Month: November 2015

Honouring the Crone Part 2

Creating this Honouring the Crone Ceremony was a process. I spent a lot of time thinking about what would be most meaningful to our mother and how I could use ceremony to soften some of the growing pains she was feeling with entering into this new decade. At first, my mother thought this ceremony would be about aging and getting old and I needed to reassure her that it would be positive, powerful and beneficial. I am glad she surrendered and trusted us in planning this beautiful afternoon and evening for her. I have three siblings and each of us brought our special talents and contributions.indexI was in charge of writing the ceremony with input from my siblings and so this post will be about that.

Our mother is an avid gardener. Although she is a devout Catholic and goes to church every Sunday, she might agree that being in her garden elevates her spiritually more than anything. It is like a drug and something she must do on an almost daily basis as soon as the thaw happens sometime in April each year. She craves being in her garden and shares it with anyone who has interest; generously giving plants to those who wish to start or enhance their own garden. It seemed appropriate then to have each guest bring a perennial to add to her garden and I created an earth mixing ritual to go along with these gifts. Everyone was instructed to wear purple as this is the colour of wisdom and each guest was given a handkerchief to catch their tears which were sure to fall throughout the ceremony. My sister, Stephanie, stitched a lavender sprig on each one and also added a drop of essential lavender oil to honour our mother’s love of this plant.

In preparation for the ceremony, I created an altar that symbolized our mother’s life (her childhood, her life as a young woman, as a mother and finally now, as a crone). Each section of the altar was decorated with photos, a candle to be lit during the ceremony to welcome the directions and the elements which represents each direction. As well, tiny bottles of earth were displayed throughout the altar. A week before the ceremony, my father and I took a little road trip and I collected earth from significant places in my mother’s life~ from the place where she and my dad danced when they were dating, from her original family homestead, from a second family home which was also previously her schoolhouse, from the church where my parents were married and from her parents’ grave. My dad also pulled over on the side of the road where he kissed my mom for the first time! It was important to honour my mother’s lineage and so a section was dedicated to her female ancestors and we welcomed their spirits to our circle by lighting an ancestral candle. A photo of my mother’s mother as a young woman in a logging camp as well as a photo of her childhood homestead accompanied this special candle. The purple candle stood proudly by the Crone statue (handmade by my sister, Stephanie) and a piece of raw amethyst. The purple candle was lit by mom to welcome the guests to this sacred gathering.


The ceremony began with welcoming words and the purpose and intention of the ceremony. Each woman introduced herself in relation to her female lineage (“I am Julie, daughter of Donna, grand daughter of Pearl and Delima and mother to Meredith.”)

And then we welcomed the four directions:

20150912_141108“Blessed be this Wise Woman with the gifts of the East. The eastern spirit of the sun brings warmth and light. It is the place of beginnings. It is represented by the element of AIR for openness and breath, communication of the heart and purity of the mind and body. From the east you receive the gift of a new beginning with the rising of each Sun and the understanding that each day is a new opportunity for growth. This candle is placed in the area of our altar that honours the beginning of your life and your childhood.”20150912_141127

“Blessed be this Wise Woman with the gifts of the South,represented by the element of FIRE, for energy, passion, creativity and the warmth of a loving home. From the fire within, you generate light, which you share generously and willingly providing warmth to all who need it as a wife, mother, grandmother, friend and also for many years in your career as a nurse. This candle is placed in the area of our altar that honours you as a young woman, vibrant and full of life. You found passion and a deep, lifelong love with Stan with whom you created a family and a home.”

20150912_141318“Blessed be this Wise Woman with the gifts of the West represented by the element of WATER for your capacity to feel emotion and to mother four children brought forth from the waters of your womb. You have always had the ability to keep your heart open in both joy and sorrow and have raised your children with love and gentleness. This candle has been placed in the area of our altar that honours you as a Mother.”


Blessed be this Wise Woman with the gifts of the North. The north contains the power of wisdom. Here we take time to reflect on what we began in the east, in the morning, in our youth. The North is represented by the element of EARTH which provides sustenance and security. As you embark on the north of your life, may you continue to welcome each day through the eyes of a child yet with the wisdom of the Crone, knowing that each moment must never be taken for granted. This candle is placed in the area of our altar which honours you as an elder and grandmother.”

At this time, I told the story of my mother’s life and as we moved through her story, I invited her to blend earth into a bowl. As I spoke of her birth and her childhood, she blended the earth collected from her homestead, schoolhouse/ eventual family home and from her parent’s grave. As I spoke of her adolescence and of meeting then marrying our dad, she blended earth that was collected from the property where a dance hall once stood, and from the side of the road where my dad stole his first kiss, from the old ball park where they used to make out (which is now a forest) and from the Catholic Church in Vinton, Quebec where they were married. Our mother gave birth to four healthy children who in turn have blessed her with seven grandchildren. As I spoke about her role as mother and grandmother, she blended earth that we brought from our own homesteads (from Cobden to Inkerman to Augsburg and Toronto).

The next ritual was called the “Releasing Ritual.” The intention of this ritual was to make space in this next stage of life by reflecting on those things she wished could have been different or perhaps those things that she still hung onto which no longer served a purpose. At this time, mom was given an opportunity to sit quietly for a few moments, close her eyes and think back over her life. She did not need to share those things that needed releasing. Instead, as each item came up, she simply took a pinch of salt and sprinkled it into a dish of water saying, “I release that which no longer serves me.” After each release, she would sit back and close her eyes once again, scanning through her life plucking up anything that needed to be released. The rest of us sat quietly supporting her in this ritual while soft Celtic music played in the background.


The next stage of the ceremony honoured her transformation from one stage of life to the next. I shared the following words as she was crowned with a wreath of fresh flowers and lavender sprigs and wrapped in a purple shawl. “Our attention now turns to honouring Donna as the Wise Woman she has become. You have 70 years of life experience, adventures, sorrows, joys, memories and story lines all contained within you. Every single one made you into the beautiful spirit you are today. At this time we place this wreath of flowers on your head as a symbolic crowning and we wrap you in this purple shawl as an initiation into this next stage of your life as Crone. May you move from the mindset of age-ing to sage-ing trusting that you have earned this title of Wise Woman and that you are loved by these women who surround you today.

To honour her initiation as crone, each woman present described the perennial they had brought and why it was chosen. We originally planned to go out to the garden and plant them but it was raining so we spoke in the circle and then my mom went out to her garden and mixed the earth she had blended earlier in the ceremony into the area of her garden where she intended to plant the gifted perennials. Then I had her leave her garden and walk into the abandoned lot next door and toss the salted water from the release ritual. Everyone stood by to witness. It was very emotional and powerful to watch our mother do these two simple actions.

20150912_182945We returned to our seats to complete the gift giving with a “Guardian of the Blessings Mobile” ritual. Each woman had been asked to bring a strip of material that was special to them in some way to add to a mobile. The mobile would be hung in a tree branch over the perennial garden in the spring.20150912_192045

The final stage of completing was next. We released each of the four directions by extinguishing the corresponding candle. I them invited all of the women to gather around mom and place their hands on her while the following poem (written by Ara) was read:

“Blessings to the Crone
For she is the ancient wisdom in our veins
The drum beat of our hearts and the sacred fire of our spirit
Woven out of moon light and shamanic sage smoke
She is the beating heart of the old ways
Long may she weave her knowing within me
Long may she howl to the full moon bright.”

Of course, we all howled like the wild women we are. Everyone returned to their places and a final blessing about community was shared and our circle was opened. The ceremony was followed by some social time with signature cocktails and appi’s while a sit-down, gourmet dinner was prepared.

I know that this ceremony served it’s deepest purpose and helped my mother transition into her honourable role as Crone. Ceremony and ritual have such powerful benefits in assisting individuals, couples, families and communities transition in joy, sorrow, big and small ways.

Honouring the Crone Part 1

“I am not old… I am rare. I am the standing ovation at the end of a play. I am the retrospective of my life as art. I am the hours connected like dots into good sense. I am the fullness of existing. You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found. I am a treasure. I am a map. And these wrinkles are imprints of my journey. Ask me anything.”

~ Samantha Reynolds


Courtesy of

I am acutely cognizant of the great blessing it is for me to have my mother alive and well and a part of my life forty-four years after my birth. I got lucky in the lottery of motherhood and could not have custom designed a better mother for me. Reading this, she would stammer a little and maybe feel a bit embarrassed by my words because that is who she is. She is a lover of life and most of all family and so the way she is, is as natural to her as breathing. Being an extraordinary caregiver, a gentle soul, a loving mother, wife and friend, is just who she is and she would think nothing of it. My mother is a content woman who delights in so many of life’s simple pleasures that you might assume she missed out on childhood and is only getting to experience it for the first time now. Each year, we have “the BEST Christmas tree ever” and she is never bored with the bursting buds in springtime, the magnificent foliage in autumn and the first snowfall is magical every. single. year.

I do know that there is a part of her that dreads getting old and another part of her that plans to fight like a demon when death comes to pay a visit. She will certainly not be “going gently into that good night” and she will most definitely “rage against the dying of the light.”  Even to speak of it brings her to tears and seems to cut off oxygen  interrupting her ability to speak. If she could live forever, she would. No doubt about it.

And so, last year, after she turned 69, my siblings and I began to plan her 70th birthday. With my dad’s input and much thought, we knew that she would be happier with a small family dinner rather than a huge surprise party. We know our mother and as much as we wanted to go big with celebration, we knew that we needed to do what would be most meaningful to her. A part of her celebration weekend included a Crone Ceremony. The intention was to set aside some space, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, to pause and acknowledge this milestone year. Although I think my mother was born with an old soul, it was important to shine light on the seventy years she has lived and to honour the wisdom gained.

As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, I am so privileged to help individuals, couples and families transition through life’s  moments, big and small, through ceremony and so creating and writing my first Crone Ceremony was both exciting and challenging. It didn’t take long for the ideas to flow and come together and with the approval of my siblings, this “Honouring The Crone” Ceremony came to life.

After a family dinner on the Friday night complete with artwork by her grandchildren and bbq and cake, we continued the celebrations into Saturday with a surprise three hour afternoon trip to the spa. As she was pampered, we (her children) got busy preparing the house for a special Crone Ceremony and a gourmet dinner to follow. Due to the nature of this type of gathering, the number of guests were kept to a minimum and mom chose a handful of friends to surround her. We anxiously waited for this part of the birthday weekend to unfold so that we could finally share with her everything we had been planning for months before.

**Stay tuned for Part 2 which will include a description of the ceremony**

error: Content is protected !!