I am intrigued by the notion of the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. Although the idea’s origins were Wiccan, I think the notion permeates our viewpoints today.
Where some cultures revere the Crone as a wise-woman and healer, ours has just about nothing good to say about Crones:
From American Heritage: n. An ugly, withered old woman; a hag.
From Webster’s: An old woman; — usually in contempt.
From dictionary.com: A withered, witchlike old woman.
[Origin: 1350–1400; ME carrion]
It follows that if a woman is not a nubile Maiden nor a fertile Mother, she is left in the position of a Crone. And infertility puts some women into this role prematurely. I am much too young — as in decades! — to be considered a hag or withered. (Even if 40 were not the new 30.)
Why does the Crone get such a a bad rap? She’s scary, wicked, and ugly while the Maiden is beautiful and pure and the Mother is kind and nurturing.
As baby boom women age into the realm of the Crone archetype, what will happen to the Crone? Will she get an image makeover? Is there a tipping point where huge numbers of people will simply decide that an aging woman should be valued for her inner beauty and wisdom? Or will boomers continue to fight to the death the inevitability of aging through hideous facelifts?
And my final musing, what would it be like if we accepted the Crone as equal in value to the Maiden and the Mother?
Yes, I suppose I AM a Crone, but not in the dictionary sense (I swear I did not have carrion for breakfast). I am a Crone because I have experienced numerous joys and heartaches. Because I have proven my resilience. Because I have earned the stripes I carry, and I am hopeful to have the opportunity to earn more. Because I have discovered so much along the way, and can now impart some of what I’ve learned to others who are open to learning.
I am Crone, hear me roar.
“For millennia women’s wisdom was honored; crones were revered. Today women are reclaiming the identity and status of the ancient crone. We are coming of age, accessing our wisdom and acting upon it. Croning is the process of becoming active wise women…Engaged in the process of Croning, we can act in ways that embody the changes we want to take place in the world, in our communities, families, relationships, and within ourselves. When we apply our wisdom to effect positive change, we improve our own lives and leave a legacy for future generations.”— Bayla Bower