She walks, slowly and contemplatively through the glowing stone Labyrinth. The moon is in shadow tonight and the only light comes from ahead, where she is awaited in the center circle. She arrives, bare feet caked with mud and is guided to a deep purple cushion at the place of honor. The faces around her are veiled. One at a time they come to her, washing her feet with cool water laced with frankincense and roses. There is a woman behind her, brushing her long, thick hair, and another painting dark henna on her fingertips. They sing while they work. Their words echoing honor and love. Sisterhood and motherhood. Passages of time and deepening wisdom.
The women return to their places in the circle and prostrate around her in the deep bow of wisdom pose while in the soft innocence of the child. She is overwhelmed. One by one they press themselves up and present a gift they have made for her just for this occasion. They have worked on their offering from New moon to Full, from Full to New, and now they lay their gifts at her feet. Someone is speaking. The Priestess of Ceremony. Her face is painted and her eyes are dark. She tells tale of the CrOwning time, of passing through Queendom and entering the realm of the Ancient and Wise Crone. She offers a story of a lesson gifted to her by the guest of honor. She speaks clearly and with gratitude and when she is finished, she kisses the Crone and places a feather in the crafted bowl at her feet. The woman beside her then lifts her veil and begins her story of lessons and gratitude gleaned from the Wise One, then she too rises, offers her kiss and places a dark black stone in the bowl. Around the Circle they go, sharing their voices and smiles, offering their piece of nature to represent their story until she looks out and sees all of their kind, shining eyes staring back at her.
It is her turn to speak now. What will she say?
They feast. Dishes of the utmost succulence passing around the circle, always arriving to her first. There is laughter, more stories, songs and drumming. She dances with the youngest of them all and at the end presents the gift of wisdom to that maiden. The gift that she has been preparing during the moontime, just for this occasion. It is a box, carved intricately with the utmost skill and beauty. But she whispers, “Not yet, my child.” And the girl knows. She knows that the gift is one of trust and that soon, when her first moonblood draws near, the box will be waiting to be opened. She kisses the grandmother and there are tears in both their eyes. “I love you.”
They sit and sing and love one another until the candles begin to flicker out, then they walk all together, hands held, back through and out of the Labyrinth.
This is but one story of a CrOwning Ceremony. Allow me the honor of creating yours.