Here is a beautiful rumination from Elder Peter Fry, our MWP associate. His lovely ponder from 2010 is a gift and I’m thinking his collective noun challenge to a group of Elders could be expanded. How about an encouragement of Elders or maybe a favour of Elders; maybe a wither. More please.
Here is Peter’s contribution.
ELDERING. From Peter Fry September 2010
In The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)the roles of an Elder include providing care, attention and spiritual support to members of the Quaker meeting. This has been known for many years as “holding a person in the light”
I’m attracted to the thought that I may at times as an Elder, shine a light to a pathway for myself and others.
To do this I may draw on many of my life experiences, for though Iam an Elder in years, I also carry that of the young boy who spent hours on the beach gazing into rock pools and up at the (to me)magnificent Point Lonsdale lighthouse.
Years later in my late fifties I returned to that place for a nostalgic trip back in time and actually went on a visit for the first time into the lighthouse.
Our attention was drawn by the tour guide to the halogen globe which was about the size of a small finger, and the source of light which shone out 16 nautical miles across the ocean.
That spoke to me about the potential we have to illuminate pathways; we don’t need the massive lighting towers of sports ovals, just our inner and outer glow.
I think my active response to the notion of Eldering in Western society happened around the turn of the century, and in more recent times I feel that of the archetypes King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, that my Magician is in the ascendancy, especially during “Elder moments “which sometimes really seem to help a person struggling for direction.
The more difficult thing for me is to apply those insights to my own life when things go off the rails.
“Physician heal thyself” springs to mind when I reflect on these episodes, but this also highlights the value of having access to fellow travelers, so the wisdom and support gets shared around.
A band of Elders-is that an appropriate collective noun, or should it be a Huddle, or even a Cuddle.
I leave that open to suggestions, but mutual support is truly nourishing.
BRING ON THE MAGIC.