This one is going to get me into trouble. It's not because I am shaking foundations with a counter-cultural confrontation or giving my take on a controversial hot topic of the day. It's because yesterday (February 15) was my wife's birthday and I am going to tell her age and say some things about her. (Do I live on the edge or what?)
Yesterday, Patti turned 56. I feel relatively safe in saying this because she doesn't try to hide it. As a matter of fact, it is a kind of milestone for her. Patti now self-identifies as a CRONE. This comes for different women after the age of 50.
Patti chose 56 because that is the age that her good friend, Sally Haddix Haye, identified herself as a Crone. The two of them talked often about what this meant, and in the bonding that became theirs, they explored the meaning of the word and its characteristics. Patti has looked forward to this year and now it has arrived.
Crone is a word found in literature and myths, but most closely aligned with the subject of Wicca. The red flags may already be going up for some would cry, upon hearing that word, "Witchcraft." In a sense of nervousness, folk might proceed to the idea that Wicca is associated with Satanism (It isn't) and therefore to be shunned. Wicca works its way out with a lot of different features, not the least of which is a respect and appreciation for the feminine, a sense that God may also be understood as Goddess, a love for this bountiful earth, and the bestowed gifts on all creation. Wicca might be closely akin spiritually to Native American understanding. Women, like Patti, draw strength, meaning, and clarity from Wicca, just like the monk, Thomas Merton, drew insight from Buddhism near the end of his life.
Some associate Crone with the dark sinister side of the feminine, describing it in terms such as "old woman" or "hag." Anyone who knows Patti (or who knew Sally) realizes that those descriptive terms do not apply.
Crones cross over at a certain time (maybe age 56) where they are not afraid of the wisdom gleaned through years of, sometimes, difficult living. They follow the urgency of expressing and living out their freedom. More and more they come to the place where they do not suffer fools gladly. They admit that they have gifts and are eager to use them. Crones love to put their hands in the dirt and participate in the growth of nature. They have a profound respect for the cycles of life and season. At our home, those same hands delight in preparing scrumptious meals. They also create a variety of things, usually gifts for others. Not the least of these latest gifts is the making of bath salts to be enjoyed and to give to other women, and whose wonderful aroma coarses through our house. Crones read things like Clarissa Pinkola Estes wonderful work, WOMEN WHO RUN WITH WOLVES, and they believe its mythic truths. And yes.........they roar!
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND BEST WISHES FOR THIS COMING YEAR.....my soul-mate.........and my favorite Crone.