At 60, I definitely feel myself entering into the age of the Crone. Some definitions would say you begin to cross the threshold at 50. But it was at 44, writing a journalistic exercise about looking forward to a specific birthday, that I first welcomed the vision of this aspect of later life as a woman.
I am looking forward to delving more into what this means to me over the coming months, but I thought I would start with that early vision.
I’m looking forward to being 70. After that I will consider myself to be on extra time, with nothing owed and naught to loose. I will gleefully claim my freedom to ‘wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t suit me’.
At a mere 44, the milestone of my allotted ‘three score years and ten’ lies well beyond the horizon. But already I feel the first intimations of the influence of the waning crescent moon, symbol of the Goddess in her final incarnation of ‘crone’.
Perhaps bound up with our contemporary obsession with physical appearance, our pursuit of an illusion of eternal youth, the ‘crone’ has had some very bad press. The word invokes an image of an ugly, wizened, witch of an old woman, maybe embittered and very possibly evil. Is it any wonder that so many women run scared of the inexorable accumulation of birthdays?
I am not soaked in the spell of paganism, claim no great knowledge of its lore. But I willingly embrace its vision of the crone as the ultimate, most powerful manifestation of womanhood. She personifies wisdom, compassion and completion. Her closer relationship to death is not one of fear but a potent awareness of renewal.
So, when I reach 70, dressed in crone’s purple, I will cherish my wrinkles and wear them with pride and relief that youth’s vanity is done. I will breathe deep, walk slow and do nothing, joyously! I will undoubtedly ‘misbehave’ outrageously. I’m looking forward to being 70.
Gina Bearne, 2002