As women we cycle through phases of life as a child, a maiden, a mother and a crone. Which phase are you in, what have you learned and what are you bringing to the next phase? As a maiden did you learn honour, self-respect and gratitude? As a mother did you learn to love unconditionally? As a crone are you learning to share your wisdom? Each of us passes through these phases regardless of whether we bear children or not.
If we track our life cycles on the Medicine Wheel we come into this world in the East, the place of the Eagle, illumination and clarity, confidence, trust, magic, courage. As children we carry with us our full gifts and abilities our intuition and our imagination. We speak our truth and are honest and direct. Children love to explore, experience and dig deep into unknown places and things. It is often said that children have no fear, they have abundant curiosity and are always questioning and searching, innocence at its best. It is during this vulnerable time that all of this can be knocked out of a child and the child will learn what fear is and what it is to hurt or be harmed. I pray every day for the children who are not allowed the freedom to be children and engage their curiosity.
As we grow past seven years we slowly move into the South, the place of the Hummingbird, joy, independence, playfulness, resiliency, being more present. Adolescence is a time when we hone our language skills and realize it may not be such a good idea to be too honest and direct. Our bodies change, as women our moon-times begin and we become more sensitive and aware. Now we are maidens (young women), we date, make friends, party, learn new skills, make life choices and grow physically and emotionally. It becomes important that we are accepted for who we are, if not we learn to hide parts of ourself. There is a lot of confusion about our bodies, our needs, pleasing others, what we like and don’t like and how to be in this adult world. This is the stage of many lessons and learnings. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t.
Now the Maiden begins her journey to potential Motherhood and moves into the place of the West, the Bear, protection, inner strength, inner reflection, fearless power, knowledge. Depending on where we grow up and who we are influenced by we begin to make choices: to partner or not, who to partner with, sexual orientation, religion, skill set, travel, education, adventure, spirituality. No matter what we choose as women there is always the thought at the back and in the front (media, family, friends, church, politics etc) about being a mother. Some choose to forgo this step, some choose to follow this road. Either choice is personal but no matter what, the mothering instinct is there. We may mother (nurture) children in our jobs, our relatives’ children, our younger siblings, our mates, our pets or pet projects but we do mother.
This is also the time when we explore the more esoteric aspects of life such as philosophy, spirituality, buddhist teachings, yoga, tai chi, meditation. They hold so many promises and help us make sense of the world. We are amassing knowledge. We may not have the time to pursue it all but it is stored in our brains for later use.
Women hit their peak in their 40s and 50s. They blossom and grow as they never have before. They realize what they want to do. They find their inner power. They slowly or sometimes quickly come out of the time with the bear and move into a place of accumulating even more wisdom. They may become socially or politically active, directors or managers, supervisors or leaders. They may choose to be on the front line of whatever work they are doing and do it well. Many women at this stage in their life’s open a business, run with their skills and make it work. They are the new entrepreneurs. Even when they reach the time for retirement they do not stop. They consult, they create, they find their inner artist and their inner business acumen.
All of this is marred by one thing that society dwells on…the inconvenience of menopause and all of its concomitant symptoms. When I went through menopause I was also doing a lot of energy work. My symptoms were minimal. No one tells women that if they want an easier menopause, don’t take drugs, have energy work done to help the clearing.
Menopause is the start of a midlife transition, once more a time to look inside, a time to heal, a time to face the baggage we have been carrying around. If we don’t, the transition will be more difficult. The body will manifest psychological and emotional pains as illness: depression, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis etc.This is the ideal place to ask: “Who am I?” and start looking for the answer.
After Menopause regardless of whether the transition was smooth or very bumpy we are on our way to the North of the Medicine Wheel, the place of the Owl, prophecy, wisdom, great sight, patience, late night energy, letting go of the old, de-cluttering physically and emotionally. The Crone is here, celebrate her. Now is the time for inner freedom and to allow all of your stored wisdom to come out and play. It is a time that, while there are still many years ahead, you do not have to try so hard to do it all. Let go of all the dross, just keep what you really want to keep or better still what you need to keep on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spirituality. Dress up or down, be outrageous, be fun, enjoy, embrace your inner Goddess. It is here we become more authentic, our true selves.
Of course becoming a Crone does not complete the cycle of life. We are born and we die. For now lets just focus on what we do while we are here. When we came into this world we were in full possession of our gifts, abilities, intuition and imagination. Along the way they became buried in life’s day to day lessons and learnings. When we arrive at our Elder Crone years if we choose to we can allow our inner light to shine once more on those gifts and abilities. Life is all about free will and choice. If you choose you can release the healer, teacher, philosopher, artist, poet or writer that has been waiting patiently to come out. If you don’t let her out she will be locked inside and blocked from fulfilling her true life’s purpose. And as we have already said this blockage could manifest as a debilitating illness so face the fear and let her out.
The story of the cycles is a universal one but changes as we change. Many women I know in their Maiden and Mother phases are involved in Healing and Spirituality. They were fortunate to be introduced to it early in their life’s and encouraged to follow the path. They will transition easily into their Crone years because they are already accessing their inner light. To them I say remember your sisters who have not been able to see their inner power or even conceive that it exists because they are still in various stages of lessons and learnings. Send out love and light to your sisters daily. Stay present, centered and conscious. The more conscious we are the more we can shine our lights and help others find theirs.