You may be thinking this is a strange kind of thing to write about at this time of the year. Spring doesnt tend to make people think of endings, death or the time of the Crone. However, I am writing from a personal point of view and how I am feeling at the moment. Seasons do have an effect on us all, sometimes some more than others, but I am writing from the perspective of personal seasons, lifecycles and even planetary effects.
The last few months have held some interesting experiences, thoughts and events for me. It has made me think over big issues – you know the kind I mean; Life, the Universe and Everything!! First of all we lost a couple of pets to illness and old age, and I was aware of some very tragic events to people I know, losing precious young family members to accidents and other sad situations. Then I fell ill to a very nasty attack of the Flu and for a few weeks was really unable to do anything more than lie in bed and rest.
And last week, my original teacher and High Priestess of the first Coven I was trained in passed to the summer lands. Sylvia was a good old age, well past the 3 score years and ten and had lived an interesting and eventful life, so not an unexpected event when her life finally ended. Even so, it gave my heart cause to grieve at her loss. She was a Great Lady, trained and advised a great many people who entered her circles, and was a wonderful role model for many Witches and Pagans.
My parents are in their 80s now and although fairly healthy, I have become aware that their time is limited and one day I shall have to encounter a personal grief when I lose them. And then my 50th birthday comes up next week and I have been menopausal for a while now.
It’s a time when I feel I want to look at my life now, and what is possibly to come. Im aware that certain birthdays can initiate these feelings and make you feel that it should be acknowledged. However at the moment it seems more than that. I feel the call of the crow as she calls me to pull the dark robe of the Crone over my shoulders and follow Her path now. I’m sure (well, I hope!) I have many more years to go before I am called to cross the Styx, but it feels almost like I am entering a cave for another initiation that I have only now started to become aware of.
When I originally trained in Sylvia's coven Moonshadow, back in the late 80s I was eager to learn, work through and take the formal initiation ceremonies available to me. Over 3 or 4 years I learned, practised and ceremonially took the 1st 2nd and finally 3rd degree initiations to allow me to become an elder of her coven and eventually form my own groups and circles. My understanding then was that the 1st degree was akin to connecting to the Maiden aspect of the Goddess. Then the 2nd was connection to the Mother and finally the 3rd degree was that of the Crone. And as a 3rd degree initiate I could call myself that!
Ahh the arrogance of the young! (well actually I had just reached 30 when I finally took the 3rd degree initiation - but still had a lot to learn on my spiritual path). I can see that my initiations to the Maiden and the Mother could well connect to the Maiden and Mother Goddess as I had lived as both, I had - obviously, been a Maiden and had already had the first 2 of my 3 children so had experience of motherhood. I think I could also say there would have been some identity of running and teaching a coven, often 'mothering' some of my circle members.
|Maiden by Rachel Mayatt|
|Mother by Rachel Mayatt|
I had some experience of the seasons of maiden and motherhood.
However, the only experience I had of the time of the Crone was that of observer - with family or friends. I could read as much as I wanted about women experiencing their own Crone time, but without being immersed in it myself, I could only guess at what it really means to be there.
And strangely enough, I feel it has crept up on me. Or maybe it wasn’t obvious to me because of all the experiences I needed to have before my body started its journey to becoming the Crone. Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual experiences, from the end of my marriage, the descent into my own personal dark night of the soul that lasted for several years, and the birth of my last child. I have spent the last few years still in the mother phase - and this will stay fairly intense for several more years yet as my youngest daughter is only 8 years old. However, I have also become a Grandmother. My periods have stopped and have only reappeared once in the last 12 months and I am regularly woken with amazing rushes of heat as I ride the power surges that are my journey into the realm of the Crone.
|meno pause by Rachel Mayatt|
Funnily enough, as I have got older, I had begun to shed the layers of should, should nots and must or must nots that we often encumber ourselves with during our spiritual journey. I don’t see myself as not being equal to the tasks ahead. As all my experiences, all my feelings and expectations are right as they are. Any feelings of inadequacy or concern are waves of negative energy that I can either indulge in, or waft away. I am all that I should be. I can be more or less if I wish.
Maybe that is one of the biggest lessons to learn as a Crone.
But whatever is waiting for me in Her cave, I know now that the experience is what will truly initiate me and give me the right to call myself Crone.