… but not in the warty nosed, cartoon hag sense. I have the common sense of Granny Weatherwax, the bawdy sense of humour of Nanny Ogg, and have occasionally succumbed to being a bit of a wet hen, not too unlike Magrat Garlick. If you lovely readers are unfamiliar with these three role models for the modern crone, have a little look here. So where was I? Ah yes, claiming myself as crone.
It’s been more than 13 moons since my last period so I am now a fully fledged (or flushed) postmenopausal woman, and I wanted to celebrate my new status. Last week my daughter celebrated her 21st birthday, a major birthday milestone. It got me thinking about celebrating life’s milestones. We celebrate births, engagements, weddings, coming-of-ages etc, why not celebrate becoming postmenopausal? Hunting around the internet for rites of passage, one of the suggestions that popped up was “Croning Ceremony”. Well that got my attention. The more I read, the more I wanted to do this, just for me.
Fortunately the date of the new moon coincided with dry weather, otherwise I would be under an umbrella.
In preparation, I tidied our sun deck, laid out lanterns, made a small altar with things from my time as a mother (a photo of the kids and me, their hospital tags, and the fertility thermometer I used to help me conceive them). I felt a wave of sadness wash over me as I looked back at these memories. It was the first time I’d really acknowledged the loss of my fertile years. I can well remember the excitement I felt when the thermometer reading stayed high for the first time, instead of dipping. I rushed to the supermarket to buy a home testing kit, and yes, it confirmed I was pregnant. Wonderful. The second pregnancy, whilst planned, happened a lot sooner than expected. It’s a wonder I didn’t fall pregnant in my University days, considering how lackadaisical I was with the pill!
Ok… back to the present. With everything laid out beautifully, I area needed to be cleansed. I bought a smudge stick ages ago but hadn’t felt the need to use it until today. It took a bit of persuasion to light and smoulder, but I am persistent! I’ve never done this before, nor have I studied Wicca, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. Armed with the aforementioned smouldering smudge stick and a vague idea of what I wanted to achieve, I walked the perimeter of the deck, banishing any negative influences and welcoming all good energies. I must say, the scent left behind was delicious. Yes. Delicious. It reminded me of Christmas turkey meat stuffing!
As the sun set, I lit the candles, made last-minute additions to my altar, and waited for night to fall and my daughter to return from work. She was as keen to take part in this as I was to do it. As soon as she was home and had eaten her evening meal, we sneaked out of the house to make a start. The reason for sneakage was simple. Men folk! My husband thinks we are a pair of weirdo hippies (his own words) and no amount of explaining will change his mind or his incorrect description.
Creeping down to the sun deck, we accidentally disturbed the neighbour’s dogs. Within seconds of us setting foot on the deck, the little furry bundles of fury began yipping and barking, much to our amusement and their owner’s annoyance. As he tried valiantly to bring them inside, we tried hard to keep quiet. He was determined to find out what had triggered them and began searching around his side of the dividing fence. I suppose we could have made ourselves known, but then how would we explain what we were up to?
Taking the easy option, we whispered our way through the ceremony, completing it with the my crowning with ivy. There. It was done. It felt sad waving goodbye to the ‘mother’ phase of my life, but exciting to welcome ‘cronehood’.
P.S. We were not skyclad – more pj-clad!