I’m happy to be an old Crone. You might picture a Crone as a thin, ugly, old woman. I’m definitely not thin. My definition of a crone is a mature woman who’s proud of her age and refuses to be trivialized. That’s me to a tee.
Two-thirds of my life is over. That’s the reality. I observe every birthday. Glad to have them. I might be another year older but I’m still here. Life’s a gift, and all that.
When I was a kid, it was different. There were birthdays, but no celebrations. Oh, there were parties for some in the family, just not me. I was born only nine days before Christmas. Bad timing. My sister’s birthday is in August. Perfect timing. Apparently. I remember her freckle-faced friends (it seemed every kid had freckles then) in organza dresses racing across the lawn, lemonade in tall narrow glasses, coloured balloons, presents. Don’t feel sorry for me. I didn’t care that my present was wrapped in Christmas paper. We had cake. One of those Yule Logs with Santa on top. Oops! I digress.
Some people ignore their birthdays. The why of it baffles me. Aren’t they happy with life? Or do they want to be young forever? As if!! C’mon people, celebrate all stages of life. It’s a shame to miss one.
Now that I’m entering the last stage—as it were—I’m delighted to discover a profound age-embracing tradition that originated in ancient times. A dignified and respectful veneration of the wrinklies—er, crones. (Men, don’t get your shorts in a knot, but this is a mystical ritual for women only.)
What I’m referring to in my roundabout way is the Crone Ceremony. A meaningful event honouring those who have achieved a level of age and experience. Originally for post-menopausal women, it’s generally for those over fifty.
There are various aspects of the ceremony but you don’t have to be a Crone for this one. Initiation into this revered sisterhood might begin with a cleansing of negative energy—this could take a while. Candles, a muslin bag of herbs—my choice would be sage, rosemary, and lavender—hanging from the running faucet, and soothing music, or quiet. Focus. Breathe. Release. Negative energy disappears down the drain with the bath water. (Okay guys, there’s nothing stopping you from doing this, too.)
Some women I spoke with were familiar with this custom, and others were anxious to learn more. One fellow who overheard our enthusiastic chatter, pondered, ‘If women are old Crones, what are men?’ Old Buggers, I told him.
For the curious, I understand the occasion includes a festive meal and drinks. There’s music, poetry, songs, and other offerings. Then the rite of passage. Lots of pomp and procedure. Divinely spiritual. Afterwards, dessert is served. Something chocolate! A guess. And more drinks! Another guess.
If, like me, you embrace this stage of life, we should organize one. Why not? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime milestone. Let’s do it!
Sorry, no Old Buggers allowed.