Croning ceremonies are a relatively new feature. As a mostly solitary spiritual practitioner, public ceremony is not my first choice for expressing momentous passages. But 2016 pushed me out of my comfort zone. We had a wedding, a Big Fat Irish one that the Husband in Training had always wanted and which I had demurred. But having survived the wedding, I felt that I could do a croning ceremony via wifi and the World Wide Web okay. Apparently, 2016 was my year for rites of passage. Like weddings, these things take a good deal of thought and intention to be pushed into them beforehand.
I already had a crown. Actually, when I turned fifty I thought I was 'ready.' I was not. I did not have an early post-menopause and the peri- phase lasted for the best part of decade. By the time I turned 50, I was in full flush. An Irish friend who now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, made this crown with loving intent. It includes Brighid's eternal flame and the phases of the moon. There are pearls of wisdom and turquoise to express it. It ties on with a tartan ribbon, a nod to the Celtic connection, but is also a deep royal blue, fit for a crone's crown. (Thank you, Liz for your artistry and spiritual intention. It was perfect when the time came!)
When the horns of sunset sound, we gather with unlit candles and lamps in the great mound's forecourt. Between its tall stones, the gateway gapes.
Then he is among us, singing. I am here, I am right here among you. He shines, his antlers shine. We light from his torch and gather around him in a great wheel of fire. We sing.
Shadows slip between us and our song. Three? Nine? One by one, they snuff out our lights.
One by one, until only the god's torch still burns. They converge from all directions then, like silent hounds on a stag. He struggles, but they bring him down and kill his light. He falls. He is dead.
We’re coming up on Beltane, that magical and fiery pagan holiday that I’ve always loved and was recently feeling strangely anxious about. I’m not a crone…yet. But I’m no spring chicken, either, and I was beginning to look at the brilliant, sexy, flirty day of Beltane for what it is: a spring holiday of fertility, and wondering to myself, how do I fit into this?
'Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies, and walk on them, and find rest for your soul.' 1001 Meditations (pg. 13) by Mike George
The Crone is the guardian of the crossroads, and this is Her time. As we journey through our lives we come to many crossroads; we have so many choices, so many roads not taken. How do we choose? How do we know we've made the right choice?