Archive for the ‘Sacred Feminine’ Category


Photo courtesy of http://www.levo.com.

Today is the International Day of Women, and so I thought I would mention just a few of the women who have made a major impact on my life. Of course, this is going to leave out a lot of women I know and consider important to me (that’s all the women I know, or have known over the years), and for that I apologize. However, this post would be really, really long if I named them all. 

Going back to the beginning there was my mother Sheila, a beautiful Irish woman if there ever was one, who loved life and her children with equal measure. Her faith engendered mine, and it was she who introduced me to interspirituality and showed me my path to enlightenment. And there was my grandmother, Violet, whose image of a strong, competent business woman I admired then and continue to emulate today.

With the first job I had in the corporate world my supervisor’s name was Sheryl. I did not know much about Sheryl, except that I could see she was quietly making her way in the (man’s) world of finance and big business. I admired her management style—quite different and much more effective than any of the male supervisors. Sheryl was also the first woman I knew who had breast cancer. This was back in the early ‘70’s, way before women’s issues were openly discussed in public, and her willingness to candidly share what was going on with her showed a strength and determination I remember and admire to this day. Sheryl showed me how to walk my path grace-fully.

My first real mentor was Priscilla, my advisor at Prescott College. Priscilla came to me during my darkest days, and her loving kindness sustained me through a period when I felt I had no one else. Her wisdom kept me hanging in at a time when all I wanted was to let go; her support kept me looking for a way back. And it was Priscilla’s probing insight that helped find my path again. “What will it take to make you happy?” she asked me. My search for the answer to that question has given my life purpose ever since that day. If I had to narrow my list of important people in my life down to just one, that one would be Priscilla.

Nowadays Leslie keeps me on track. Mentor, spiritual director, colleague, friend – whichever hat she’s wearing Leslie is my rock. If I am happy, she’s happy; if I am sad or angry, she is still happy! And she does her best to show me how to regain my equilibrium and get back to a state of . . . well, if not joy, at least contentment. My path is smoother and moving along a lot faster with Leslie on it with me.

So many others I could name. My mother-in-law Tee–open-mindedness and unconditional love personified. Karen, whose willingness to let me join her on her path showed me where mine lay. Jeanne, who walked with me so we could laugh and cry together for a little while. My sisters-in-law Tina and Theresa, who for me exemplify living a life of love and compassion. My sisters at One Spirit and One World, my priestess sisters, and all my many sisters who reside in my world. Historical women, contemporary women, feminists, teachers, friends, family. All those women authors whose writing guided me, uplifted me, taught me, and gave me light along the way. All the unnamed and unknown women I meet every day, whose lessons go unacknowledged but not unappreciated. They all are sisters, my friends, my mentors and teachers; they all are valued and cherished.

international-womens-dayPlease know that I know this above all else: I would not be who I am now if not for all the people in my life. But it is especially all those wonderful, supportive, lovely, and irreplaceable women I have known over the years—named or not—who have made my life richer, have taught me the meaning of living with grace and love.

This is the International Day of Women. Don’t forget the women in your life.

Many good thoughts and blessings,

This Old Crone


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“Beauty is only skin deep,” Mama said as we sat in front of her vanity mirror. I was combing out her hair; she’d been in an accident as a young woman, hit from behind by a drunk driver and thrown through the windshield of her car. Her spine was damaged, and although fortunate to be alive, she was gradually losing the use of her hands. They were beautiful hands to me, the hands of a loving grandmother.

It’s funny how words spoken so casually can stay with a person for so long. This memory is over fifty years old, yet I remember it quite vividly as I write. I can still see my grandmother sitting there as we chatted, and feel how loved I was. A precious memory for me, because as I reflect on it now I feel safe and cherished all over again.

Even as an adolescent I realized that with those words Mama was trying to impart a kernel of wisdom to my young mind. But the thought occurs to me now that perhaps my grandmother was sharing a truth she had learned the hard way, and was trying to save me from pain she herself had experienced.

My grandmother was a pleasant-looking woman in her late fifties, and although she was beautiful to me, she would not have been what our society considered pretty. She was raised poor in rural southern Georgia by Catholic nuns, and I am fairly certain she “had to get married,” though she never spoke of it. After her children were reared Mama worked in the family businesses, and she was a talented, skillful professional woman. But this was at a time when business acumen in a female was not necessarily valued. A woman’s worth was all about what was on the outside; very little attention was paid to the inner beauty of the “gentler sex.” They, like children, were supposed to be seen and not heard. It upsets me and makes me angry to imagine that this wonderful and caring woman may have had to put up with slights and insults as a result of her looks and developing disability when she was actually a very sharp, intelligent, and beautiful woman.

So, maybe she was trying to warn me that afternoon, or perhaps she was only repeating a lesson she herself had been taught as a child. It doesn’t really matter now; it’s the memory of an enchanting moment in time that I treasure. Violet Burch Tidwell, a true crone: wise, loving and kind–and my amazing grandmother. I loved Mama dearly, and miss her mightily still today.

Happy Easter to any and all who come across this post.


This Old Crone

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