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Daughters of The Moon: Running With The Crones

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Article ID: 15951

VoxAcct: 451951

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

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Daughters of The Moon: Running With The Crones

Author: Merideth Allyn
Posted: April 2nd. 2016
Times Viewed: 3,388

“Ah Avalon,
Land of the cooling mists,
Where spirit and magic meet.
Ah Avalon,
Land of the swirling mists,
Where Her embrace silences fear,
And frees the mystical feminine.
Ah Avalon,
Land of the silvery mists,
Where Her magic flows with spirit,
And feminine mysteries are revealed.”

--by Anne Pelloth (one of the cofounders of Daughters of the Moon)

Last year, for one hundred women, the Call of the Wild was answered. In a large forested park, maidens, mothers and crones gathered for several days to connect and re-connect with that part of their primal nature lost daily in the societies they birthed. Historically, women, especially crones, are ignored by a culture where most, it would seem, aspire to discover a panacea for youth over a cure for cancer.

Daughters of the Moon, in its sixteenth year, is a celebratory capacity-filled event near Memphis, Tennessee where year after year women come to celebrate the joys and pains of being a woman. Abundant joy is the overall atmosphere as the drummers drum and the maidens, mothers and crones are taught to twirl those nighttime batons of fire. The chatting gets louder and louder as participants continue to come lugging in loads of luggage and craft supplies. After packing, guitar strumming is added to the drumming and then the melodiously musical sound of a harp harmoniously chimes in with the wind. There is no separation. There is only anticipation. Georgeann Culp, says that she felt the goddess all around her in the laughter, loud talking and music when she arrived. “It was like the pull of the moon when I made that turn and came through those gates. I felt a shift inside me. And, when I arrived, I felt a respect for my age that I have never experienced before. Suddenly and unexpectedly, I was enjoying being a crone.” Not only happiness permeates the air, but, during the next days, grief, while in those safe environs, can be expressed without judgment.

For the crones attending this event, pain, although not forgotten, is only talked about and pulled out of their very deep pockets if someone needs their experiences to help heal. Dana Taylor, fifty-five, says, “When you are young, it is difficult to leave behind the tragedies and the scars. Here, at Daughters, we are given permission to let go and begin to forgive, accepting that people are just people, as we are.” Patterson, says, “As a crone, people come to me to share their deepest heart and soul grief. The reason they come to me is that I have faced life and can now carry on with joy and laughter, regardless life’s high and low balls thrown to distract me, and my soul fills with gratitude should I help in any capacity.”

At Daughters of the Moon, another pull is that all can experience the bliss of their “being-ness” and run freely with their passions. Which is not an experience felt in the “real” world, especially for the crone, which many in our society wish to outcast…desiring they become invisible. They forget that it was the crone who ruled the wolf pack, as well as the elephants in the wild. Crones, who are revered in some cultures and are considered the wisest of all, usually do not get respect in the western cultures. The learned and naturally wild wise crone are an endangered species although you would not believe that a truth with the crones attending Daughters. But, it is true, that the spiritual lands of the crone’s “being-ness” where the crone resides has, throughout history, been destroyed and looted by any means possible.

Women are forced into roles that are not part of their nature. But the crones at Daughters are a force to be reckoned with. They shout with gleeful laughter to the universe: “We do not surrender anything. We are not invisible.” They model teaching, listening, healthy relationships, how to be a friend, and how to carry your wounds with grace and without complaint…gripers are rarely tolerated. Suggestions they will give, help with healing they will give, just do not whine. These crones are tough. Whiners, they say, are not tolerated because everyone thrust into this world has “issues” and lessons to learn during difficult times.

Daughters of the Moon crones are tired of being corralled and domesticated. As Lisa McGeorge shares, we are learning to drop our smiley-faced facades, the masks we wear as programmed robots. We hear that call of the wild, with a strong desire to return. These crones no longer even try to fit the role of scurrying women trying to be everything to everyone. They do not settle for “less than” for they know that they are not. With humor they tell the stories of their lives, the history of women, their love and their pain. They are the historians. They are channels, not vessels, for as Pam Schmidt says, “A vessel fills up. It has a bottom. A channel allows for flow.”

Patterson, shares something else. “One thing I have learned for happiness to take place is to quit taking myself so seriously. And, I have learned to selflessly give. I am privileged to be here to follow my bliss. But, she would also agree with Schmidt who says, “To whom much is given from him much will be required.” And, from another Pagan crone, Debbie Lodge, a once Pentecostal minister who never surrendered her identity says, “Here I find that what I believed were my character flaws were those things that endeared me most to these other women.” Marcia Tucker, another crone, says, “Here I can be myself. Here I feel no judgment, and with the diversity of women who attend, well, it just feels so right and good. Here we come to blend. We see uniqueness and love its diversity.” Vicky Mann, a first-timer at Daughters last year, says that her biggest fear was being cast out. “You have that fear until you don’t, ” Vicky says, “and when I felt the Goddess here, well, it was so very different to feel empowerment arrive and powerlessness flee.” And, to make certain that all do feel equal in this sea of green, all participants wear blue.

Every moment at Daughters, and crones believe each moment precious, Shari Yetto, High Priestess and crone said, “Being a crone at Daughters of the Moon means, for me, watching the maidens grow and helping the mothers through my experiences. Too, I love the way that we can kick up our heels with the maidens or, if we choose, sit outside on the large patio, listen to the wind go through the trees and just ‘jaw.’ As crones, we can talk about anything and everything including things the maidens will roll their horrified eyes at until one of the mothers takes them aside and says, “Don’t worry. ‘They’ say and do anything. It’s a ‘crone thing.’ They have earned the right to tell their stories bawdy or tame.’” Serious stories with messages and tales of their adventurous lives abound. All of the crones tell you that until you are a crone, some of those stories hold wounds and when young have not been processed enough to tell with humor. The crones here no longer attach themselves to what was but to what is.

Another reason for attending Daughters of the Moon is, for McGeorge, that “once here you have the courage to start peeling the layers of the proverbial onion that is your self because you are not as afraid to in this safe environment of women encircling and embracing you. Each year I find out more and more who I am and that no longer will I take the flak that some of my reality throws at me when I return home. Here I am becoming who I always have been while before I felt forced to give the me of me up.”

What do these one hundred women bring with them to Daughters of the Moon besides a lot of luggage? Anne Pelloth expresses that, “While preparing for Daughters of the Moon, I can see and feel all the smiling faces I will encounter, and I think about all the stories that I will revel in while the drummers drum bringing unity, identity, and a renewed sense of wonder and awe. Each year of the sixteen years I have attended, I resolve to be the ear needed for those who need an ear. I bring all my joy and laughter. I leave all my “baggage” and my “issues” at home where, upon return, I find that I can handle them with more ease. Here, I know and feel, with great anticipation, that I will more deeply connect with old friends and meet many more who will walk the long red road with me forever. Not only is this what I anticipate and anxiously wait for an entire year before another Daughters of the Moon reconvenes, I take home all that I bring only enlarged and expanded upon. The basket I bring with me I have to trade for a larger one to hold even more memories and more friends and companions, more truth and more love.”

Daughters of the Moon, where spirituality is not a goal because it is there already among the tall trees that stand sentry over all the sanctity of women no matter their age, is a wonder to behold leaving all with feelings of reconnected awe, wonder and Goddess love. Women will flock to Daughters of the Moon from as far away as Texas for many years to come where they can be their bliss. It is their Avalon.


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Merideth Allyn

Location: Jackson, Tennessee

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