We live in a culture that venerates youth.
The tighter and dewier the skin, the firmer the forehead, the more you don’t “look your age”, the more you are rewarded by our society.
Combine that with the fact that we are less and less connected to our elders—whether by moving away from family or placing them in elder care homes isolated from the rest of society, we as a culture are deeply afraid of aging.
But you know what’s also true? We’re all growing up. Every single one of us.
This fear of entering into the time of the crone—a position once held as wise and powerful in ancient societies around the world (and some still today)—is preventing us from connecting to our own place in the natural cycle of life on earth.
It is disconnecting us from the elders in our community and severing our ties with the ancestors—both living and dead.
I’ve recognized this fear within myself, and I have been looking to wise ones, to elders, to wisdom-aged folks to share their journeys with me in order to alchemize my fears into joyful surrender.
My dear friend, Della Ratcliffe, has been such a way-shower for me with what it means to embrace cronedom and the aging journey.
I came to her with a request to share her wisdom on aging because I felt ill-equipped at holding such a conversation. I, a woman in her 30s and not yet a mother, can’t possibly understand what it means to live life in her 60s or 70s. And, as someone who is looking to bring more elders into her life, I knew Della would have some sage wisdom to share.
And share she certainly did (including calling me on my belief that I have zero understanding of what it means to embody the crone). I invite you to join our delightful conversation about embracing age, the dreaded C word, embodying the triple goddess, connection to the seasons, the goddesses, and so much more.
Click play below to join our conversation:
A bit of what we discussed:
2:44 – Della’s convoluted relationship with aging
4:55 – How her double knee replacement introduced her to a group of warrior elders who inspired her to embrace her elder years
6:23 – How the triple goddess (maiden, mother, crone) exists in all of us and how not to fear them, but embrace them
7:50 – Modern culture’s relationship with The C Word
10:20 – Reclaiming the word “crone” and identifying the fear to embrace the second half of life
“We become caretakers of society—warriors for Mama Earth and the next generation.” – Della Ratcliffe
12:20 – The connection between aging into cronedom and the autumn/winter transition
15:20 – The blood mysteries that mark our transition from maiden to mother to crone
18:00 – How I’ve found a way to embrace the passing of time without anxiety
19:38 – How to get the grandmothers back in our circles and working to heal the fear of the crone
21:30 – Why crones can be men too—a conversation about gender and the divine feminine and masculine
24:00 – Crone rites and how to bring ritual back to the sacred transition into elder
27:25 – Meeting the Cailleach, the Hag of Winter from Celtic folklore
34:00 – My connection with the myth of Persephone and the coming of spring from winter
Della mentioned two books during our conversation:
The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by Angeles Arrien
The Women’s Wheel of Life by Elizabeth Davis & Carol Leonard
You can find out more about Della’s work on her website Inner Journey Events.
You can join her Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle on Facebook.
And be sure to follow her on Instagram @innerjourneyevents and @bean_gealach_circle.
Oh! And her free course Wisdom From Grandmother Moon can be found here.
Me sitting on the seat of the Hag (or the Cailleach) on Loughcrew Cairns
Folk Art of Cailleach
By Jane Brideson
Now we want to hear from you!
What is your relationship with aging? Do you have a fear of cronedom? How can you embrace your aging journey with more care?
Share in the comments below.