Crones Counsel Newsletter, December 23, 2013

Our Theme for 2014
“Luminous with Age”

The Crones Counsel membership has voted.   The Counsel Mothers have concurred with your choice.   Our theme for 2014 is Luminous with Age.  In our last newsletter, ten themes were proposed to the membership in a survey and this theme received the most votes.

Since then, we have found the author of those words.  Her name is Meridel Le Sueur and the poem is titled “Rites of Ancient Ripening.”   The first line of the poem is “I am luminous with age.”  Not only is the poem profound, but the woman who wrote the poem was exceptional.  Le Sueur was an American author who espoused feminism and social reform in her fiction, journalism, and poetry. For those of you who love history and women who chronicle women’s lives, you will have to agree that Le Sueur is one of the leading radical woman writers of the twentieth century.

There is a richness about this theme we find enticing.  With this theme, it seems that we can explore, reflect, and dialogue about what brightens, what becomes more clear, what brings light into our lives as we age.  What keeps the candle lit in our hearts?  What keeps the fire burning in our bellies?  What is the light in our souls that, when tended, becomes brighter and brighter as we age?   [Any thoughts you may have about our theme, please send to]

More Survey Results

The Leadership of Crones Counsel asked in the last newsletter what “words” the
membership would like to use to designate the women serving on the
board.   Those who responded to the survey choose “Counsel Mothers.”
So, you have a board consisting of a Crone Mother and those who serve
alongside her are your “Counsel Mothers.”

Thank you all for taking the time to help us make these decisions.

Register for Crones Counsel

Early bird registration rates will hold until January 31, 2014.  You may register on-line on our website.  Or, you may contact Joyce Perata at and she will help you obtain a registration form. CRONES COUNSEL XXII Registration Form Register online now via this link:

Remember, St. George is the place “where summer spends winter.”  The Counsel Mothers are looking forward to a great event.  Many of you volunteered to head up committees and we appreciate your willingness to contribute.

A Message from Susan Ann

Ah!   There is so much I want to do, there are so many things on my mind, that, at this moment, I hardly know what is important for me to say.   The season is deeply upon me – I write this with a full moon overhead, brightening the landscape in the way only the moon can do, and in deep anticipation the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year.   Donna Henes explains that:

“At Winter Solstice, the sun is at its nadir, the farthest southern limit of its range. And there it seems to want to stay for awhile.  At the Solstice, the sun rises and sets at the same time for several days.  The length of the daylight hours remains the same.  Solstice, in Latin, means ‘the sun stands still.’ It has stopped retreating and yet hasn’t begun to come back.  It hovers in pregnant hesitation before it gets back on track again, resting before it begins its annual return trip across the equator into the Northern hemisphere for its homecoming Back to us.” (Celestially Auspicious Occasions, p. 14)

I feel as if I am hovering in “pregnant hesitation” as well.   I want to move forward with Counsel planning, but yet my thoughts are with food and family, friends and travel, end of semester, and the celebration on New Year’s Eve.  I feel slightly off-center, my intuition is faulty these days, my dreams fill the night with murky scenarios and, in the daytime, I just want to sit with a bowl of comfort food, any kind of comfort food.

For now, I have surrendered.  I have given myself over to the season, knowing the light will come back bringing with it my ability to center and utilize my intuitive knowing.   As I light the candles and the fire this Solstice, I will think of the ascendancy of the light.    I may stay up all night in the lucid dreamtime, remembering all I have been taught by my Crone Mothers and sisters through the 22 years I have traveled this path.  I will be intending a vision for our future.  I will be singing a prayer into the dark of night that will manifest in the light.  I will reaffirm a pledge, a promise, and a sacred vow to the ongoing work of Crones Counsel.

I invite each of you to make a similar symbolic gesture.   We now have a place for our next Gathering (St. George, Utah) and we have our theme (Luminous with Age).   Our next steps are to contact the women who signed up to take part in the gathering who will largely plan many of the events.  The Counsel Calendar is on its way to the printer.  The Crones Times will come out in January (there will not be a Newsletter next month).  The Counsel Mothers will meet in March here in St. George.

So, let’s all light a light during this season that is upon us.  Let’s light up the world with our joy, our love, and a brilliant luminosity.

The 2013 Gathering: Women Attended from Seventeen States
By Janet Morrissey

Women from 17 states attended the 2013 gathering in Asilomar last September!  The largest number of women came from California (47).  The second largest cadre of women came from Colorado (22) and the women from Utah and Washington boasted the third largest groups of women (11 each).  Three women attended from Oregon and two came from Arizona.  One woman came from each of another 11 states.

Each woman who attended was an important part of the whole.  Each of you is invited to attend the gathering in St. George, Utah in 2014, and we encourage you to bring other women from your home state.
Wouldn’t it be great to have women from every U.S. state represented at our gatherings?
Let’s see if we can make that happen.

Welcoming a New Year

A new year stands on my doorstep
Ready to enter my life’s journey.

Something in me welcomes this visitor:
The hope of bountiful blessings
The joy of a new beginning
The freshness of unclaimed surprises.

Something in me rebuffs this visitor:
The swiftness of the coming
The boldness of the entrance
The challenge of a year’s good-bye.

Something in me fears this visitor:
The unnamed events of future days
The wisdom needed to walk love well
The demands of giving away and growing.

A new year stands on my doorstep
With fragile caution I move
To open the door for its entrance.
My heart leaps with surprise,
Joy jumps in my eyes,
For there beside this brand-new year
Stands my God with outstretched hand!

She smiles and gently asks of me:
Can we walk this year together?

And I, so overwhelmed with goodness,
Can barely whisper my reply:

Welcome in!

-Joyce Rupp, author and spiritual midwife

Download this poemWelcoming a New Year J Rupp

Would You Like to Serve as a Counsel Mother?

The Board of Directors of Crones Counsel is looking for women to join us in furthering the vision and mission of Crones Counsel.  We know that we have a rich and varied membership and many of you could contribute your expertise.

We are looking for a woman who can take on the role of Treasurer in one year.  This woman would have one year “to learn the ropes” under the tutelage of our capable Joyce Perata who has kept the books in stellar order.

We are looking for a woman who is technologically savvy and can help us with the technology (PowerPoint, slides shows, music, etc.) at our gatherings.

We are looking for a woman who could take on the secretarial duties which requires keeping the minutes of Board Meetings and contributing to the ongoing discussions of the Counsel Mothers and the membership.

And, we are looking for a woman, or women, with innovative ideas about developing an intergenerational compact between younger and older women.   We would love to have women with us who have event planning expertise, outreach and networking skills, aging expertise, and a woman who simply loves Crones Counsel and is interested in expanding our work into the larger world.

When considering applying to the Counsel Mothers, it is helpful to have a deep understanding of the archetype of Crone and a history of attendance at our national gatherings.  Please contact Susan Ann by email at or by phone at 435 272 2009. Crones Counsel Board Application Form 

It is a new year . . .  we’d love to bring you on before our Spring Counsel Mothers Meeting.
We’ve had 22 years of success.  We are looking forward to creating a compelling and relevant organization that will continue to serve the empowerment of women of all ages.

Healing Prayers and Intentions

Patricia Weller, one of our artisans and long-time participant of Crones Counsel, has had a heart attack.  Her heart stopped four times. She is presently in the hospital recovering.

Her friend, Jack, let us know that she was “recovering well”, that the “issue with her heart was resolved last week” and that “she was able to walk up and down the hall this morning.”  (12/19)
May we all keep her in our heart.  Patricia, we love you.

New Crones Circle in Salt Lake City . . .
By Susan Annette Van Frank

There are some new crones in town! A new Salt Lake Crones Circle (SLCC) meets the third or fourth Saturday of the month, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Inner Light Center in Murray.  We are a group of older women who come together to create a circle of support and transformation for ourselves and each other. In our circle we speak our truth, share what is on our minds and in our hearts, and explore the crone archetype through our personal experiences and through ceremony. We take turns as circle facilitators, supporting each other in creating and holding a sacred space to tell our stories, laugh and cry together, and have some fun. If you live in the Salt Lake area or nearby and are interested in joining our circle, contact Susan VanFrank (


We have witnessed this month the death of an elder statesman, Nelson Mandela.  What a life.  What a man. He helped overturn apartheid and, by doing so, changed the course of a nation.  Mandela was elected South Africa’s first black president after he spent 27 years in prison. Most likely, each of us heard Maya Angelou’s Tribute to Mandela.  It is less likely that we all heard this tribute from Ntsiki Mazwai entitled “Madiba’s Magic.”

Madiba’s Magic

I know a place where the people are bound by magic; an electric force keeps them connected.
A place where nations put down guns and replace them with love.
A country that gave rise to Madiba’s magic.

I know a place that looked civil war in the eye and empty smiles and put out a forgiving hand.
And in one moment, (foreign language spoken) took a stand.
I’m from a place where Madiba did magic.

I know a place where once enemies are now friends,
where darkness gave way to light,
where prayers were heard
and waiting mothers turned into laughing ancients.

I come from a place of magic, a Madiba kind of magic.
I know a place rooted in compassion, truth and forgiveness, a place that rises above hate.
A place that gave birth to a man that changed the world.
Down in the south of Africa, there once lived a magician.
A magician called Madiba.

What Can I Do? (to help this planet)
By Laurie Dameron

”What can I do? What can I Do? What can little old me do to help this planet?”  That is what kept echoing over and over in my head when I started a hike in the autumn of 2007 in my favorite spot on the planet; Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. I ended up writing the entire song in my head in the following four hours in the magical, spiritual, wonderful Utah desert.

After that I started doing “What Can I Do?” concerts and tours where I performed my usual mix of folk, blues and jazz but made a special portion of the shows dedicated to singing my “environmental/social” songs and speaking about environmental issues.

In January of 2012 I was contemplating what I should be doing with my life. My spiritual coach asked me “Laurie, what is the most important thing to you?” Without even having to think I said, “This beautiful Earth!!!”

Then I got thinking wouldn’t it be cool to make a multimedia presentation for the “What Can I Do?” concerts. I got excited imagining I would reach large audiences and make a strong impact. Honestly I have had trouble with attendance but the feedback has been tremendous!

I have been in awe of the beauty and felt a deep connection with nature as far back as I can remember but something that made a huge impact on me was growing up in the little town of Berea just south of Cleveland Ohio in the 1960s when the Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it used to catch on fire!

In 1969, the 13th time if caught on fire it caught the attention of TIME magazine which was great as it spurred the creation of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

So I created a 45 minute power point presentation with slides showing photos of the Cuyahoga River on fire and cover a bit on the history of environmentalism. I talk a bit about how our National Parks began; share some websites for national and local agencies such as Sierra Club; and created some slide shows featuring the   photography of John Fielder and Karl Snyder to live music. The presentation also includes trailers for two documentaries.

I thought all this would be so easy but it’s been a lot of (satisfying) work and I have run into quite a bit of opposition, one being venues where I want to present saying “we need to stay away from political issues”. For me it’s about loving this beautiful planet! One other big obstacle has been people thinking that I am “preaching to the choir”, especially here in Boulder. I could write another two pages citing examples to the contrary, but one of them being we send BILLIONS of non-recyclable coffee cups to the landfill EVERY day!

In some cases I feel I am being misunderstood; that I’m only interested in furthering my music career. I am using my gift of music combined with my passion for art and the environment to reach people in a fun and different way.
My highest aspiration is that this presentation will raise awareness and inspire people to be better stewards of our beautiful planet. Music is a language that spans many interpretations. My original compositions reinforce these sustainable concepts in an alternative way for people to learn and absorb.

Recycling and composting are necessary and great for us to do but they take a lot of energy and resources. Much more important for diverting material from our ever-growing landfills is to reduce and reuse. Every time you buy something ask yourself where did it come from and where is it going?

Though I have run into difficulties I have also encountered great support! Recently I was receiving a wonderful massage from Jan DeCourtney. We are both members of Skillshare. As she told me some of the actions she lives by, (and she really “walks the talk”), I felt very inspired and realized I just need to focus on the positive. We don’t have to be a Jan De Courtney over night. But we can strive to do a little bit at a time. I really do believe it’s the little things that can make a big difference! Remember you are a part of the solution! Just ask yourself, “What Can I Do?”
(I plan to do an interview with Jan DeCourtney for the 2014 issue of Skillshare) You may contact Laurie at