Celebrating Elders

Written by Charlotte Young

Recently, I had the honour of offering a “Crone’s Celebration Circle”. My dear friend’s mother, Roswitha, asked me if I would help her honour her 75th birthday. I love the words ‘Elder’ and ‘Winter’ for this stage of life but she has embraced the word Crone and in her own special way, helped reinstate it as a word that deserves honour and respect. The original meaning relates to ‘crown’.

​​There were four crones who sat in the circle in pride of place, wearing black and looking regal. Around them in the circle were friends, her partner, her grandchildren and of course her daughter (my lovely friend). I opened the circle ceremonially and then we listened to the crones telling the rich stories of their lives. As we listened the children, now all teens, created the powerful mandala, pictured. Then we went outside onto their beautiful land in search of a gift from nature, to offer Roswitha. There were feathers and rocks, wood and flora accompanied with heart-filled words, as each person shared their love and respect for this wonderful elder.

​Then the Summer Fems wove flowers as crowns into the four crones’ hair. We finished with some words of wisdom from Roswitha, followed by a feast.

​​Here is the poem her daughter read, as she welcomed the crones into the circle:

To the Elders on our Earth
And these beautiful Crones in particular
I give my thanks.
Each Elder has travelled an incredible journey called her Life
She has come, created and born fruits into the world
And now, has come back to her Inner Island of Intuition,
By free will or by force
To weave all knowledge together into seeds of wisdom,
To plant as she pleases
A new phase we are creating with our longer lives
And now … she has come … the Crone … here she is
She is stillness
She is movement
An incredible dance
Of inner and outer—everchanging—she has practised for all her life
Travelling freely through experiences, memories, adventures
All her phases, laughs and tears, all the seasons and
Her blooming garden …
And now she lets us in to see, to honour, to learn
To share her wisdom, to share her story.
by Maria Lerch

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