Wednesday, November 30, 2005

On Croning

On this journey through life, there are both events and processes, events so great that they shape and mold our understanding of self, processes so subtle that we are almost at the end of one before we appreciate the fact that it has started at all.

A friend asked me what I meant by "croning" and I had to take a step back from my own life and view the process of moving from Maiden to Mother to Crone. Of all the life processes, this one is, perhaps, the subtlest, the most obvious and the most miss-understood.

Much human lore revolves around these three incarnations of the female deity. She is revered in all of her phases, however our society is so youth oriented that women passing through these stages tend to be dismissed out of hand when they reach the age of croning.

The Maiden is revered for her fresh faced innocence and her budding body, preparing to enter the Mother stage. The Mother is revered as well, for her ability to provide continuity of the male genetic lineage, and for providing proof of male virility. We can slip from Maiden to Mother without any more than a passing ripple to mark the transition.

The Crone, however, is dismissed as no longer able to fulfill the duties that the male dominated, youth oriented society has assigned her. This puts her under a microscope of her own making, seeing each gray hair, each early sign of menopause, each battle lost to gravity as making her less and less useful to society, her life less and less meaningful. At the very time where she should be celebrating her new found freedom to focus on her own spiritual growth, her own path, her new insights that makes her gifts to society more meaningful, she is filled with feelings of failure, uselessness and alienation.

Instead of resuming her personal spiritual journey, she suffers from the Empty Nest Syndrome. Instead of sharing her hard won knowledge with the younger generations, she spends time at a fat farm trying to recapture lost youth. Instead of taking her place as a matriarch in her family, she beats a path to the plastic surgeon.

Our society loses much in not valuing the croning process or the Crone


Dr. J said...


I enjoyed this thoughtful and heartfelt post. Although I am still a relatively young man, I have older female friends who have been an invaluable source of support and wisdom for me. I often wish women my age were more like them. And I wonder how much more connection there would be between generations if we lived in communities based on spirituality, love, and authentic presence.

Dr. J

George Breed said...

Crone and Geezer are similar.

Zareba said...

George, yes and no! Yes they are very similar, opposite sides of the same coin, the wisdom years, but society sees it differently. A paunchy, balding man with no physical grace, if he has power or money, can have the world at his finger tips. He is perceived as being in his prime! A woman, when gravity exerts it's force, and the child bearing years are behind, is dismissed by our western society as past her usefulness.

This was not always true. In the time of the extended family, the close community, she was the wise woman who helped the maidens into matronhood, helped the young into maidenhood and stood in the council of elders as a respected elder herself.

I believe Dr.J has it right as well when he poses that a return to those values would bring harmony and connection.

I also believe that with Awareness comes a return to those values, almost automatically. We must guide the steps of those who seek what they can not name, until they put their feet on their proper path. At that point, there are many answers available. The trick is in knowing the questions.

Zareba said...

dr.j, Thanks for reading and for your comments. I have also heard from young men that they find the understanding, intelect and wisdom of older woment to be a very desirable element in their lives. I truly hope that we can find our way toward a more whole view of the value of all members of society. I could almost say that I wish we could go back to the old values, but that is impossible. Life does not revert, the blown rose does not go back to being a bud, but it does go on to rebirth as a new bud with the opportunity to find a new unity, a new serenity and an new stronger base on which to build. This is often accomplished with the fall of a civilization, only to herald the rise of a new.

We live in interesting times.

Beard said...

The fact that world is not always convenient for us is a blessing. These challenges can help us to develop ourselves spiritually.

I think that these myths do greatly influence us but they can not stop us from choosing to be aware of ourselves.

The more we are aware of ourselves the less we are a myth.

Myth A or Myth B
none of it is me.
I am what's observing,
Not that puppet on a string.

Good Luck! :)

Rob said...

Thanks for sharing.

defiant goddess said...

That was powerful, Zareba.

Nina said...

My culture believes so much in this. Always has and still does. I think it will swing back as everything does in it's own time.

Zareba said...

Thanks for your comments Beard. And I agree, the more we are aware, the less sway society's mores have over us, but it concerns me that there are far fewer who are seeking awareness than those who know not what they seek, or are not even seeking.

When I say that we are living in interesting times, I am referring to the fact that the world as we knew it, has already ended. It ended along with our innocence on 9/11 and I can not see anything that will bring it back, only that we must go forward, teach our children and pray for the best.

Thanks again

Z :-)

Zareba said...

Nanina, I know that is true. It also used to be true in the rural communities when I was growing up. I carry enough native blood to have some idea and to have enough interest to pursue more knowldege. I really wish that everyone valued life, nature and maturity the same way the native population does.


Zareba said...

Rob and Goddess, thank you for reading and for your comments.


Sue said...

This is so true. I am happy to read what you write because you say what I feel and can not say.
Hugs Sue

Zareba said...

(((Sue)). You will learn to say it. We all have to learn to be able to own our selves. When we do, we can stand up and say what we mean as we no longer fear others rejection.

You are a strong lady who just hasn't learned how strong you are. I would like to correspond on theis subject with you in one year, in two, in five. I believe you will be stunned at how much you have grown in confidence and the ability to say it like it is.