Photo courtesy of Lunaesque
Copyright @ Carri Angel Photography
I was one of the speakers at the TABI’s 2019 tarot conference on 27th July 2019, together with Liz Dean (tarot author and creator of the Game of Thrones tarot), Juliet Sharman Burke (creator of the Mythic Tarot and the Sharman Caselli’s tarot) and Alison Cross (author of Tarot Kaizen).
What a great group of Crones 🙂
My chosen subject was to discuss the Crone/menopause and the tarot.
After more than 33 years reading professionally, I have seen countless women from the age of 45 onwards, complaining about their state of mind and/or body during a reading.
Many of these women do not realise that what they are experiencing is a natural cycle which can take many years to undergo: the menopause.
Many are surprised to hear that the end of a woman’s cycle is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the menopause.
This blog talks about the menopause and how the tarot can pinpoint some of the symptoms.
There are two spreads created by yours truly that you can try to understand better what is happening with you right now (if you are menopausal or, post menopause) 🙂
I hope you will enjoy them 🙂
Of course, you will have your own understanding of the cards and you will choose the cards that represent something very personal to you and your journey with your body.
Talking about the Crone and the Tarot could be the subject of a day workshop or even a retreat so, this blog is not going to delve too deeply into the subject but hopefully, it will give you a better understanding of one of the most powerful and liberating times in a woman’s life.
Own your Cronehood, ageing does not mean disappearing and becoming a ghost, ageing with panache is what I am aiming for and I hope you will too 🙂
So, without further ado, let’s begin by first examining what a Crone is!
In ancient cultures, the Crone was the regent of the underworld, where the soul rested between incarnations.
Older women were seen as wise women and the keepers of wisdom. They understood the mysteries of birth (many were midwives) and death (assisting in the transition of the soul).
The Crone is associated with autumn and winter, sunset and night, waning moon, ageing, necromancy, endings, death and rebirth, past lives, prophecy and vision.
These two are the most famous Crone goddesses (there are more):
Associated with crossroads
Ancient Greek Goddess of the moon, magic and the underworld.
BABA YAGA (Russian)
Baba Yaga is the wild woman or dark lady of magic, living deep in the forest.
She is often depicted flying on a mortar and pestle and rules over the four elements
Animals associated with the Crone: ravens/crows/wolves/owls
Colours: dark blue, black and deep purple.
Many of us are tarot readers, healers, therapists, intellectuals, leaders in our field etc. Our collective knowledge is a force to reckon with for the best of our communities.
As we have seen, the Crones were presiding over births, and many of us will be grandmothers, welcoming the new generations into this planet, and educating them about the wonders of our world.
As Crones, we will also witness the departure of our beloved elders, being our grandparents and parents, our spiritual leaders and pillars of the community, also our beloved pets. Our understanding of death, our spiritual beliefs, our deep connections to the planet will help us heal the traumas of losing loved ones, and healing others.
So, the role of the Crone is still present, but it is not celebrated as much these days. Although, there seems to be a resurgence happening all around the world (see Crone in the 21st century).
For this exercise, be spontaneous, look at all the pack and select the cards (major and minor arcana) you feel represent the Crone.
Write your thoughts in your journal, meditate about what it means to you to be a Crone, your role within your family or/and your community.
ARCHETYPE OF THE CRONE
When patriarchal society and religion took hold of Europe, the Crone became a symbol of evil and hell (witch hunts were one example of the consequences of the control systems forced onto peoples of the time).
Unfortunately, these less flattering and damned negative images of the Crone are still present in literature, films, plays and songs.
Our first archetype is:
Vilified as an ugly old woman, living in the woods, away from society, wicked and cruel, casting spells and enchantments.
The hag is often depicted as a hysterical and malevolent old woman.
Of course, she is the one who will try to kill the beautiful maiden in fairy tales (which are archetypes themselves) or, will cast a spell to render a man impotent for instance.
This hag will summon and command demons.
Our second archetype:
Staying with the theme of malevolence and trying to kill people.
The Hag Syndrome is a sleeping disorder when people experience sleep paralysis…experiencing oppression of the chest, like someone is sitting on the body rendering the sleeper unable to breathe or move.
Charming *not* 😦
And last but not least our 3rd archetype:
Many of us will recognise this one, as we are enamoured with our feline friends.
The link to the old witch with her familiar is why the archetype of the cat lady is still so present in modern depictions of the Crone.
Personally, I am happy with this archetype… I love cats and for me kitties represent (and they certainly have a link to) the spiritual realm 🙂
CRONE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Here, three wonderful British women who wear their Crone crown with poise and panache.
Dr Jane Goodall, the primatologist, travelling the world to educate not only about chimpanzees, but also about the environment and sustainability.
Dame Helen Mirren, wonderful actress, not afraid of being a voice for others (her most recent was to protest about the TV license for pensioners being scrapped by the BBC) or, to urge people to stop bringing plants back from their holidays!
Dame Judi Dench, actress and fellow tree hugger who talks about nature. Her documentary about trees was refreshing and educational as well.
These ladies are in the forefront of their profession, despite being in their 70’s+, proof that being a Crone is not seen as a handicap, but truly as the jewel of an older woman’s crown, sharing knowledge, wisdom and power.
Of course, there are many other famous Crones all over the world, fighting for the environment and other similar causes such as:
– Sylvia Earle (marine biologist and oceanographer),
– Biruté Galdikas (president of the Orang Utan foundation International),
– Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts was cast as Erin in the film of the same name. A film about environmental contamination). Erin continues the fight to educate about Chromium 6 contamination,
– Susan Sarandon (actress but also social and political activist),
– Daryl Hannah (actress, and founder of sustainable diesel),
– Dr Ingrid Visser (world expert on orcas and fighting to stop the captivity of orcas),
– Brigitte Bardot (founder of the Brigitte Bardot’s foundation to help animals), environmental activist since the 70’s.
This list has many more names that could be added, but it is important to remember that we, as a species, are all custodians of this planet, and we as “elders” can only try to reverse the most damaging trends seen in our lifetime, as the planet is in grave danger.
On the social media front, it is interesting to note that more than ever, women can find their Crone tribes via groups such as The Silvertent for example, where women can talk to each other, to support each other and to embrace their Crone status 🙂
Silver disobedience is another movement about what it means to be 50+ and how to embrace life with poise 🙂
Interestingly enough there is a model agency for older women in my native France, the Silver Model Agency To show that age is also beautiful and not something to be ashamed of 🙂
And something that will probably take off more and more, Crone ceremonies, which are organised by women for women, to celebrate this rite of passage, going back to the roots of the sacred Crone. Finding our tribe 🙂
So, let’s leave behind the origins of the Crone, and let’s talk about the menopause, and how the tarot can help!
According to the NHS website: the menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer releases an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases, there’s no clear cause.
But, before we can jump up and down on the bed and throw away our tampons or sanitary towels, we have to understand that sometimes the menopause will throw some unwanted surprises and tantrums (periods stopping for a few months, but then back again with a vengeance for instance).
The menopause will occur for sure after twelve consecutive months of no period (providing you are in your late 40’s/50’s of course). If you are a younger woman and your periods stop for more than 12 months surely, a trip to your GP is advisable in order to investigate.
It can take a few years for the menopause to occur, with a wide variety of symptoms.
The menopause is a walk in the wilderness, being battered by different challenges and turning points, a bit like a vision quest in a way, armed with only your knowledge and your wisdom.
Once it is completed, the transformation not only in your body, but in your soul can be quite spectacular.
For this exercise look at the whole deck and select the cards (both major and minor arcana) that you feel represent the menopause to you.
You may select one card or many, this is okay, it is a personal understanding both of the cards and your own feelings.
Compare your selected cards with the ones you picked up for the Crone, do they match? Are they different? Reflect about it in your tarot journal.
Unfortunately for us Crones, the menopause is not just unilateral with one or two symptoms. Alas, it is multidimensional with a myriad of symptoms.
The good news is that not all symptoms will be experienced (some of us will experience little symptoms if any, whilst others won’t be so fortunate), but it is good to know how to recognise the impact of the menopause on the mind, body and spirit.
Of course, the Queen of Cups deals with the emotional side, as she is the typical custodian of the suit but, also with what can happen with the body as our bodies are made up around 60% of water/fluid (approximate only).
The Queen of Pentacles is in her home with the practicality of the body, its layers such as muscles, bones, tendons, teeth etc.
The Queen of Wands has dominion over the ‘vavavoum’, the stamina of our spirit and our internal ‘fire’ as well, which can be troubled by some of the symptoms seen above.
The Queen of Swords is the one who will force us to acknowledge that the menopause is not a simple mechanical glitch from nature, it is also a transformational time as well. Once you overcome her tough lesson, the reward will be enormous 🙂
For this exercise, simply shuffle the whole deck and pull two cards to answer each question about each domain and two cards to answer the questions about the Crone 🙂
Card 1 – Domain of the Cups
Emotions and feelings
What is happening right now with my emotions?
How can I help myself with how I feel?
Card 2 – Domain of the Wands
Intuition and vavavoum
How can I tap into my inner fire?
Where do I need to direct my intuition?
Card 3 – Domain of the Pentacles
Body and security
What do I need to be aware of regarding my body?
How can I feel more secure?
Card 4 – Domain of the Swords
Mind and mental health
What is constricting my mind?
How is my mental health at the moment?
Card 5 – The Crone
Where Am I heading as a Crone?
What do I need to embrace?
HELP WITH THE MENOPAUSE
Exercise: Yoga, running, swimming, walking, pilates, dancing etc…
Water: To hydrate the skin and the body from within, to avoid bloating. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Diet: Tofu, flaxseeds, linseeds, sesame seeds, beans, wholegrains, vegetables and fruits.
Reduce sugar as it can cause a sharp rise and dip in blood sugar levels, leading to tiredness and irritation.
Do not skip meals as it can make symptoms worse and hinders weight loss.
Stop smoking: Smoking can worsen hot flushes. Also the loss of bone density in smokers is higher than non-smokers, leading to osteoporosis.
Valerian is good for sleeping problems, anxiety and stress.
Red clover is good to reduce high blood pressure, boost immunity and to strengthen bones as it contains phytoestrogens which helps hormonal imbalance.
Black Cohosh: hot flushes
Bach Flowers and flower essences:
Cherry plum: to calm the mind, panic attacks (fear), agitation
Olive: for mental exhaustion and consequently physical exhaustion
Gentian: overwhelmed by everything, feeling low, want to give up
Larch: lack of self-esteem
Scleranthus: mood swings
Walnut: to adapt to changes
Mindfulness: meditation, gratitude, visualisation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, tarot (shadow side), time off from social media etc..
Calcium for bones
Vitamin D for bones
Vitamin B12 for bone health, neurological functions
Vitamin B6 to help with mood swings and depression
Vitamin E: antioxidant, help with depression and help to prevent heart disease.
This exercise is best done by removing from your pack the 4 queens of the tarot, and to place them face down as per the picture below.
Then shuffle the whole pack and cover each queen with a card.
It is a simple spread but quite revealing!
Let me know how it worked for you 🙂
Which queen do I need to embrace?
How can I integrate her in my life?
Which queen is my ally?
How can I make this ally work with the queen on position 1?
Which queen needs to take a back seat?
Which area of life needs to be let go of?
Which queen will be my mentor during my crone years?
In which area of life will she help me the most?
I hope you enjoyed this blog regarding the Crone and the menopause. Of course, so much more could be said and discussed on this subject.
I feel that us women, we are often under tremendous pressure to be in a certain way, to conform to a certain stereotype of what we should be like as Crones, and ageing is frowned upon in our society instead of being a rite of passage like any others. Not enough information or discussion is available for women to talk and compare notes so to speak, about a natural rite of passage that all women will experience at one point (if they are blessed to grow older).
I embrace my Cronehood with enthusiasm, despite having had a harrowing time with it but, I came out the other side, stronger, wiser and more acutely aware of what it means to be a woman in her late 50’s in the 21st century!
To start with, this year I decided to colour my hair no longer and go grey.
On 5th of September 2019, I officially became a Silver fox Crone 🙂
Many women told me that I was brave to do that, it is no bravery, it is liberating 🙂
I look forward to see where my silver years will lead me in terms of creativity, emotions and spirituality. The body is a vehicle for the soul and although it is ageing, my soul is more buoyant and free since the menopause!
To all women of a certain age out there, you are not alone, there is an army of Crones willing to talk, to educate and to support 🙂
Oephebia and the kitty monsters
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