First of all a Crone is a woman. She has lived most of her life already and has accumulated many life experiences and therefore, can relate to those younger than her with greater understanding. She has acquired the wisdom associated with having had those life experiences. She has reached a place in her life when she may be slowing down. She may have retired from her career. She may want to devote more time to herself, serving more as an advisor rather than as the do’er. We can read the poem, Warning by Jenny Joseph to get an idea…
When I am an old woman
I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
What this poem says that when a woman reaches a certain age, she is no longer driven by what others think. She simply doesn’t care anymore. What matters to them is not her concern – only what matters to her.
Every woman has moments and days when the Crone appears in her life, just as the Maiden, the Mother and the Queen present themselves at various times. It is basically how much of each show themselves that might determine what stage the woman is in at that time. We all seem to push to be considered Crones, WAY before we really are. Yes, no matter what age, we have our wisdom. But it is only when the Crone aspect is front and center almost all the time that we can truly be considered Crone. There is no rush. Why choose to be “old” when in the prime of life?
When Do You Become a Crone?
There are many schools of thought on this. Goddess women who honor their blood mysteries say that when a woman stops her monthly menses, she is a Crone. These days however, we have women ceasing their flow while still in their thirties. What happens when a woman stops bleeding because she has had a hysterectomy? Is she now a Crone?
No longer bleeding is only one aspect of becoming a Crone. Some people decide a woman is a Crone when she reaches a certain age. Some say 50, others say 60 but can age really determine a Crone?
Astrologically, it is said that when the planet Saturn makes its second pass around in our birth chart, we are now a Crone. Saturn “returns” every 29 years, so it would be in a person’s 58th year that it happens. It takes a while, several months to actually pass by, so it might not be until she is 59. I remember the years following my first Saturn Return at age 29. Major things happened in my life after that. Really, my whole life changed because my sense of self had changed along with how I viewed life. EVERYTHING was different.
During my second Saturn Return, I fell in love again. It was passionate, life changing and left me reeling. It rocked my world. I did not know at the time it was my second Saturn Return so there was no bias or awareness affecting my experience. It was only after that I looked at my chart and realized what had occurred.
Since then, Croning has been a slow process. It has been an adjustment to a body that won’t do what it used to do. While I am still very active in my life, creating and building, writing and expressing, there is a prominent focus on my own self-care and a huge difference in how I see the world. I find myself being on one hand, more compassionate with my fellow humans and yet, on the other hand, less tolerant of all the bull shit I am exposed to.
Insight and wisdom come to me quicker and with less effort. I have many more experiences of thinking “How did I know that?” and “Where did that come from?”
At 72, I am Crone. No doubt about it. I qualify with cessation of bleeding. I qualify by having had my second Saturn Return. I qualify from the acquisition of much knowledge. I qualify from having had a huge amount of life experience, the loss of friends and family, the knowledge of knowing I can take care of myself at all times and the wisdom to understand the beauty of love.
There was no sudden moment that I became a Crone. It wasn’t when I had a hysterectomy at 43. It wasn’t when I turned 50, when I turned 60 or even when I experienced my second Saturn Return. It was a slow moving evolution. I haven’t retired from life. I am still going full force as a priestess in service to others. I am active in my community with my neighbors but there is something different from what was there before; an intangible difference that I feel in my bones, in my soul. All I can say to you is that you will know when it is time to say, I am a Crone.
Deanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of The Goddess and a practicing Druid. She is the author of five books. She is the founder of the Apple Branch and Beyond the Ninth Wave where she teaches courses in Druidism, Celtic Shamanism, and Feminist Dianic Wicca and mentors those who wish to serve others in their communities. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College and is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine.