Crones Don’t Whine
by Jean Shinoda Bolen
“ The outer path we take is public knowledge, but the path with heart is an inner one. The two come together when who we are that is seen in the world coincides with who we deeply are. “
Jean Shinoda Bolen
With her new release, Crones Don’t Whine, Jean Shinoda Bolen has given a much-needed boost to old ladies. We’ve been much maligned over the years, stuck in the rocking chair by the fire (or the heater) with our knitting needles, our socially responsible activities limited to baking cookies for church bazaars. But as Bolen points out, the women’s revolution has redefined our roles, and it’s now time to elevate the older woman to the status of “crone.”
Crone is an old word which, along with hag, has been associated with the image of an ugly shriveled old woman. But the word has been redeemed by feminists now growing old, with a cheerful re-reading of the old stories, beginning with Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run With the Wolves, where the archetype of the old woman appears as guide and teacher, and Barbara Walker’s book Crone. Menopause is now rightly seen as a cathartic process from which we emerge with a gritty character imbued with self-knowledge, and the word crone is now bestowed as a kind of honorary life credential which implies the many good qualities that do come with satisfied aging.