The Crone’s manifesto

Are you a Crone? Old(er) women everywhere are beginning to reclaim powerful words such as crone, which have been used in demeaning ways for centuries.

Not all older women are Crones. To be a Crone is a deliberate way of living, a badge of honour, not a by-product of longevity. You’re not a Crone if your mind is closed, if your heart is cold, if you’re unaware of what your instincts are telling you.

Below is a (wo)manifesto for all Crones and Crones-in-training, with some favourite quotes on the right. Why not come out as a Crone by adding a comment to this page?

  • I will banish the word ‘should’ from my life
  • I will laugh a lot, including gently at myself sometimes
  • I will gather my community of loved ones close about me
  • I will speak up bravely when I need to
  • I will demonstrate that a little eccentricity gives spice to life
  • I will live more simply, leaving space for what’s really important to me
  • I will treat my body to movement and to delicious, nourishing food
  • I will compromise as little as possible
  • I will find all kinds of occasions and people to celebrate
  • I will live in a profoundly creative way, understanding that the word creative does not always refer to the arts but to a deeper current running through life
  • I will, being human, feel fear and regret sometimes; I will not allow those feelings to define me
  • I will ask for help when I need it
  • I will mark the significant moments of life, large and small
  • I will mourn my losses fiercely, in my own way
  • I will fall in love when I feel like it
  • I will work to heal our beautiful planet home
  • I will do and learn things I’ve always wanted to do and learn
  • I will forget to worry what people think of me
  • I will discover my gifts and offer them freely
  • It is entirely likely I will wear purple
  • I will live a spiritual life, although not necessarily a religious one
  • I will keep an open mind and an open heart
  • I will learn to cackle

Tess Giles Marshall

The photograph above is of one of my most precious possessions, the Crone Clock, which I commissioned from artist Rima Staines, who also painted the banner heading for this site. Rima is far too young to be a Crone, but she has all the potential.
Click this link to sign up for our free monthly newsletter 173 Responses to The Crone’s manifesto
  1. Sandy
    December 28, 2015 | 10:23 pm

    Oh yes, I am a Crone! So glad to have found this pond of lovely Swans…. No longer the ugly duckling, I have finally matured, joyfully gliding gracefully into my own being. I am 61 going on 6 and loving every minute!

  2. Donna Mae Perdew
    January 2, 2016 | 2:21 pm

    So many words and phrases get misconstrued and given an incorrect meaning like Crone. Nice to see the True meaning. I don’t know what age one must be to be considered a Crone but count me in!

  3. Donna Mae Perdew
    January 2, 2016 | 2:23 pm

    Love this clock!

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      January 2, 2016 | 2:59 pm

      Welcome Donna, I don’t know what age either but delighted to have you! And yes, the clock is one of my most favourite possessions!

  4. Kimberly Rumbarger Talboo
    February 4, 2016 | 11:25 pm

    I am a crone and very proud of it. Not all people get to live as long as I have. I creak, I moan but I am so grateful to be alive and thank God for each day I get to spend above ground living my busy life.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 14, 2016 | 3:18 pm

      Hi Kimberly, welcome and thanks for your comment. I think this sense of gratitude is key to being a Crone.

  5. Jules
    February 9, 2016 | 2:18 am

    There is a beautiful sense of freedom when one embraces themselves as a Crone…happened to me in my 60th year

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      February 14, 2016 | 3:18 pm

      Oh yes, that freedom. 60 seems to be an excellent milestone for many of us, Jules.

  6. karolyn
    February 19, 2016 | 10:07 pm

    the best is yet to be
    we giggle silently
    we also see
    what was
    what is
    what is yet to be
    so hold my hand
    the best is yet to be

  7. Jeanne
    May 4, 2016 | 12:32 am

    Newly 60 (!), how did that happen? I have considered my self a crone for some time now, lovely to find your blog! I love the quotes and look forward to reading more!

    • Tess
      October 8, 2016 | 1:11 pm

      Thank you Jeanne, sorry to have somehow missed your comment before.

  8. R Skye
    August 1, 2016 | 12:49 pm

    Rockin’ my Cronehood

    • Tess
      October 8, 2016 | 1:12 pm

      You sure are, I just checked our your blog, love it!

  9. Tanja Ponsford
    October 5, 2016 | 1:35 am

    Thank you for this wonderful reading. Just about 50 and in need of inspiring words, they came at the right time! So important for woman to share their hourneys.
    I will see the little things in life every day,looking at the little pansys at my door smiling at me every morning when i leave the house or when I come back home. Love watching the bees hovering from flover to flower being busy in this world,love listening to the birds talking in the trees……
    Thanks so much again for this
    Tanja, crone in training.

    • Tess
      October 8, 2016 | 1:13 pm

      Tanja, thank you for this, and what a lovely picture you paint of the little things in your life.

  10. Helen O' Sullivan
    October 5, 2016 | 6:16 pm

    I’m on the threshold of 60 and for the life of me I really don’t know how I got here!!! But looking at all the previous verses and comments I realise it’s about time I embraced this phase of my life. Life is meant to be lived and so far I haven’t done that. Well it’s about to change😃

    • Tess
      October 8, 2016 | 1:14 pm

      Go for it Helen, loads of company on the way!

  11. Heidi
    November 2, 2016 | 4:10 am

    have just been confirmed as post-menopausal and found this site. true karma. I am a crone and I have put so many years and tears into the journey, it is time to proclaim myself proudly.

    • Tess
      November 2, 2016 | 6:49 pm

      Hello Heidi, welcome, and I love what you say about proclaiming yourself proudly.

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A crone is a juicy older woman with zest, passions, and soul. If you aspire to be one, the secret is to be yourself, while your mind, heart and body still function well enough, and you appreciate being alive.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, Crones Don’t Whine

Hag is not a nice word.
Yet there comes a time in every woman’s life when nice is tedious, when nice is insipid, seeping into the soul like souring milk, warping the mind. Indeed, nice can, at times, be all that is offensive.
Emma Restall Orr – Kissing the Hag

Menopause, and the changing of her mental maps – the loosening of her need to stay on course – resulted in the tendency to stray into unfamiliar ways and consequently she found herself being “outrageous” at times. It could happen that one day she will have ceased to notice how she is being. The sense of outrageousness will then have left her. She will simply “be”. Still in possession of all her mental abilities, she will no longer be bound by any set ways of responding to anything. She will have opened the door to a higher freedom.
Marian Van Eyk McCain,
Transformation Through Menopause

Finally, as we grow older, when we begin that last stage of life, it is clear that behaviours and failures are not the stuff of religion much any more. Now, the ecstasy of life and the surrender to the Mystery become the last of the revelations of religion. Now, everything we learned long ago, gave up to some degree long ago, never left completely long ago, begins to make sense. Begins to become me.
Sr Joan Chittister, The Gift of Years

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow, what a ride!
Hunter S Thompson

Like any other old woman, I like to tell my stories. Telling each other our stories is a traditional way that women have always shared their knowledge and their wisdom.
Marian Van Eyk McCain, Elderwoman

White as an eggshell
White as a bone,
White as chalk
Or milk or the moon,
Is the written word
Of the ancient Crone,
Who works by wind,
Sun, water and stone

Come with a cackle and a free-born spirit
Come with an edge that is sharp and new
Come with your depth and your ageless wisdom
Come with a cake and a warming brew.
From On Ghost Eve by Carolyn Hillyer

As we free ourselves from the entanglements of too many possessions, and from over-committing our time and money, a lightness begins to breathe through our lives, a kind of quietly exuberant joy – it really is like the bread-sponge rising as the yeast works away silently upon the grain.