Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Stages of Cronedom

We're starting to plan this year's Day of the Dead ritual, and boy, does it seem like the community needs it this year!  Between the fires, the drought, climate change, the crazy state of the world (and this presidential election insanity) and the endless stream of school shootings, not to mention personal  losses and griefs, reasons for needing a grief ritual abound.  So, consider coming if laying down some of the heaviness and burden of grief you're carrying would be of benefit to you.

The season's inward focus and the rapid approach of the year's end brought a poem this morning.  Oh,  I just can't seem to help but be immersed in mortality issues these days.  In my morning pages, I wound up musing about our elder years.  It's becoming clear to me that "old age" isn't just one concise period toward the end of life.  There are stages that I, at least, am moving through.  So, here it is... as usual, a little raw and most likely in need of revision (that's what I love about blogging - you get to experiment without feeling as though it has to be perfect).

First, you are a novice elder.
Monthly bleeding finally ends,
bringing both relief
and sadness.
If you are lucky,
you receive a crone initiation
and a welcoming.
You begin to look at older friends
in a new way.
You study how they move,
how they rest,
how they persist in their arts.

Then, you move into
early cronehood.
You stop coloring your hair.
You grandparent.
If you are lucky,
you retire from your day job.
Because you live within youth culture,
you become invisible to many.
You wince at your image in the mirror,
hating the new lines etched
into your face and your sagging skin.
Then, you exhale deeply
and promise yourself to
accept it all.

Next, you surprise yourself
by finding that there is a
middle-elder phase.
You begin to identify yourself
as old.  Sometimes.
Inherent weaknesses in the body
begin to clarify themselves
into symptoms.
It is easy to get lost 
and discouraged now.
You realize that you will never
go backpacking again.
You visit your acupuncturist and
chiropractor.  Often.
If you are even a little wise,
you turn inward and to
whatever gods or spirits
call you.
You allow your gifts
to flow unobstructed.
You care less and less
what people think of you.
You begin to lose 
(or lose more) people.
You understand how much grief
there will be from now on.
You wonder how you can
bless and serve the young.

Later, you move into
true old age.
Not having arrived there yet,
I cannot speak of it
with any authority.
I suspect that the work 
will be to learn more
about  acceptance and
about staying open-hearted,
should I reach this  stage.
That opening to the life-force
and also the death-force
will be what is required.
I hope that I live long enough
to hold all things –
to love my beloveds -
to bless the youngers –

and to meld into the earth.