What Being a Crone Means to Me
By Reda Rackley
The old woman–the old crone–she don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks. She just don’t care no more. Most people wanna turn away; they don’t want to look in that mirror. She be the 3 D’s: death, destruction, decay. She is Old Woman Winter, bundled up in her black raggedy sweaters, shit on her boots, she walks through the white snow leaving her tracks behind. She knows you will follow her whether you want to or not. She got the wisdom of eternity in her bones, in the old days they called her wise woman, Grandmothers, crone – you know crone comes from the old word meaning crown, she’s been through so many hard times, that wisdom emanates from her head like a halo. She got a bad rap during the “burning times” when the old church fathers got feared of her power, of her direct relationship to the Great mystery, she did not need a priest to pray for her soul, she had a direct line to Eternity, her womb was creation. She was burned, thrown out of the villages, she is discarded put away in “old folks homes now!”
Wake up world, Her wisdom is needed now more than ever! I know it ain’t easy to look her in the face, embrace those sagging tittys, those wrinkles all over your body, age spots popping up here and there. When that old crone makes her appearances, you want to push her way, but she ain’t going anywhere, she wants to look into your eyes, tell you how much she loves you, how much she values all the hard times you have gone through, how much your sacrifices, your initiations, the deaths, the losses, the betrayals, the tears are the alchemy of your wisdom. All the crossroads of your life have led you to this moment & time! Stand up, look in the mirror, look into her eyes, say hallelujah, I’m still standing, I’m still alive & when death finds me, She’s gonna find me living and I mean really living! BoneWoman
If you would like to submit your version of, “What being a Crone Means to Me,” please send to firstname.lastname@example.org before April 5th.
By Maggie Fenton
“Spring is Nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party!’” Robin Williams
Do you remember spring cleaning? It was a spring ritual when I was growing up on the Kentucky farm. The first day when windows could be opened was the signal of the cleaning frenzy being planned. Rugs were removed and taken outside for beating and cleaning. Wood floors were scrubbed and polished. Some walls were washed and sometimes painted. Bedspreads, pillows and down coverlets were washed and line-dried. Then the down had to be tossed and shaken to regain its fluff. Curtains and drapes were taken down, cleaned and rehung. Windows were washed. When I wasn’t helping my mother, I had to go help the two aunts who lived in the “big house.” They hired extra help but there still didn’t seem to be enough of us to do all my Aunt Erma expected. It was a job!!!
In these days of cleaner furnaces and better ventilation in the winter, this ritual seems to have faded in most households. The ritual seems to be part of my DNA so I find myself doing some of the same things I did on the farm. I’m not as thorough as Aunt Erma but it does seem to help shake off the winter and prepare for the new life that is to come. As the bird song increases and we have occasional days in the 50s, I’m making lists and plans and Mike all of a sudden has countless outside tasks that just can’t wait!
As I’ve been planning for what needs to be done in the house and the garden, I’ve also been thinking about my own personal housecleaning. What old habits have I developed that are no longer serving me well? What new ones do I need to cultivate? What bad habits (watching the news too much) can I replace with ones that will lighten my heart and mind? My daily yoga practice has slipped and my body is telling me that I need to reactivate this habit. Along with the frenzy of spring work, I need to take time to listen to the birds and enjoy the warmth of returning sun on my face. I need to pay attention to life unfolding all around me. What is life crushing and what is life giving?
I wish for you a glorious spring cleaning, whatever that might mean to you.
Canceling The Camp Retreat
In a precautionary move, the CC Board has decided to cancel the YMCA Camp Shaver event scheduled for May 8 – 10th. All those who registered will receive full refunds.
We decided that we didn’t want to put anyone at further risk of contacting the COVID-19 virus at this time. We hope you are washing your hands and individually taking all precautionary measures you need to take to stay well. We hope to plan another similar event in the future.
Crone Times Articles Needed
Consider writing a short article for the Crone Times issue. The topic is “FOREST”
Pieces should be about 300 words in length and submitted to email@example.com
PORTLAND FUN FACT
Forest Park, just northeast of downtown Portland, is the largest urban forest reserve located within city limits in the country. It stretches more than 13km, offers incredible views and more than 110km of trails. It is home to more than 100 bird species and over 60 mammal species.
The Old Portland Underground, better known as the Shanghai Tunnels, is a group of passages located mostly underneath the Old Chinatown neighborhood and the main business district. Built in the 19th century, they connected many hotel and tavern basements to the Willamette River waterfront for the purpose of moving goods to storage areas without disrupting business traffic. The tunnels were favored by Organized Crime during prohibition and also reputed to be utilized for shanghaiing sailors as slave labor on ships and women for prostitution. There are many colorful stories about the Tunnels. Some are authentic. Others, who knows…
On February 8th, we welcomed seven NEW Crone women from the Raleigh area where we held the daylong gathering at the Unitarian Fellowship of Raleigh. The woman coordinator, the liaison with the Fellowship, BJ, brought some extra drums for us. Susan Ann brought rattles. Our Altar/ Energy Table had blue oyster shells, little neck clam shells, oak leaves and spruce twigs, rocks and candle, from the Carolina beaches and trees. We used a pelican feather as our talking stick. We honored ancient women rulers through the lens of maiden, mother, matriarch and crone. We also honored the traits of the moon goddesses. Then in our circles we honored the challenges and traits of the local women, and all their powers came to light, as they shared their triumphs and challenges. We sang, danced and drummed as if we owned the world. Everyone participated as they wished. The storytelling had a sense of magic and awe, and we gained the awareness that we could share and revel among the insights of our lives and loves. Maggie Fenton, our Crone President, encouraged the formation of a local group to stay in touch. We hope to hear more news on how they come together again. Several women said they would come to Portland for the large gathering.
This was a special group of women who came together and blossomed with the crone process.
Welcome each special Crone of the Raleigh area!!
ARTS & CRAFTS WOMEN WANTED
An Artisans’ Bazaar will be available for women attending the gathering to sell their crafts and arts. The spaces are limited — apply early.
You must be registered for the gathering and products you sell must be your own or your family’s creation. Sign up here.
Joan Forest – In Memory
Obituary for Joan Elaine Biek Evans 1932-2019
Her memorial celebration will be held at 1PM Saturday, May 2nd at First United Methodist Church of Boulder, 1421 Spruce St. Please join us.
It is with much sadness for all of us, but with joy for her, that we celebrate Joan’s graduation to the next life in the early morning hours just after Christmas following a stroke the day before. She died peacefully and without pain while holding her daughter’s hand. She had been surrounded by family and loved ones. This was truly her present, as she was ready to move on to continue exploring and learning and to be reunited with dear family members and friends in the next life.
Joan grew up on a farm near Warren, Illinois, the only child of Emil & Marie (Reed) Siedschlag. She was a lover of animals and nature, with a very smart pet dog and horse as her close companions that she taught to do amazing tricks. She once tied her little red wagon to a calf who ran right through her mom’s berry patch.
She has always had a strong commitment to religious living. She led an inspiring example of a life dedicated to the service of others. One could always count on her to be friendly, kind, patient, and accepting; a great listener and sincere friend to all. She went out of her way to help many people and they have expressed great debts of gratitude.
At age 26, following graduation from the Universities of Dubuque and Illinois (1958), she boarded a small freighter with her first husband, Ric, to cross the Atlantic to Ghana, W. Africa, with a 14-month daughter and a son on the way. She spent 11-years there as a missionary nurse and instructor. She caught tuberculosis working in the TB ward of Worawora Hospital and had to be isolated from her family for 6 weeks. The medication caused her to lose her third child and this was a very difficult experience for her. In 1969, they traveled through Europe for 3 months on their way to back Madison, WI, where she worked in Public Health Nursing, taught nursing, got her Masters studying the effects of alcoholic parents on children, and worked 18 years as a Nurse Consultant with the Wisconsin State Division for Handicapped Children. In 1988, she spent a year at the University of Washington in Seattle working toward a doctorate but had to return to care for her mother and was unable to complete it. She treasures the many friends she made there as in all her homes and travels.
Joan retired at age 64, moved to Boulder, CO and met and married Jerry Evans in 1998. They had a wonderfully loving and inspirational life together and were role models to many in their community with generous attitudes and adventurous interfaith service activities around the globe. This included a trip back to Ghana and to the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona, Spain. Joan’s adventurous spirit led her to travel through most of western and northern Europe multiple times, to Canada, Hawaii, Israel, Egypt, Mexico, Ecuador, and New Zealand.
Following Jerry’s passing in 2012 Joan lived at The Bramford apartment building in Boulder where she enjoyed a special community relationship with many of the residents there and enjoyed an active lifestyle with her friends, family, FUMC, Expatriates Group and Rocky Mountain Spiritual Fellowship.
Joan is survived by her daughter Christilyn Biek Larson, husband Steve Larson; her son David Biek, wife Christine Cowles, their children Sydney and Nathaniel; Joan’s stepchildren Georgia Evans and John Evans and John’s children and grandchildren; Joan’s ex-husband, Richard Biek and wife Gail Biek.
By Susan Horst
The buzz is there, no matter what I do.
The underground rumble, earth-waves not just passing through –
but shaking apart the structures no matter what I do.
Can’t stop it
Can’t plan it
Can’t tell it nothin’, no matter what I do.
Give me my nice tidy existence – I loved that, it’s true.
I was happy in a pattern, busy, busy, DO!
Holding together all the structures of all I thought was true.
Can’t hold it
Can’t keep it
Can’t make it work, no longer is it true.
Let it go, I’m screaming, trying to aim true.
But I seem to miss that mark,
a moving target now, no matter what I do.
The old structures crumble away,
Can’t maintain it
Can’t fix it
Gotta let it go, and move on, and to my true self be true.
Have a poem that you would like us to publish in this newsletter? Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org