A croning ritual celebrates a woman’s passage into the third phase of her life. These culminate efforts to recuperate the word crone as a positive characterization for aging women.
This is the third article of three about the crone archetype. October Archetype of the Month was about the maiden-mother-crone triple goddess archetype.
November discussed healing uses of Jungian archetypal characters, including the crone.
Respected thinkers Germaine Greer and Jean Bolen suggest the crone as an invigorating women symbol for our late life years.
Rountree notes that the witch of fairy tales is another face of the goddess, because both inspire awe. She suggests women look to the crone archetype as a way of reclaiming our inner strength.
The power of Jungian archetypes has emerged from digging deeply into myths, fairy and folk tales.
Germaine Greer, a feminist sexual icon and quite a babe in her youth, found unexpected freedom in becoming invisible in a society that prizes youth and beauty, not experience and wisdom.
Meridean Maas proudly identifies herself as a crone. In her acceptance speech for a prestigious national award for gerontological nursing. She said:
"I believe that I am a qualified crone, as are each of you, wise women now or who are coming of age as gerontological nurse leaders to effect change.
"Engaged in the process of Croning, we are increasingly applying our wisdom to effect needed changes in the lives of older persons."
A croning ritual can be as simple as women sitting in a circle and honoring their female ancestors.
Gomberg uses goddess archetypes in women's therapy and support groups to help women identify their strengths.
All goddess archetypes originate in the great triple goddess, maiden-mother-crone, a strong Jungian archetype that expresses the continuum of life.
Some women may not see their strengths until finding them reflected in women symbols such as goddess myths and stories.
"The use of Goddess archetypes in ritual and subsequent exploration of its meaning helps women to safely reclaim experiences that often go uncelebrated," explains Gomberg.
Her definition of ritual may help you create your own celebration of positive aging with your circle of friends.
Ritual, she states, are “fixed patterns of acts, or an ordered sequence of activities, involving a symbolic object, image, act, or word.”
In one easy ritual, women formed a circle. Each named herself as daughter of ___ and granddaughter of _____, honoring her matrilineal family.
A woman also might identify herself as daughter of any goddess – such as Athena, Hecate, or Metis – whose characteristics resonate for her.
Click on the image at top left, What's Your Fashion Archetype?, if you would like to discover what goddess best characterizes your style.
Wagner has started has planning her croning party well before she qualifies for this transformation time of life.
She explains why: "Ours is a culture that fears death and fixates on youthfulness, even though death is the most natural thing about life! Take a look at the media. Our wrinkles are unsightly. Our gray hair must be washed away.
"Older women are mostly absent, unless they are serving men and families, or selling anti-aging products or anti depressants. It's no wonder, really, that women aren't interested in letting go of their childbearing years, given what awaits in their futures.
"Who wants to be invisible — or even worse, ugly and depressed — in their "golden years?"
Wagner is inspired by "One feminist organization [that] honours the Crones with a formal ceremony at each year's annual meeting. A couple of my artist friends hosted parties and invited family and friends to celebrate their passage."
Dorothy Bevcar offers these reflections about her croning ritual and how it serves as a women symbol.
"I chose to be croned in a marvelous day-long ceremony that was attended by all of my female friends and family members, either in body or in spirit. (Those who could not attend physically sent cards and letters; those who had died were invited to be present in memory.)
"At my croning ceremony we told stories, we laughed, we cried, we drummed, we danced, we sang, I was initiated, we exchanged symbolic gifts, and then we ate. And at the end of our magical time together, we were reluctant to part.
"What is more, although several years have passed, I still find strength in what we shared together on that special day. I also continue to take seriously the goal of growing into a woman of wisdom, a Crone who has searched within and is able to integrate the knowledge thus gained with what is without."
A magazine, Crone, explores and celebrates this life stage Jungian archetype and women symbol.
The publishers write that Crone magazine evolved from The Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging, the purpose of which “was to help activate the Crone archetype within contemporary culture, [whereas] Crone magazine assumes that this activation has taken place. For more and more women, the word “crone” is no longer scary: thousands of women now self-identify as crones,” according to the home page.
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