Faces of the Crone: Cheryl Straffon
Faces of the Crone
Crones we love and celebrate as trail blazing Goddess Conference Elders
An honouring series of beloved Crones who the Goddess Conference co-organisers have personal connection with, randomly chosen from a selection of photos by Ann Cook©, Conference photographer of the last 20+ years.
Of course, there are many more trail blazing elders in the Goddess movement and beloved Crones of the Conference; this series stands to celebrate them all through the examples of these women, and the appreciation we have for them.
Cheryl is a Goddess scholar, priestess, author, lover of Cornwall, researcher, and editor of Meyn Mamvro and Goddess Alive magazines. She is a great teacher and a proper researcher into the prehistory and history of British and international Goddess cultures.
She has a deep connection to the lands of both Cornwall, where she has lived most of her life, and of Crete. As and Goddess scholar, her books and the magazines she authors and edits, are a treasure trove of richly informative, well-crafted wisdom that have made Cheryl a trailblazer for the UK pagan community.
Her books on Cornwall’s ancient past and sacred sites such as ‘Pagan Cornwall’,’ Holy Wells’ and ‘Between the Realms’ have guided my own exploration of sacred sites in that beloved chosen country, and her Crete guide ‘the Goddess in Crete’ is a priceless and favourite companion to that particular heart-land of mine.
If you are familiar with ‘Daughters of the Earth’ or ‘The Earth Goddess’ you will know these wonderful books are classics in the reframing and reclaiming of the European/British native Goddess and have influenced the spiritual journey of many of us who honour Goddess in these lands. Cheryl’s books have inspired people of our modern-day Goddess culture, in the creating of ceremonies and rituals in connection to the seasons, the faces of the Goddess, and to the sacred landscape.
In the early 1990’s Cheryl and her partner set up a small group to hold seasonal embodiment ceremonies, based on mythology and ancestral pagan connection.
These were my personal first taste of priestesses embodying, or ‘taking on aspect’ of the Goddess, a living presence of the Divine Feminine, often in different sacred site settings that corresponded with the energy of the Celtic wheel and seasons. these simple ceremonies were life changing, mind blowing and empowering.
For me these events resonated beautifully with my own solitary pagan path and echoed in the still existing pagan Cornish seasonal festivals such as Padstow ‘s May Day Obby ‘Oss celebration and Golowan festival of Penzance.
In the decade that followed Cheryl would be ceremonialist for the Glastonbury Goddess Conference several times, as well as co-organiser of the first Cornish Goddess four day long events in Penwith.
If you have had the good fortune to meet Cheryl in person, you will know her for her generosity, her sense of humour and her no-nonsense, though deeply reverent, approach to the sacred. She is a font of knowledge, a precise teacher, an enthusiastic priestess and loyal friend, who encourages the shine of others.
I had the great privilege to be asked to step into the priestess role of embodiment in a fogou for the first one of the Goddess events she organised in Cornwall, which was an indescribable experience that has stayed with me as a true initiation.
In our Goddess Conference ceremonial priestess circles, I remember Cheryl’s absolute willingness to go with the concepts like the physical Goddess form in the sacred landscape of Avalon, and all complex ceremonial plans we came up with, including finding flamboyant gold dresses and other items she would never wear in other circumstances.
She also always brought a steadfast centredness, deeply grounded for her love for- and personal living connection to- Goddess, and shared insight based on experience, of what would or could work in ceremony. As embodiment she was solid as a rock and as a fellow priestess of Kernow and the Goddess, she was boisterous fun to be in circle with.
As an absolute pioneer since the 1960’s of the Earth Mysteries community, alternative archaeology and the Goddess movement in the UK, and for her groundbreaking research into international Goddess cultures, as well as for the fabulous ceremonial embodiment priestessing she is, I celebrate Cheryl Straffon as a trail blazing Goddess Conference Elder.
Goddess Conference co-organiser