We will not become invisible, trivialized or shamed by a society terrified of aging and obsessed with youth. -- Pat Rustad
by Pat Rustad
Turning 70 is a significant passage in a person's life. A time to evaluate, accept and celebrate.
On my 70th birthday, I organized and planned a "crone celebration" with my dearest and oldest friend from Minneapolis, Joann Martin, who also turned 70.
We created a ritual and invited a few close friends to share this important day and milestone with us.
The celebration was a herstory and elevation of crones. It describes the triple goddess - maiden-mother-crone. Our ritual emphasized the third and crowning stage of our life when we acknowledge our age, our wisdom and our power - a time our culture may want to throw us away. It was empowering and spiritual. We invoked the goddess of air (east), fire (south), water (west) and earth (north). We honored our dead with love and memories.
We reclaimed crones who in ancient times were revered, wise, mature, confident, understanding elders.
A croning ceremony embraces the ancient crone and states that we will not become invisible, trivialized or shamed by a society terrified of aging and obsessed with youth.
Our friends were each given a short writing about crones (or cronisms, as we called them) to read and share with all.
Joann and I crowned each other with a wreath of flowers made from my garden and proclaimed ourselves "Crones"!
Ending the ceremony, I read "My View" by Ruth Gardner:
"Feeling age touch my shoulder,
I turned to see youth slipping by.
I turned again to see age drawing ever closer,
To see the fate that soon was mine.
Awaiting a failing figure,
I saw instead a vibrant Crone, frolicking and dancing.
Loving her wisdom-sharing years.
Finding joy instead of misery or tears.
I'm a prosperous, loving, healthy old Crone,
With my cauldron and my cats and my cooking stone.
I'm a healer, I'm a lover, I'm together, I'm alone.
I made it through the journey, now I'm safe at home."
It was a wonderful day to celebrate ourselves as crones with those we love and who love us.
Pat Rustad, a former Minnesota resident, now lives in Durango, Colo.
Editor's note: "My View" by Ruth Gardner is from her book, "Celebrating the Crone - Rituals and Stories." Used with permission.