this ritual was written for my croning, which was held at the australian druid assembly at cooringal grove early this month. i have modified it slightly for sharing in this way.
in preparation: crown (wrapped) and gifts are placed on central altar or other convenient surface in full view of all.
rituallist: i proclaim the rite of the the crone
in the (--------------) grove.
i give (name--------------) greetings.
saturn has twice returned to where it
was at the time of your birth.
your child-bearing years are over.
you have been a maiden,
and you have been a matron,
and now you are ready to become a crone.
birch spirit as birth guardian: as a spirit unborn you called together
father and mother, bodies and souls,
ancestors, past lives, dreamings, pathways:
you grew brand new from a single cell.
on (date of birth),
you entered through the womb of life
into the arms of family love,
you entered the universe of human experience,
of perception and understanding,
you entered the succession of seasons,
of the circles and spirals of time and event
and you became a human child,
growing stronger every day.
east: as a bird in the wood,
around and around you flew,
you wove wakes in the shining air,
in the radiant peace of the east.
from the family to the greater community
you learned the established practices of our culture,
you took up the symbols of holiness and power,
you drank the nectar, spoke the ancient vows,
submitted to the curses of life, blessed the blessings
and learned to love the law,
and so became a maiden, fit for life.
north: as a flame in the fire
you went to work with a will
embraced the fuel, did the magical work of transformation
in the joyful peace of the north.
in the great crescendo of life
of family and friendship,
culture and community,
of work and of play,
as part of the vital fabric of earthly reality
there you matured, suffered, triumphed,
learned much, taught much, erred and sinned
and yet still loved goodness and just laws.
west: as a fish in the flood, questing,
you navigate instinctively.
you dream the mystic visions of the waters
in the deep inner peace of the west.
now let the harvest be abundant,
as it ripens from the seeds and flowers
of your childhood and youth.
since quiet questing, patient industry
and the simple prayer
of a steady mind with a good conscience
are the rich rewards of a life lived truthfully
and humbly in search of health and wisdom.
south: as a clod of clay, flesh of the earth,
you will come to know and cherish
the solid logic in the forms and forces of reality
in the still, silent peace of the south.
now as your material body ages,
you will have learnt the hard lessons,
won the difficult harvests, stored the gains
and gathered the bountiful rewards
of living upon the material planet
as a material being. you will age,
you will approach death itself as we all must.
yet you will not fear this death in its time,
knowing that it is the doorway to new lives.
yew spirit - the death guardian: from the earth came your body,
from the unknown came your soul,
and finally they will return,
replete with each other’s imprint,
your soul to the unknown, your body to the earth,
the memory of you to the mythos
of the ancestors, or to oblivion
in a world that keeps on turning
through the cycle of the seasons
and the spinning spirals of the day.
rituallist: as a maiden you learned to be useful.
as a matron you worked in the world.
as the crone you will share your wisdom
bringing understanding to the world
and foresight to the young.
(picks up crown)
this croning is the crowning of your life.
perhaps the words are related –
older women once wore crowns
though they were not queens.
(placing crown on w’s head)
yet, within the circle of this crown
you are queen of your own dominions,
as every woman is when she is croned.
you are queen of your own soul
queen of your own mind
queen of your own experience.
autonomous, empowered and free.
new crone: i am grateful to the guardians of birth
who helped me into this world.
i remember with affection and something more
the children with whom i played
and the teachers who gave me my lessons
while i was a growing girl.
i am grateful to them all.
i am also grateful
to the friends of my adolescence
and those who prepared me for adult life.
my family, friends and teachers
both human and other,
animals and angels
and the beings of all worlds.
and my co-workers, comrades-at-arms
my fellow humans, i am grateful
to have been so blessed and so sustained
through hard times and good
in so many ways by so many.
gaia, you have been good to me
given me more than you’re able to give others.
i go forward with a right good will
in trust and affection with you
to bring help to the hurt,
provisions to the needy
healing to the sick
wisdom to the bewildered
and comfort to the weary
in the best way i can till i can do no more.
to you who have spoken the ritual words for me,
and to you have listened, i am especially grateful,
because you are here to revive that consciousness
of magic, and the ritual response that sanctifies
the stages of my life as they ought to be sanctified,
without which life is less.
for this reason i ask each of you to accept this gift.
(goes round circle then returns to centre)
i came into this circle today a matron
a maturing woman with a lot of memories
and i’ll leave it a crone, autonomous and free.
end of rite