Took an early morning walk with Lola (she's a BIG dog in a medium package; walking Lola and Yeti separately is far easier than trying to make it a threesome). All the cliches come to mind after the endless rain--lush, Emerald Isle green. Near one house there were waist-high ostrich ferns. The air was fresh and damp, the perfect olfactory backdrop for sweet and spicy floral scents to linger and tease. Most of the flowers are still shy and subtle--fading lilacs, lavender and white Dame's Rocket, pink tulips, honeysuckle in pale yellows, white and dusty pink. But one garden made me laugh with the sheer audacity of its offerings....some poppy-like flowers, already past their prime (perhaps just worse for wear from all the rain) in brazen orange. Alarm orange. Carmen Miranda orange. They had a flounce to them, flirty if wrinkled prom dresses the morning after the evening's festivities. It was a lovely walk, and a sense-stirring start to the day. Next time I'll bring the camera, I promise.
Ever since Monday's personal milestone of--gasp!--turning 50, I've been pondering and poking at what to call this phase of my life. As a Goddess-loving pagan, three archetypes are ever-present in my consciousness--Maiden, Mother, Crone, of course. For years now, I've wondered where I fall in this triptych. The Maiden ship long since sailed. My kids are grown and on their own; while the Mother doesn't require literal embodiment, and what with the menagerie and gardens, and creative juices flowing, one could make a Mother argument, but it doesn't feel that way anymore. However, I'm not at Cronehood yet. Don't know why, since I know plenty of womyn who celebrated Cronings at this age, but nope.
There's alot of work being done around a fourth archetype for exactly this stage in life, betwixt and between, not quite this, not ready for that. Much of the popular work calls it the 'Queen'. That terminology, 'Queen', 'sovereignty', 'making a royal sceptor' and so forth makes my skin crawl with the dress-up pretension of it. As one friend put it, makes you think of platform shoes and rhinestones. Okay, my head hadn't gone there, but it either makes me see dusty, ineffectual, figurehead royalty or men in wigs and evening gowns. Either way, no thanks. DEFINITELY not there!
But the concept of the fourth archetype, one that embraces the creativity and births still happening, journeys still to be taken, wisdom--limited though it may be--born of age and experience, the strong sense of self, personal empowerment, the standing straight and tall in one's truth....this time of life--Autumn, the waning gibbous moon--perhaps does deserve its own representation, its own honoring. But what do we call it??? Shaman--because its so clearly and distinctly a place between accepted worlds? Maybe, but that's not quite it. Priestess? Sometimes perhaps, but each archetype can have its own priestesses. Magician or Empress as aforementioned friend suggested? The former is too rabbit and white-tipped-wand evoking for me, and Empress, while carrying more oomph than Queen, is far too regal for the likes of this flip-flop wearing non-monarch. Wisewomon? I can maybe get behind that one, on a good day, anyway; the rest of the time, not so much; that word carries alot of pressure and expectation. Certainly, we could forego the label and just 'be', but what do you call it? Some of this, not quite that; a foot here, another there; burnished by the sea of time but no pushover victim of the waves; miles to go before you sleep? Do you feel a need for a fourth archetype? Who, what and why?