A Message from Susan Ann . . .
Thank you for this day, spirit. Thank you for this day. Thank you for my friends, spirit. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for my work, spirit. Thank you for my work.
This song, sung by Jan Garrett, is my centering mantra at this moment in time. When I am on my way to work in the morning, I am singing it in my car. It is then my traveling mantra. When I am making an important phone call, I am hearing it playing in my mind. It serves as my listening prompt. When I need to quiet down, before my next task, it has become my “I can do this” mantra. When I sat down to write this newsletter, it was a vibratory resonance at the tips of my fingertips, guiding my writing.
I must say that my heart is filled with gratitude for 23 years dancing with the Crone and each of you who have heard Her call. For indeed, most of us come together because we have heeded her call. She may tiptoe just slightly out of our sight, around the corner, where we catch glimpses of her. But then, at other times, we see her, feel her, we even hear her, whispering what we need to know. We feel her presence when we have to hear a momentous sharing, when we need to speak something powerfully and well, when we need to bend our will to awaken our own munificence, when we need to stretch ourselves further than we have ever stretched before, when our faith in our aging self falters, and when the dark wood surrounds us and we find ourselves moored to our fears and insecurities.
Then she shows up in all her resplendent glory and fierceness.
At this moment, as I write, I realize, again, I am writing to a golden cadre of crone women. You are each a reflection of Her, of me, of us. Daily now, I see your faces cascading through the hallways of my mind. I am beginning to see the spiraling, dancing, braids of crone energy we will create in Mt. Shasta. I am seeing new women being greeted by those who have been for many years. I see old women laughing and dancing and greeting their long-time Crone sisters, elated to be embraced again by the arms of love. I see circles upon circles, conversations upon conversations, stories upon stories, spiraling around us, ensconcing us in the joyful revelry and profound connection we look forward to every year. I see music and song, I see tears and hunger, and I see us encircled by something we ached to experience all of our lives – the power, the joy, the freedom of women together.
We are close now to another Gathering. The event is around the corner. I am so thankful. Just so very, very thankful. I am thankful for each of you, for each Crone Mother, for the event weavers and planner, and I am so grateful for each woman who will take up her golden sun and travel the distance to be in Mt. Shasta.
Thank you for this gift of women gathered together, spirit. Thank you for this gift. This wonderful, this wonderful, this wonderful Gathering of Crone women soon to be flying, flocking, flowing to meet again in a temenos where layer upon layer we open ourselves to the revelation of the wise old woman, the Crone.
It is with great delight to report that the Mother Board is working very well together. With the addition of Suzanne Gruba and Janet Morrissey two years ago and Kay Bouma and Kathy this last year, and Carol Friedrich and Susan Ann Stauffer as vanguard, we have a really great assemblage of talent and grit. We have mastered the art of Skyping our Board meetings. We have produced an on-line newsletter successfully every month except when the CroneTimes comes out. Our working relationship with this year’s Gathering Weavers has been exceptional. Our outreach to women has surpassed even that for which we had hoped. We are in process of deepening our connections with each other, inspired by the many gifts we each bring to further the mission and vision of Crones Counsel.
We thank you for your support these last years. We intend to continue with this surge of interest and energy in our annual Gatherings. We want to keep growing. In addition, we are very interested in hearing from each of you. We want to know what you see for our future as we want to create a web of connections that reaches every aging woman who is being called to take up the mantle of Crone.
It is always good to have a reservoir of surprises. There is nothing like a “surprise,” something that makes our socks roll up and down, to set magic in motion. Magic will definitely be afoot at this year’s Gathering. We’d tell you about them . . . but they’re a surprise.
There will be reprises at the gathering as well. The Artisan Hall Opening will happen Opening Night. Crone Poet’s Rising will have its first encore. The established Meet & Greet will occur. And, our lovely, Enid Williams and her crew will Hostess the Evening at the Follies.
We hope to have an “uprise” in future venues and event planners. Stand up and say “We’ll host the Gathering next year.” Or, “We’ll host 2017.” “Our crone circle will plan the next gathering in 2018!” Awaken the muse. Suffuse a future Gathering with your juicy ooze.
We won’t refuse.
Recycling and Reusing at the Gathering
By Suzanne Gruba
Laurie Dameron and I request that you bring and use your reusable water bottles and coffee cups for use at the gathering. Every day millions of paper cups and plastic bottles end up in the landfill. Help make a difference and bring your reusable water bottles and coffee cups. We know that Crones are recyclers, par excellance! We are counting on you to help make a difference. Thank you!
Crone is an archetype. In the past, it has been envisioned as Maiden, Mother, and Crone. There is an abundance of writing and imagery depicting this trinity.
The archetype is evolving. The three-fold depiction is evolving to a fourfold depiction of Maiden, Mother, Matriarch/Maga, and Crone. This is largely due to our extended longevity and the health and vitality with which we are living our longer lives.
Curiously, there is an absolute dearth of imagery depicting this evolving archetype. Many women are talking about it, writing about it, embracing it – but no one is, yet, bringing it fully into artistic form. But, wait a minute, we are. Pam Bird, a St. George artist, sculpted the quaternity for our Altar last year. She has gifted her creation to the Counsel “because it means something to your group.” Thank you, Pam.
This year Lani and Melinda have incorporated the four-fold spiral, a beautiful metaphorical rendering of this notion. Crones Counsel could continue to be at the leading edge of creative imagery for this emergent evolvement of the archetype. One of you could begin to birth this iteration into artistic form. This is a ripe opportunity for the artisans in our group. Bring it on.
This lovely poem was sent to us from Anita Plummer, a St. George resident crone, who attended Counsel last year. Thank you, Anita.
Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartze
by Theodore Roethke
Gone the three ancient ladies
Who creaked on the greenhouse ladders,
Reaching up white strings
To wind, to wind
The sweet-pea tendrils, the smilax,
Nasturtiums, the climbing
Roses, to straighten
Chrysanthemums; the stiff
Stems, jointed like corn,
They tied and tucked,-
These nurses of nobody else.
Quicker than birds, they dipped
Up and sifted the dirt;
They sprinkled and shook;
They stood astride pipes,
Their skirts billowing out wide into tents,
Their hands twinkling with wet;
Like witches they flew along rows
Keeping creation at ease;
With a tendril for needle
They sewed up the air with a stem;
They teased out the seed that the cold kept asleep,-
All the coils, loops, and whorls.
They trellised the sun; they plotted for more than themselves.
I remember how they picked me up, a spindly kid,
Pinching and poking my thin ribs
Till I lay in their laps, laughing,
Weak as a whiffet;
Now, when I’m alone and cold in my bed,
They still hover over me,
These ancient leathery crones,
With their bandannas stiffened with sweat,
And their thorn-bitten wrists,
And their snuff-laden breath blowing lightly over me in my first sleep.
“Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartze” by Theodore Roethke from The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. © Anchor Books, 1996. Reprinted with permission.
Twenty Years of Celebration for Patricia Lynn Reilly
May of us have been inspired by the Imagine a Woman, Imagine a Mother, Our Mother, The Big Mama poems by Patricia Lynn Reilly. This woman has done great work in the world and her work dovetails beautifully with what we do and what we are about.
*About Patricia Lynn Reilly
A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Patricia Lynn Reilly conducts spirituality, creativity, and self-esteem retreats, lectures widely, and publishes inspirational books and resources. Originality, creativity, and resilience have been the hallmarks of Patricia’s twenty-year career. Born of the gift and challenge of her unique childhood, these qualities infuse her writing and support others to embrace life with gratitude. Inspired by her daily walks in the natural world, Patricia honors the beauty of life through her photography, images, and writing.* www.imagineawoman.com
Did You Know?
Did you know there was a “Society of Dancing Crones?” In Austin, Texas?
*The society of dancing crones presents shows of (mostly) acoustic music by (mostly) Austin musicians. The shows are produced by lili li and have included performances by lili and walter, julieann banks, dana mcbride, kim simpson, mo mcmorrow, regan brown, dr g and the mudcats, patty finney, and thom moon bird. The society spits on ageism and believes in old women dancing.http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/MusiciansRegister/BandProfile?oid=oid:779303*
Cool. We believe in old women dancing too.
See you all very soon.