I spent last Saturday dancing with crones. Before you think I've become an ageist and am slandering women of a certain age, let me tell you about my experience.
My Punkoustica bandmate, Angela asked me to join her on a couple of songs at her sister’s 60th birthday party, so I agreed. I wasn't sure what to expect. I guess I assumed that the party would be mostly older folks and might not be terribly exciting, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I’d never had the opportunity to be around so many older women in a festive setting. Some were married, some single, some divorced or widowed, but regardless of their marital status they all behaved in a way that showed they were not concerned with what anyone thought about them. These older women seemed to have a much stronger sense of identity, individuality and confidence than is typically found in younger women.
When the music started playing and these women got up to dance, they weren't dancing any recognizable steps. They simply moved their bodies along with the music. They twirled, jerked, jumped and gyrated with such carefree enthusiasm that I was irresistably drawn into their circle. I imagine that the energy I felt in the midst of that circle must have been something like the energy that witches tap into with their own dance rituals. The sense of power, wisdom, and creative energy swirling all around that dance floor was like magick. Looking into their eyes, I sensed that these women could own the world if they wished, or turn you to stone if they chose to. Being in their company allowed me to feel the full strength of womanhood, and it gave me something to look forward to as I mature and learn the wisdom of the crone.
The word "crone" is often associated with the image of a shriveled old hag, usually one bent on evil-doing. I suspect that this has more to do with the Roman Catholic Church's attempt to malign the ancient Goddess cults and pre-Christian religions than anything else. In our own culture, we perpetuate this negative association with female aging by focusing almost exclusively on young women as the symbols of femininity. "Crone" has become the word society uses to express disdain for older women, but in reality, Crone should be the image for self-assurance, self-empowerment and self-knowledge that comes with age. Crone is the fulfillment of life experience and wisdom and should be revered.