The word “Crone” conjures Hollywood-inspired images of a swamp hag.
You know, the hunched over, snaggle-toothed, wart-faced witch who interferes with things. The only thing that the big media conglomerates and society have gotten right in their stereotype is the age. The Crone is always a woman of a certain age, having garnished wisdom that comes with said age and life experiences.
Many ancient cultures, and many pagan and Wiccan practitioners today follow the three phases of the moon: waxing, full, waning—also known as the Maiden, Mother, and the Crone. The Maiden signifies youth, vitality. The Mother represents fertility, nurturance, and literally motherhood (where I am entrenched and loving it).
But the Crone is often misunderstood. The Crone is who all us women should aspire to be. Wise beyond her years; having survived hardships that gave her strength; having the magic touch with babies and the ill; advice for everything. Instead, we have been conditioned to fear aging—fear that our laugh lines are embarrassing, the sparkles in our hair need to be colored. If we gain some cuddle curves due to slower metabolism—perhaps a slower lifestyle—we become a frumpy old lady.
In so many other cultures, not just in ancient civilizations but today, the elder Crones are revered as the wise women they are. They carry with them knowledge of the ages.
Some say it’s when we reach menopause, or when our children are grown and on their own. I am not sure there is one “set” number when suddenly we go from Mother to Crone—I think it is more of a gentle transition. Perhaps a woman in her 40s has gone through so much in her life that she has so much to give back and is ready for a quiet life with her family. Then again, there is the case for a woman in her 60s, living her wild dreams, and never had kids. Both women could be considered Crones, though one is still in mother mode.
As a society, sadly, we often don’t treat our elderly the way we should (walk through any nursing home, but that’s another conversation). I know there is a trend of women embracing there natural hair turning gray. I’m of the same mind—at 41, I had to heal my hair due to medical issues, so I had to stop dying and decided the colors were gorgeous, and I think it’s terrific.
It’s one layer being shed on the shame of aging, or Croning. If every woman knew the magic of the Crone, think of the possibilities once everyone strove for Her identity.