After autumn equinox I consciously looked for crone models as 'sponsors' for my croning. When I had my confirmation at age 12 I had a sponsor's hand on my shoulder. Now I wanted that virtual, spiritual hand on my shoulder as I crossed this threshold place. I needed some Wise Women at my shoulder. So I went researching, meditating and seeking my sponsers in the weeks before my Samhain croning ceremony.
The Cailleach Beara is an obvious starting point and certainly fulfilled the sponsorship role for my fellow crone. But I had this intuitive niggle that it wasn't quite right. On some level I needed not just a mythic witch or goddess. And then I went to Yorkshire on a visit and visited Mother Shipton's Well in Knaresborough.
Croning ceremonies are a relatively new feature. As a mostly solitary spiritual practitioner, public ceremony is not my first choice for expressing momentous passages. But 2016 pushed me out of my comfort zone. We had a wedding, a Big Fat Irish one that the Husband in Training had always wanted and which I had demurred. But having survived the wedding, I felt that I could do a croning ceremony via wifi and the World Wide Web okay. Apparently, 2016 was my year for rites of passage. Like weddings, these things take a good deal of thought and intention to be pushed into them beforehand.
I already had a crown. Actually, when I turned fifty I thought I was 'ready.' I was not. I did not have an early post-menopause and the peri- phase lasted for the best part of decade. By the time I turned 50, I was in full flush. An Irish friend who now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, made this crown with loving intent. It includes Brighid's eternal flame and the phases of the moon. There are pearls of wisdom and turquoise to express it. It ties on with a tartan ribbon, a nod to the Celtic connection, but is also a deep royal blue, fit for a crone's crown. (Thank you, Liz for your artistry and spiritual intention. It was perfect when the time came!)