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Coming To Age

The Croning Years and Late-Life Transformation
Paperback Book
Inner City
April, 1994
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Banyen's Description: 

For those acculturated to value the beauty, sexuality and style of young adulthood, later life can be a difficult time. Like the Greek goddess Demeter whose maiden aspect was abducted into the underworld, aging humans, men and women alike, begin to mourn their lost youth. As if seared by their grief, the world seems to dry up around them.

We may act as we did before, but as we realize our aging we’re apt to stand with the crone-goddess Demeter/Hecate at a crossroads, mourning. Every road suddenly seems to lead only toward increasing deprivation. Each way holds only a bewildering loss of youthful dreams. . . .

Our years to come may well be numerous, but in despair the end feels imminent. With no way of knowing that the death we shiver against in the wee hours could be symbolic, or even the first stage of a new beginning, sleep eludes us and waking dread takes its place. No one tells us that it might be our old way of being in the world which must die to make room for the new.

There is a great need for a deeper wisdom that can help older persons to honour rather than deny the relinquishings and transformations—physical, psychological and spiritual—that precede a late blooming. Amid the little information and support available on living creatively through these radical changes, Jungian analyst Jane Prétat asks the question: How do we find affirmation for the difficult work of our croning years?

Recent books have focused on midlife transitions, but there is still a dearth of material dealing with the years afterward, when one is moving from “middle-aged” to “elderly.” The focus here is on the years between 50 and 70: a time when too often change seems like “decay.”

Coming to Age provides a much-needed psychological understanding of inner events during the important years between middle age and the end of life. Drawing on her extensive experience, the author explores the tasks and rewards of this transition, with chapters on the transformational experiences of C.G. Jung and the singular relevance of the Demeter-Persephone myth.

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