Elder – this is where your life has arrived

There comes a time when all that has been lived, learned, loved and lost may need space for integration and to be honoured. A space to connect to that which has held you throughout all these adventures, struggles, challenges and … arriving home. A space to lean into the ‘quiet immensity of your own presence’. (John O’Donohue)

Many traditions offer time for an elder to be on retreat, to slow down and be supported – to engage in a time for reflection, for resting, for being nourished, for befriending this precious life lived so far. As people come to this transition in their lives, creating a ceremony that acknowledges the richness and challenges of ageing can bring support, consideration and offer respect and meaning to the ‘elder’.

The poet, John O’Donohue writes,

This is where your life has arrived
After all the years of effort and toil;
Look back with graciousness and thanks
On all your great and quiet achievements
You stand on the shore of a new invitation
To open your life to what is left undone;
Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm
When drawn to the wonder of other horizons.
Have the courage of a new approach to time;
Allow it to slow until you find freedom
To draw alongside the mystery you hold
And befriend the beauty of your own Soul
Now is the time to enjoy your hearts desire;
To live the dreams you’ve waited for
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source.
written by John O’Donohue


As I connect with this poem I feel the beauty of this elder time for awakening, presence, gratitude, spaciousness, and diving deep into the infinite source. A time for quiet mourning and celebration. For more information about the Ceremonies for Elders click here.

Elder hood