The Maiden, Mother, Crone Cycle is something I’ve been pondering about lately. Well, not just lately, but much more lately since I recently turned 45, the age where I am officially middle-aged. (See Wikipedia definition – Middle Age). With a not-yet-two-year-old toddler running around, it’s strange to think that I am what many consider in the crone stage in a woman’s life cycle. Yet motherhood in middle age has made me think a lot about that whole Maiden, Mother, Crone Cycle, and if it necessarily is or needs to be or ever is a linear cycle.
Thinking back through my life, even back to childhood, I often, possibly always, expressed aspects of all three stages. I’ve been the Maiden: young, youthful/athletic, child-less. I’ve been the Mother/Nurturer: to countless pets, to my own mother, and now to my own child. I’ve been the Crone: an “adult” child, an old soul, and now in age.
Chronologically and if we follow societal traditions, it does seem like the three stages of a woman’s life cycle (I do believe men have similar stages too.) go in order: 1) our childhood and young adulthood, 2) married life and motherhood, and 3) empty nest, grandkids, and retirement. On the surface many woman follow this cycle because it is after all a natural cycle – a cycle of nature. However, as I’ve looked back over my life and the lives of others, either under the surface or on the surface for the more unconventional personalities, we live all aspects of the Maiden, Mother, Crone Cycle in some way and in different ways throughout our lives.
And what is age? It is the process of going through time, through the ages, changing and growing through time, and as most would say, becoming older. It is interesting how we/modern society have broken down or categorized the life stages by age: 1-20/25 as youth, 20/25-40/45 as adulthood, 40/45-60/65 as middle age (or over-the-hill to some), and then 60/65 and onwards as just plain old. Though there are definitely changes in physiology that occur over time, aka as we age, we do not need to let these numbers define every aspect of our identity and our existence at any age. We can be youthful or playful while being care-takers and bread-winners while connecting to our wisdom developed over time and sharing it with others.
And so I sit with and meditate upon and work with integrating more deeply all the many aspects of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone within myself, and I hope you will too. Life is both too short and oh-so-very long to limit ourselves by a number and a label.