This is me portraying Witch 1 (shown, in the photo, with Stephen Cole, who played the eponymous villain of the piece) during Shadow of the Tor/His and Hers Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’.
I think it apt – as the months, and then weeks, roll up the carpet of fifty-nine and, very soon, propel me into the new weave of my sixties – that I was able to enact on stage something of my own beliefs concerning Crones, age, witches and women – and, indeed, that I got the part in the first place.
My birth sign of Capricorn starts in ten days’ time – and my sixtieth birthday will occur two weeks after Christmas. I love this time of year, and always have. My spirit often blooms with life and colour and joy, and I adore Yule, Christmas, the Solstice. I love wintery weather and the fragile beauty of days like this one. I cherish holly, the red and the rarer golden, and thrill to the sound of carols, both ancient and more modern.
I feel, at present, lively, spritely and inquisitive about reaching sixty. It is a number I have not attached to myself before and I am curious to see what it feels like and how it fits the bundle of youth and age I have always been!
Thinking of the Triple Goddess, I love all the stages therein – and do not think we ever stop being Maiden entirely, nor does the Mother aspect leave us. Crone I have been, in many ways, for several years now – and it does not frighten or disgust or worry me. It just seems like the logical next step upon Womanhood’s rich and diverse Path.
I think I have strong roots and, though my bark is a little bit bald and grey in places, and some mossy clumps have infiltrated the clean lines of youth, the early morning December sun still shines gloriously upon my trunk and leaves and, as the solar orb climbs and radiates, gives a russet glow to the mistletoe at the top.
There seems to be a deep-seated, and widespread, fear of darkness, Winter and age, especially amongst women. I attribute this to the common assumption that Cronehood confers ugliness and takes away sexuality and the power to attract – and, of course, death’s ability to terrorise. And yet, for this, I think my extended Winter-based metaphor works very well. A morning like this one is every bit as beautiful, as inspiring and as conducive to inner fluids flowing and loins stiffening as is its Spring counterpart. Increasing age is the same!
So, I look forward to reaching sixty! I hope to celebrate it with family and friends – and I am determined that this sixtieth anniversary of my birth year will finally see the publication of ‘Heneghan’!
My garden, caught in these images this very merry morning, is every bit as lovely now as it was during the burgeoning of Spring, the heights of Summer and the colourful glories of Autumn.
Female power and loveliness does not depend upon the smoothness of skin, the lustre of hair or brimming fertility. Beauty, to my mind, is bred deep in the bone – and the power to attract both survives youth and goes far beyond the sex act!
With thanks to John. G. Moore for the ‘Macbeth’ image.