Listening to some wonderful stories while attending a Celebrants’ Conference in Sydney the other week, I was flabbergasted to discover there was such a thing as a Croning Ceremony. I was delighted to meet Jacqueline Hope, a Celebrant from WA, who has conducted such a ceremony. See here and here.
Who would want to be called a crone? No one. Yet there are two conflicting meanings of this word: (Free Dictionary)
An old woman considered to be ugly; a hag.
A woman who is venerated for experience, judgment, and wisdom.
Can we reclaim the word crone as a positive force? I doubt it, but many women today treat their 50th birthday as a rite of Passage. This is a New Age take on the pagan/Wicca belief that there are three stages of womanhood: Virgin, Mother, Crone. Of course, others might consider their 60th birthday as their entry into their wise years. Or, perhaps, your 70th birthday has special meaning for you.
The Fabulous Stage is represented by Beatrix Ost, Advanced Style, NY.
The respected mythologist Jospeh Campbell referred to crones appearing to help the child of destiny in a time of danger and obscurity.
Others call this ritual a Wise Woman Ceremony, either way it is claiming the mature years as a positive stage. From Barbara Hannah Grufferman in The Huffingtonpost to The Women at Woodstock, who run weekends for women over 50, women are gathering together to celebrate the joy and wisdom of this their ‘FABULOUS’ stage.