The Croning Ceremony

May 6th, 2013


In celebration of her 60th birthday, my dear friend Kelly held a croning ceremony and invited friends to her home in the mountains outside of Connifer, Colorado, which she shares with Susan, her partner of over 30 years.

For this event, The SC wore a vintage teal feather Eurona hat from Fabulous Fanny’s NYC, a large reversible shawl with floral embroidery and skirt with drape, both sale items from Mieko Mintz, and estate sale vintage green gloves, all on black background.


The ceremony was held on the anniversary of Nelson’s death, which allowed The SC to focus on the continuation of life on a day that held memories of loss. However, I was delinquent with my camera, and will tell the story without photos of the event.  Sometimes it’s important to accept that ‘what is’ is good enough and that total engagement in an experience doesn’t always include photography.


This was my first croning ceremony, but according to Barbara Hannah Grufferman HERE, who writes about The The Croning of America on the Huffington Post, there is a growing number of women, mostly over 50, who are participating in similar celebrations of aging and empowerment.

Kelly’s ceremony, creatively prepared by Susan, was a beautiful recognition of a milestone and a celebration of wisdom and personal power. We were each asked to bring a token to attach to Kelly’s walking stick, which she brought back from a trip to Australia this past year.  I gathered a collection of trinkets and pieces from my jewelry collection and hung each meaningful symbol from a leather cord. One by one, we presented our gifts to Kelly, expressing what it meant to us, and how it honored her.

The group consisted of women from diverse backgrounds, life experiences and belief systems.  What we shared was a respect for the aging process and the intention to engage and support one another in viewing the crone as a woman of dignity, worth and compassion for herself and others.

Following the ceremony, we gathered for dinner and wine, laughing, telling stories and enjoying relationships that had developed over numerous years.  Many of us had worked in mental health, and had been caregivers across the decades.  We talked about plans for the future, how we wanted to spend our time going forward, and spoke of women who surely would have been at the gathering but were no longer physically present.


Photos by Diana

Instead of turning our backs on our inner crone and denying that this time can be filled with life enhancing experiences to be faced fearlessly with enthusiasm, we were marking and embracing the transition.  With support and community, this phase of life can be enjoyed as thoroughly and joyfully as any other.  We have wisdom and experience to share with a world in need of healing, and hopefully this concept will encourage a more accepting cultural norm for aging for generations to come.  Everybody gets old.


The croning ceremony invitation, with Kelly where she loves to be, in the midst of nature.


The walking stick adorned with momentos from friends.

It’s the beginning of the week, which means that it’s time for Patti’s festive and supportive gathering at Visible Monday HERE at Not Dead Yet Style.

27 Responses to “The Croning Ceremony”

  1. Lynn

    You look absolutely stunning! I love the cape! I love the whole outfit! I am so glad you showed us the walking stick. I was thinking as I read through, I am going to ask for a picture of the walking stick, and there it was!!


  2. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    Me too – thanking you for including a picture of the walking stick. What a wonderful ceremony, so uplifting. Your wrap and hat are simply exquisite, SC! Thanks for sharing all the wonder with Visible Monday.

  3. Shelley

    The Croning Ceremony sounds like such a meaningful, positive way to celebrate aging as a journey and a process. I love the idea! Your blog has done much to change my view of the aging process and prove that there is much joy and passion to be found in the latter part of our lives. Thank you for that! You look beautiful in the purple and turquoise.

  4. Willa

    I’ve not heard of croning ceremonies, but I love the idea and was moved by your report on such events. — I love the wrap you wear in these photos. I wear them year round as an easy, elegant means of having comfort in changing tempertures both indoors and outside.

  5. Jeannie@gracefully50

    What a wonderful post! I’ve never heard of Croning Ceremony but I love the concept and the meaning behind it.
    As for your outfit, no one can compare to your fabulousness!

  6. Melanie

    That walking stick is mighty powerful. I bet there were lights above the house while you were all together. As for more earthly concerns, you exude warmth in your cool colours. Beautiful, Judith!

  7. Vix

    What a fantastic idea, embracing age with open arms! You look wonderful!
    I burnt my walking stick when I finally managed to walk without it – maybe I’ll adorn the next one! xxx

  8. Amber of Butane Anvil

    Dear Judith, I am totally in deepest respect and highest admiration of your wisdom and beauty. This entire post speaks to honour, and to being wholly present. Joyous Croning, Kelly!

    A word that is not so far from “crowning.”

  9. Pam@over50feeling40

    First of all, you look gorgeous…the cape is so beautiful! I turn 60 in about 10 weeks! I had not heard of a croning ceremony, but you have peeked my interest…it sounds like you had a wonderful day. I am not sure how I will mark this milestone!!

  10. Spashionista (Alicia)

    I am in love with that shawl and how regal you look with it draped just so around you! Judith, you always seem to wear the colors I love most and in a way that looks so polished yet playful.
    I have heard of a Croning ceremony in the Wiccan tradition but I’m not sure it’s the same as the one you are describing. It sounds like a wonderful gathering and I’m glad you were there to enjoy the company of your friends and celebrate your own accomplishments.

    Spashionista (Alicia)

  11. Tamera the Menopausel Supermodel

    I am so having a croning ceremony when I turn 60!!
    The shawl is just STUNNING!! you look amazing in the emerald green and purple!!

  12. Paula

    Croning ceremony–I LOVE IT!sign me up
    And what about that snow!!!!!
    Love your look!

  13. Jan Graham-McMillen

    How lovely you look. Such color, and such theatre and such flair! I’m happy for you that you spent the day honoring your friend. Very good thing, that. Graceful.
    I’m feeling like I’m Mother, Maiden and Crone all together at this stage of life. I’m sure that some days you wake up feeling 18 again, and have all the creative instincts of the motherhood years without all the bother. I’m not sure I’m ever going to have the wisdom of the Croning years although I’m well into them.
    But you are surely the best example of the life stage as our very own Style Crone, and I’m happy to know you!

  14. PinkCheetahVintage

    That walking stick is amazing and the whole experience sounds awesome. We all don’t get old, only the lucky ones do. You look fantastic.

  15. Judith Boyd

    You are absolutely right Becky. It is a privilege to grow old.

  16. Val Sparkle

    That’s a wonderful story, and a wonderful idea. My sister-in-law has a walking stick that she had attached tokens to, but to have a mix of things given to you but would so meaningful – and fun!

    Your shawl is stunning, and the colors seem quite appropriate for a croning ceremony. I’m glad you didn’t take pictures. You’re right – it’s more important to be present.

  17. Jean

    Although I would have enjoyed the pictures, I also think it’s better to be in the moment, not necessarily recording it. It sounds like a lovely celebration and I’m so glad you were able to participate on that particular day. I love the outfit and also the way you recreated it for the post. I often think of doing that, although so far I haven’t managed to. The colors are rich and luxurious; they are some of my favorites. You still have snow!!! Wow. The opportunities for layering abound!! 🙂 Lucky you.

    Love to you and Camille!! Joey’s coming your way in June (I think) but unfortunately I’m stuck here. I’ll give you the details when I know them. XXXOOO

  18. pao

    Yay to the croning years. And to celebrating them with other wise women, creating rituals to honor the milestones of our life. I’m so up for that. Even better than a tea party.
    And you are perfectly decked out for such an event in your royal colors and ceremonial robes. Long live the crone age!

  19. Sylvia

    Beautifully written as always Judith and such wise words. It sounds like the kind of ceremony I would like to have and I will certainly honour the word Crone. First milestone for me is 50 though which is still a few years away…. Your outfit is beautiful as always!

  20. Curtise

    What glorious colours in your outfit, Judith, and such beautiful textures and details. A perfect look for such a fascinating and empowering event. Your description of Kelly’s celebration doesn’t need photos, sometimes it’s right to experience, and not observe and record.
    Yes, how particularly poignant that the event fell on the anniversary of Nelson’s death. Celebrating life and reflecting on loss… We do all grow old. If we are lucky. xxxxx

  21. Anne-Marie Bruun

    It is a beautiful composition of your lovely clothes. In my experience, when women are together there will be a lot of energy. It sounds very beautiful and interesting with this beautiful Croning Ceremony.


    I would love to meet you so very much, dear Judith, ahhhhhh

  23. Mrs D

    What a lovely ceremony it must have been. Aging is an inevitability but sometimes a bit difficult to accept. Something like this adds a lot of positivity to the process. It’s about time!
    You looked stunning as always!

  24. Ariane

    Hi Judith,

    You are a very lucky woman to be able to enjoy this time of live with such joy and enthusiasm, not everybody is lucky like you – But there are women of your age despite good health and a confortable life who can’t enjoy life as much as you do, and this is a shame because we should give as much or more as we received – You do that well Judith – You took a sad situation, the death of your beloved husband and made it something positive and plus you shared it with us!
    Thank you from the bottom of my earth

    You are a great example

    Love and hugs

    Ariane xx

  25. Emalina

    What a marvellous idea the croning ceremony was, a celebration of life and the natural aging process as a positive, momentous occasion rather than something which as a society we seem told to hide and feel bad about.

    You did your friend proud wearing that heavenly outfit: you look so gorgeous wearing that hat and amazing shawl. Thanks for another thought provoking, beautiful and heartfelt post my dear.

  26. Linda

    Judith, I really enjoyed reading about this event. How wonderful that women are celebrating this time of their lives with close friends. I was just so moved by it all. And you look incredible as always. Thank you so much for sharing.

  27. The Good Will Hunting Paralegal

    Judith, I’ve been having trouble commenting (pro’bly on my end), but I do hope this one goes through. I love the idea of a croning ceremony and believe it’s important to look forward, no matter how old we are and what we are going through. It’s hope, optimism, experience, love, and life that keep us going. At least that’s what I keep telling myself as we face our immediate future.

    Much love,

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