Ritual Interlude: Crone’s Ceremony of Commitment to Her Community
As the menopausal years draw to a close and you find yourself more stable in your new self, feeling more like your “old self” as you become your older self, it is time to manifest the last stage of initiation: rebirth.
You've spent time in some form of isolation as you journeyed the unpredictable years of menopause. You have given death to your images of yourself as Maiden, as Mother. You have crowned yourself, or been crowned as, Crone. Your metamorphosis is complete. Now comes the time to return to your community. To assume your new roles.
You return as Crone. You hold your wise blood inside. You have learned how to spiral the updrafts of hot flashes. You have learned detachment in the midst of emotional hurricanes.
You have submitted yourself to chaos and have witnessed the most ancient of all mysteries. How can you share this with your community?
In the days of the matriarchy, and in some matrifocal cultures yet, a woman who has completed her menopausal metamorphosis initiates young men into the ways of love play most pleasing to women.
She is honored as the teller of truth and the keeper of peace. She is the one the tradition keeper and the people's link to the spirit world.
Today, there are no givens. We are each free to choose our own role as Crone. A ritual of commitment helps others know what your new roles will be.
Here is one example to guide you.
For this ritual, gather an audience of friends, family, and significant others, the more the better. You could compare it, at least in mood, to a wedding or a christening. Wait until at least thirteen moons after your Crone's Crowning ceremony before doing this ritual.
Let there be music and sweet scents as you gather. At the appointed time, call everyone together to join hands. You alone remain outside the circle.
When the circle is complete, begin a hum, vibrating from the feet. Let it move and spiral until the group energy feels whole. With the hum of the group supporting you, ask nourishment, breath, and inspiration, the powers of the east, to be present. Ask heat, protection, and excitement, the powers of the south, to be present. Ask emotion, fluidity, and compassion, the powers of the west, to be present. Ask stillness, patience, and wisdom, the powers of the north, to be present. Ask the above and the below to be present. Ask the inner core of each person to be present.
Ask the circle to open and include you, symbolizing your return to community life. In your own words affirm: “I stand before you as self-initiated Crone, woman of wholeness. Though I have lived for many years, I expect to live for many more. Today, and for the rest of my life, I ask you to accept and honor me as Crone. And I wish to commit to you, my community and family, my intention as Crone to. . . “
(Speak your intent.)
The oldest woman present gives you a ball of yarn; she holds the end. You move around the circle, unwinding a long continuous thread into everyone's outstretched hands. When you're done, ask everyone to stretch the yarn taut between their hands, close their eyes and think of something they would like to end.
After a minute of silence, begin to move to your right around the circle, cutting the yarn between their hands and saying, in your own words: “I am She-Who-Holds-Her-Wise-Blood-Inside. I have crowned myself Crone and accepted the responsibility of giving death. I cut the thread. I set it free.” When you finish, invite each person to keep the yarn or to place it in a special basket, to be left outdoors as a give-away.
To close, hum as before, asking the entire circle to join you. Thank the energies and attributes of the seven directions (inside, below, above, north, west, south, and east). Then, let there be feasting and dancing, music and pleasure, flowers and feathers, spring water and herbal wine, lit candles and lovely clothing. You have completed your menopausal years. You are truly Crone, woman of wholeness.
This ceremony marks the beginning, of your new identity as Crone. Most older women I spoke with felt they didn't fully settle into their new self image until the age of 60, or after their second Saturn return.
Excerpt from New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, Alternative Approaches to Menopause for Women 30-90 by Susun S. Weed