Crones Counsel Newsletter, September 1, 2014

A Message from Susan Ann

My mind is now thoroughly engrossed in thoughts of our upcoming Crones Counsel Gathering.  Before every Counsel I seem to ponder my herstory with Crones Counsel, remembering how it was I came upon this organization and why it has held my energy and attention all these many years.  I thought I might share a bit of that with all of you.

In 1985, at a women’s conference at the University of Utah, I picked up a book laying on a table displaying literature about women’s issues.  The face on the cover of the book captured me.  Mesmerized by the image, I held the book in my hands, trying to make sense of what I was feeling.  The book was small, paperback, not too thick, and it appeared readable.  To this day, it is difficult to describe in words the power of the face on that cover:  It was lined, deeply inscribed, entirely patterned, firm.  First the mouth, then the eyes, drew me like a dreamer searching the darkness.  She was purple, dark, and deep.  Perhaps, the face had taken me back to the remembrance of my mother as she was dying, old, in her hospital bed, looking so fierce that I had to walk out of the room for a moment just to gain my composure.  Or, it may be, and this is more likely, that something very ancient in me was being summoned as I held the book in my hands, a tremor moving through me.  I now know that I was in the thrall of an archetyphal image.

The book was titled The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power by Barbara Walker.  The word crone meant nothing to me, having never heard it before.  I was only 35 years old, long married, my children were teenagers, and I had not yet returned to the university to complete my bachelor’s degree.  I took the book home, tried to read it, and put it down.  I could not make sense of it.

Curiously, in 1993, I found myself at the first Crones Counsel gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The story of how I got there is widely circuitous – a mystical, synchronistic phenomenon that seemed somehow perfectly timed for my benefit.   Some vibratory resonant circuit of energy placed me there.  For me, that Crones Counsel was a magical, life-altering event.  For 3 days, I was bathed in bliss, in story, in magic.  I realized that CroneFace image on the cover of Walker’s book was looking at me again (this time with almost incomprehensible love) in the visage of Shauna Adix, the founder of Crones Counsel.   She did not resemble the face on the book; however, the eyes told me the same story.  She was amazing, as was every other CroneFace there.  It was here that my personal journey with Crone began.  Some force inside of me had been seeking those eight years, knowing what I needed to find.  The call had come from that fierce face on the book, and I had heeded it in some subterranean, cavernous, all-knowing realm of my psyche.  I began to explore that to which I had been deeply drawn and mesmerized by but could not comprehend.  The poet Rumi once wrote he was a “fool for God.”   I became a “fool for Crone.”

It has been 29 years since I picked up Walker’s book.   I have been on an unceasing journey of exploration.  The journey has carried me around full circle many times.  There have been many places and many journeys.  I now know, as I am truly becoming an older woman, that crone can be a fearsome image and aging can be a fearsome process.   Thankfully, the Crone archetype has provided me with an orienting principle to creatively map out and revision my aging experience.  It has done the same for countless numbers of women.   I trust the archetype will continue to become ever more prominent in the lives of older women who desire to gain a new aging consciousness.

I also know that the Crone will not leave us alone once she stirs in us.  She will tiptoe in our dreams and visions.   She will call us to “wake up.”   Crones Counsel is a “venue for that awakening” as our dear Connie Dawson once said.  So, I continue to come to Counsel, to invite other women to join with me, to gather to tell the truth about my life and listen to the truth of yours, to give primacy to women’s voice, women’s experience, and women’s ways of knowing.  The Crone archetype calls us to be visible and vocal, subversive and disruptive in a time on the planet where older women’s wisdom can be profoundly  valuable.

I will end with a quote from Jeanne Brooks Carritt:  “ . . . the Old Woman is our beginnings and our endings, and our beginnings again.  Enriched by the experience of living, She is the missing link in the sacred circle.”

I look forward to sitting with each of you in the sacred circle that is Crones Counsel XXII.

Register Now

Women, the registration fee was to increase September 1st.  We are extending the registration fee at the rate it is now until September 15th.   Save yourself a little money and help us out with our hotel and gathering expenses.   Register Now.

Gathering Information

Complete Gathering information will be coming early-to- mid-October to those who are registered for the Gathering.  We will have the schedule of events thoroughly firmed up by then.  We will send you a list of local restaurants close by the hotel.  Remember breakfast is included in your room fee.  And, it is a plentiful breakfast.   You will have the option to order box lunches for every day Thursday through Sunday.   This must be done on Wednesday when you register.   Remember as well that you have microwaves and small refrigerators in your room.  The closest grocers are about 8 blocks away . . . for many of us not within walking distance.

Do bring a good pair of walking shoes for our off-site event.   It will be a very short walk, but it is on gravel.

Quotes from our Membership about Crones Counsel

These are unedited, word for word quotes from our membership catalogued in 2002.

So, that’s one of the reasons I go to Crones Counsel  . . . because I need a place where I’m reminded we do have value and we are valuable.  And we celebrate this.  The celebration at Crones is so profound and so encouraging to me. . . . Otherwise I wouldn’t be going to Crones Counsel 9 times.  Because I get filled up.  And it reminds me.  And it feeds me.   And it gives me strength to move.  Marta Quest

I love that whole thing of Crow saying to Ann, “Wake up! Caw! Caw!”  I mean, ‘cause that’s what it is .  It’s like coming to your age again.  It’s coming to life again.  I think you have to grant a marvelous opportunity!  There’s more to aging than volunteering, tutoring little kids and whatever.  And there is more to women than that.  And when women learn to value, you know, look back on your life, see the stories, and learn to value all the things that are learned.  It’s like the Crones Circle group where each woman reviewed her life and said she wouldn’t change anything.  So, the Crones is, if you will, a planned venue for awakening.  And, once awake, you’re dangerous.   Connie Dawson

I loved meeting women who took up space in the world,.  Because that was the part, for me, about not being in the center of my life, not taking up space, not being seen.  And these women took up space — with their bodies, with their voices, and they were doing things and expressing opinions and they didn’t give a s___ about what anybody else thought.  And they weren’t disrespectful.  It’s like, “Wow!”  Della Huber

What do you do when you’re a Crone?  When you’re at Crones Counsel you could ask 50 people:  “How did you do your sixties?”  That’s one of the fascinating things to me.  How do you make the transition?  Transitions for me have always been easy up to this point.  But my 60s feel different.  So Crones Counsel gives me a chance to go up to a Crone friend and say, “How did you get through the years between 60 and 65 in terms of health, love, travel, etc.?  What can you teach me about this time of life?”  The questions and answers are always flowing and open-ended.  Alexa Aho West

I brought my young daughter-in-law to Counsel and she wanted to come again and then the marriage fell apart.  She actually was transformed by being there.  So, it’s not just about older women being transformed,  her whole way of looking at older women again shifted.  She saw herself a different way.”  Linda Raven

Everybody who goes to Counsel has a life.  They wouldn’t get up off their butt and make plane reservations to go if they didn’t.  There’s an aliveness in these old women who used to be thought of as dead! There’s real aliveness.  Even an awareness of the universe, what’s happening in our universe, not just in our own little lives. Barbara  Lewis

Old and wise.  I think that is what Crone means to me.  Sort of keeps her own counsel.  Confident.  The look is confident.  Not necessarily having to say a lot, but able to take it all in.  Able to see clearly.  Willing to see clearly.  Not doing blinders.  Barb Rufenacht

Promotional Materials Available

The Counsel Mothers have been busy preparing brochures for Crones Counsel and materials to help promote our gathering.   They are now available and we can send these to you so you can have materials to give to women whom you invite to attend Counsel.   Email to obtain these materials.  Request the number you think you will distribute with a personal invitation.

We have brochures.  These are generic and not specific to our Gathering this year.  They describe what Crones Counsel is and our mission and what we do.

We have inserts for the brochures that announce our gathering this year – where it is, when, and what will happen.

We have postcards which are lovely.  You can send these off to women friends, organizations, etc., whom you wish to invite to the Gathering.

We have personal cards (business cards) with our 2014 Logo on the front and spaces on the back to write in your name, your email, and your phone number if desired.

During our Circles of Interest Focus Groups last year, every one of you in attendance voiced your sincere desire to keep Counsel going.  To do that, we have to grow our membership.  Many of you requested brochures and materials.  So here they are!

Thank you for helping us out.  Let’s grow this organization again.   We have created a great organization with a valuable and purposeful mission and women need to know about it.  Thanks again.

CAW!!   CAW!!!   CAW!!!   


At Crone’s Counsel at St. George this November we’re holding our first ever



So, please, all you wonderful, amazing CRONE POETS bring some poetry to share with a very supportive, appreciative, audience!!!

Whether you’ve just started writing poetry or whether you’ve written poetry all your life, please come and share your beautiful voices and your beautiful poems in St. George.

Contact: Kianna Bader or Claudia Van Gerven, Your Hosts for the Event

[Note:  This is a special venue just for poetry. Poetry will be shared in this venue and not during the Follies]There will be no poetry during the follies.

At the Turning of the Seasons

September is upon us, beginning to turn its face away from the sun.  As the heat of the summer gives way to those cooler, crisper days, something changes in us as well.

We know the days will be getting shorter.  Is it not the same with us?  Most of us who will be reading the newsletter will be in the autumn our lives – the season and age of gathering, of harvesting, and the time of surrender, nostalgia, and the knowing that most likely, the days ahead of us are fewer than those behind us.

This is the time of the year when we seem to really understand that life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.

We invite you to let the autumn season mentor your heart.   We invite you to listen to what the season has to say to you.  As the leaves are falling off the trees, you may want o ask what is falling off  in your life.  As the Earth dresses up in grandeur for her last final hurrah, you may want to “dress up” your mind, your heart and your soul with beauty and splendor as well.  In a culture that views aging as something no one wants to be, as Crone women we might want to contemplate the beauty that resides in aging.

We offer the poem below for your autumn reflections.

An Autumn Blessing 

Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr

Blessed are you, autumn,
chalice of transformation,
you lift a cup of death to our lips
and we taste new life.

Blessed are you, autumn,
season of the heart’s yearning,
you usher us into places of mystery
and, like the leaves, we fall trustingly
into eternal, unseen hands.

Blessed are you, autumn,
with your flair for drama
you call to the poet in our hearts,
“return to the earth, become good soil;
wait for new seeds.”

Blessed are you, autumn,
you turn our faces toward the west.
Prayerfully reflecting on life’s transitory nature
we sense all things moving toward life-giving death.

Blessed are you, autumn,
you draw us away from summer’s hot breath.
As your air becomes frosty and cool
you lead us to inner reflection.

Blessed are you, autumn,
season of so much bounty.
You invite us to imitate your generosity
in giving freely from the goodness of our lives,
holding nothing back.

Blessed are you, autumn,
your harvesting time has come.
as we gather your riches into our barns,
reveal to us our own inner riches
waiting to be harvested.

Blessed are you, autumn,
season of surrender,
you teach us the wisdom of letting go
as you draw us into new ways of living.

Blessed are you, autumn,
season of unpredictability.
You inspire us to be flexible
to learn from our shifting moods.

Blessed are you, autumn,
feast of thanksgiving.
You change our hearts into fountains of gratitude
as we receive your gracious gifts.

Friends by Janet Morrissey

While doing a workshop on Zentangle  (Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun method to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns) at the Elks this week, I was surprised by one woman’s comments.  She is very active in the Elks organization, being a trustee and chairing the main fundraiser last year, but her perception of herself is stuck in a poor self-image.  She felt she couldn’t do the art project which was quite the contrary.  Check out Zentangle:

All her life she was told she needed help and couldn’t do anything alone. Whenever I see her she is with her husband of over 50 years.  He was at the Lodge while she attended the workshop.

I told her about Crones Counsel.  She was interested but didn’t seem to know anyone who would attend with her.  I don’t think she does anything by herself.  She says she is rarely calm.  She seems to lack women friends.

I’ve seen this phenomenon with other women.  They get stuck and if their husband dies, they are very much adrift.  I began thinking of women’s friendships and how Crones Counsel has played such an important part in the lives of women.  This organization began with creating a design to encourage women’s friendships as they aged.  The Counsel has continued to bring women together, helping them to develop friendships or continue with existing ones.

A  UCLA study [“Friendship Among Women,” Gale Berkewitz] found that “the more friends women have, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life.” Another study found that the more friends a woman has the longer she will live compared to women with few friends.

Remember Carol King’s song “You’ve Got a Friend”?  Listen to it and know that you have friends or, maybe, it’s time to make some new ones.


Last Call for CC22 Workshops

Download the Workshop Request Form, fill it out and send it to:

Della Huber, 345 W 58th St, #7-B,

New York, NY 10019,