My family seems to agree that a great use for Facebook is public grieving.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of my nephew’s death from a massive coronary. He was 39 and left behind a lovely wife who he adored, and four children. He was a good man. An ex-Marine, Corrections Officer, Volunteer Firefighter, and a Christian very involved in his Church and Community. He was the kind of Christian I look up to. I wish we had more pagans like him.
Early in the morning, the posts started coming. Favorite pictures. Odes to his wonderfulness. Last moments shared. Puddles of pain, gallons of grief.
By 10 am, I was a basketcase. I huddled in my room, in my bed, howling with grief. I ate an entire bag of Halloween candy. My blood sugar reading shot up to over 400. I didn’t care.
Sandy came in, and poked at me until I agreed to go out with her.
Then, that afternoon, my niece posted a picture of her mother’s flowers. The second anniversary of Janell’s death. That undid me again.
I don’t dare go to their Facebook pages. The family and friends tend to use them as shrines, and leave offerings of love and prayers of poignant wishes. It is rather like the candles and flowers left at a memorial site in the cities…only this is in zeros and ones that never seem to fade away.
Today was better. I constructed elemental altars in the circle in our backyard. I even started my first ‘pit-firing’.
All the little bits and pieces of greenware are tucked into their soon to be fiery nest of cedar chips.
Cedar chips and aluminum foil. Simple, simple, simple.
A nice wide spliced aluminum foil tarp for the burning bed of cedar chips.
Lit in three spots for even burning. I had no idea it would burn so FAST! QUICK! Throw on the foil!
Next time, I’ll remember ‘Foil First Fire Second”. Phew….four layers of foil later (fire burns through foil…fast!) and a couple of little scorch marks, the fire is smoldering nicely. With a couple of partially burned logs on top in case the wind whips up a bit, we’re all set for the night. I’m excited to see what I drag out tomorrow.
I was taking Vic to her way-to-early doctor appointment. The sun was stabbing my eyes, so I pulled down the visor. There is a mirror on the visor. I know why they put mirrors on visors. They’re called vanity mirrors. I’m not vain, at least, I like to tell myself that. But there, in the glaring light of the morning sun, in the nasty little vanity mirror, on my CHIN hung two clusters of HAIR. Not the nice, soft beautiful gray of my tresses, NOOOOOoooo. Stiff, BLACK, disgusting stuff!
How did this happen!?!?!? No, not the biological issues. I’ve been plucking that hair for years. In fact, I have a handy dandy Epi gadget. I just click the switch, run it across my chin and whirr…whirr…whirrrrr…they’re all gone. Plucked nice and neat until the next time. My question to myself refers to ‘How Did I LET This Happen?’. …now that I’m thinking of it, BRB…
…ahhhh, much better.
I am guessing I still have my vanities, after all.
Well, onto the PLANNED subject of my very first blog post!
I am Crone. I walk the spirals of the triplicities.
Wow, that sounded deep! COL
In all actuality, I am simply walking this time continuum as best I can. Labeling myself helps me anchor myself TO this time continuum, and provides a shorthand way of identifying myself, my intentions, my potentials, my needs and my gifts to the community at large.
Women (and men) have come to me with questions about labeling themselves in the Maiden-Mother-Crone (Youth-Warrior-Sage for men) tradition many Pagans are using now. These labels are stuck to us via the Rites of Passage ritual. There are all sorts of RoP rituals. They are as varied as ‘Bops on the Head’ from our personal god or goddess to elaborate, staged public rituals involving many, many people and much planning.
No matter the type of RoP used, the decision to accept a certain label is one that is extremely personal and one that deserves a lot of thought, meditation and even counseling.
One attractive, vibrant woman told me a story of other people’s expectations that she SHOULD label herself ‘Crone’ based solely on her chronological age. Pressured to ‘become’ something she didn’t feel she was lead to a lot of confusion, anger and bitterness.
Another beautiful young woman told me that she had been a mother, biologically, for three years, but she still wanted to be a ‘Maiden.’ She didn’t feel like she was a Mother.
Then, again, there is the question of the ‘Trans-gendered’ individuals who want to honor that part of themselves that they feel they ARE, not based on the physical body they may wear in this incarnation.
It is my opinion, and long held belief, that only YOU know what label is right for you. Only YOU know the responsibilities you are willing to accept. Only YOU know how your body is aging. Only YOU know if you are willing to take the next step into a new role in this life, or if you want to publicly affirm a role you have long held.
A lot of people ask, “How will I know?”
I remember I asked my mother the same question when I was about six or so. One day, whilst sitting on the porcelain throne, the thought occurred to me that I might have a baby while sitting there and accidentally flush it down the toilet. That worried me, a lot! That worried me so much that I yelled for my mommy to come in an tell me how I would know if I was having a baby. (Now, you have to understand, we were a farm family and that my mother, while a lovely, intelligent woman, had a HUGE PROBLEM talking about anything that had to do with ‘the PRIVATES’.) She told me, ‘Chickens know when they’re laying eggs.’ I puzzled that over for a little bit and figured that I would probably cackle when I had a baby. I still checked the toilet every time before I flushed, though. Just in case.
Now, knowing WHEN to accept a label denoting that you have moved from one phase of life to the next isn’t simple. It isn’t as if one day we are “THIS” and we never revert to the feelings, activities, wants, needs or desires of “THAT”. Nope, just doesn’t happen that way. Just as on your birthday, you aren’t truly another YEAR older, you are simply another DAY older. You have taken another step on the time continuum. But the INNER YOU hasn’t changed all that much.
Basing the label on life events, such as a young girls first period making her a Maiden or a woman’s first successful delivery making her a Mother is simplistic, at best, in today’s society. We certainly don’t use the same measures today as were used 50 years ago, let alone anything similar to those in a past more distant. Calling a woman a Crone just because she no longer bleeds is confusing. Personally, I had all the plumbing removed when I was 40. I sure didn’t feel like I was a Crone. I felt liberated from pain and misery. I felt like rejoicing and celebrating that the “Candy Store” would now be open 24/7. I sure didn’t feel ‘Crone-like.’ That came later.
Some people think that once they become a Mother, they can’t act the Maiden again. That is so not true. Being a Crone doesn’t keep me from feeling like a Maiden at different times and in different ways. I will NEVER not feel like a Mother. Being a Crone does not mean you stop being all you were before. It is adding nuances and layers. It is adding understanding of the human spirit and wisdom to see and know. It is celebrating life, nurturing the living, honoring those gone from our lives and looking fearlessly to our own future adventures.
If you are interested or feel pulled toward having a certain label stuck on you, that is all well and good. Seek advice. Go to the high muckety-muck in your tradition, or at least a good friend, and see what the ‘qualifications’ are. Some trads get real persnickity about how to determine if you qualify for a certain label. Others don’t. Look deeply inside yourself…aka, meditate. Make lists of what YOU think qualities of the different phases are, then compare them to your life. THEN, compare them to the wider world. Talk it out with someone you trust who knows what the bleep you’re talking about. Respect the process and don’t try to rush it. Then, one day, magically, you’ll KNOW. It is time.
Phew, there I go getting all wordy and giddy again. COL But it is true. One day you will know. I know. I am content. I am Crone.