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I love the idea of a croning ceremony although I am not quite ready yet.

The word crone is derived from the word cronus (time) and it means the wisdom gained through life long experiences. Krone also means crown. To become crowned crone then acknowledges that you are a wise woman who has gathered up the fruits of her experience into profound and sovereign understanding. The wise crone becomes the resource of wisdom for her community and a source of inspiration for her circle of cronies.

Croning Ceremony

A croning ceremony acknowledges the transition into a crone or wise woman, usually when a woman enters menopause. The last menstruation is a farewell to the motherhood stage of a woman’s life. A doorway is now open to step through into the crone phase. Media would have us believe that staying young and firm is what it’s all about. Although I am not at the crone stage yet I do have grey hairs (you can’t see them I use hair dye) and I am starting to get wrinkles and my body is already fighting against gravity. I am not necessarily happy with all these changes, but I do intend to welcome and celebrate my crone stage when it arrives.

This passage celebrates the end of the time that our energies are turned outwards toward physical activities and marks the beginning of the time that we turn our energies inwards, toward more spiritual activities. Our physical growth slows down, and gradually our physical bodies begin to separate from our spiritual bodies.

In some cultures now and in the past when a woman enters menopause she keeps her wise blood inside her and it increases her wisdom. Elder women were and should still be revered and honoured. A croning ceremony provides acknowledgement and celebration of this.

This can be a personal ceremony, or held with a few close friends or a big celebratory party.

A croning ceremony may include creating sacred space and having all your friends participate. The Priest or Priestess could say a few words about the person, her qualities and traits. Then each guest could share some memories or mementos.

Then the Priest or Priestess could say a few words about life and its various stages, how each stage marks changes in our lives and each stage adds to our characters. The person could then be crowned with a circle of flowers.

A presentation of three stones could be made to represent her life – past, present and future.

A candle is lit to represent the light of wisdom; salt is given to represent eternal wisdom & experience and a re-dedication to deity perhaps.

Croning Ritual

I have written this ceremony with myself in mind (when the time comes) so I have used my matron and patron deities and references to my spirit/totem animals.

Decorate the altar with a Cailleach statue, Ganesha statue, (my matron and patron deities) rocks and crystals, autumnal leaves and orange, red and yellow flowers.

Walking deosil (clockwise) around the circle, sprinkling leaves to create the boundary:

As I cast the circle round about to keep unwanted energy out

Bring in the fresh new beginnings energy of the maiden

Bring in the powerful passionate energy of the mother

Bring in the strength and wisdom of the crone

This circle is now cast

Calling the quarters:

To the element of earth and the direction of North

I invite you to join our rite and bring with you

Your powers of stability, grounding and family ties

Spirits of the earth, spirit of the dragon

Welcome and blessed be!

To the element of air and the direction of East

I invite you to join our rite and to bring with you

Your powers of intellect, intuition and clarity

Spirits of the air, spirit of the magpie and pigeon

Welcome and blessed be!

To the element of fire and the direction of South

I invite you to join our rite and bring with you

Your powers of creativity, passion and transformation

Spirits of the fire, spirit of the wild boar

Welcome and blessed be!

To the element of water and the direction of West

I invite you to join our rite and bring with you

Your powers of seeing beyond the veil and the flowing of emotion

Spirits of the water, spirit of the frog and the seagull

Welcome and blessed be!

Inviting deity:

Hail, The Cailleach, old and wise one, she of the winter, the snow and ice.

Who rules over death, wisdom and the weather.

Join us today and remind us of the cycles of life, encourage us to face our fears and show us strength and courage.

Cailleach, Hail and Welcome!

Hail, Ganesha, Lord Ganapati, elephant headed god of success, knowledge and prosperity and destroyer of obstacles.

Join us today and bring your strength and passion and bring your spiritual guidance.

Ganesha, Hail and Welcome!

Ask all those present to work around person to person and just say something about how they feel about the crone aspect.

A good friend will say a few words at this point – about the 'new' crone. Her characteristics and personality – I suspect there will be some embarrassing stories at this point…

Then back around the circle again asking everyone to share a memory that we have shared, or perhaps a photograph of us.

Then an appointed friend would say, as she places a circle of flowers on her head:

Throughout life we pass through many stages. Each stage marks and brings about profound change in our lives – birth, education, leaving home, marriage, children – all bring significant change and identity to our lives. This crowning announces, and in many respects, creates the stage or state of sovereignty in your life.

At this stage in your life your focus will shift from the exterior world of conventions to the freedom of being the ruler of your own inner realms. Your challenge is to make known your understanding of life and lend your wisdom to enlighten others to life’s beauty and beyond, its light and shadow. For the awakened woman holds the keys to sovereignty as ruler of her own life.

The circle of the crown is a symbol of the sun and of the earth and the universe. A circle for love that never ends a circle for arms that embrace. A symbol of friendship, for friendship breaks down all boundaries and has by its very nature to be a circular flow of giving and receiving.

The circle is a symbol of unity into which your life is joined in an unbroken circle to those whom you choose to love and befriend, so wherever you go in life, your love will constantly be returning to them.

Then hand over a small pouch containing 3 crystals, saying:

These stones represent your life - past, present and future. One represents your past; one the present; and the other the future. It does not matter which is which, for we are all interconnected, all in process – from rock and shell to stone and sand. One grain of sand makes a whole beach. Time is both her-story, and potential happening, in this one moment – always in the now.

Love, friendship and wisdom are formed through shared experiences and these experiences are refined by the purity of the fire of your feelings. These glass stones are sand refined by fire. They represent that love, friendship, and wisdom has substance as well as soul, a present as well as a past.

The experiences you have had together, through confidences shared, through joy, fun and laughter, and despite occasional sorrows, has polished your love, friendship and wisdom into a closeness that shines with good memories and gives a sparkle not only to today, but to your futures together.

However painful the past, you have learnt much wisdom from it; however much you have had to struggle, there have been rich days like today; however daunting or hopeful the future, your experiences, expectations, learnt knowledge and feelings have shaped and will carry on shaping and developing your own unique wisdom.

And so today, among the people gathered here, you have entered a new stage on your journey through life. Now you can look forward to new ways, to the untapped energy within you that you have yet to discover, the undiscovered opportunities, joys and challenges.

May you receive wisdom and courage to take hold of the rest of your life and live it to the full. Fulfill your dormant ambitions, discover new talents and find the time and space to enjoy your life.

So mote it be!

Release the quarters:

To the West and water, spirit of the frog and seagull

We thank you for your presence today and bid you Hail and Farewell!

To the South and fire, spirit of the wild boar.

We thank you for your presence today and bid you Hail and Farewell!

To the East and air, spirit of the magpie and pigeon.

We thank you for your presence today and bid you Hail and Farewell!

To the North and earth, spirit of the dragon.

We thank you for your presence today and bid you Hail and Farewell!

Thank deity:

Ganesha, Lord Ganapati we thank you for your presence here today, for your guidance and assistance in all things.

We bid you farewell for now, until we meet again.

Remain in our hearts, watch over us and guide our feet along the pathway that is best for us.

Farewell and Blessed be!

Cailleach, we thank you for the secrets you have shown to us, for the strength and wisdom you have given.

We bid you farewell for now, until we meet again.

Remain in our hearts, watch over us and guide our feet along the pathway that is best for us.

Farewell and Blessed Be!

Close the circle.

As the circle unwinds, as the threads unweave, we hold peace and love in our hearts.

This circle is open but never broken.

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again.

Taken from The Art of Ritual by Rachel Patterson

Originally posted on Beneath the Moon, Patheos Pagan - 9.9.16


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