The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale, an old woman who is usually disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in manner, often with magical or supernatural associations that can make her either helpful or obstructing. She is marginalized by her exclusion from the reproductive cycle,[1] and her proximity to death places her in contact with occult wisdom. As a character type, the crone shares characteristics with the hag.

Although Crone may be thought of as a scary old lady, in many native traditions crone is an honored role, the third, “the grandmother” phase of a woman’s life.. Having explored as daughter, matured as mother, the crone - grandmother – is the wise woman who can be relied upon for clear direction and honest guidance.

It is the title “grandmother” that has always made me reluctant to claim the archetype of crone - although I am great-aunt three times over, I am not a grandmother in this life, nor will be. But there’s no denying the wrinkles on my face, nor the creaks in my joints, so with my 65th birthday, I accept that I am a crone… and celebrate it.

In fact, I am very happy to embrace my life from the perspective of crone… I have always been known for being direct, even blunt, opinionated, but now the crone me is also a good listener, open, willing to consider new ideas… I can see the age in my face and my white hair and aching body, but I don’t feel old in my mind, or my heart, or my soul. Crone is free of the demands to produce – and so I am also free to consider new options.

Hopes, dreams and expectations of life have changed… Much as I like the idea of owning that sweet little Bed and Breakfast on the beach, I know that it would take a whole lot more effort than I am prepared to put out… now I just want to be able to stay at one for a week or two in the summer. There is a new peace in my soul that has come from accepting who I am, what I have accomplished and what I am still capable of…More realistic, practical expectations come from a more direct and honest relationship with myself and my world… perspectives have changed… my world is bigger now, yet I feel more comfortable in it, more purposeful and clear about where I fit and how I can and want to contribute.

I am actually quite delighted to call myself crone… I recall years ago telling colleagues that I looked forward to being a crotchety old woman, able to speak my mind… they accused me of having started way early… and they were right… but now it’s more acceptable to say what I see – and the good news is that I’ve learned to hold my tongue when I should, and to be honest gently, diplomatically, compassionately…

The Age of the Crone feels like a great gift to me… first because I have had to fight for my life more than once, even getting to this age is a bonus. But also because it brings a real shift in values… I have noticed my attitudes changing, my focus shifting… especially when it comes to work… I am valuing my time more, recognizing the relevance of playing, relaxing, tending to relationships. I have noticed that I am more open about my feelings, more willing to address issues directly… and also that I am taking time now to think of the best way to approach an issue, and am more willing to allow the right time to present itself naturally… a simple example… a few weeks ago I noticed something wrong with my mother, talked to a few of my family about it, realized we were right to be concerned and would need to act quickly… but still, I held back, waiting… a few days ago, the ideal opportunity came up to speak with her and by this time I knew how to present our concerns without scaring her or making her defensive. Now she is getting the attention she has needed, both medically and personally… mission accomplished… without fanfare or upset. This is the Age of the Crone… my face may be more wrinkled, but my life seems to be moving along much more smoothly.

I am confused about why folks resist aging, why youth is so highy sought. As a young woman, I was headstrong, driven and also quite lost, caught up in a lot of fear.

As Crone, I may be gnarly and snarly, but I also know how to make a little magic… I may be slower, but that means I am also slow to respond to impulse, thoughtful in my reactions and choices. I am less fearful, so my heart is more full – and also more open. I love the Crone in me!

More about Crone here

Get a Reading from this old Crone here

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Comment by Sherri Lanham on May 7, 2011 at 8:27pm

This touches my heart. As I was growing up, I noticed a difference. When I visited my family on the Reservation they would tell stories. Sometimes in the story there would be an Old Crone character. Even though they would say, Old Crone, the words would come out respectfully. But as I was in school, reading from the European classic literature lists, the term Old Crone would come out disrespectfully. I was spending time today with people that others would never spend time with. It was because I saw that they were wonderful beautiful people, yet I reflected at the events and remembered my friends trying to tell me something was wrong with them. One woman was very slow so you had to repeat yourself many times to her, yet when she understood I saw a beautiful spark of light in her face and in her eyes. She appreciated the opportunity to understand the things around her.


I call the people who cannot see these things in a true light, the shaman of landscaping. We have a great tree in our open spaced park. There were two woman who walked down the street and saw the tree. They were talking about how ugly it appeared to them. They wondered why they had to see that ugly tree. My husband and I call it Grandfather tree. It is a wise tree who has seen many things. It experienced life in a profound way of success and brilliance. The shaman of landscaping want to chop it down as an eye sore, never appreciating the value of such a great large, beautiful tree. Then they will replant, thinking that they are being green and environmentally sound a new tree that appears beautiful in their eyes.


I am proud of you that you are listening to the reality of what truth is supposed to be. I just wanted to tell you that I honor your beauty and I see you. Your words have been profoundly wise to me and I respect you in so many ways. I continue to find out that both you and I are so similar. Even though it seems that we are worlds apart. I really appreciate all of your wisdom.


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