When I wrote the Crone book, A Call To Crone; Weaving Wisdom With Threads of Irish Heritage, I thought I was writing it for women around my age, sixty-eight, or older. However it seems that is not entirely true.
Just after it was printed, I got an email from a woman who had just purchased the book at Courtney Davis’ studio/art gallery and was hoping I might sign it when I was on the Hill of Tara for a workshop. I know this woman a bit. She’s in her forties. And my first reaction was, “You can’t buy the book! You’re not old enough.” It was just a harbinger of things to come.
Although I’m pretty clear that the Ireland journeys and workshops I offer are for elders, young women are constantly wanting to sign up. “I’m not old, but I’m an old soul. Does that count?” was one email I recently received. No, it doesn’t count. There is really no magic age for becoming Elder or Hag or Crone. But age implies life experiences and those are essential. Also essential is knowing that you are now in the final journey of your life, a journey that will end in death. This is not a place younger women stand, yet so many aspire to be Crone. And I am fascinated by those that truly believe all women have an inner Crone. No. They don’t. There may be seeds germinating, but these women have not begun to imagine, let alone cross, that threshold to the final journey.
I just watched a video in which a young woman, probably early forties, reads a poem, Call me a hag. I dare you! It’s long, much longer than the following few lines.
When I look at you
I see you turning into
Beauty, time, wisdom
And suffering overcome.
I see the woman I aspire to be
Endless spark of wit and fun.
You are a marvel of the universe
More beautiful every day.
If you can’t be put in a box
And refuse to comply
With how others tell you
You should live your own life
If you respect all of nature
And call it your friend
And think maybe this life isn’t where it all ends
Tell me, what is wrong with that?
No. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, as well intended as this piece might be, it feels condescending, like a pat on the head. A young woman’s myopic vision of what it means to be an Elder, Hag, and Crone. And unfortunately at this point in the piece the author moves from ‘you’ to ‘we’, claiming for herself the wisdom of the hag. Just NO!
And so once again I sit with the question, what’s going on that young women so aspire to be Crone and claim Elder wisdom? Why are they so anxious to name themselves Hag? Because they are not. They have not yet begun to step onto this journey of older age, often a rocky road. And thus the challenge.
Call yourself a hag. I dare you.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org
I think younger women are wanting to (and are beginning to) live free of the old rules for women, including the tyranny of “beauty,” and they are beginning to acknowledge their own wisdom and fierceness, products of that freer Soul. They do things like this video perhaps to call out to each other, like wolves, to find their pack. They also see more powerful role models for older women than ever before. Personally I can only applaud all these things.
And they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know how much their wisdom will deepen over time. They haven’t confronted yet the serious physical decline that happens later. Many haven’t suffered the death and serious illnesses of friends (or themselves), or stark confrontation with their own mortality. (Though some younger women have confronted these things and it has changed them.) Are these the things you are meaning when you say they can’t call themselves crones? At nearly 67, I do not feel yet I am a hag, yet I do feel more the elder than I did even at 60. Is age the determining factor, or ?
Thanks for raising this question.
Hag Monnda here. The wanting of something does not mean that it will be so. My job or our job, is to guide, either by example or by teaching. They are seeking knowledge, abet a little early, and want to be known as wise. It is a confusing time to be living. And I find the newish term, “Ok Boomer”, to be terribly annoying, and heave help the person who uses it on me. They will be crones someday, but not now. We must teach and guide, which you are great at. Soooooo, basically, time will tell. Even when we think we know what we are doing, Spirit has other messages. This may be one of those times.
Hey Monnda. Crone Sister. Completely agree with everything you write. Yes. Time will tell…and not all sisters will claim the wisdom. I’m focused on those, like you, who are there. Huge hugs! Miss you.
Hey Anne. Brilliant. So glad this is sparking a conversation. I know many circles of elder women are grappling with the same issue. And in our culture we always want to be so inclusive that sometimes we want to let everyone in the circle. Something our ancestors didn’t do, actually. They had clarity about passage from one phase of life to another…and the ceremonies and rituals to mark those transitions. And in most ancient/older cultures, it was the elders who would name another one elder. You never named yourself ‘elder and you certainly didn’t have a croning ceremony on your 50th birthday just because you had traveled so many times around the wheel. Yes. We hopefully all get older…but we don’t all get elder. So you are right. Younger women don’t know what they don’t know. And without the culture of Crone there are few guidelines to follow. Hopefully some of us can model this and make the demonstration. Few if any of the old rules are meaningful….we are challenged to find new ones. And yes…so many want wisdom….although I would venture to say that some just want to be considered wise. And wisdom can come at any stage in life…however it is a wisdom born of and appropriate to that stage. Again, I think this is where our culture fails. It doesn’t address those initiations and passages. Hmmm. Not sure if you have my Crone book…but I do write about this in much more depth. Will be delightful to continue this exploration with you….in Ireland if not before!
Interesting post. I had no idea. But, I do know that when I was 75 I was croned at Elderflower. And, that now at 79, I truly feel that I have achieved enough wisdom and life experience, and have rearranged my beliefs to think of myself as a Hag.
Thank you so much for this comment. Yes. The question of when we become Elder/Crone is very much up in the collective these days. And I would absolutely think that at 79, especially with your experience and intentions/beliefs, you are absolutely Hag.
I had to travel halfway around the world to discover you, only to realize we are neighbors! I was at the coffee shop in Loughcrew and found your book. When I looked you up online I found your website and that you’re in Washington. I’ve been nomadic for 2 years but consider Edmonds my home.
I’m returning in December and wondering if you have any workshops or teachings scheduled for December or January. Would love to meet you.
All the best,
Thanks so much for this. Delighted you found the book at Loughcrew. They are truly lovely people there. And yes. We are neighbors. At this point the only gatherings I have are two on-going circles. However we do have a SolsticeFire gathering here on December 21st. If you email me, I can send out the invitation if you are interested. Would be lovely to meet you! My email: email@example.com