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Original art by Diane Young  (c)2000



By Susan Ann Stauffer

The word Crone, in its most simplistic sense, designates an old woman, a woman past her childbearing years, a post-menopausal woman. Today, the most common definition of a Crone is a “wise old woman.” Thus, a Crone is a woman who has moved past mid-life and who acknowledges her survivorship, embraces her age, learns from the examined experience of her life, and, most likely, appreciates the wrinkles on her face.

A Crone is a woman concerned with housing, social security, pensions, healthcare, her relationships with children, grandchildren, and siblings. A Crone is a retired woman, a soon-to-be retired woman, a widow, an empty nester who desires good health, energetic living, and independence. A Crone is a woman who is adapting constructively, often gracefully, to the process of aging. A Crone is a woman who is comfortable with her spiritual self, her intuition, and her creative power.

A Crone may be a woman of any color, race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, educational level, lifestyle, or political persuasion. She may be disabled or abled, introvert or extrovert, single, married, widowed, or partnered. She is like you and me. What does set the Crone apart, however, is her willingness to tell the truth about her life.

Crone women fly directly into the face of ageism and sexism. They refuse to be put down. They do not walk meekly on the road to old age. They are keen to assert their presence if not their influence.

Crone provides an energetic consciousness, a radical aliveness, which fuels the fierceness of women’s strength in old age. Crone is a framework for honoring the wisdom of elder women. Crone is a template for communication, community, and communion. Crone is a basis for cooperation and compassion for all living beings. Such a consciousness allows for action in the world or for deep, quiet peacefulness with all that is.

Thus, a Crone is an older woman who has learned to walk in her own truth, in her own way, having gained her strength by acknowledging the power and wisdom of the totality of her experience. She is “a wise old woman.” As a woman moves past youth and midlife into old age she consciously takes on the mantel of Crone - a woman who celebrates her survivorship, willingly choosing to continue forward in life with all the gusto she can muster. A Crone is a woman burnished bright by an inner fire that sharpens both her wit and her intensity, her passion and her power.

Susan Ann Stauffer


The Crone began Her reemergence into our consciousness in the early 1980s, and today many older women are declaring their connection to The Crone as a positive archetype. We are tapping into this archetype's attributes of wisdom, compassion, transformation, holiness, bawdiness, and healing laughter, as well as healing wrath. We are empowering ourselves by saying yes to our age-accumulated right to be defiant, incorrigible, forward, unruly, rebellious, and juicy--in other words, to be fully ourselves. We are coming together in circles and gatherings to support each other as we proudly proclaim who we are, and as we reclaim The Crone in Her rightful place as an honored elder.

           Excerpt from the Crones Counsel website (www.cronescounsel.org)  


The title "Crone" hasn't always been derogatory.  In pre-Christian times, very old women were particularly important members of communities.  They were leaders, artists, healers, midwives, and counselors.  They were seen as the fulfillment of female life experience and wisdom - from the unrestrained youthfulness of the maiden, through the life-sustaining importance of the mother, to the calm, evolved, and confident wisdom and compassion of the old woman.  The sources of wisdom in the old women lie in a lifetime of commitment to caring and listening and connecting.  Without these fierce and ancient commitments, human life could literally not have continued.

Those who choose the name of Crone do so deliberately, with full awareness of its current negative connotations.  It is chosen to confront the issues facing aging women and to raise important questions about attitudes and feelings toward those issues.  So, by bringing the term "Crone" and these concepts out of the shadows and into the light, the values can be revealed, strengths acknowledged, learning can come from the insights, and experience honored.

Old women are discovering the strength that comes with knowing who they are.  They are freeing themselves from having to be something for someone else, freeing themselves to see one another just the way they are, not through the filter of others' expectations.  They are sharing feelings, fears, and insights, accepting each other's changes and encouraging each other's growth.  In addition to these changes, they are accepting that "old" is not a four-letter word. That "old" is not a statement of a decline but one of time.

Old is not good or bad.  It is just a measurement without judgment.  Crones are learning to grow and grow old together.  By using the name of Crone and accepting their ages, they are restoring the image of strong, wise Old Women to their rightful place of honor and respect.

Malka Golden-Wolfe


Crone is...  the power, passion, and purpose of ancient female wisdom...  the crowning triple phase of the ancient Triple Goddess: Maiden/Mother/Crone.  Joyous, outrageous, real, and at ease; living from the inside out.

We are beginning to realize that this third and crowning stage of female life (the one our culture throws away) is more authentic, creative, outrageous, powerful, funny, healing, and profound than we ever imagined.  Aging is a natural process, but it is also very much a woman's issue.  Resisting the cultural phobias about growing older begins right at home -- within our own bodies.  How each of us sees our own aging process can in turn influence how the culture sees it.

Excerpt from the Internet.  Author unknown to me.


We are like trees, we humans, and the language of human aging is all wrong.  We do not become old; we do not just pass through these discrete ages named infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, old age.  We are born as a core that is built up, layer upon layer, over all the minutes and hours and days and years of our lives.  And all that richness of detail, every self we were at any point in time, is still there.  The layers change our concept of the core; sometimes they mask it, but they don't erase it.  The core and all the layers are available.  The key is to find them, to see or hear or smell or feel them again.

Sharon Lee, Camdenton, MO  Submitted to The American Gardener

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