Hold on to your inner maiden when you become a midlife crone

Girl with garland
Spring Maiden
Watercolor on Arches #140 hot press

Spring is officially here.  Freshly laden with promise, sex, and the promise of sex; the season of flowers and babies has sproinged to life in the Northern Hemisphere. The maiden, full and fertile, drives mythology of the vernal equinox.

Spring is so closely identified with the maiden that we still tell the ancient myths about her: Stories of beautiful Persephone, emerging each spring from her winter home in Hades to touch the landscape with life; Myths of Ēostra, dawn goddess of ancient Britain, who so tickled St. Bede’s fancy that he attributed Easter festivals to remnants of her ancient cult. And songs of huntress Artemis, notching arrows to her bow, echo across the centuries to create Katniss Everdeen and her fight against the evil capitol of Panem.

We love the myth of the springtime maiden. Perhaps because we are in love with youth. But one of the unavoidable truths of life is that, unless death preempts it,  we are all going to age.

The crone often represents aging, the waning of the moon. Winter. She occupies a cold place in our cultural mythologies. We scare children (and adults) with stories of crones feeding princesses with poison apples, Baba Yaga beating the air with her pestle, fashion-forward heiresses making coats from puppies.

This is wrong. We need new stories. Tales that recognize the duality of spring and winter, and the worth of both ends of our lives.

Woman with dog
Spring Crone
Watercolor on Arches #140 hot press

Riding the wheel

Turning the wheel-Unfinished watercolor
© Margaret Sloan 2012

While I’ve been working on this painting, begun on my birthday, the meaning of getting older has become more germane. Last week a certain body part, which until now was self-regulated and well-behaved, went rogue—well, senescent, really—and evidently needs to be removed. It’s nothing major (thankfully it’s not my brain), but it still reminds me that, while my wheel is still spinning and humming, the revolutions per day will someday begin to slow down. But not just yet.

Still, it’s all the more reason to enjoy this crazy ride while I can!

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I want to thank the Toemail blog for picking up my original post about this painting.