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 149 Responses to The Crone’s manifesto
  1. Jill
    July 1, 2011 | 2:35 am

    The Manifesto is exactly what I’ve been feeling. So glad there are others who are having the same experience. Thanks for doing this!

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      July 1, 2011 | 5:36 pm

      Jill, so pleased that this meets you at your own experiences and feelings. A warm welcome and thank you for commenting.

  2. Should: it’s a curse
    July 7, 2011 | 11:09 am

    […] Crone’s Manifesto […]

  3. Tenar
    July 7, 2011 | 4:27 pm

    Great leap here manifest for a great journey, Tess!!

  4. Cathy
    July 18, 2011 | 5:37 am

    Living as a crone has become the best stage of my life. So wonderful to find this gathering of like minded women. I used to follow your other blog,and found this new one via Rima’s site.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      July 18, 2011 | 8:38 am

      Hi Cathy, yes I remember you from my other blog, so very glad you’ve found your way here!

  5. Jen
    July 22, 2011 | 2:44 am

    Ahh…to take the first step(ping) stone as a crone…feels great. Glad I found your site, Tess! Thank you.

  6. Sally Meyers
    July 27, 2011 | 6:37 pm

    It looks interesting, but I need time to digest the (wo)manifesto.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      July 27, 2011 | 7:42 pm

      Well interesting is always good, Sally, hope the digestion goes well.

  7. diana nova
    July 28, 2011 | 3:57 am

    Dear Tess Just connecting to Pilgrim’s Moon thru Christine
    So charmed to have discovered you
    and the manifesto speaks to my life intentions
    All sweet blessings D

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      July 28, 2011 | 5:39 pm

      Diana, a warm welcome to my site, and I’m delighted the manifesto speaks to you.

  8. Joan
    July 28, 2011 | 4:33 am

    I think I’m gong to feel at home here. Glad to be onboard.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      July 28, 2011 | 5:41 pm

      Joan, welcome on board, I’m so pleased you’re here and that you feel at home.

  9. Lisa
    August 10, 2011 | 1:25 am

    I am so glad I have found you! You have put into words what I have been feeling for a long time!

  10. Tess Giles Marshall
    August 10, 2011 | 7:08 pm

    Hello Lisa, a warm welcome to you, and I’m glad you found me too!

  11. carol joy
    August 16, 2011 | 4:37 pm

    Amen, sister.

  12. Ann Dissek
    August 18, 2011 | 1:48 pm

    So glad I found this site! I read the manifesto and could identify with so much of it. Thank you Tess!

  13. Tess Giles Marshall
    August 18, 2011 | 6:31 pm

    Ann, thanks for your comment and a warm welcome to my site!

  14. Crowing Crone Joss
    September 8, 2011 | 1:58 am

    love, love, love your manifesto. I’m going to print it out and post it where I can see it every day. And, on, what an awesome clock.
    Crones rock!
    walk in beauty this day.
    Feel free to visit my new interactive blog
    Crowing Crone Joss recently posted..I love my life!My Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      September 8, 2011 | 8:41 pm

      Hi Crowing Crone Joss, and welcome to this space. What a great idea to print out the manifesto. Crones rock indeed!

  15. JOAN
    September 16, 2011 | 3:36 am

    this is all new to me…aging and spirituality…thank you for reaching out to us 70plus gals…blessings to all

  16. Tracie Nichols
    December 1, 2011 | 1:25 pm

    Tess, I love the manifesto.

    Eccentricity, creativity, kindness… oh yes! And my cackle is coming along nicely :-)

    thank you for creating this community!
    In solidarity,
    Tracie Nichols recently posted..How to connect with seasonal rhythms when your life is the total oppositeMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      December 1, 2011 | 4:21 pm

      Tracie, delighted to have you here and cackling! Just had a quick look at your site and will enjoy exploring later.

  17. Helga Thompson
    December 26, 2011 | 6:56 pm

    Glad to find this site. I hope it leads to connections with other fella crones and hopeful a real life meeting with some in Tennessee where I live.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      December 26, 2011 | 8:58 pm

      Hi Helga, welcome to the site, there are crones everywhere, hope you find some in Tennessee!

  18. Hawthorne
    January 7, 2012 | 6:05 pm

    Love it! My spirituality is a mix of Christianity and Pagan, and the Crone is very significant in the latter. Look forward to exploring more…. x x
    Hawthorne recently posted..More Thursford Wood photosMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      January 8, 2012 | 11:12 am

      Hello Hawthorne welcome to this space. I love your daughter’s photos in the post you link to. The “mad lady” looks good too!

  19. Erika
    January 8, 2012 | 9:37 am

    Is it terribly sad to have felt more like a Crone, than a Maiden or Mother, most of my life??
    Just that scentence makes it sound like I’ve live a Hard Life, which I’ve not…! Is there a minumun age for being a Crone? :) ‘Mid-lifers or older’ would surely see me as a Child… :)
    Beautiful blog! I will be back. :)
    Erika recently posted..Home again…My Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      January 8, 2012 | 11:14 am

      Erika, welcome to this space. Perhaps sad is what you make of it, and Crone is a state of mind… Look forward to meeting you here again.

  20. Horsa (aka Carol Nowlan)
    April 23, 2012 | 1:43 pm

    My Croning Ceremony was one of the most profound and beautiful events in my life. Although this took place at the turn of the century, I remember it as if it were last night. Such an important event in ones life, my son flew out from Canada to South Africa (I now live in England), and worked all day decorating the Croning Circle. He made a throne for me, and behind the throne he built out of branches, bark, and dried grass and leave the most spectacular Crone. I am truly blessed.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      April 23, 2012 | 7:49 pm

      Horsa, welcome and thank you so much for sharing this experience. How very beautiful.

  21. amy
    January 30, 2013 | 5:20 pm

    just found your website and it couldn’t come at a better time! i’m not ‘mid-life’ age by numbers (i’m 38), but am by experience. i have raised two young adult children, and entering a new phase of my life. i can relate to every item on your list, and am excited to see what awesome info i can find on your website! thank you for doing this :)

  22. Georgina
    March 26, 2013 | 12:03 am

    Thank you. For putting in words what’s been in my heart and soul for the last 6 years. I am a crone, and proud to claim the best years of my life. I can’t wait to pass this on to my women friends.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      March 26, 2013 | 6:47 pm

      Georgina, a warm welcome here and so glad to hear you claim yourself as a crone!

  23. Beth Patterson
    March 28, 2013 | 12:32 pm

    Facilitated a Croning (Crowning)Ceremony (for myself and 7 others) in 2011 and another for the same in 2012…I am 58, movin’ and shakin it!
    Great book for any interested in the movement of the soul through life cycle: “Nature and Human Soul” by Bill Plotkin.
    Love to you all! Break it down, build it up, give it all away!

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      March 28, 2013 | 3:53 pm

      Hey Beth, welcome to the site and thanks for your comment. (I like “Crowning” Ceremony). Will check out the book.

  24. Linda Goodman
    June 4, 2013 | 11:01 pm

    I have always lived this way and never knew there was a name for it! Most people said I had some kind of “Nerve” to be bold and daring. to live outside the Box, if you will. I am just at the threshold of 60, and life is good!

  25. Eliza
    June 10, 2013 | 3:41 pm

    beautiful, warm, inviting, feel just right :-)

  26. Etain Butterfly
    July 15, 2013 | 4:14 pm

    I am Crone
    By Etain

    I am Crone
    I have learned to Knnow
    I have wisdom to share and to show

    I am Crone
    I have learned to Will
    Manifest for goodwill

    I am Crone
    I have learned to Dare
    It is energizing I do declare

    I am Crone
    I have learned to keep silent
    My happiness is reliant

  27. Diane
    July 24, 2013 | 5:12 am

    I thought I was alone. That must’ve been my old story.

  28. Donny Walford
    July 28, 2013 | 6:10 am

    Luci Ferrini sent me your link and I read your website and this manifesto and thought wow, I “graduated” to Crone’s way of thinking and doing things when I turned 50. I am going to send this to all of my friends about to turn or who have recently turned 60. We rock! My Behind Closed Doors program for businesswomen is about to release its newest program Encore… Crones and Encore have lots os synergies. Well done Tess

  29. Maryan Pelland
    September 9, 2013 | 3:49 pm

    At first, when I began reading your comment section, I thought the site had stopped operating since the comments were years old. But I saw, gratefully, that your older comments are printed on top of the newer ones(maybe you want to reverse that?) and I was so glad you’re still here. What a valuable, comfortable place for women of a certain awesome age to gather.
    Maryan Pelland recently posted..LeLivro—the Next Great Thing? Not If Their Contract Scares Writers and AuthorsMy Profile

  30. Rissa de la Paz
    October 6, 2013 | 9:15 pm

    Hi Tess
    I absolutely love your Crone’s womanifesto.

    What a lovely way to end my day.

    I shall now try and emulate you by trying to get to bed before 11pm.


    • Tess Giles Marshall
      October 6, 2013 | 10:44 pm

      Rissa! How lovely to find you here, and thanks so much for your comment. Enjoy your sleep!

  31. Karen
    November 2, 2013 | 2:08 am

    I’m please to have discovered this blog and this Manifesto. I’m still struggling to come to terms with ageing. I have no family, no children, no partner, no financial security, working at a job I loathe to make ends meet and feeling largely irrelevant. However, I write fiction, my one saving grace, and my love for animals and nature keep me grounded. And I’ve always worn purple! I look forward to experiencing more on Pilgrim’s Moon.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      November 4, 2013 | 8:15 pm

      Karen, a warm welcome to Pilgrim’s Moon. I’m sure what you say will ring a bell with very many of us. I hope you never stop writing (I misspelled that the first time I typed it and it got autocorrected to ‘rioting’ – maybe something there…). It sounds as if you’re gracefully taking the sweet and the sour together.

  32. TAllyn
    January 8, 2014 | 12:00 am

    I was sailing along,minding my own business and being a solitary 66yo crone when splat! I bumped into this blog! It is a shock to find again the ilk of sisterhood that I have missed since the ’70’s.

    I look forward to return for some fine reading of familiar and new perspectives. I have signed up for your newsletter with glee!
    How utterly refreshing!
    Life hands us gifts all the time.

    There is nothing stronger than a crone who knows she is not alone.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      January 8, 2014 | 7:43 am

      Tallyn, thank you for these wonderful comments, I’m so glad you found us!

  33. wendy
    January 27, 2014 | 7:15 pm

    I feel as if I have lived a crone like existence throughout the whole of my life however its only now at nearly 55 that I feel I can finally give up the struggle to reconcile the many aspects of my personality and recognise that they are all part of who I am. For example the desire to eat as healthy an organic diet as I can source and afford with the love of drinking beautiful wine as often as possible in the full knowledge this is why I have a muffin top. I have also come to realise that I do not need to seek approval from anyone that I am fantastic just the way I am as we all are and growing older is the most amazing experience I’m loving it.I suspect that I am not alone with my struggles and I am so happy I have found this blog. Are there any crones living close to High Wycombe who would like to form a women’s circle? Wendy.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      March 7, 2014 | 5:23 pm

      Hi Wendy, thank you so much for the comment, and glad you found us. I love what you say here – we are all fantastic just the way we are!

  34. Susie C
    March 7, 2014 | 1:38 pm

    This is the best time of my life. I am free and wild! I run fast, dance often, make music, write from an authentic place, play in the mountains and the mud, embrace this earth, share my thoughts and feelings with ease, sit with the Buddha and accept all things including myself……I have adventures with my gorgeous husband, live surrounded by beautiful people, live in a home full of colour and fun and lots of animals……I am mad chicken lady with house chickens that go visit my friends with me! I dress as I wish and I have beautiful flowing grey locks, my wrinkles fit my face just fine. Being a crone is a blast!

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      March 7, 2014 | 5:24 pm

      Very glad to meet you, mad chicken lady! :) You use one of my favourite words: authentic. I think that’s a great gift we can own.

  35. Ceci
    April 28, 2014 | 5:07 pm

    Hah! What a beautiful sisterhood :):) My 65th rotation of the planet is coming up, and I’ve never felt more alive. There is not a day that passes without a dance, an adventure (no matter how small).

    This is truly the richest chapter of my life. The hardships and limitations of the “maiden” and “mother” stages are over!!!

    Blessings to you all :)

  36. Jennifer
    April 29, 2014 | 1:56 am

    Just what I needed to read on this night of a new moon. Thank you, Tess.

  37. Jan
    May 31, 2014 | 1:47 pm

    Oh, I’m in! I’ve already got my cackle on. I walk along the shore in this northern community where I live (Labrador) and have laughing contests with the gulls. And I do not give a care what others may think. Tonight my lovely fella and I will attend the Ice and Water Dance – a yearly event to celebrate the spring break-up. Today the ice is out of the bay but tomorrow it could come floating right back! Such is life on the mud ball we call home.
    Jan recently posted..The Mud BallMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      May 31, 2014 | 3:26 pm

      Jan, this is a great picture of you having laughing contests with the gulls. Look forward to hearing about the Ice and Water Dance.

  38. Susan Scott
    June 9, 2014 | 11:25 am

    Hi Tess, I came to your site via Jan, Sojourner in Labrador, whose posts, like yours, are so beautifully written, and I’m so glad I did! Thank you for these words of wisdom and the comments are lovely too! I’m about to link to your site …
    Susan Scott recently posted..Calm from De-ClutteringMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      June 9, 2014 | 4:20 pm

      Hello Susan, how lovely to have you here, I’m always delighted and intrigued by the serendipity with which we all find each other on the web. I just had a quick look at your own blog, and am looking forward to exploring it more!

  39. Susan Chase-Foster
    June 16, 2014 | 6:23 pm

    Tess, your blog is a delightful discovery at this time of life, like a warm cup of Golden Milk on a fall day. Looking forward to being a part of this community and learning from each of you wise women. <3
    Susan Chase-Foster recently posted..“Drought,” a poem by Rural PoetMy Profile

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      June 16, 2014 | 6:50 pm

      Susan, welcome and what a lovely rich piece of imagery, so glad to have you here. I just had a look at your own blog, which I’m going to enjoy exploring.

  40. Cathi
    June 23, 2014 | 4:29 pm

    Oh yes I am a Crone (with a capital C. I’ve recently turned sixty and feel so free to be who I am. Love your (wo)manifesto. I’ll need to print it out to hang it somewhere.

    I’ve always known that getting old or older would bring riches to my life. I am seeing it happen before my own eyes.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      June 23, 2014 | 5:08 pm

      Hi Cathi, a warm welcome. Yes that sense of freedom is wonderful, isn’t it!

  41. Dianne
    November 22, 2014 | 10:39 pm

    i love this, far too long have we been set aside! I will live every day to my fullest! Sharing my much earned wisdom, yet still look at the world with wonder, and learning from it! Thank you so much for putting into words, that which is in my heart!

  42. Alison
    December 13, 2014 | 4:04 pm

    Count me in…way hay!!!!

  43. Azalea
    May 9, 2015 | 9:19 pm

    This by far one of the best expressions representing the new wise women. So much so I was moved to share on my blog.

    I looked for but could not locate any authority to, or lack thereof, to reprint and/or translate. I have taken the liberty to do just that. I have translated this entry into Spanish, with full credit and redirect back here of course.

    If for any reason you do not favor this, no reason nor explanation required, simply let me know and will remove…no hesitations.

    Again…many thanks for this site and sharing your personal experiences and insights.

    With gratitude…

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      May 22, 2015 | 7:24 pm

      Thank you Azalea. I checked out your Spanish translation – I’m so pleased you used it. Your website looks very interesting.

  44. Edward
    May 22, 2015 | 2:43 pm

    Hello Tess–

    I hope you are doing better than well. I found your page while looking for something worthy to put on my mother’s memorial cards, and thought it was pretty great.

    Is it okay with you if I use it there?

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      May 22, 2015 | 7:22 pm

      Hi Edward, thank you for your query, you would be very welcome to use it this way. Sorry for the loss of your mother.

      • Edward
        June 7, 2015 | 2:32 am

        Thank you very much.

  45. Aryana
    May 25, 2015 | 9:44 pm

    I love this. Was shared on fb, and I have to say, I am a fan. I ejected any, “wouldas, couldas, and shouldas” a while ago. Becoming chronically ill will do that. I spent a lot of time making myself sicker than I needed to be, worrying over things and issues that weren’t mine, but that were brought to my doorstep and left there. I don’t allow that anymore. And though people may try to indicate I’m a b*tch for not doing so, I make it very clear that, no, I’m a witch, and I’m not their solution to every little hiccup in life, and to take responsibility and for crying out loud, to be Accountable. I believe this is the way of the Crone: To be kind, accountable, and firm when others query for help. I don’t mind assisting in finding solutions for an issue, but I won’t take care of it for them. I feel more liberated than ever, in my entire 32 years. Seems like little time to many, but I’ve had quite the experiences, caring for sick family and all from the age of 12 on. On and off for years, I was the Caregiver. I gave so much I took from myself. I was angry for a little while, that I allowed such a thing, but what self discovering epiphany comes without pain? At least in this regard. I have had many a positive epiphany ever since, and signs Every Day that I follow my own path, and that I am correct in doing so. I may bot be old enough to seem a Crone, but I can say I sure feel like it lol. I guess it helps that I have many coming from what seems no where asking for teachings. I never considered myself a teacher/instructor, but I didn’t have anyone when I first started out, and if I can help these ladies to find Their Path, I have had a life Well Lived. ^_^

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      May 26, 2015 | 6:49 pm

      Hey Aryana, thanks for this comment, and I love what you say here, especially “I’m not their solution to every little hiccup in life…”. Just checked out your website – some good things there, will explore more later.

  46. Nita
    June 22, 2015 | 2:13 pm

    Good Morning! My name is Nita, I’m a crone and I’m loving every minute of it! I am free to be perfectly me. I have no obligation to fit into the little box assigned to me. I am OUT! I am free to be forgetful, emotional, silly, outrageous and totally unforgettable! I have my own style, (you won’t find in a magazine) and am no shrinking violet. I love being me!!
    I love what I have seen on this site so far, must explore more fully!

    • Tess Giles Marshall
      June 23, 2015 | 8:04 pm

      Nita, welcome to my site, and I love what you’ve said here – so vibrant!

  47. Claire
    July 16, 2015 | 9:45 pm

    I’m reminding myself of your wonderful womanifesto, and about to remind all my friends, who, coming to the end of a long academic year, are struggling towards a holiday, so your nurturing words are great!

  48. Jeanine
    October 16, 2015 | 5:37 am

    Love the manifesto and I’m glad to have found this blog!
    Jeanine recently posted..Charmed Life Practice: What’s Your Favorite?My Profile

  49. Sharon Ostrow
    November 30, 2015 | 12:14 am

    Maiden, Mother, Crone

    I welcome my crone years, inspired to create and recreate my story, my place and purpose in this life.
    Sharon Ostrow recently posted..The Old Dog Learning New TricksMy Profile

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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.