One of the underlying themes of the archetype of Crone, is, inescapably, that of death, deathing, dying. We are all going towards that graduation point, but those of us who call ourselves “crone” realize that our own personal death will come sooner rather than later.
This year’s Crones Counsel featured two workshops on the subject of death and dying. The one I attended featured especially the logistics of “getting one’s life in order” (so that others wouldn’t have to go through the mess afterwards!).
The subject of “death” itself didn’t seem to faze anyone in the large crone circle gathered to discuss the topic. Interesting how this perhaps final taboo in our culture (or is it? see next post, on UFO), the fear of death, is beginning to be breached.
Last night I watched a documentary on Tim Leary’s life by Paul Davids that I brought back from the UFO conference. Very interesting, how the film took me through the ’60s and ’70s again, set me right back inside that storied time — and then, mirable dictu, switching to Leary’s death and dying, I discover that he was “thrilled” when he got his diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer. He didn’t look upon death as the end. No way. To him it presented the next great adventure for this adventurer who dared to go where most of us can’t even imagine, including escaping from a prison by going hand over hand across a telephone wire, despite his recognition, midway, that he just didn’t have the strength to make it; and of course, a larger energy kicked in at precisely that moment. He did make it, in spades. And went on to many more adventures worldwide.
What struck me about the movie most was Ram Das’s remark, that Leary really wasn’t “spiritual,” but was instead the “quintessential materialist,” since he had decided to have his head (head? or whole body? unknown at that point, but answered, in a grisly way, in this documentary) dry iced for a trip into outer space, hoping that some day it — or, more precisely, his brain — might come to life again.
In any case, Leary’s attitude towards his own death was quite different from Brittany Maynard’s. He was thrilled to go; she was not. After all, he was 76 years old, she only 30 years old — in fact not quite. A Scorpio, born on November 19, 1984 with the Sun in a wide conjunction to Saturn, she died during her first Saturn return, as the quintessential Scorpio, who embodied, in a beautiful and intensely potent manner, the death/rebirth theme that this most powerful of signs presents. The Death with Dignity movement has not been the same since. Thank you Brittany Maynard. This video, the first of many that she made prior to death, was released in honor of her 30th birthday.