Words from the last day of being 51

Feb 21, 2008 by

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I am a crone.

The crone eludes precise definition. Some traditions, organizations, and individuals variously define the crone as a woman who is 50, 52, or 56, post-menopausal, consciously aging, willing to acknowledge her shadow. Crone is a term used to describe an ancient archetype, an aspect of the triple goddess (maiden, mother, crone), and the third phrase of a woman’s life. When a woman is near, in, or past menopause, she is potentially a crone. The designation refers to a perspective or point of view rather age or biological change.

I am not entirely sure of my “menopausal” situation, so I think that topic is best left alone.

A woman who calls herself crone is willing to acknowledge her age, wisdom, and power. Through conscious self-definition, she helps to reverse hundreds of years of oppression, degradation, and abuse aimed at old women. Although she may prefer to be called elder, grandmother, or wise woman, she does not dismiss, disavow, or use pejoratively terms such as crone, witch, or hag. The wise woman/crone/grandmother realizes that the true meaning of these terms, and the woman-centered traditions from which they originate, have been obscured and distorted by patriarchal systems.

I am indeed ready and willing to acknowledge my age. I have absolutely no qualms about being 52, 62, or 72. I really get it on some deep level, that I am coming into my own, creating the life that I want. What’s not to celebrate?

In ancient times, the crone was revered as an old woman who embodied wisdom and knew the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were healers, teachers, way-showers, bearers of sacred power, knowers of mysteries, mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom had healing power, and crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Since my journey today is to find the mystery, the wisdom, and the way of the wise-woman, I wholeheartedly accept this title. I know I am a teacher. I know I carry magic and sacred power. I know that I have a calling at this point in my life that I have not felt before.

Crone consciousness is on the rise today, spreading in a grassroots movement through America and around the globe. We are awakening the ancient crone within ourselves, and learning to trust the power of our inner knowing. We will not become invisible, trivialized, or shamed by a society obsessed with youth and terrified of aging. Crones teach, speak, and quietly inspire one another, all women, and all peoples who wish to embrace the totality of life.

We respect the crones who preceded us and pass on our wisdom to those who will follow. We tell our sacred stories one-to-one, in small and large gatherings, at meetings, events, and conferences. We name our blessings and challenges, the truths and treasures of our lives, sharing the harvest of our life experience. Empowered from within and strengthened by our growing numbers, we claim our place as wise-woman elders in our families, communities, and groupings. We are women of age, power, and wisdom. We are honored to be known as crones. (text excerpted from Crone: Wise, Empowered, Self-Defined – Bayla Bower)

I am indeed honored to be where I am. I believe I am indeed a woman of age, power, and wisdom. I am also a woman still learning, still growing, and still actively participating in life.

I have a close friend approaching her fiftieth birthday later this year. She expressed to me that she approaches this number with some trepidation. You have to know her.. she is beautiful. If you met her you would guess her age to be about 42 at the most. I laughed and expressed to her how I celebrated my 50th birthday. I especially intended to celebrate all month! I made intentions about who I was to become. I wrote my own horoscope. Even my kids celebrated with me. I wrote every day of the month on thoughts of what it meant to turn 50.

So I explained all this to my beautiful friend. She laughed and said that she even remembered my year of turning 50. She said this was a necessary reframe for her.

So, I celebrate each passing year. Why not? I am alive, I am healthy, I am loved, I have a great family, I am surrounded by many wonderful friends, I have a great job, I have a great life!

So, happy birthday to me.

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