Crone #3


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Crone #3 - Visionaries.

One crone-ish path is that of (re)discovering our creativity. Artistic impulses often laid aside during frantic mid-life years can be rediscovered (or revived) during our crone years. Helen Redman, the subject of Ann Kreilkamp’s interview in this issue has been concentrating her artistic vision on crone images for over half a century. Her witty and razor-sharp self-portraits confound our expectations of beauty and challenge us to expand our definitions of self, crone, and art itself.

Another opening into crone awareness is through deepening our connection with the natural world, a path richly demonstrated by the life and work of artist, designer, and philosopher Bobbi Gill. Maggie Fenton paints a portrait of Bobbi’s uniquely integrated world: one in which the realms of human, plant, and animal intertwine through artwork, landscape, and interior design to create a life in which all beings are made welcome and acknowledged with grace and gratitude.

In many philosophical systems, the ideal life cycle is believed to conclude with a stage in which the seeker withdraws from society and devotes herself to solitary contemplation. Although she enjoys an active lifestyle, Lady Oliva Robertson, foundress of the Fellowship of Isis shares both her mystic vision and down-to-earth wisdom with Aya Rose in an enigmatic but rewarding interview certain to pose as many questions as it answers.

In marked contrast to the path of internal contemplation, many of us choose to embrace crone by moving outward into the wider world. Women like explorer extraordinaire Helen Thayer are robustly engaged role models whose adventures are often tied to wider social issues. Even if (like me) you are mostly an armchair adventurer, you’ll enjoy Connie Dawson’s conversation with this intrepid, optimistic and opinionated activist.

Most of us won’t feel inspired to walk to the North Pole like Helen Thayer, but we have at least one thing in common with her: we don’t let people tell us what we can (or cannot) do. Among the many manifestations of blossoming crone consciousness is often an overwhelming impulse to “tell it like it really is.” This spirit of change is exemplified by the crone-filled activist movement “the Raging Grannies,” profiled in this issue by Crone Action department head Win Fiandaca. After reading about their cheerful (and effective) action, you may want to join a local gaggle — or to start your own!

The RGs harken back to the work of our foremothers and one way to connect with our inner crone (at any age) is to explore the herstory of our female ancestors. Clara Oropeza and Sara Kosmyna both found inspiration in the strength and tenacity of their grandmothers, and share their experiences of discovering their deep connections to their ancestors in this issue’s Crone Encounters.

The past doesn’t always manifest through story and memory, however; sometimes the actual goods and possessions our elders held dear come into our lives. Ila Dezarn finds comfort in discovering the presence of her parents in the simple objects she inherited but Susan Chernak McElroy discovers that an unexpected side effect to recycling the goods of another: a radical reevaluation of her own possessions.

Multitudes of other stories — an introduction to the Colorado Crones Circle of Wise Women, Rita Bresnahan’s adventures with burp clothes, Patricia Leyden’s croning day, Win Fiadaca's reflections on her poignant remembrance of Ruth Gardner, the “Crone Mother of Arizona,”and Lee Pelham Cotton’s tales of toads shimmer like jewels in this issue. All these women, so varied in their life experiences and outlooks, are visionaries in their own right, and heroines, all!

Enjoy their stories in this 128-page issue, published in July 2010.

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