An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Myth*ing Links has created this page with the kind permission of Z Budapest.
by Z Budapest
I am in my first year of Cronehood. In my sixtieth year. 59 is such a bore, i have decided I'll be sixty years old twice. Many women think that Cronehood is somehow assumed because you “feel” like a Crone. Or because you stopped the bloods, so now you are a Crone, or even after having had a hysterectomy you want to storm the bastion and the majesty of Cronehood. But all in vain! Croning is not up to you anymore than your birth was. Because Croning is a star thing. A star thing, or rather a planet thing because it’s ultimately a Saturn thing. Unless you have completed 58 years, you are only prepping for Cronehood.
Here in Cronehood the air is thinner, the sparks are more visible, and the dreams are deeper. In this land of Cronehood my heart is at peace, my anger is barely lurking. My curiousity is up, my energy is managable. I do miss sometimes the stormy queenhood I had enjoyed, the tearful ups and downs of love, the everlasting waiting for things to move faster. But now I feel it's all unfolding as it should. If I am careful and keep holding the Lady’s hand, I’ll get an other destiny, a third wind, an other passion, a higher love.
The bones do hurt more, the joints cry out for their former selves, I swim and eat well, take Nettle as my daily tea.
The point you ask? Life still loves life through me. Life makes love to life in me. The planet earth is awesome and I treasure that I am here. On the other hand each birthday the ghost of lost youth also comes by to collect.
--Hmm this year I’ll take the spring in your steps, she says, and I take your lips, leave you thinner ones, give your arms and elbows a little more pain as a reminder. Just one word to you, floss, brush, and stop the sweets.--Go away! I cry. And if you want to tell me how wonderful it is to be old, how wonderful we look, and how great we can be, well yes, you are right, considering the alternatives.
When I was just into my Queenhood, around 1975, the Holy Book of Women's Mysteries was written with my coven, the Susan B Anthony Coven Number One. Into this body of work we have set down all the passages of life, including Croning, which to us was still a distant ritual. It awes me to think in the midst of our second destiny lives we made time to dream up the future. And how powerful those mornings have become, looking back, we were eating breakfast, dipping fries, at Mama’s Cafe in Malibu and coming up with visions, rituals, casting a long shadow into the future. You’ll never know when you make history.
The first Croning performed was much later in 1978 for Maxine who was a good friend. It took place at her apartment on Brooks in Venice and we built the altar so big it covered most of her living room. We used bells in those days, ringing out each year she lived. When the ritual was performed, our bodies were actually in the sacred space, it was powerful and transforming for those of us who looked ahead while she was looking behind, appreciating.
Never were older women so different from the way we used to be old.
Today, at the turn of the millennium, we are blessed with the highest number of older women Croning all at once. The Baby Boomer generation which was a backlash to the death toll of WW2 is now coming home, Croning. The world's consciousness is changing in quantum leaps as well. It takes an army of Crones to usher in the Age of Aquarius.
Ohh you want to know about the historical background of Croning. I am afraid to tell you, lest I burst your bubble. No, there is no direct evidence of any kind for ancient croning rituals. All I had when I first started reclaiming it was that in a culture where menstruation was a ritual, so must be aging. In my country the older women are dressed in black, with black babushkas on their heads. When did they assume the colors of black? It vibrates with the energy of Urdh, the Fate Goddess of the past and beginnings. Black is the primary sacred color of the universe. It contains all colors. The total black outfit served as a kind of uniform.
I have never found out just when the older women first appear in black. Was there a ritual as for the married woman, whose heads get wrapped with a babushka of many colors? No clue. But that isn't bothering me as a priestess. I receive revelatory information, I meditate over something and answers come. So sometimes a culture is so lost, yet so obviously in front of us still alive. I have found many clues in folk art, folk dresses, folk dances, folk poetry, and songs. But nothing about Croning. I just created it based on the patterns of other rituals for which there was evidence.
There is also a question, is the new Crone up to the black? When I thought about these things and reclaimed the Croning as a women's ritual, I was more partial to purple. Purple is a power color, it’s synthesis, hence a wisdom color. I imagined the Crones to be more in the realm of purple, the amethyst, the garnet, the opal. A Crone ring to be worn, as the black babushka once was worn. I have rewritten what I knew from my culture, and transformed it into a feminist context that is appropriate to the USA. I doubt very much that the Croning ritual would be so popular if I said we all had to dress in black babushkas and black dresses, black shoes!
I had no idea that Women's Spirituality would grow to the large proportions it has. Nor could I imagine back then how there would be one day a magazine for Crones, and rituals of Cronings all over the USA. This is the gift of time, when you realize what seemed like a fun Sunday morning writing the material, is now touching lives and transforming gloom. I am truly grateful for this.
Nowadays I am receiving the gifts I have sent on their way thirty years ago. Such was my own Croning, performed at the International Goddess 2000 Festival in La Honda. The sacred circle was the well of a Greek Theater called Gaia's Bowl. The circle itself represented the fullness of life. I had to circle from the east moving from point to point, the childhood part of the circle, the young woman part, the queen part, then the Crone part. I walked around with a white wolf mask on my head. Good thing, when I got to the end of Verdandi (second destiny) I shivered and shook realizing how close I was to the end of life. I just stopped and sobbed. I really felt saying goodbye to my strength, goodbye to my wild sexual self, to the queen that I was. Goodbye to my bubbling energy and walked slowly into Crone territory. I was never the same after that. I threw into the fire sacrifices of cinnamon sticks for good luck, because I have one more destiny coming.
My Mother did not have a Croning, but this age as I am now, she called me home for her “coronation”. This was 1977 and she had built a ”Pagan Temple” which was shown at the Museum. Mother was a Temple Raiser. Under the disguise of Art, mother managed to create a worshipful space to the SOURCE of life. I was so moved when I saw what she had done as her Croning. Little girls in folk dresses came to see her and in their eyes there was respect and joy, they too wanted to be one day artists like my mom. I had to leave the space and cry in the corridors because I was so moved.
The temple featured a center piece, the Source, very female, folk artish, intricate and sophisticated circles interlocking with circles (published in the Holy Book of Women's Mysteries). It had Adam and Eve projected out from her shoulders, as themselves, no longer snow white as the entire show, but the only works in flesh colored terracotta standing apart. The visitors stopped to pray at the Goddess statutes, some left flowers behind. Some lit candles. The Museum guards looked the other way. I ran out some more to cry for joy. I was so proud of my mom. I could see how her work, raising the Goddess temple, and my work, creating the rituals that go into it, clearly were soul related.
Many years have passed since. All our combined efforts created a powerful Goddess Movement, and from it the Crone movement. It all hangs together like the webbing of life. We are all creating, staffing our century. We are all working for the Fates.
The Crone goddesess of course is every one of them, since they are all trinities, and the third aspect is always the Crone. But the most impressive one i love are Alecto, Tisiphone and Mageara. I have written a whole play for them (Rise of the fates) and how they will save our world. These three names were forbidden to be uttered under the threat of death by the Greeks. So you know they are the real names of the Weird sisters, the Fates. Alecto begins the thread of life, Tisisphone develops it, and Magera (whose name means the abyss) cuts the threads when they have done what they were spun for. The three are actually one force, life.
You have to see the three fates as Energie, Matter and Meaning. All the female deities are enemations of theThree Fates. All of the goddess thealogy we have been developing come from this original trinity. And it is this trinity that gives us the new paradim from the old duality. As soon as you start thinking in trinities, you are thinking holistically.
The fates teach us that women are humanity. Men are our sons (hence part of us). There is no separation in the bigger picture. Together we make up the human species, subject to star influences, enduring astrological ages, the winds of time.
As we march into the future and the old world dies off more and more, we will be the old world soon. We will be the establishment. Oh horrors and oh blessings!
Many more women come into the beginning, closing up the ranks. There hasn't been a generation gap since the sixties. And there won't be any for a long time.
We are one block of herstory, one savvy chain of generations, one strong and active generation that is going to continue to change the world. When we are done, being old will be fashionable, stories and movies about old people will be normal, and we will live a long time.
Don’t worry about the Goddess Movement getting watered down when it goes mainstream, because this is supposed to be a folk culture spirituality. Not a close knit cult. Nor an organized religion. It is supposed to build communities.
In fact don't worry about any of it, just do your part, little bites at the time the Fates will fit it all together smartly. They are good at historical webbing. Blessed be!
This article was written with the questions provided by Crone Connie Spittler of the Crone Videos, e mail Vtape@aol.com
BOOKS: Z Budapest is the author of “Summoning the Fates” a women's guide to destiny [click on title's link for an excerpt]. She has sparked and nourished the Goddess Movement since 1971 and created many of the rituals in use today. Other books by her: “Grandmother of Time,” "Grandmother Moon,” ”Goddess in the Office,” and "Goddess in the Bedroom."
“Rise of the Fates”: out of print copies avaible via sending a SASE to ZBudapest / P.O. Box 11363 / Oakland Ca 94611, with a donation to the Womens Spirituality Forum, Z’s nonprofit organization.
Z is still organizing a biannual festival called Goddesss 2000 in La Honda Ca. June 8-11th. Check out for info: http://www.zbudapest.com
Page designed & formatted by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D. on 30 April 2000;
Published 1 May 2000, Beltane.
Latest update; 2 June 2000
13 November 2009: changed opening image from aqua-d to purple-d.
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