When I began going through that monumental change in my body called menopause,experiencing hot flashes and just not feeling ‘right' in my body, I came across the book,Crone by Barbara Walker and it changed my life,forever. I realized it was impossible to separate becoming a Crone and the history of women. They are inexorably intertwined.I admit, I have never been religious and had no idea that once upon a time,as far back as eighty thousand years ago, it was a woman who was worshipped, Mother Earth, the Goddess. I looked at all I was learning, solely from a sociological point of view, not a religious one and suddenly, it made such sense to me. Didn't the Earth burst forth with life, just as women did? It was the long and peaceful time of Matriarchal rule. Women were revered and respected, even more so as they became elders: Crones.
As I went through my menopausal years of sweating, bursting into tears while watching Seinfeld, weight gain and that sense of loss and depression,I read about the three aspects of a woman's life: The Maiden, The Mother and The Crone.At forty-eight would I now be called a Crone? I knew I had to do something to get the image of what the dictionary defines a Crone to be... a withered old woman, a hag, a witch, out of my mind.And thus my educational and emotional journey was under way.
Although having always been a feminist, marching and burning the bra I never needed for women's rights in the 70's, suddenly for the first time in my life, I was slowly becoming incredibly empowered by the mere thought of being a woman and especially an aging woman.But I won't lie, it wasn't easy reconciling myself to the fact that my child bearing days were done and gone, that over half of my life had already been lived,that I might never fall in love again. And who might want this old Crone, anyway?
My head buried into book after book, I think I went through many of the steps of grieving: denial, anger, depression... but would acceptance ever creep into my heart? My first mini "aha" moment came when I read the words, "Don't think you're in the old age of your youth, but rather why not perceive yourself as being in the youth of older age?" Words are so powerful, but in reality, could they really boost my spirits, help me to embrace this stage of life I was now entering into?
And then one day, you might well call it some kind of kismet, I met Marti, a woman whowas on the same journey as I was. I do believe we were destined to meet at this very time in our lives.We began to take long walks, together. And we talked endlessly about the changes going on in our bodies and minds, about what we had been reading. The words said, over and over again, it was now the time to celebrate ourselves, our knowledge and strength and all we had accomplished as women. But living it was much harder than reading or thinking it. Was it possible, when the heat stopped flashing, when the moodsstopped swinging, was it really possible to revel in our post-menopausal zest, as one book put it? Was there even such a thing?
It certainly took a while, but, eventually, I started believing, knowing, that with older age, it mattered less what society told us about these years, that along with our newly inactive uterus and all the other physical changes our bodies were going through, I couldn't still be a force in society as a whole, I couldn't feel good about myself, couldn't find worth in my life, now that my nest was as empty as my womb? With every step I trudged on the fire roads of the Santa Monica Mountains, I slowly began to feel free, truly free. Free to love myself, wrinkles and all. Free to celebrate my life, what I had started out as and what I had become. And from that I would find joy and strength and peace. At least I sure as hell hoped I would!
It didn't take overnight, or many overnights, but eventually I came to believe,to know the truth, that I was a woman to be reckoned with, vibrant, courageous and still filled with life. No, I don't beat the drums with Wicca women, nor dance naked near the Beltane bonfires to celebrate the greening of the earth's first day of spring, but quietly,peacefully, gently, I try to remember to celebrate myself and my life, for all the years I've walked upon this dusty earth.
I am well past my days of menopause and I admit there are times, even now, when I forget there's anything to celebrate, as I continue to journey through my life. And then I say to myself, "Hey, I'm still living, so everything's okay." And it is. I have two daughters and two granddaughters... Maiden. Mother. Crone. We are the three aspects of the feminine and I try to teach them to start now, today, to celebrate their lives and who they are, their hopes and dreams of whom, one day, they shall become. For we are women. We are Goddess.I am Crone.
Lindy Michaels is a book and script analyst and author of two Nook e-books: CRONES AMONG US, A City Slickers For Menopausal Women and THE GHOSTS OF WINTHROP MANOR. Enjoying her Cronehood, she lives in Southern California.