Priviledge of AgeWhen I write or submit articles for magazines, I very often deal with people I have never met face to face, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. On many occasions, the editors have assumed that I am older than my years based upon the content and style of my work. Of course, I tell myself that is not a terrible thing, but I have always suggested one lives their truth – so here is my truth. The first few times it happened, I freaked. I was horrified that people would consider me much older than I am, and darn it I am certainly no Crone! Sure ages catches up with all of us, I am no longer as young as I was, and since having children I certainly feel like I leaped over a few years and rapidly increased in age – but really. I. Am. Not. Old. But even if I were, why should that matter?

Herein lies the problem. My aversion to being perceived as old comes not from the age itself, but from the way that modern society devalues the elders within our communities, and how I allow myself to get subconsciously drawn into that negative perception. Women especially, and men to an increasing degree, are bombarded with messages about how age devalues us as people and how we should seek to remain at least visually young for as long as possible to retain respect and dignity. Anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, anti-grey, nip, tuck, cover-up and tidy-up. Not once do we hear the message that age is to be celebrated.

Crone Post1Most Pagan paths do celebrate age – at least on a conscious level we do, although subconsciously we may as individuals still suffer from negative perceptions about growing old. Some of may still be working on those perceptions when we reach old age ourselves. In many Pagan paths a Life Rite, Croning (feminine) or Saging (masculine) ceremony marks the life transition into our twilight years, a phase of life that is related to age and wisdom. For many women, a Croning is performed after menopause, when they become a Grandmother, or between the ages of 50 and 60. However, there is so much variety of life experiences and physical changes that the age of a woman who feels she is entering her Crone stage may range dramatically. Claiming the title of Crone is a form of reclaiming personal power in a society that appears to devalue age. The image of the ugly old hag, unloved and unwanted, is now being replaced by active women of confidence and power who celebrate the freedom that age brings. In modern days we live longer, have healthier lives, and actively participate in our communities more than ever before. Age does bring freedom to many, although too often our elders are lost and forgotten by the younger generations. The wisdom and life experience of our elders is honoured during a Croning or Saging ceremony.  Croning ceremonies are much more common than their masculine counterpart, the Saging Ceremony, but the process is very similar. At its core a Croning or Saging Ceremony is a life rite to honour the transformation, wisdom and experience that age brings. This ritual is about dignity and honour, and respecting the elders in our community.

Charge of the Crone

I am the beauty of dark moon, of dark night, of dusk and twilight, of the long evening of your life.

I am the dark earth beneath your feet, from which all is born and all returns eventually.

I am the flesh and bone, worn well and aged to perfection.

I am courage, freedom, truth and wisdom found in every life lived in honour.

I am transition, rebirth and midwife to the dying.

I was with you at the beginning, and I was the wisdom of elders during your youth.

I will be with you at the end and beyond.

I am Crone, reclaiming the power of age.

I am Crone.

Charge of the Crone, Romany Rivers (C) 2013

Crone Wisdom

This post is in loving memory of Rowann Cerridwen,

the archetypal Old Crone for as long as I can remember. We miss you Ma.

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