As a young woman of the world, I’ve often wondered how I would successfully steer my way through the many stages womanhood.
How would I know what to expect? What would come next? And how do I survive the darker times with knowing and grace?
In the ancient world, we cultivated societies and tribes who honored and gave importance to the Wise Woman Sage.
These women (usually identified past the age of fifty-two) were healers, keepers of wise words, midwives, visionaries, teachers of sacred tradition and callers of ancestors past. This was a wisdom that came from the womb.
And so, by retaining their menstrual blood through menopause they harbored wisdom, harnessing this power to help guide the younger generation.
These “sages” or “crones” were essential to their communities, and more especially to it’s young women who were beginning their journeys into womanhood.
During my travels in New Zealand I came across the Maori tribe. The “Marae,” their ceremonious community centre, is very much alive today. It is a place where the elderly have authority and impart oral tradition and practices from the ways of their ancestors.
As wise women in these tribes, their key role is to teach the ways of the sacred female to the other women on the Marae, assisting teens, spritely sisters and newly practiced mothers in their transformations through womanhood. Passing the baton of wisdom from one generation to the next is their very important and on going calling.
However, outside of this Murai, there is a lack of a practice that actively upholds these same traditions. Not only that, but a lack of place where mature women have a solid and respected position in society—a safe haven where they have a new found purpose and role in life.
What we, as young women in the modern western world, are now experiencing is that our journey through womanhood is no longer one concrete moment during puberty.
It is continuous.
And while constantly exploring what it means to be a woman we are additionally seeking the proper guidance during our most challenging times. IUnfortunately, we have lost the access to our wise woman sage. These knowing Goddesses of old are no longer revered as they used to be.
We can’t instantly spot them on the road or ask the local information point to direct us to the nearest sage in times of crisis.
So instead we search the web in hopes of finding the sacred answers to our spiritual questions. We grab hold of what we can find readily and in that moment, uncertain of who the words are coming from or if they’re even valid to our very unique situation.
So where do we go to? How can we know who our sages are?
In my months of traveling alone as a twenty nine year old woman, I’ve been faced with many inner challenges all over again. I’ve fallen in love and suffered the letting go of it. I’ve battled with loneliness and have had to face the challenges of body image.
As universal luck would have it, I met my wise women sages along the way.
These women crossed my path and walked with me a while on it. They appeared in my life organically and quietly. I saw the wisdom that ran in the folds of their skin and the strength of Gods in their eyes.
They had stories to tell. So I listened. They shared their tables with me and ceremoniously poured brews as they spoke the ways of the woman.
They came to me. But my eyes were open, waiting for them.
These mystic mamas, these witchy nanas and spiritual gurus are all around us. They still exist in our world, the world that continues to test and ripen our womanhood.
So then, how do we find these soul connected crones of old?
In the silent corners of this world, waiting patiently.
They might be sitting in the coffee shop, smiling at you as you searchingly scribe your thoughts.
They might be pruning their roses as you walk past, and invite you to smell the perfume with them.
They might be the author of the book that spoke to your soul and opened doors to greater meaning.
They might be rocking in their chair across the road, waiting for you to arrive.
And when we find our sacred sages, we can honor and celebrate their ancient wisdom and welcome them into our lives with gratitude and respect.
We can ask them to help steer our sexual renewals, counsel our pain and prepare our bodies and hearts for the next chapter. Because we need help—we are not alone in this, we were never meant to be.
We are stronger with them by our side, whispering the secrets of the female psyche into our ears with healing breath.
We are wiser mothers, sisters and wives with their support, guiding our hallowed mysteries into the light of understanding.
And one day, we young women of the world will be called upon to practice these same traditions for the next generation of Goddesses who grace this earth.
So open your hearts and doors to our blessed crones of enlightenment. Keep watch, for they pace slower and remain quieter. And ask gently for their hand as you walk consciously through this wondrous and magical pathway of life.
I would like to dedicate this to my wise women sages all over the world. You have and continue to help me in becoming the woman that I am today, tomorrow and until I reach my cronehood.
Words of Wisdom from Medieval Women.
Author: Tara Minshull
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Author’s Own
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