The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power

Author: Barbara G. Walker


ISBN: 9780062509345
Pages: 191
Description: I applaud Walker for the extensive reading she’s done in anthropology, archetype psychology and history, but I find her arguments too extreme. Even the most basic reciting of facts are put into a narrative that is extremely negative towards all men through all history. While I do agree that societies benefit when the power of women is acknowledged and celebrated, I don’t want an inversion of the hierarchy.

Take for example the following paragraph that lists strengths mature women possess but only as embedded in a narrative of how these strengths are extinguished:

« Patriarchal men wishes woman to continue playing the part of the unpaid, but tirelessly devoted, nurturer, long after its biological foundation has crumbled, and after he ceases to grant her even the specious significance of a sex object. One reason is that patriarchal man must deny woman the essential later-life functions she naturally assumed in prepartriachal societies: healer, judge, wise-woman, arbiter of ethical and moral law, owner of the sacred lore, mediator between the realms of flesh and spirit, and–most of all–the functions of the Crone: funeraray priestess and Death Mother, controlling the circumstances of death as she controlled those of birth. In their anxiety to deny the Crone archetype through religious imagery, patriarchal societies even denies the fact of death itself » (p. 32).

Reading this book was making me want to kick my husband and son out of the house. I had to stop reading it. I wish it gave even a TINY bit of space to a vision of co-operation between the genders.

I would have enjoyed the book more if I had received more description of these roles (healer, judge, wise-woman, etc.) and less description on how and why men throughout each era have suppressed these gifts. Ironically, the book suppresses them too by using the « language of the father » by doing a ton of scholarly argument about their absence. I learn much more about crone wisdom from storytelling. I read 3 chapters in their entirety and skimmed the rest. I’ll read some folktales that feature strong women as a way to learn more about the powers of the crone.

Here are the chapter titles:

Introduction (a lot about the distortion and suppression of the triple goddess: mother, maiden and crone).
The Lost Crone (an overview of how society is missing out)
The Wise Crone (specific cultural examples of goddesses and other wise archetypes and how patriarchies suppressed them)
The Terrible Crone
The Crone and the Cauldron
The Crone Turns Witch
The Doomsday Crone
The Future Crone
Notes
Bibliography

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