Crone in Corrogue: Wild Wisdom of the Elder Years

Glorying in the elder years, a time of spirituality, service and some serious sacred activism

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Be the Crone You Want to See

I apologise to Anne and the wonderfuls of Pagan Square for an absence of nearly two months. But it really has been a wild ride since the August eclipses. If you think that those living outside the US are not interested in the country's politics, prepare to rearrange your throughts.

My sister-in-law, who is living with 'no further treatment' cancer was glued to the Kavanaugh hearings in Northern Ireland. A friend in Birmingham, England apologised for not being able to PM, because she watching them on BBC Live. Basically, the women of the world were triggered by all the news emanating from the land of my birth in September and early October. So, too, were many men, who came out admitting their own sexual assaults on Facebook.On so many levels people experienced every single stage of grief.

And it is not just over US news. Every country has had its moment of the rabbit in the headlamps. In my own corner of the universe we live with the uncertainty of how Brexit will affect us living close to the border of Northern Ireland. We have strong memories of what civil war looks like. It was only twenty years ago that a treaty was signed.

The world has been through the mangle - or wringer - since the summer eclipse season. That is how old I am that I viscerally know the whole of that metaphor. I still know what a washing machine with a manual  wringer to squeeze out the water looks like. My mother had one when I was very little and probably only got a fully automatic washing machine around 1960.

If someone somewhere in the halls of power thinks that  the news hullabaloo is going to be a useful distraction, I think they may be in for a surprise. And it behooves any religious or spiritual groups to have a good long, hard look at their own leadership and examine it for manipulation and sexual exploitation. No group is exempt from that kind of behaviour because the over-culture sanctions it.Women are not exempt from being infected either. Enablers often seek preferment or protection by shielding the patriarchy. That is an illusion. Also a delusion. There is no preferment or protection when you ally with those who abuse and misuse power.

I realise that many are very tired. Exhausted even. May I share what my friend who was part of the apartheid struggle for many years advises?

Be prepared for a very long haul. Think in decade terms. Think in terms of the criminalisation of protest where you have to hold beach parties in order to assemble, and even then only along colour lines.Think that the cost of living authentically and speaking truth to power may mean fleeing the country. Think that you may go to too many funerals of activists who die in police custody.

Now that this crone has really thoroughly bummed you out (because I read history and have lived some and so have my friends), let me tell you how to pace yourself. For that is essential. And the one thing that older people are very good at is learning how to pace themselves. You become realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. We choose our challenges. We acknowledge the existence of the ugly while creating beauty, because many of us have more time to do so.

This is what this crone prescribes for the long haul.

  • Be cllear about the principles that guide your life. They will be tested. Check in with them regularly.
  • Have a tightknit circle of friends/allies that you can speak freely without judgement. I have a half dozen souls who I know will have my back. I know that they will be truthful to me and tell me what I may not want to hear.
  • Have a wider community, but do not share your thoughts regardless, for they may only appear to share your values, ideals, and goals. But do share with that community your bounty, kindness, and care.
  • Devise how you can act given your own life circumstances. Do not allow yourself to make excuses. Excuse notes are not given during times of spiritual emergency.
  • Acknowledge the ancestors in the widest definition of that word.
  • Identify what counts as self-care, which I define as soothing of the central nervous system that does not involve alcohol or any kind of mood alternating substance. It is too easy to control those who are addicted.

Further on the subject of self-care, here are some suggestions that I have noted from my own soul buddies.

  • Gardening is a good one since it requires complete concentration, has year round elements that wax and wane, and exercises both body and soul. If you don't have land, then perhaps there is a community garden or City Farm where you can volunteer.
  • Poetry has been my own source of centring through this stormy interval. I am currently writing a poem a day and posting it on my personal blog. If you don't write it, read some. Go to the library while it still exists and borrow a fat anthology.
  • Music, both making it, singing, or listening to others is a way of nurturing your soul. Devotional music will lower your blood pressure. Drumming is also therapeutic.
  • Make art or practice a craft, even if you do so badly. I knit. Just knit, knit, knit. No purl. Plain squares. Scarves. That's it. Find something that works for you that takes your mind away from anxiety and fear.
  • Altar making is often seasonal; many may only have one for high holidays. Mine reflects the wheel of the year, but during these past two months I have been refreshing it virtually on a weekly basis.
  • Review your spiritual practices and adjust accordingly.
  • Declutter your space. It constructively uses up pent up rage.It gets rid of stagnant energy.
  • Pet your companion animals often. If you have none and cannot borrow a friend's, it is perfectly permissable to moon over internet pics of cute cats and adoring dogs. They are good medicine.

Now! Go forth and become the crone you want to see and be! Be well. Destroy the patriarchy.




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Bee Smith has enjoyed a long relationship with SageWoman as a contributor, columnist and blogger. She lives in the Republic of Ireland, teaches creative writing and is a member of the Irish Art Council's Writers in Prisons panel. She is the author of "Brigid's Way: Celtic Reflections on the Divine Feminine."    


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