Nicola Kenyan – Musing on Cronehood


I don’t know who writes the rulebook on exactly when a middle-aged witch gets to advance or graduate to cronehood, but I am in my last few months of my 40’s, and for some reason, I feel like 50, should I be lucky enough to make it there, might be the key to the door. When I was growing up in a half English, half Irish, full-pelt Catholic household, you couldn’t wait for your 21st. You got “the key to the door” when you turned 21 and it seemed that the whole world was going to be laid out on a plate for you. Though I can recall that nothing changed as I woke on the morning of the 20th of January 1993. And I was bitterly disappointed! In fact, I do recall still having to do all the mundane day to day crap I always had to do and feeling rather owly about it. Like I had been lied to. These days, I think that with what life/family/health/the bloody world can throw at you, if you are blessed enough by the Universe to see your 50th birthday, then there should be a world-wide witch elders committee that has the dates of all the world’s witches turning 50 each day and they should put together another type of key to the door. Maybe a parcel with your favourite tipple, some chocolate, a “congratulations for surviving this far” from this elder witch council, along with Hecate’s key and some incense and herbs and maybe an under-eye lotion made of the piss from a pregnant toad. Or something. Possibly a big fucking medal and all. Let’s face it, women unlucky enough to be labelled “witch” in days gone by didn’t have much hope of seeing their 50th. Nor their 21st for that matter.


In the last couple of years when I have told people my age I have been met with gasps and comments, derision and commiseration. I have replied with “I’ll take the 50th birthday, ta. I don’t much fancy the alternative”. Each day you wake up on this side of the dirt is ok with me. I can’t quite understand agism. In my head, and no, not just now that I’m pounding that particular door down, your elders have a world of experience behind their eyes. They have a knowledge and wisdom and presence that I don’t. They have seen it, done it, lived it, created the t-shirt and they’re sat back chuckling to themselves watching you do something stupid that they mastered years ago. I value that knowledge. That experience. That wisdom. You might think you know your nearest and dearest elders and the life they have lived but I bet every one of them could impart some secret or story that you had no idea about. Something to make your pupils dilate and your cheeks burn.


I wholeheartedly believe that I go through life as I’m collecting my experiences also collecting bits of energy from my exploits, from people, places and things. Surely at a certain age that energy is palpable to those around you sensitive to such? I have met older witchy women who you can feel electricity bouncing off. There is a power there, a palpable power. Unspoken. Unsaid. Yet undeniable. It simply emanates from some women. Rarely, in my 25 years of immersing myself in as much traditional witchcraft as I can find, have I felt that same energy, wisdom, knowledge, electricity and power in a much younger woman. There is a different energy there, of course, with its own excitement and attributes, but not the same as a crone. Being a crone is wearing a badge of honour. You made it! Congrats on not being dead yet! You’re officially old and wise! Hurrah!

Imagine how many summers that woman has walked barefoot through fields, over the rushes, through the sand squirming between her toes, into the water as it tickles her ankles, calves and then thighs as she wades deeper into the sea. I should be so lucky to be a party to the earthy ions and energy she has amassed along the way. Imagine how many different types of incense smoke and their components have wafted through her hair, clinging and penetrating until they become a part of her down to a cellular level. Imagine the lessons from the failed spell work that she has seen and felt. Imagine the wonder and joy when she manifested something she intended to. Possibly for the first time. Imagine the granules of herbs, resins, soil, blood that have worked their way into a permanent home in the creases of her hands. What this woman now carries with her is an ancient energy kissed by the elements, by nature, by spirit, by things and beings we can only hope we will get to feel as we forge our own paths through the ether. She carries all of this with her, now and until her last breath. Surely, that is something any witch worth her salt (sorry, had to) aspires to? I sure as shit do.

Without going too deep into a woman’s deepest desires can you imagine how many times that woman has been touched in ways she did and did not like? She will know how to do things with her own body that make me blush thinking about it. She doesn’t give a shit anymore that her left areola is larger than her right. Both those nipples have a lifetime of tenderness to them, who gives a rat’s arse if they don’t look like a Playboy centrefold? Those magazines are photoshopped anyway. Do you want a woman who is afraid you’ll mess up her hair for her post-coital Instagram selfie, or do you want a woman who not only knows exactly what to do with you but she can show you what to do with her and she doesn’t give a flying fuck if she has a roll on her belly as she is bending over in front of you. She is going to make you feel energy you didn’t know was possible. She has a lifetime of passion and knowing and you’d be feckin’ lucky to share some of that energy she could raze you to the ground with. I’m not saying that a supple, fit young woman wanting to learn, to explore herself and her desires is anything less than a wonderful thing! A knowledge that has seen and felt it all and bloody well mastered it can bring you into that energy, if only for a short time. Part of her energy is now yours. Use it wisely and respectfully. Reverence is not too strong a term. Forgive the language but I felt that paragraph intensely!


I delved into witchcraft after a childhood of wondering why I just couldn’t figure out how to be a good Catholic girl like my female relatives (whom I adored and idolised). I had a matriarchal family on both maternal and paternal sides. Both sides, English and Irish, were “run” by unbelievably strong, brave and bold women who told me, from as long as I can recall, that I was a woman who had no boundaries, no limitations and that I could do whatever the hell I wanted to. At the same time, these women were dragging me to mass. I started to wonder, around 12 or 13, why these women were telling me I could do as I bloody well pleased, yet they were taking me to an institution that was completely run by men. At the time, girls couldn’t be in the choir, they couldn’t be altar boys (clue’s in the name), and as a woman, if I chose to, I wasn’t good enough to be a leader in my own faith. WHAT?! What the shit is this?!

This is when I started to REALLY question, but some of the earliest memories I have were “seeing things” that I was told I shouldn’t be seeing. When I once told my grandma that I had seen the perfect form of a cloven-hooved, antlered man figure (who weirdly, happened to be blue/green in colour and not your typical “devil red”), clear as day, on the bedroom wall (and I could describe him in accurate detail), I was then told stories about how the devil was a man on his top half but goat on his bottom half. I was told how I would hear him coming by the clip-clop-clip-clop of his hooves on the floor. I was regaled with tales of the devil and how he corrupted young women and now I must be a better Christian because he was obviously presenting himself to me. Why in the hell was I seeing the devil on the bedroom wall?! I started wondering if I was possessed. The thing about these “seeing things” episodes is that I was never frightened after seeing them. The fear only came if I told someone about it because then it became evil or wrong.

I was told stories, in hushed tones by a couple of family members, about my “formidable” great-great grandmother in Lancashire who lost her husband, had nine children, and had to figure out how to solely support them all. She took in people’s washing. To make all the ends meet she would wander into the forest for roots, berries, plants, and make salves, poultices and tinctures and sell them to help what was ailing her neighbours. I was fascinated! I felt like I knew her and I wanted more. How did she know good plants from bad plants? How did she know how to mix them? How did she know what plant would help what? How?! I needed to know! The stories dwindled as my desire for them grew. It was as if they were no longer acceptable to be spoken of. The more I asked, the less I was hearing. I stopped asking after a while and didn’t give her much more thought until I found that my grandad had been writing his memoirs as he was dying. After his death, I found the early drafts, and there she was, alive, bold as brass, cunning and unapologetic, my great-great grandma, in the pages. He spent quite a bit of time with her as a child and he unashamedly discussed her at length. Of course, it wasn’t anywhere near enough information as it was HIS memoir and she was already older as his grandmother, so she didn’t live much longer in his story.

Hearing about my great-great grandma growing up and knowing that people didn’t really like to talk about her, I was startled to find a book in my grandparent’s basement called “Witchcraft” by Eric Maple. It was shoved away in the storage room in the bottom of a box with old musty books. I STILL love that smell. I could hardly believe it. I can’t remember what I was looking for as I was digging around, but finding this book was a start to me wondering if I was indeed possessed after all! This was a large (for my little hands) glossy picture book with photos and diagrams and drawings and as I flipped through, I began to be aware of a feeling that I ought to be afraid. But I wasn’t. I wanted to absorb every page. This book seemed to give a kind of permission to ordinary looking folk to do extraordinary things. There were normal folk looking like accountants and geography teachers, only they were wearing antler crowns and precious little else! What I will always remember was the photographs of perfectly normal looking women and men and they were naked! No bad sets. No silly lighting or story lines like I had glimpsed on very late-night telly or “those” magazines that were supposed to be hidden under beds and in cupboards. Normal people obviously doing some kind of magical ritual, only naked! And it didn’t seem to be “a thing”. It just seemed like being naked was natural and accepted and they were simply going about their witchy business. Naked! The descriptions of what they were doing were not calling them wrong, or evil, simply explaining why they were doing what they were doing. Naked! This was something I thought was extraordinary. A woman could be a lead figure in her “religion”, have the respect of her peers, have the following of her juniors, all whilst being older and naked! This wasn’t Catholicism! What in the fuck WAS this?! I wasn’t quite sure, but I put that book in a hiding spot where I was sure no one could find it and over the next many years, I went back to it time and time again. The only time I had heard the word witchcraft it had been associated with evil and negativity and hell and godlessness and the judgement of the world and the Christian God, yet here it was, pretty open and informative and I wasn’t getting any of those words when I looked at MY book. When both my grandparents had died and my mother and my two uncles were clearing out 78 years’ worth of clutter, I made it my mission to find MY book. That same book that I can recall being utterly enthralled by and paged through year after year, time after time, now lives in my bookshelf and I feel a strange but complete connection to that little girl every time I pick it up. It’s almost as though I am sitting in my grandparent’s dank basement, squirrelled away behind the boxes, on the cold concrete floor, the occasional spider strutting by (“alright?” nod of acknowledgement), excited, confused, bewildered and absolutely consumed. “Hello Nicola. Nice to see you again. It’s been a little while. Shall we read together? Look, it’s our book”.

The stories about my great-great grandmother, my discovery of this book, my unwillingness to really think that there was something terrible and evil about me and my disdain for the patriarchal bullshit being rammed down my neck in the Catholic church, are all things I am now very grateful for because they started me onto a path that I will die learning. I still learn. Daily. I will always be learning and when I am on my deathbed, if I have a say in the matter, I will still be learning about my path.

I can recall from VERY early childhood being the first child of my mother’s friend group. We would gather at a cabin in a wood by creek (more of raging river actually but the term creek was more quaint and appealing to the older folks). At the time, all my mother’s friends had dogs. I was always more interested in being outside with the dogs than in the cabin with the people. My mum is still fond of telling the story of whenever she would call to me from out of the cabin door to come in to eat. She would shout my name a couple of times and from out of the tall pines would come a pack of dogs running with a little blond head bobbing in the middle of the pack. She still calls me “runs with dogs” which she alternates with the affectionate and wholly deserved moniker of “baby chaos”. She’s told me for many years that I’m a “weird shit magnet”. She has a point. Or few.

Animals, it seemed to me, had no “creepy factor” like humans did. I always felt things from humans. Things I didn’t like. Sometimes, after meeting someone for the first time, I would proclaim loudly to the bewilderment of my elders, “I don’t like him”. This would inevitably bring on the scolding and reprimands. I couldn’t verbalise why I didn’t like someone but I just knew I didn’t. By the same token, there were people I was instantly drawn to for reasons again that were unknown to me. Animals had none of the extra feelings that came with humans. I simply loved them. And they loved me. I could stare into the eyes of a dog for what seemed like ages, willing them to open their mouths and speak to me in words as I just KNEW they were in there somewhere! Every time someone was hurt, or something bad happened, there was always a person at the end of it. You never heard of animals hurting people.

I knew I preferred being outside, wandering through the wood, taking off my shoes in the thick moss, being awestruck finding the bones of an animal, listening to the way the river sounded and seemed to form words to me when I closed my eyes and sat on the bank for hours. These were feelings I could not get in an echoing, drafty, mouldy smelling old church with a gnarled old man churning out words I didn’t understand, being elbowed when it was time to get up for communion, having to stick out my tongue for the judgemental old man in the dress for him to place the tasteless, turn to paste host in my open mouth. I never had priests that seemed to be happy in their work. And the nuns! Christ on his bike, they were miserable old sadists. If all the men who “ran” the Catholic church were that miserable and the nuns that were all “married to God” were that miserable, why did they choose that life for themselves?! Didn’t they ever go and sit in the wood, like I did? Didn’t they let the wind whip their hair into tangles their mothers cursed as they tried to brush out? Didn’t they ever get their hands and feet so dirty that they would have to scrub off the first few layers of skin to clean? Didn’t they ever sit on the thick, bouncy, wet moss on the creek bank, listening to the water whisper to them whilst sleeping dogs lay all around them? How come they didn’t? I didn’t want to go to mass. I didn’t want to listen to words that seemed so far-fetched, even at a young age, that I didn’t believe even when my elder-women so devoutly did?


I LOVED my maiden phase. I was young, extroverted, curious, quizzical, bold, extremely open-minded and explored everything I tripped over on my path. At the risk of incriminating myself and turning this into 50 shades of grey magick, I think I’ll leave it there. I had a good time. Though I’m REALLY not ready to jack it all in just yet (shit to do, people to hex), if I had to shuffle off this mortal coil tomorrow, I’ve had a feckin’ good time! I’m sometimes saddened at looking at photos of my raucous youth. I look at them now and think “Wow, were you foxy!” and I grieve ever so slightly. I thought I had fat thighs. I had too many freckles. That roll on my belly when I sat down was repugnant to me. If I had that body now…if I had my time again, with my mind as it is now…I would have taken on the whole stinking world. I have to remember, I did enough. I lived. And then some. It was how it was supposed to be, at that time and I am grateful, even in my occasional sorrow.

I have, over the years, met women I have learned from and respected who have then shocked the shit out of me by proclaiming that a woman and witch, cannot be complete unless she fully experiences ALL of the stages. Well, shit! That’s me buggered then, isn’t it? I’m sure most witches do get to be blessed enough to pass through all these stages in their lifetime but what of those women who don’t get to be mothers? It’s not only witches but politicians and celebrities who have passed judgement on women who have remained childless for a myriad of differing reasons. And it boils my witchy piss. And you know what witches can do with a good dose of boiled piss!

Let’s use me as an example. I realised, when I started to be hospitalised every couple of months when my period came, around 17-18, that something wasn’t right. None of my relatives or friends were collapsing with blood loss and breath-taking pain when they bled. In the 80’s I was diagnosed with endometriosis. In those days the treatment was a D&C. They would go into your uterus with a scrapey tool (technical term-obvs) and scratch and scrape the lining (the endometrium) of your uterus and hoover it away. The logic at the time was almost like it was to “re-set” the lining so that it had to build up again before it became heavy and caused lots of bleeding and pain again. What they didn’t know was that this scrapey-scrapey was causing a colossal build-up of scar tissue! Fast forward to my late 30’s, married late ‘cause I just didn’t see the need, more D&C’s than you can shake a scrapey stick at, six laparotomy/laser removals later, when I finally did get married, it wasn’t looking good for the ol’ procreation. Rounds of expensive and self-funded IVF later, one round of donor eggs later, a pregnancy with twins that made it to 12 weeks before they spontaneously both said “fuck this uterus, I’m outta here”, a week apart…and there I was. “You aren’t producing eggs even on the highest doses of drugs, endometriosis stopped your ovaries from making eggs years ago and your uterus is too damaged. You’ll never have your own and you’ll never carry. We’re very sorry”. I tried. Gods know I tried! My body would not. It was physically and medically impossible for me. Going through all of that, for years and freaking years, and I am now subject to a judgement of not being a “real”, “whole” or “complete” woman OR witch by other women and witches?! Fuck you.’ Nuff said.

I have maternal instincts. I have been a mother to many friends over the years who needed it at the time. I have been a mother to my clients. I am a funeral director. I look after people who are broken and carry them through the first stages of their grief and new journey without someone. I have been and am now a mother to animals I have given a home and a very nice life to. I have been a mother to a few who have asked for my wisdom and introduction to my own crooked path in the beginning of their version. I am a mother to those who need me. And I am NOT any less of a woman because I could not create or birth another human. When was the last time you left the house? 1957?! If a woman chooses not to have her own children for ANY reason that is important to her, is she then not a real woman? Not capable of being a real witch? If a woman cannot have children naturally and adopts children, is she still then not a mother? Fucking ridiculous and quite frankly, I expect more from a matriarchal, feminine empowered, Goddess revering path! You can mother someone and be a mother without giving birth.

I realise that some of those descriptions and words may be rather crass, provocative and maybe even offensive to some. If I don’t speak of my experiences in my own way, with humour and irreverence, then they have the ability to do ongoing damage. If I reclaim some of that power then the pain is less. However messed up that may sound to others.

On my 30th birthday, my boyfriend at the time, who happened to be a club promoter, knew I wanted to have a blow-out birthday style so he hired in two bands I loved and I spent most of the night off my tits, on the dancefloor and paying for it for the following week. It was another key to the door phase as I saw it. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Obliterate your 20’s! And your liver.

On my 40th birthday, I wasn’t feeling the same love for 40, so I instructed everyone I knew that it was just another day and there would be zero fuss tolerated. It was so low-key that I can’t even recall what I did! I do recall the most beautiful thick, chunky, silver and Whitby Jet locket that I got from my parents-in-law. I never told them that I didn’t put a photo of me and my (now-ex) husband in it as was their intention. I filled it with a sliver of yew bark, salt used in a specific Samhain ritual, shards of broken hematite and black tourmaline, three of my cat’s whiskers, some of my hair, a herbal concoction, a few drops of my blood, a blackthorn pin and a few other choice ingredients. It was amusing when I had stuffed it too full and it fell open at work, its contents scattering and clinking across the tiled floor. My colleague bent down to pick something up. “Nic, what in the hell just fell out of your necklace?” he asked. “DON’T TOUCH IT!!!” I shrieked. I had some explaining to do. They got the abridged version.

My 50th birthday will be immense. In a very toned-down affair. I have been creating a ritual for the last few weeks that I plan to do on the night of my 50th, by myself, of course. It is going to be a waning gibbous moon so will be about releasing what no longer serves me as I approach Cronehood. It will be an acceptance of who and what I am and celebration of such. It will be a fuck right off to a lifetime of judgement for being a bad Catholic, a weirdo, a witch, too creepy, too morbid, too outspoken, too emotional, too bold, too intense, too wild, too set in her own ways, TOO MUCH, and many, MANY other things along the way. It will be a thanks-giving for what I have, what I have been through to get here and the old witch I have made it to.


A crone’s responsibility to educate. Do I feel this? I suppose somewhat. Trying to find what information I could in the 80’s and 90’s wasn’t easy. I would lurk around libraries in the “darker” sections and take out several books at a time. This was continually met with judgement from the ladies checking my books out for me. Looks over the tops of horn-rimmed glasses. Pursed lips. Face like a cat’s arsehole. Some of them went a half an inch short of crossing themselves as I was leaving the library. Remember mail-order?! Nope, probably not. In the days before the world wide web and everything you could think of at your fingertips, a young woman trying to educate herself on something that was still considered “not normal” or “unhealthy” like witchcraft, the occult, satanism, etc, well, it wasn’t easy! If you didn’t have anyone you knew who could guide or teach you, you bloody well found it yourself! The majority of my education came from me refusing to give up and searching out everything I possibly could. I was lucky AND unlucky along the way to find women who I learned from.

One had given herself the title of “high-priestess” and started her own strict Gardnerian Wiccan coven (well, that’s what she called it anyway). She started to insist that I take part, with someone of HER choosing, in the “great rite”, even though the man she chose for me, I wouldn’t have touched with hers! I was made to feel uncomfortable when I refused. She was also the woman who said to me “Everybody knows that witches aren’t blonde”. At the time, I was nigh on platinum. Her own insecurities didn’t allow her to ever like blondes so therefore, they weren’t allowed to be witches. She had more rules than a chubby, mad, North Korean dictator. I swear to this day that she hexed me when I finally told her to bugger off.

Another I learned from was the opposite, who’s patience, kindness and willingness to answer every ridiculous question asked of her, is still a wonder to me. She was the one who told me I didn’t NEED a coven to be a witch. I didn’t NEED rules to be a witch. I didn’t NEED anyone else’s approval for anything. This was MY path and the only way it was going to work was if I figured out what felt right for me and not anyone else. Eclectic witchcraft is what she called it. The first time I heard the term. It is both these women that make me want to help someone just finding their feet on this crooked path. I want to be there for people who are truly struggling and I want to ensure they know that their path is theirs, not dictated by someone who gives themselves a title or however many degrees they think it takes to make you relevant. No amount of knot tying, chanting and widdershins double-dutch skipping is going to create the energy you will, once you find your own intent and strengths.

I like to think of myself as an open-minded aul boiler. That is a very northern (England) expression for an older lady, only considerably less complimentary. I quite like it. As it refers to me only. I would never call someone else it! I always thought it was funny. I have earned the right to call myself an aul boiler! But you can’t! Saying that, I think I’m pretty left leaning and open-minded, an old hippie really, I have to admit that I struggle with the current world as it relates to the path that I love. I’m not saying that simply because I had to struggle and work my arse off just to find information, that every witch should. That’s like a parent begrudging their child something they didn’t have as a child if they can easily give it to them. I don’t understand that. If someone needs the information, it could help them, and you have the knowledge, why wouldn’t you offer it? And when I say offer, I MEAN OFFER, NOT SELL. I do not and will not ever agree with anyone who chooses to sell knowledge or teaching with regard to the craft. If you want to make things and sell them, fine, your hard work and base ingredients go into that. You should be compensated for that. Anyone selling courses, knowledge, information goes against everything I was ever taught and believe in as far as the responsibility of an elder witch passing on their knowledge to the betterment of another witch. “I can teach you how to be a witch in this 13-moon program for £1333”. Nope. You can’t. Fuck off. Your own mistakes can teach you more than a “high-priestess of the green woman hedgewitch school at toad hollow”. Load of massive old goat bollocks. Everything I was ever taught, even by the nuttier than squirrel shit Wiccan HP, said that a witch does not sell her knowledge. She can impart it upon whom she chooses, but to sell it is distasteful.

I’m not keen on these new-fangled ways of learning to be a hedgewitch from the “school of excellence” whilst posting your rituals all over Instagram. I know, the world is evolving and those who do not move with it will get left behind, BUT I do believe that there are elements of your craft that just belong to you, your siblings in the craft, your gods and elements, NOT the world wide feckin’ web! I DO use t’internet to find information, ideas, likeminded souls, I just wish people would have more respect for their path than opening up the whole world to everything they ever conjure. There are still aspects of this path that deserve and prefer to live in the shadow. Sometimes the shadow work is the best part! Is it an age thing? The crones I know post minimal photos of their altars and never post ritual. It seems that younger witches don’t have the same reverence or respect. Is that unfair of me? Simply evolution? Witchcraft going this way from here on in, or will these witches realise as they age and scale it back again? My preference is the latter but I don’t get to determine anyone else’s crooked path but mine!

A huge part of my education and love for this life is because it must be earned and strived for and worked at and bloody well respected, not handed over on a platter. It isn’t for everyone’s eyes. It certainly isn’t for those unwilling to invest the time and effort to hone their craft. If you’re after a quick spell on a Facebook page to get your ex back, may he knock-up your sister! I want to help those who ask in earnest for support. I want to ridicule those who ask for something to be handed to them because they can’t be bothered to put in the time and effort like us old witches have had to! I don’t ridicule by the way. Mostly I shut my mouth, shake my head and hope they learn. The hard way! It’s the only way they’re going to learn what works for them and not for a random stranger half way across the world. If I know it and you need it and I feel you’re going to honour it, I will give it. If you just watched The Craft and want to levitate your best mate off your bedroom floor and you ask me to help, I may get a bit snotty with you.

Speaking of Facebook, I was incensed reading something the other day. In some Pagan group or other, a conversation got a little heated between a younger and an older woman. It ended with the younger woman saying something similar to calling the woman a washed-up old crone and she had better be careful dealing with a young and powerful witch. “Be careful old woman” was the last sentence. I lost my fucking mind. Are you serious? Witch, please. First, you’re not a witch unless you’re completely aware that as you age and amass the experience, knowledge and wisdom that a crone has, you know nothing, John Snow. Every witch I have EVER spoken to in any kind of depth in MANY years, knows that if you continue in your practice your abilities do not wane, they wax, they grow, they feed. They mature! A witch also knows that she has never finished learning. She never knows it all. Never knows everything there is to know so she can relax now as the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful. What an utter load of shite. I would truly be humbled to meet the witch who knows so much that she knows it all and there is nothing left. If she exists, I’ll eat my (pointy) hat.

Second, if there is ANY religion/faith/spirituality/path in the world that would abhor agism in women and condone the threatening and insulting of an older woman by a younger one, it’s this one! Can you imagine? “I believe that a Goddess is just as powerful, if not more, than a God. I believe in duality and equality and a masculine and feminine balance as a light and dark balance BUT I’m going to belittle and threaten an older witchy woman and show her my big witch-dick”. Everything in me wanted to call her a petulant little girl but that would have placed me firmly at her level. You can be aware of and confident in your own abilities, but in this realm, calling a crone a washed-up old lady who ought to be careful when dealing with a powerful young witch is fucking laughable. At first, I was angry. Now it makes me chuckle and hope I get to somehow see part of this child’s learning. If I didn’t delve into the world of the internet, I wouldn’t see agism, blatant disrespect and injustice in my own community but then I also wouldn’t make any new friends. And speaking of friends…

There’s a line in the film Stand By Me that says “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone”? I remember seeing the film as a teen and thinking that line was really sad! I was always quite a sociable little thing who liked people, so I couldn’t imagine never being able to make friends as I pleased. Knocking on 50, after quite a few moves geographically speaking, losing friends in a divorce (the ones that say they won’t choose sides inevitably do) and being a little on the alternative path anyway, I find myself quite lonely! I still have friends that I have had since I was 12. Life, work, families, all get in the way and people drift. I get that. When you’ve been a solitary practitioner of witchcraft for most of your adult life, your options dwindle, especially as you get older. For many years this was my own doing. Coven life, after my experiences with Wacko Wiccan Wendy, didn’t seem to be for me. I had to learn MY path, MY way. Make my own mistakes, my own triumphs and only then, could I feel like I could reach out and involve anyone else. And in the last few years, as I have tried to do that more and more, I find that it’s harder as I’m older. The women I am attracted to, in a purely platonic “I respect your hexing abilities, Lady!” kind of way are indeed older, very wise but also very careful with it. They’re mindful, respectful and have worked for what they know. They are few and far between and certainly not plentiful to meet with in an out of the way area of northern England. I still don’t think I’m ready for coven life in its full capacity but IF there was the elder witch committee who supported a healthy, happy cronehood and would meet regularly…Pig. In. Shit. I often wonder if there are crones out there, begrudging having to go onto the internet at all, tired of their own company and wishing there was a curmudgeonly old hag just like my good self, willing them into existence! And all on a reasonable bus route. I am absolutely NOT saying that I don’t ever want to spend time with younger witches just starting to figure out who they are. It can be incredibly gratifying when you see their joy at finding their way. They also have plenty to teach me. I don’t belittle that! I just wonder why, as an older crone, it seems to have become more difficult to find like-minded souls?

I think that’s enough for now. The ramblings of a crone. Be who you are. Be too much. Be inquisitive. Be strong. Be kind. Be aware. Be wise. Be brave. Be thoughtful, Be and do the best you can with what you have at the time. Be the ear, the shoulder and the advocate someone needs. Be a guide. Be a friend. Be a fair lesson. Be a witch. Always be a witch. May the demons get lost on their way to your back door. Or some such old Irish nonsense my grandmother used to spout. I say, invite them in and teach them to do your bidding.

Be well!

Nicola Kenyon )0(