allow for pleasures, for physical support, and for living life in a healthy, Goddess-filled way!
I am now allowing my mature mind to expand and create in ways that it could not in the past.
I enjoy the younger ones coming to me, asking for my opinion, needing a particular sort of comfort that only someone my age can offer.
I am now ready to walk towards the end of my path in this particular life, knowing that even though it comes towards me quicker than ever, there is still much to gather, much to pass on, but still much MORE to learn and take in.
In Pagan societies (as well as many others) Elders are looked to for advice, comfort, wisdom, and as examples. Who better to follow than a grand Crone or Sage, not past their prime, but fully embracing it, fully aware of themselves as human beings? I so hope to be such an example, to my children, my Pagan brothers and sisters, and non-Pagan friends, alike. I want to show what it is to age gracefully, to accept that life is a never-ending cycle of birth, growth, death, and re-birth, in so many ways. I want everyone to see that while youth has it’s merits and perks, so does growing older and wiser.
Whatever stage of life you may be in as a woman. Maiden, Mother, or Crone, realize the absolute beauty of the moment, embrace it for all it is worth, and live each cycle to the fullest. Know that you have earned all that you are made up of, inside and out. And fear not, for Crone is not the end of the line, it is the goal we, as women, all strive to attain.