When Does a Woman Become a Crone?
Everyone knows when a girl becomes a woman. It is a physical thing that happens when her body is ready to reproduce. It doesn’t really matter if the girl is mentally or emotionally ready or not. Unfortunately, the Crone stage is not so black and white.
In cultures where girls grow up with a moon lodge, it makes sense to time the Crone stage with menstruation. We know that menstrual blood has the power of life. When a woman retains all that energy for herself and no longer has anyone to care for, so she can use her energy for herself – she becomes a force to be reckoned with!
In western societies, girls don’t grow up nurtured by women who teach her that the womb is sacred, the menstrual blood has power, how to stand in her divine, feminine beauty, sex, love, or anything that it means to be a woman. So, most women do not have the relationship with the menstrual blood to make that a meaningful threshold.
Not to mention that some women stop menstruating at a young age due to medical issues or hysterectomies. Blood alone is not a sign of wisdom.
Age is not a meaningful threshold either. We can all look around us and see old people who are not independent, mature adults. They can’t manage their emotions or money. Maybe their relationships aren’t healthy. It could be that they are still self absorbed and think that the world revolves around them instead of focusing on how they can give back and be a part of something larger than themselves.
Some astrologers time the age of the Crone with the second Saturn return at 56. This actually makes sense! It’s generally post-menopausal and it coincides with dramatic shift. It’s time to grow up, sow what you have reaped, and put things in order.
However, we all have free will. Not everyone will take advantage of this energy and move forward. So, I don’t think of this as a useful mile marker for Cronehood.
Needless to say, that would mean the “I do what I want” self-proclamation is not very useful either. Some people are not very self aware and claim titles they have not earned. It’s very fashionable now to be the sexy, wise-cracking crone. When we take what we have not earned, it lessens the value of the thing.
So When Does a Woman Become a Crone?
When she earns it.
If you look at the rites of passages for boys, they are often death defying. It’s succeed, die, or be an outcast. If he is permitted to remain in the community, he won’t have the respect, opportunity, or status as the “real” men, so it’s a failure that haunts his entire life.
Rites of passage are a serious business. They mark the irrevocable end of one phase and the beginning of another. It’s not something to be taken lightly or something that can be claimed simply by virtue of a party or a birthdate.
If they are to be meaningful, they have to be earned.
So what’s the criteria to wear the Crone crown? Well, a Crone’s energy is that of wisdom, authenticity, acceptance, destruction, decay, and death. So this is a woman who is well seasoned by life. She’s been through the Dark Night of the Soul and survived. She’s knows how to live and is not afraid of death. She also knows there are forces greater than she, so she doesn’t push the river, she respects it. There is no hubris in her. She knows what she knows and she knows what she doesn’t. So when she speaks, people are wise to listen.
It’s great that we are making a space at the table for the divine feminine again. It’s awesome that we are finding our Elders useful. But being old does not make you wise, and is not enough to make someone a Crone. My suggestion is to wait until someone who knows the value of the role, and has already earned the right to be there, invites you to be initiated.