During the Lammas ritual at Templefest 2016, the Temple of Witchcraft conducted its first Eldering Rite to publicly honor Matooka Moonbear and Stevie Grant, two of its crones. The Temple makes a distinction between crone/sage rites and the eldering rite. The former is about biology and chronology, whereas the latter is about wisdom and community. Here is a brief except from the chapter on Eldering in the Temple Rites of Passage anthology in development with Copper Cauldron Publishing:
The Rite of Eldering is an initiation into the mysteries of elderhood for those who are called to serve their Witchcraft community with wisdom. This wisdom comes from experience, both in Witchcraft and in having lived a long time. The minimum age for eldering is 60—at least two years past the Second Saturn Return—but the Rite of Eldering is not automatic and is not merely a reward for becoming old. Heeding the call to undergo the initiation of this rite, one must accept that one will be honored and will make commitments to oneself, one’s spiritual community, the Earth, and the Gods. This requires preparation, and the Temple of Witchcraft has devised guidelines for the process preceding the public rite.
The definition distinguishes an elder from a crone. The traditional mythos is that the crone, the woman past menstruation, holds the wise blood within. Although a crone may be wise in the mysteries of women, she may not be old enough to be wise in the mysteries of long life. From this perspective, the rite of croning, in which a woman is honored for her transition beyond menstruation, includes part of what a woman will eventually bring to her role as elder. In the same way, the rite of sageing, which honors a man for this transition into the third stage of men’s mysteries, includes what a man will eventually bring to his role as elder. The process of eldering is, in part, a way of bringing honor and respect to our senior witches who have been and continue to be involved in service to the Craft.
Congratulations to Matooka and Stevie on their eldering!