By Susan Ann Stauffer
The word Crone, in its most simplistic sense, designates an old woman, a woman past her childbearing years, a post-menopausal woman. Today, the most common definition of a Crone is a “wise old woman.” Thus, a Crone is a woman who has moved past mid-life and who acknowledges her survivorship, embraces her age, learns from the examined experience of her life, and, most likely, appreciates the wrinkles on her face.
A Crone is a woman concerned with housing, social security, pensions, healthcare, 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.
Crone women fly directly into the face of ageism and sexism. They refuse to be put down. They do not walk meekly on the road to old age. They are keen to assert their presence if not their influence.
Crone provides an energetic consciousness, a radical aliveness, which fuels the fierceness of women’s strength in old age. Crone is a framework for honoring the wisdom of elder women. Crone is a template for communication, community, and communion. Crone is a basis for cooperation and compassion for all living beings. Such a consciousness allows for action in the world or for deep, quiet peacefulness with all that is.
Thus, a Crone is an older 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. She is “a wise old woman.” As a woman moves past youth and midlife into old age she consciously takes on the mantel of Crone – a woman who celebrates her survivorship, willingly choosing to continue forward in life with all the gusto she can muster. A Crone is a woman burnished bright by an inner fire that sharpens both her wit and her intensity, her passion and her power.
Susan Ann Stauffer has been involved with Crones Counsel since its inception in 1993. She earned a PhD from the University of Utah College of Social Work in 2004 with her doctoral dissertation Crones Counsel: A Unique Model for Re-Visioning the Aging Experience and Creating Empowerment-Oriented Community Among Elder Women.