We all grow older, but it is the wisdom we grow with that makes us a true elder.
As I begin to enter the gateway of eldership, I recognise this path as having many areas needed for growth. Getting to know who I am and what I carry is one of the first steps and this can so often be manifested by observing and being-with whatever is presented to me. I have been holding workshops including creativity and ecstatic dance, movement sessions, spiritual based and shamanic gatherings with group work for over 20 years. From this position, I have learned from the people arriving to share in that work, what it is I am here to offer. These are the people that let me know and I am eternally grateful to them. For this is the work that leads me to my true place as an elder, not what I decide, but what they need or what God/Spirit knows is wanted from me.
During my research & exploring the medicine wheel that the work of Middle Earth Medicine invites, I have come to understand that true Eldership has three fazes.
- The first is how and why we step into our own Sovereignty, naming our offering and standing within the ‘landscape’ of that offering as it forms and sculpts us into a deeper knowing of this path.
- The second is the Aspiring Elder, who embraces the Sacred Fool, embodying humility, revealing what is yet to be known and being prepared to grow and to learn. The Sacred Fool archetype within us is willing to laugh at our follies, reminding us of our ‘right size’ in the world.
- The third is the Wise Elder archetype, the one who can can step back into the mystery of life, acknowledging that he/she does not know what is right for another, but is none the less a supportive witness to the dreams of others and the care of the innocent.
We learn to embody all three of these archetypes, the stage of them within our own lives, the resources that can help us and the tools we might need to embrace – of which there are many, both physically and intellectually.
It takes many years of maturing and growing to be able to do this, to find out what is needed from us and to allow it to inform us, to be reflected throughout our life-path, our creativity and the healing work we need to do for ourselves. There are no short-cuts to ‘cleaning our own house’ (metaphorically) to owning our mistakes, to coming clean over our dysfunctions and renewing a deeper sense of an empowered self. This is the work needed to engage with our shadow and is no small thing. But once we can inhabit our own light, within the power of polarity, bringing together all that we are, both light and dark, masculine and feminine, the dance between opposites brings us to the place of wholeness where, knowing ourselves and acting from a place of integrity and humility, we become able to be in service to the greater good.
On a personal journey and at the age I am now, I might learn that what I need is to set out on the journey to explore and embody the healthy archetype of ‘Crone,’ but what does this mean? How do I embrace all of it, and not just the parts I like, or what I feel it stands for. How do I say ‘yes’ to that meaning and make from it what is clearly being called through me? Can I embrace it well, or will I fall short in favor of a fantasy? Likewise the many archetypes that eldership brings in its awakening and all of their qualities need to be embraced if we are to step into that place of Eldership. Two qualities I work with to guide us towards leadership are the magician and the high priestess, both very different and yet when in balance, can support us to make better lives for ourselves.
Our leadership training supports us in the quest for embodying these qualities, learning to understand how they serve us, as well as others and give deeper meaning to our lives.