Spinster, Matron, Matriarch, Priestess, Witch

258682_10151252456204245_142247743_oPhoto By Catherine Wards-Davey

When I turned 40 I was told that 40 is the new 30.  But you know what, I don’t want to be 30 again, I am happy to be 43 and this idea that ageing, getting older is somehow wrong when everyone gets older, is actually shit.  With age, with getting older comes life experience and for some of us wisdom, wisdom that I was missing during my 30s.  So yes I am happy to be turning 44 this year.  However I while I am not a mother I am not yet a Crone.

I am a spinster, a Matron, and a Matron Spinster, a Matriarch, as well as a priestess and Witch.  But there is no Matriarch in the iconic triple goddess of Modern Paganism.   Maiden, Mother and Crone are shown as sacred, as the holy tritiy if you will, but I find myself asking: what about that period that falls between that of Mother and Crone?  I am not old enough to be a crone and I am too old to be a mother, as such.  And while I didn’t have any children of my own I certainly spend time looking after and indeed mothering people around me. Even though it has taken me a while to admit that it is in my nature to take care of people around me. But I digress.. a little.  I am not old enough nor wise enough to take on the mantle of Crone, there for I am Matriarch, Matron and Spinster, right?

Now let me explain, because sometimes the words matriarch, and spinster are words that have some hot button issues surrounding them.



Photo by Kylee Bowater

Matriarch as I see and for the purpose of this blog post is that age that falls between mother and crone.  This understanding came about for me via several books. * Matriarch is for those who have had their children and these children are now adult or nearing adulthood, and are more independent.

Spinsters as I am claiming it is for those of us who have never had children, whether we choose not to have them, couldn’t have them or like me, never had them, and are older than expected childbearing age, if that makes sense.

This Matriarch/Spinster age, as I understand it, is that time when we become more assured of who we are and how to get what we want out of life.  We have now enough life experience to gain mastery. We understand the good and the bad, dark and light, right and wrong,  and realise that both has value, both will teach us important things, both are need to be in balance in order to live a full life, so to speak.    I was talking with a friend and fellow Witch not so long ago about that time of Matriarch, mastery and mid life crises, and that perhaps a midlife crises arises when mastery is not realised or understood? And upon thinking about this I am beginning to get a sense that Matriarch and Mastery are quite connected in that sense.  It is as though in a magical life if you do not reach some sort of Mastery then the time of Matriarch is not realised? And your crone time will become quite different.  Who knows, but time will tell, eh.

I am now a confirmed and happy Spinster but not just Spinster but also Matriarch, and to some degree Matron.  I am also being to understand my own mastery, not just in the things that I can do but also in how I live my life, and how to work through what life throws at me, if you will.   I am not sure what this next period in my life will bring with it, but I do know that for the most part what it does throw at me I have already experienced in one way or another.  I will be able to work through my life’s trials and joys with the silks I already have and at the same time learn new ones and with that, my wisdom will grow.  I will continue to grow and learn and gain new understanding and insights because that for me is the roll of the Matriarch and Spinster.



Photo by Tawny Alma

* The Womens Wheel of life by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Lenard




6 thoughts on “Spinster, Matron, Matriarch, Priestess, Witch

  1. I enjoyed reading this, Polly! I do agree with you that there is perhaps a hole in modern pagan imagery for those who don’t have children. I had not really engaged with that idea before – thanks.
    To me, someone who is a matriach is also a leader. And you do have that quality. Mastery is also an important aspect of this.
    Another thought – perhaps midlife crises is a necessary part of gaining mastery?
    Richard /|


    1. hmm.. i am not sure i went through a midlife crises, but then i have never been good at following rules, especially ones that are not real, so to speak.. for me crises of varying levels happen through out your life, and like you said it they are necessary part of gaining understanding, knowledge, mastery and wisdom. although having said that a person can still go through crises but not gain any understanding, knowledge, mastery or wisdom, and it is then that i believe the ‘midlife crises’ happens, perhaps because they are refusing their mastery. but then not everyone wants to, and for the most part that is ok.. frustrating as all get out..but still ok. dose that make any sense? *ponders this*

      and yes i do have natural, if you will, leadership quality, i am just not sure how i will enact that as yet,or how that will be enacted. *ponders this also*


  2. Excellent article and well spotted I think Polly.
    A Mother is often defined by her children, and while traditionally the role gets great write up I think that is more a fantasy interpretation as the best mothers frequently make their lives and needs subservient to those of the child.

    Yet the Waning Crone, with her old tales and ancient memories of times gone by is again a truth often overwritten by those wanting to fit 3 division on the wheel. Many things of which are true Croning are ignored for a glorious fiction.
    What of the person whose children (or lack of children) free her from their daily requirements? She has freedom, resources, independence that is oft gifted to the Maiden aspect but she is not of the innocence and faraway dreams that characterises the young – indeed far from it. Yet she isn’t seeing her world replaced by the young, nor has she the ancient tales, for she is just setting the pen to paper of her self-created life. The Matriarch has freed her children and nest, but not lost her partners or peers, so certainly not Mother nor Crone.

    Great to see you are examining your roles and questioning your truths. You certainly seem happier about yourself than last time we discussed such things. Best of luck in job hunt 🙂


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