The crone phase of life is drawing closer and to be honest, I’m not ready.
I’m possibly being a bit alarmist. Most texts describe the crone stage as beginning after menopause and I’m not even in peri-menopause yet.
I guess I’m feeling into the aspect of crone that’s always been with me. I believe we carry the archetypes of child, maiden, enchantress, mother and crone (plus many others), within us from birth and all the way through our lives. The stages of life that bring us into the full expression of these roles are quite fluid and overlapping.
It’s been four weeks since I turned 47 and I’m still coming to terms with this ‘late-forties’ status. I colour my hair to cover the greys, I look after my health and my body so I still feel and look youngish, plus I still have school-aged children, so how can I be moving into the wise woman phase already?
Well to be real, we’re a bit messed up in our modern lives when it comes to living out the ancient female archetypes. For one thing, we’re having our children later. A couple of hundred years ago I would have been welcoming grandchildren into my life at this age instead of still parenting my own teenagers.
In a tribal scenario I would be winding down, being cared for my my adult children, imparting my wisdom and being revered as an elder.
Instead, I feel like I’m winding up into the most productive era of my life. In my fifties and sixties I see myself writing books, speaking at events, leading women’s retreats and guiding people on their paths in coaching and counselling programs. And there’s certainly some crone-like wisdom emerging as I embark on this phase. I can feel it.
So how do the gifts of the crone archetype fit into this modern era?
The crone is the old wise woman. The hag in the cottage in the deep dark forest. In the traditional Russian tale of Vasalisa, Baba Yaga is the wild and unpredictable keeper of female intuitive power and magic. She’s the observer, holder of energy, subtle healer and sage who has seen much and is ready to turn away from societal expectations to enjoy her life with less burden and pressure.
How we might embody the crone archetype while we’re still actively mothering our children is an interesting dilemma but one worth nutting out.
In her article describing the crone energy, Miranda Gray outlines ways each of the four feminine archetypes correspond with the four phases of the menstrual cycle. The post-menstrual phase is represented by the blossoming maiden, the time of ovulation with the mother, the third phase is for the enchantress and as the menstrual flow begins, the crone.
“The Crone energies are like the winter, quiet and still. Her outward face is hidden, and she is turned completely inward. She lets go of the need to interact with society and to conform to its requirements. The Crone doesn’t have the physical energy to make things happen; instead she watches and, in her stillness and being, allows events to evolve. She is the weaver of Universal Energy, who creates with intention and flow.” Gray, January 2015
So not only is the crone energy within us always, and most especially after menopause, we also might dwell in this energy during menstruation to make the most of its deep and interesting gifts.
To live in a mindset of embracing change feels more useful than resisting it. Sure, there’s a part of me that wants to stay young and fears the advancing years but hey, what choice do we have. I want to be here in twenty years. I want to see my grandchildren arrive in the world and I want to be an active participant in my own long life. I want to own my crone years.
I have beautiful friends in their mid-seventies who embody it all, maiden, mother, enchantress and crone in their lives right now. I see it when they laugh, cry, dance, impart wisdom, sit and listen, paint, write and speak. I also see it all in my 13 year old daughter. She can be wise, funny, silly, wicked, wild, nurturing, intuitive and alluring all in one day.
So perhaps we may turn our attention to embracing many of these archetypes at any stage of life? We need not wait for the years to age us before we claim at least a small portion of crone status and we may retain a little of the younger archetypes in later life as well.
What do you feel? I’d love to know.
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