Crones Counsel News, September 2019


May your life be graced with a deep renewal, and may each day bring you peace, clarity, guidance and joy.

This is the blessing each companion gave to her Honored Elder just before she crowned her with a laurel wreath as, “Crone: Woman of Age and Wisdom.” Born in 1939 or before our revered elders are now fully embracing their 4th stage of life!

MAIDEN~MOTHER~MATRIARCH~CRONE. Fourth Stage? For millennia we have honored the triple goddess archetype: Maiden~Mother~Crone. As our guide through life, She has served us well. But we are living longer now, and we at Crones Counsel believe we have earned Crone as our 4th stage of life, not our 3rd. Matriarch, then are those years between Mother and Crone.

THE HONORING CEREMONY is the centerpiece of every Counsel. Some of our Elders, having just reached the tender age of 80 marked the threshold into this decade with our ceremony. Others are well into their 80s and even 90s. This year we also honored Alice Yee for her 100th year! Although she was not able to be with us, we had a huge cake for her and sang Happy Birthday. By now she has seen the video! We continue to hold our thoughts for her highest good and well-being. Including Alice, we honored 19 women this year! From our 40s into our 70s we were blessed as we all participated in this very special ceremony. We look forward to this occasion when we, too, will be honored.

STORYTELLING and WISDOM CIRCLES are the heart of our Counsel. Here is where we speak our truth (being true to ourselves), express our opinions and share our feelings. If we feel a bit shy, speaking to the larger group, we have our small Wisdom Circles where we can share in a more intimate setting. Our stories heal, connect and unite us. They can be joyful, sorrowful and even hysterical. (How about the woman who hopped a train!!! We laughed until we cried!)

CHANGING WOMAN was our theme this year. She is the principle deity of the Diné (meaning, “The People” or “Children of the Holy People”), the Navajo. Changing Woman represents all changes of life as well as the change in Seasons. Our logo created by Marta Quest is nothing short of phenomenal! We carried the theme throughout the Counsel and were fortunate to have Belinda Eriacho, Navajo/Zuni Wisdom Keeper attend our Counsel and give us an amazing talk and power point presentation on Changing Woman and the role of the elder woman in Navajo culture. She concluded by giving our Honored Crones 80 and above a blessing with her Eagle Feather and specific herbs that she brought for the occasion. Ahéhee’, Belinda!

IT TAKES A VILLAGE to create a Crones Counsel gathering. Of the more than 40 women who gave of their time and energy, we would like to especially thank those exceptional women who filled key positions:

Crow (Our Crones Counsel encyclopedia!): Carol Friedrich; Artisan Coordinator: Marta Quest; Audio Visual: Sue White; Follies: Anne Richardson & Anita Hedlund; Grants & Donations: Kay Marie Bouma Honoring Ceremony, 13 International Indigenous Grandmothers movie, Interactive activity (Tobacco Prayer Ties), Altar, Empty & Healing Chairs: Win Fiandaca; MC: Betty Brown; Opening & Closing Ceremonies: Patricia Alton & Kaya Kotzen; Photographer: Lynne Eriksson; Poetry Facilitator: Kaya Kotzen; Program: Andrea Hartwig & Win Fiandaca; Registration: Maggie Fenton; Song Leader: Tracy Schmidt; Story Catcher: annie lehto; Wisdom Circles: Marian Karpisek; Workshops & Community Outreach: Andrea Hartwig; Communications: Suzanne Gruba.

AREN’T YOU GLAD IT’S OVER? There was that question again. We heard it more than once. No. That was not how we felt. We were and are feeling happy, fulfilled, and grateful! This was such a wonderful experience for us, especially as mother and daughter. We had never had the opportunity to work together, putting something as grand as a Crones Counsel. And we were positive from the start that it would be a fabulous gathering. And it was. Thank you to the 100 women who attended. We set the stage, but you all made it happen!

Walk in Beauty,
Win Fiandaca & Andrea Hartwig: co-coordinators

2020 Annual Gathering Portland, OR
October 7-11, 2020

Welcome to the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

Please gather with us in Portland, Oregon for Crones Counsel XXVIII where, under the watchful eye of Mt Hood, we will draw on our Sisterhood for the strength and support to become what we truly are — women, forged of fire like the mighty volcanos. Crone acknowledges her purpose, feeding it with flames of passion and wielding the power of fire to achieve her goals.

Mt Hood, called Wy’east by the Multnomah tribe, inspired our theme. She towers on the horizon, an ancient Grandmother rising from bedrock, her white crown shining in the sky.
Our area’s ring of fire, from the restless cauldron of the Yellowstone to the wild Pacific Ocean to the sentinel mountains, Adams, Baker, Hood, Rainier, Shasta, St Helen’s, pulses with real and symbolic force of nature.

Cronehood honors the cycle of life, death and rebirth in much the same way as a volcanic eruption brings fire to life. It cleanses the ground and fertilizes it for new growth. So does each life leave a legacy in the world for future generations to build upon. That is the true gift of being Crone.

We will gather at the Embassy Suites by Hilton at the Portland Airport. Shopping and restaurants are close by with easy access to downtown Portland via our light rail system for plenty of opportunities to sample our Northwest cuisine. Free hotel shuttle from the Portland Airport. Hotel reservation information will be made available in the October newsletter.

Registration for the Gathering is available on the Crones Counsel website

Early gathering registration will be open from 9/8/19 to 9/30/19. Beginning 10/1/19, the registration fees go up.

Look to all monthly newsletters for continuing information about CC 28.

The Local Planning Committee Co-Chairs are Ruth Cohen 503-701-2184 and Sandy Eno 925-917-0346.

Where do we go from here?
Maggie Fenton

For those of you who were there, wasn’t Tucson grand? In spite of? Construction noise at all hours? Circuitous and changing paths to the elevator? Unpredictable faucets, toilets and water temperatures? Room changes? I sometimes need a little adversity to be aware of my privilege. On Wednesday morning, as I awoke to alarms and construction blares outside my window at 3:30, I was appropriately grumpy and felt very put upon. Then later in the day, all you beautiful Crones started arriving and I knew that, in spite of a little discomfort, it was worth it. I started to actually enjoy seeing the building across the way come into being and especially watching the inside construction crew go through their days. They were invariably polite and very aware of the guests in the hotel. I think they enjoyed interacting with us, too. Who knows? Maybe it gave them new appreciation for older women. The whole thing added a spice to the gathering and made it more memorable. I even heard some Crones talking about developing a ‘construction’ skit for follies next year. I hope they do.

As we, your Board, prepare for Portland and beyond, we need to hear from you. The mission of Crones Counsel, Inc. is “dedicated to claiming the archetype of Crone through the creation of gatherings that honor and advance the aging woman’s value to society.” What does that mean in 2019, 2020 and beyond? I heard some of you saying you wanted to support future generations who are passionate about a variety of things .. the planet, gun control, immigration, LGBTQ rights .. and the list goes on. How do we use our Crone wisdom, energy and value to connect with and help them? I heard some saying they loved having a smaller, more intimate gathering — “a village instead of a city” as our seer, Ann Kreilkamp wrote to me. (Check out her blog on the event at

How do we keep Crones Counsel going as costs rise and affordable and accessible locations become more and more difficult to find? What about connections with other groups? Love it or hate it, the Internet is here to stay and allows us to stay connected in ways we never thought possible. Although we can’t embrace every platform, how do we encourage more participation on the ones we support? Facebook .. for instance. Yes, it has issues but wow, do we have lively conversations there.

So please, write this mission statement down and post it somewhere you can read it every day. Ponder it. Let it ‘work’ you. Should it change? .. not eliminated or completely rewritten but enhanced to reflect where we are now. Let me hear from you*. Let’s chew on this for the next several months and see what emerges.

*Note re: CC27 Facebook page: we will be using this year’s FB page until the beginning of next year when it will be converted to a CC28 page. Use the CC27 FB page for your comments, or go to and email us through the “contact us” link.

Crones of Whatcom County
By Anne Richardson

The Crones of Whatcom County held a three-day retreat in August at the Lions Horizon Camp in Birch Bay, Wash. We had twelve new attendees! Crone Helen did morning exercise. We did workshops on communication and moon goddesses. We had beach walking and made a mandala on a tree trunk. And singing, dancing and rattling around a fire. Enthusiasm was high. Dawn Anderson was inspired to start a second group on Saturdays. Fortunately our local library still offers free meeting space. Kudos to Dawn, and now we have a choice to pick either circle, or go to both each month! Feel free to visit our Facebook site: Crones of Whatcom County.

From Crone to Golden Girl through Homesharing
by Linda J. Green

What is homesharing, and will it become a future housing trend? Do you have too much house for your needs but don’t want to sell the home you love? Would you or your children and friends feel better if there were someone nearby because of your health conditions? Or if you’re a renter, would you like to stop paying rent that’s too high? Would you like to increase your monthly income relatively effortlessly? Do you have a spare bedroom in your condo or apartment? Are you an empty nester, now single, or a little lonely? Would you welcome extra help with the home, yard, or tech? Would you like to help someone (another Crone, Matriarch, teacher, healthcare worker, Maiden student, etc.) avoid high monthly rent payments amid a national housing shortage? Would you like your housing situation to have a positive effect on the environment? Read more about Homesharing.