Source of creation moves through every nation, moving from sea to sea;
meadows and mountains, oceans, rivers, fountains flow from Her energy.
Her gentle showers water fruit and flowers, giving abundant life;
with Her we nourish everyone to flourish, helping creation thrive.
Words © 2019 Jann Aldredge-Clanton Music © 2019 Katie Ketchum
This video features Katie Ketchum’s painting “The Crone,” along with her music. Although the word “crone” has been distorted, the original meaning of “crone,” coming from “crown,” is an older wise woman. The Bible depicts Wisdom as an ancient woman, the Source of Creation. In the beginning, She took part in creating the heavens and the earth (Proverbs 3:19, 8:23-30).
“Crone,” “hag,” and “witch” once were positive words for older women. The word “crone” (“crown”) indicates wisdom emanating from the head. The word “hag” comes from hagio, meaning “holy,” and “witch” comes from “wit,” meaning wise. In past centuries crones, hags, and witches frequently were leaders, midwives, and healers in their communities. But the meanings of these three words were distorted and reversed during the 300 years of the Inquisition when the male-dominated church wanted to eliminate women holding positions of power. Women identified as witches, who were often older women, were tortured and burned, and the words “witch,” “crone,” and “hag” took on the negative connotations that continue in our language. The current definition of “crone” in Webster-Merriam dictionary is “a cruel or ugly old woman.”
Agism is an unjust “ism” in our culture that intersects with sexism, racism, heterosexisim, and economic injustice. We live in a youth-worshiping culture that especially diminishes older women. Older men are often respected, their gray hair considered an attractive sign of wisdom. In movies, television, and social media, young women are frequently held up as the female standard. By our language and our actions we demean aging women, giving them labels such as “little old ladies.” Some cultures look to older women for wise counsel, but we shuffle them aside. Older women may suffer discrimination in the workplace, in the medical system, and even in churches.
Today many faith communities celebrate the wisdom of older women, reclaiming the positive meaning of “crone.” They embrace the original meaning of “crone” as wisdom and conduct croning (crowning) ceremonies to mark this important stage of women’s lives. They tap into the ancient crone’s attributes of wisdom, creativity, compassion, transformation, and healing laughte
We can all reclaim the “crone” image, the Source of Creation. She will strengthen our confidence in age-accumulated insights and wisdom, helping us claim Her energy to nourish all creation to thrive.
Performed by: Katie Ketchum
Music: Katie Ketchum
Lyrics: Jann Aldredge-Clanton
Hersay: Songs for Healing and Empowerment
Recorded at: Joe Hoffmann Studios, Occidental, CA
Katie Ketchum: Hersay book cover & “The Crone” paintings
Elaine Chan-Scherer: photos at Baker Beach and Lands End, San Francisco
Linda Palmstrom: photo of sunset at San Rafael Bay
Photo of Loaves & Fish ministry at The Gathering, A Womanist Church
Alice Heimsoth: photo of cherry blossoms and choir, Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, San Francisco
Stacy Boorn: photo of dancing bears