By: Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® Mary Glazer
Here we were, four people on Zoom – a familiar sight these days. We were meeting as we had been for many months in support of the discernment process of our friend. The discernment had led to clarity about the way forward. So on this day, we had come together for something different, a moment to pause and reflect, looking back, looking forward, looking at now. This was a Queening ceremony.
Our friend had been through a long discernment process that of course included deep inner work and an emerging new sense of herself. I and two others accompanied her through this, meeting with her regularly as she found her path and her footing. As the discernment process came to an end with her new knowing about what she had to lay down and what her way forward is, I offered to write a ceremony for her marking this new place and her new emergent self. She said yes.
After sending her a questionnaire, I was not sure how to proceed in this ceremony. In large part, this was because my friend had experienced her spiritual foundations undergoing a major shift as she found her way to the Divine Feminine and the Goddess – something I am not very familiar with. I reached out to fellow certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® Justine Sutton, who is steeped in the spirituality of the Goddess, and asked if she knew of any rituals and/or ceremonies that would fit with where my friend now found herself.
This was Justine’s response:
The first thing that comes to mind for your friend is a Queening Ceremony. There are the 3 classic stages of the feminine–maiden, mother, crone–but many women now are embracing a stage between mother and crone, as their Queen phase. It is traditionally done after age 50 and embraces this wise and powerful stage, when there are still some decades left of productive life.
These are some sites I found with explanations/descriptions of Queening:
On learning about the Queening Ceremony, I knew it was just right for my friend. I did some more research on the ceremony, got her questionnaire responses and went to work creating a ceremony that integrated my friend’s experience into the context of this kind of ceremony. As with any ceremony I write, it was a labor of love, especially so because she and I have been friends for so long.
Justine shares her first experience with a Queening Ceremony:
When Mary asked me if I had any ideas for a goddess-oriented ceremony for a friend of hers, I was honored. She told me her friend, in her middle years, was entering a new phase of her life after much careful consideration. As a new Celebrant myself, but with many years of experience in Pagan circles as a Priestess, I was happy I could offer something that felt perfect, a Queening ceremony.
My circle sisters, who are all my elders—our leader is in her 80s!—told me that this ceremony is traditional when a woman turns 50. So at our Winter Solstice circle, a few weeks after my 50th birthday, they performed an off-the-cuff version of a Queening for me.
I don’t recall all the details, but they took turns placing a hand on me in blessing and calling out the qualities they saw in me. It felt like a beautiful affirmation of my deeper self and the wisdom I have accumulated over those 50 years, as well as the knowing that has always been in my bones, my spirit, that comes from the ancestors.
So a Queening ceremony can be as casual or as scripted as one would like. It’s an opportunity to recognize how far we have come in life, what we have accomplished and learned, and what adventure and opportunities are still ahead of us.
I learned recently that Orcas, with whom I have long felt a deep and abiding connection, are the only creatures besides humans in which the females go through menopause and then continue to live productive lives. Grandmother Orcas become leaders and navigators for their pods, using all the wisdom and knowledge they have gained through their lives.
At 50, we can still expect to have a few more decades on Earth, and in this later chapter of life we can be leaders, helping our fellow humans navigate our way to a better world for all.
The ceremony Justine describes sounds lovely – filled with love and reverence, and so much beauty in its simplicity.
The ceremony for my friend, too, was lovely. My two friends and I contributed blessings for our friend. She gave voice to the things she was releasing and those she was gathering in. She spoke vows to herself and to the Goddess within. Symbols included a chalice with water and a wreath she made using what was already growing in her garden. It was far more moving and powerful than any of us expected, especially since we were not physically present with each other. It ushered us all into a newness of life and love.