Updated: Jan 13
"I am old now: gray, wrinkled, tired, and bloated, and my joints ache, too. But I am ready to come into my full destiny—as my childhood dreams predicted—as a Neo-Amazonian Pirate Queen of my own vessel: firing cannonballs at the worldwide culture of patriarchy in the name of all that does not suck." - Roseanne Barr
Because I had written a book on turning 50, I was curious about what turning 60 would bring up for me. Mostly, I could feel my energy slowing down, but ironically, I felt younger. I was finally doing work (in my 50’s) that I loved, sharing my creativity, knowledge and self-care practices with mid-life women in transition, but most importantly I felt valued and appreciated more than I ever did as a stay-at-home mom. (I know, work to do there!) However, it’s been two years now, and I’m just beginning to guess at what becoming an Elder is really about, and I certainly don’t want to be called Crone yet.
But just as I wrote a poem to reclaim and recycle that ugly word 'cunt', to re-empower myself after feeling dishonoured, shamed and diminished by that word, lately I needed to reclaim the Crone word.
Fortunately, I have many books on my bookshelves that address this issue of aging, this fear of growing older and the dread that some women feel at seeing wrinkles, gray hair and saggy body parts appear. It’s not just about the cult of youth and beauty in our culture; apparently it’s also a fear ingrained in our DNA after 500 years of witch hunts and a deadly inquisition. The following is a brief summary of the gist of some of these books any take on accepting the "crone" word.
“Our cultures official rejection of the Crone figure was related to rejection of women, particularly elder women. The gray-haired high priestesses, once respected tribal matriarchs of pre-Christian Europe, were transformed by the newly dominant patriarchy into minions of the devil. Through the Middle Ages this trend gathered momentum, finally developing a frenzy that legally murdered millions of elder women from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries....As a rule, the real offenses of such women were (1) living, or trying to live, independent of male control; and (2) being poor. Barbara G Walker, The Crone, Woman of Age, Wisdom and Power
Today we just make old women invisible, socially and professionally handicapped by wrinkles and gray hair in a way that men are not. As Walker notes, the “‘beauty’ industry exploits women’s well-founded fear of looking old (& not fit to be seen in public).” But as we know, elder women used to be oracles, read omens, were attached to temples of the Goddess as spiritual wise women and healers, were doctors and midwives, health care advisers, scribes, ceremonial leaders, religious and secular teachers, educators of the young. They were honoured and valued members of society in many cultures.
This book The Crone is a compendium of the history of how old women (crones) became witches in the Middle Ages (burned, drowned, killed during the Inquisition) as well as some mythology of the Dark Goddess under her various names. It explains how women lost their spiritual and