Cronnie Wisdom

Crone is "a phase in which you can be more authentic, more capable of making a difference in your family and in the greater world. Life gives you experience, and when you draw from it, that's true wisdom. By the time a woman is in her crone years, she is in an amazing position to be an influence. To change things for the better, to bring what she knows into a situation, to be able to say, 'Enough is enough.' You don't have to just go along with things, which is often a part of the middle years. You're often something of a loose cannon."
Jean Shinoda Bolen

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Greetings from the Wise Woman!

Two years ago, I turned 60 years old.  It was as if a slow, cold wind had snuck in from the North awakening me to a reality of which I had remained totally unaware.  I was aging.  I'm fortunate in many ways.  I live in a day and time when women are beginning to redefine the exact meaning of aging.  We are no longer destined to days of invisibility, slavery or banishment, although it still happens way too often.  The "Baby Boomers" are reaching retirement age at a time when the economy has no skilled workers to replace them.  This along with the potential to extend the date of Social Security may lead us to a renaissance of wise old men and women who have much to share with a society that needs them more than ever.  There is still a place for the well-educated, highly experienced, or service oriented in this culture no matter the age or gender.

During these times of transition, many will seek role models of aging that are strong, positive, wise and vital; hence, the need to study the "Wise Old Woman" archetype.  These universal patterns and models of behavior can be found from ancient times up to today: within our stories, myths and legends; our sacred texts; arts, artifacts and culture.  As Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes in her unpublished manuscript on the Dangerous Old Woman, "Invited, uninvited...Summoned, unsummoned...the old woman shows up."  Whether she appears to us mysteriously when we are lost and frightened; or we seek her assistance in fighting our battles, it doesn't matter.  The important point is that she is always there to determine our worth and lead us safely forward.

As for me, I am lucky to live in a family of nonagenarians and populated with "bigger than life" matriarchs.  These women were active and gifted with wisdom, compassion and creativity throughout their lives.  They are my inspiration as I begin to study the "Wise Old Woman" archetype within the context of myth, legends and folktales (and not forgetting the fantasy films and literature of today).

Together may we uncover the mystery, magic and Truth found within these stories!

[Illustration of "Sleeping Beauty," by Edmund Dulac (1910).]

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