ARTICLES & STORIES
by Beth Morris
The story of the Crone in history was intriguing. That aging women had once been revered as mentors, as healers, as herbalists; that they had been consulted on issues of morality and of law; that they had been the memory of the community telling and re-telling the stories of past generations as they had been passed down to her from other Grandmother Crones. Through her, the folklore, the traditions and customs of the clan would continue to be passed down and preserved for future generations so they would not be forgotten.
I had heard of Crones Counsel from a friend who had attended many Gatherings; she told me of the joy she had experienced by being with her Crone Sisters – out in the West where all the Gatherings were held. That was a long way from my little town of Flowery Branch, Georgia so I had to content myself with reading about these much maligned women, who had been cast by the church fathers as evil witches.
And then, Crones Counsel came to the South. They were holding a Gathering for the Wise Crone Women of the East, in the little town of Kingsport, Tennessee, not so far away from my little town.
The Crone Women greeted all of us "newbies" at the hotel like long-lost sisters. With genuine smiles and hugs and thank-you's for coming, any apprehensions I had were melted away by the warmth of these Crones.
Throughout the entire weekend, we shared our stories, some hilarious, some somber, but in this space created by our Sister Crones we were free – to be our old selves. No adult children with rolling eyes and exclamations of "Mothuuuur" to remind us that we were too old to be frisky or say outrageous things or to dance and drum and play. I found these Crones to be lively, animated and fun. I had never before had the sweet pleasure of celebrating with women of age – my own age – and here were all these old women – like me.
In 1993, the founder of Crones Counsel, the retired Director of the Women's Center at the University of Utah, Shauna Adix, and ten of her friends got together in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the first Crones Counsel Gathering. They had made room reservations for 50 women – 107 showed up – from 15 states and ranging in age from 42 to 76.
Sadly, in the following years, Shauna passed away. Still, many of the original Crones Counsel still come to the Gatherings each year. And, like the Crones in ancient time, the traditions of the Crones Counsel are still followed.
As in 1993 and in the years since, the Gatherings are living celebrations of women who are in their Crone years. Crone Women are authentic, joyous, outrageous, real, and at ease with themselves and others. It is said that we are living from the inside out.
The heart and soul of a Crones Counsel Gathering is in the sharing of stories, the telling of tales. With ages ranging from the 40's (Baby Crones) to many in their eighties and sometimes 90's, each has had a unique life. In Storytelling and in the small Wisdom circles, we enrich our personal store of wisdom by listening – Counseling – with those others both older and younger than ourselves. Collective wisdom, like Cosmic Consciousness, is true wisdom. And, for many, deep spiritual work is being done.
Included in the weekend are workshops on varied topics, each presenter offering to share her special talents. Crones Marketplace is where unique, Crone made items are offered for sale; books, herbs, candles, drums and rattles and original silver, enamel and Baltic amber jewelry are just a few of these one of a kinds items.
Crone Counsel welcomes women from all of the million circles to join with the wise women of Crones Counsel to enjoy the company of women like us all. At our last Gathering, there were women from 24 states, and five countries, women ages from 40's to those in their 80's and 90's. And oh! The stories we can tell.
As you can guess, there is so much more. We welcome you to come together with us and join in our celebration of wise women, the Crones, in Boulder, Colorado this fall. Go to www.cronescounsel.org for more information.