Crone

April 21, 2008

in Infertility, Mindfulness

Am I a Crone?

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]

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

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

Nancy and Ms P — thank you for saying what you did about my heart. I aim to live more from there than from my head, which is a real struggle for me.Furrow — you always make me laugh and think again.Ex — right on!WG — I need to get thatbook. When I worked at the local learning exchange, Clarissa Pinkola Estes was just getting started and I she gave workshops through us. I should have paid more attention! And thanks for remaking on my heart. It is good see that from outside myself.

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Wordgirl April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

I think about this a lot — especially in regards to the ‘mother’ thing…it reminds me of Women Who Run with the Wolves — did you ever read that book? I think I got it at the Tattered Cover :) I like the idea of being actively wise — and to be able to shed the distractions really of the physical self that come with maidenhood — I mean the number of hours wasted on thinking about my thighs? Imagine the good I could have done? Imagine the intensity of that focus shifting to something else.I’ve actually heard women talk about their 50′s and beyond as being a time where they were, after all those years, purely at peace with themselves — and out of that comes wisdom I think.I welcome that.You embody, to me, a wiseness and a beauty that leaps off the screen here — and yes, an expansiveness of heart.Pam

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Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

Nancy and Ms P — thank you for saying what you did about my heart. I aim to live more from there than from my head, which is a real struggle for me.Furrow — you always make me laugh and think again.Ex — right on!WG — I need to get thatbook. When I worked at the local learning exchange, Clarissa Pinkola Estes was just getting started and I she gave workshops through us. I should have paid more attention! And thanks for remaking on my heart. It is good see that from outside myself.

Reply

Wordgirl April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

I think about this a lot — especially in regards to the ‘mother’ thing…it reminds me of Women Who Run with the Wolves — did you ever read that book? I think I got it at the Tattered Cover :) I like the idea of being actively wise — and to be able to shed the distractions really of the physical self that come with maidenhood — I mean the number of hours wasted on thinking about my thighs? Imagine the good I could have done? Imagine the intensity of that focus shifting to something else.I’ve actually heard women talk about their 50′s and beyond as being a time where they were, after all those years, purely at peace with themselves — and out of that comes wisdom I think.I welcome that.You embody, to me, a wiseness and a beauty that leaps off the screen here — and yes, an expansiveness of heart.Pam

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excavator April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

Nu-uh. FIFTY is the new 30!

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Furrow April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

I think of cronehood as beginning as the nest empties, so I wouldn’t ever call you a crone, either, not even with a good connotation. sorry! You’ll just have to wait. I think the boomers are having a mixed impact on cronehood. Sure, some of them are fighting the physical aspects of it with endless plastic surgeries, but they are also embracing the renewed freedom of the later years with energy and self-assertion. They know their value, both economic and intellectual, and I think that’s a good thing. I know that my mother considers herself smarter with each passing year, and she gets more and more comfortable about expressing it.

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Ms. Planner April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

What Nancy said. You are so not a crone. Your spirit and heart are too fertile.That being said, although I am not one of them, I love how the baby boomers have redefined nearly all of the stereotypes. It is one of the good legacies that the generation will leave.

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nancy April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

I don’t think you are though. I know you mentioned the technical definition involving “fertile mother”, but you are a mother. Maybe your womb wasn’t fertile, but your heart is. Everything else about you IS fertile and it’s conceived love to the nth degree. Definitely not a crone.I wish I could remember what you said. I remember thinking “omg – I can ~not~ believe that just came out of LORI!!” Now, it WAS, in fact, something I would say without hesitation, but it was surprising from you. I don’t think you are a goody goody or anything like that, but I do think you are much more classy than myself. I’m sure it was about gardening.

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Margie April 7, 2010 at 12:03 am

LOL, I’m so crone. Normally it’s depressing – thank you for making it a little easier to bear today!

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Antigone April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Misogyny has made it ugly. rabble rabble rabble.

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