Crones Counsel Newsletter – November 2020

New Addition
By Maggie Fenton

We have a new addition to our household and I’m not getting much sleep. His name is Broderick Fergus McDoodle and he is almost ten weeks old. He will be called Brodie. (roll that “r”). My arms and fingers are bitten; I’ve cleaned up puddles and worse; I’ve also smiled more than I have in four years. (Some of this is not due to Brodie!)

We wondered if our two older puppy mill rescues, Lucy and Scooter, would accept the new addition. After a short-lived rocky start, they have made the necessary adjustments to adapt and have welcomed the stranger into their lives. After what they’ve been through, I admire these little crone-dogs so much. I’m learning from them.

One of the best parts of my Crone years has been the opportunity for creative pursuits that got no time during my working days. With Brodie, these have again been put on the back burner but I’ve learned having a new dog to train is very creative and challenges me sometimes more than I want. After all, isn’t challenge a part of creativity? I’ve looked up the latest in puppy training protocol, balanced the different advice on feeding habits and have played more than I have in years (except maybe at Crones Counsel!) Play is so creative.

As the sun continues its march south and the amount of daylight shortens, what new endeavors are you planning to carry you through the winter? The quieter, darker days of winter are the perfect ground for the stirring of creativity, the re-birthing of something new. May you find the seeds of creativity in the dark winter days.

Crones Counsel, Inc. as an Organization
By Carol Friedrich, CC Board Member

Crones Counsel Inc., came into existence in 1993. Since that time a gathering of crones — women whose intention is to “age gracefully” — have met every year in various locations until this year, 2020, when it became necessary to cancel the planned gathering in Portland due to the pandemic. Future gatherings will take place when it will be safe and practical to meet again in person. Until then, quarterly Zoom gatherings near the yearly solstices and equinoxes will take place.

As a nonprofit organization, a governing board of six women and other volunteers provide information and guidance without any compensation. Ongoing expenses include maintenance of our website,, a monthly
E-Newsletter, a twice-yearly publication of our journal, Crone Times, and other admin expenses (bank costs, insurance, etc.).

As you may already know, Crones are not “members” of Crones Counsel but are “participants.” Local Crones Circles are independent of the national organization. For your reference, however, a booklet, How to Start a Crones Circle, is available to download on our website. In addition, other information is available including a brief description of each previous gathering, past editions of our newsletters and Crone Times, Crones Counsel “herstory” in greater depth, and links to sister sites.

Mother’s Face
By Joie De Fond

I take my mother’s face from the ceramic jar where I have been keeping it.
I try it on and find it now fits.

It is the same face my grandmother wore, and hers before her.
The salty residue from grandmother’s tears are crusted on the cheeks
and mother’s worry is encoded there in the lines.

I shall pass this face on to my daughter one day and she will see the colors of the world through these new, old eyes.

Creation and Darkness
By Sandy Eno, CC Board Member

The theme for our Winter Solstice gathering is Creation, and because we are entering the Dark season, I am thinking about how they are connected.

I read a definition of Creation as anything created; esp. something original created by the imagination, invention, design, etc. or something that has been made or brought in existence like a baby or artwork. Then I saw a definition of Creativity as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating or entertaining yourself or others.

It made me think about how ordinary people have used the quiet time of dark winter to create, to rest and dream and perhaps shape the imagination of a child.

My musing led me to remember my early childhood on a dairy farm in Northern Minnesota where winter came early and lasted long. I was fortunate to live with my maternal great grandparents and a great aunt and uncle. My mother worked in town where she boarded with a cousin and my father was in the Army overseas. Naturally I received quite a bit of attention and I like to think it was during those cozy winter evenings, when the chores were done and the adults were free from the heavy workload of planting, growing and harvest (a farm is an act of creation every year) that I learned to use my imagination in useful and original ways.

Mine was a family of readers, writers, musicians and people who worked with their hands. Winter allowed more time for quiet pursuits. This was when I learned to read, use watercolors, design clothes for my paper dolls and make up stories for my toy calico horses.

Evenings were for dozing (usually the men) and working on various projects as well as playing games, listening to the radio or reading aloud. There was time for journal writing or working out a new quilt pattern. Great grandfather would make animals come to life with pocket knife and a piece of wood. My uncle was often hunched over his graph paper designing some contraption to make his farm equipment work better. My great grandmother might be working on her novel. When the seed catalogs arrived hours were spent planning the creation of vegetable and flower gardens. In the barn the pigs and cows grew heavy with the creation of life.

I’m grateful for those slow dark nights and the role models I had, for although I didn’t know it at the time, that was when I learned to let my imagination run free and to create what was uniquely mine.

The Five Gates of Grief
Published August 8, 2018 by JONPRE

Caregivers can only offer others what they offer to themselves. Without this intimate clarity of self-awareness, we exhaust ourselves by imagining another’s pain and offering inauthentic responses. We risk being vehicles of pity rather than compassion.

Grief is a universal experience, one that we need to know personally. Grief circles us all like planets orbiting the gravity of our suffering. No one is spared. Steven Levine wrote, ‘If sequestered pain made a sound, the world would be humming all the time.’ We can only hear and address the humming of our patients’ sequestered grief if we’re willing to hear our own. If we’re deaf to ours, we’re deaf to theirs.

I’d like to share five gates into our own grief so that we’re able to recognize and transform this most human experience. These gates are drawn from Francis Weller’s book The Wild Edge of Sorrow and modified based upon my own experience.

Gate 1 – Grief for what we love

Losing the people, capabilities, and objects we love is our most obvious grief gate. These overt losses sometimes hit us square in the chest with a tangible blow that brings us to the floor. Other times, we’re protected by numbness and denial until grief breaches our defenses. There’s no right way to experience loss but experience it we will, personally, viscerally, and profoundly. Those unable to allow the grief of loss may find its energy metastasizing and emerging as illness or destructive behaviors.
Read more:

Winter Solstice Virtual Gathering Via Zoom

Saturday, December 19, 2020
Saturday, December 19, 2020
10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time
11:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time
12:00 noon Central Standard Time
1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Other countries, please determine your time.

The Gathering will last approximately two hours.

Wisdom Circles of approximately six to ten women in each
Honoring the Elders and the Decades

Register Now.