Category Archives: Being a Crone
I have recently had a very interesting discussion on goodreads (see Goodreads/Boomer Lit/monthly read/The Crone Club) with someone who said she found the title so offensive that she would never even open The Crone Club, let alone read it. I was taken aback, not so much by her view, as by the vehemence with which she expressed it, even going so far as to state that she had asked all her friends and they had agreed with her.
I found this strong objection to the title “crone” very surprising and in the end, thought-provoking. As the book makes clear the reunited friends choose to call themselves the Crone Club. It is not a name imposed on them. Alison, the feminist member of the group, points out that ‘crone’ is a title given to the reigning goddess in ancient mythology, the other two titles being maiden and mother. The name ‘crone’ therefore celebrates the power of the feminine; it does not denigrate it. It also celebrates a special time in our lives when we are no longer at the mercy of our oestrogen levels and our increased testosterone levels are also giving us more confidence and assertiveness. We are free from many of the responsibilities and expectations of society regarding ‘correct’ and appropriate female behaviour, so we can reinvent ourselves.
It seems that some of my fellow Baby Boomers are challenged by the word “Crone.” It is time to rescue this term from the negative connotations imposed on it by a patriarchal society. This is well beyond accepting that we are growing older. By embracing the ‘crone’ in us we can go forth empowered, to take on all the challenges of our new lives and strive for our dreams.
Interestingly, I was recently introduced to this article, which supports and develops many of the points made above: http://wildwomansisterhood.blogspot.nl/2013/04/croning-ceremony-celebrating-wisdom-of.html#.UXpkFkoZPEz
Each of the crones in the Crone Club set themselves a dream and a challenge and vow to complete them. The point being that these are ‘Rites of Passage’ to help them grow and to lead them into the next stage of their lives.
This idea grew out of my own experiences. I first recognised the importance of challenges and dreams as “Rites of Passage” after the break-up of my disasterous first marriage to an alcoholic in my 30s. Like many women at the tail-end of a bad marriage, I found that my identity and self-confidence had been considerably eroded. My response to divorce was to complete three personal challenges within the space of three months: I undertook a 30 mile sponsored walk, a parachute jump and took myself to Crete to live and work. The sponsored walk was a pure challenge. The parachute jump was both, because it was something I had always wanted to do after having been recommended it years ago by my uncle who was a parachutist in the war. He told me that it was the most wonderful feeling in the world and he was right. The move to Crete was the fulfillment of another old dream. I had always wanted to live and work abroad and Greece had been a dream destination after reading Geral Durrrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals” at school. But indeed, it was also in itself quite a dramatic challenge. I had never been to a Mediterranean country, so I had no idea what to expect. I gave up my job and my flat and as ‘The Magic Bus’ (as it was called by the young backpackers) pulled out of Victoria Station for the first leg of its 72 hour journey through Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia and Greece to Athens, I freely admit that I had some qualms.
But the dream is as important as the challenge and you have to conceive of what you want out of life before you can reach for it. I had the most wonderful year in Crete. I fell permanently in love with Greece, made friends who are still dear to me and most importantly of all, I met Vince, my husband. He was part of my dreams. As my first marriage broke down, I had longed more than anything else for a husband, who was a friend and companion and in Vince I married my best friend. Last July we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
As I now enter my sixties I feel the need to set myself new challenges and dreams. In fact, for me there is just one big one. It is both a challenge and a dream. I intend to retire from teaching in a year or two and I want to become a full-time writer. I want the Crone Club to become a series of books. The other six are already planned in out-line draft. The next book “Crone Club Mayhem” should be ready in late Spring.
I remember having thick, long hair. Now I seem to be developing a bald patch. I mentioned that to my hairdresser a while ago and he said his wife was the same. She had gone to her doctor who had told her that it was down to her ‘male’ hormones.
Germaine Greer once termed the time of a woman’s life when she reaches post-menopause as “peaceful’ potency. It is also very interesting that the anthropologist Margaret Mead described a stunning burst of energy and assertiveness in the post-menopausal women of all the cultures she studied.
When you think about it the reason for this is obvious. It is, indeed, why so many of us experience a thinning of hair on our heads at exactly the same time we often acquire some embarrassing facial hair. All of us have the testosterone in our bodies. As the level of oestrogen goes down, our male hormones begin to assert their influence. We therefore start to exhibit what some people consider to be “male characteristics” – this sudden increase in confidence and assertiveness.
We post-menopausal women have finally got off that hormonal roller-coaster, which has dominated our lives, defining and to some extent, limiting us. It really is a new stage in life – a positive experience and perhaps it is finally time to celebrate it, publicly. We should cheer on that rise of male potency in our lives. It has always been present in our lives, but now it is coming into its full power in time to help us to reach our full potential.