This past fall I attended my first National Crones Counsel in Atlanta, GA. Crones Counsel is about women of age, for women of all ages, sharing stories, enriching connections to ourselves, each other, and the world. The term crone — “wise old woman” — is used to reference, and to reclaim, the name of the wisewoman of ancient times, when the elder woman was viewed as a fount of wisdom, law, healing skills, and moral leadership; her presence and leadership were treasured at every significant tribal ceremony and each personal occasion from birth to death.
I found Crones Counsel by accident, following a trail from one site to another, and now I can’t even remember why I was looking. But suddenly, there I was. I looked over the entire site, and lo and behold, they were coming to Georgia! I live in the Atlanta area, and I decided right then and there that I would attend the next gathering. I wanted to meet these women and hear their stories; I needed to find out if I, too, had a story to tell.
I had a great time!!!
I met many extraordinary Crones (women over fifty), and one exceptional Cronette (younger women with “old souls” who wish to share their stories). Six women in particular made me feel like I had come home rather than just arrived. The first morning I met the “Three Amigas,” Marge, Barbara, and Wanda, and we immediately became four. Later I got to know Bevie and her sister Marlene, and of course Julie, one of the cronettes. I laughed all weekend; the gathering was exactly what I had been looking for and much more than I expected. I can’t wait to see them all again. In fact, I am so eager to meet some new crone friends I signed up months ago for this year’s gathering in Albuquerque, NM, September 22-26th.
“Well,” you may ask, “exactly who, or what, is a Crone?”
According to the Crones Counsel website (http://www.cronescounsel.org):
A Crone is an elder 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.
A Crone is a woman concerned with housing, social security, pensions, healthcare, and 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.
In that light, Crones Counsel consistently focuses on the empowerment and well-being of older women and claims the honored status of the ancient crone for contemporary women.
Since March is Women’s History Month I feel it is especially appropriate to mention one Honored Elder (women 80 and over) in particular. The first moment I spotted her in the crowd, Donna Love made a lasting impression on me as to the kind of elder woman I aspire to be. Donna is a beautiful, elegant, and articulate woman whose vitality grabs you even from a distance. Maybe that’s because she has, as she says, learned to “follow her bliss” (CroneTimes, February 2010, Volume 9, Number 1).
Donna published her first book as she turned eighty. She describes Tell Me a Story as a collection of forty “little stories” that had just “languished about the house.” Since then Donna has published a second book, To Make the House Complete, an autobiographical account of how, in her sixties and seventies, she got married and moved into four houses — two in Mexico, a farm in Oregon, and a beach cottage in California.
What I really like about Donna is that she is still excited about life. She continues to learn new skills and find something to celebrate in each day. Donna inspires me in many ways; I admire her tremendously, and she is one of the reasons I decided to start This Old Crone blog. You can visit Donna’s web site at http://www.donnarankinlove.vpweb.com.
To learn more about Crones Counsel I invite you to visit the Crones website. For those of you who live in the Atlanta area, we are in the process of starting an Atlanta Crones Circle. If you would like to join us, our first meeting is coming up Thursday, March 18th at the Meditating Mantis bookstore in Roswell, GA (http://www.meditatingmantis.com). You may contact me for details, or simply come to the meeting at 5:30 pm. You crones and cronettes who live in other parts of the country can check the website for local circles in your area.
I hope to meet a few new crones next week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the elders you admire most.
This Old Crone