Origins of Crone Chronicles
by Ann Kreilkamp
Founder of Crone Chronicles and
editor of Crone magazine
This page was originally part of the Crone Chronicle web site. Crone magazine is the successor to Crone Chronicles which ended publication in 2001. Back issues of some Crone Chronicles issues are available at the Crone Web Shop.
The Crone archetype startled me into action in July, 1989, when I experienced Her energy in a numinous life-changing dream. Though I don't remember the dream itself, I do remember being roughly shaken awake from behind by a huge black bird. The situation felt urgent. She cawed (or crowed?) at me, "Wake Up! Wake Up! It's Time! It's Time!"
Though shocked at her roughness, I was not surprised by the message. The Crone energy is so powerful, so magical, and has been so long buried in the collective unconscious, that once aroused, I knew She would wake up the world-or bury it in Her fury.
For several decades prior to the dream I had been fascinated by the energy which I identified as "Crone," and would make jokes to my younger friends about how I was turning into one. Yet even as a child I remember telling any adult who would listen that I couldn't wait to be 65 years old. I knew with a kind of precocious certainty that only when I was old would I be released from the nonsense that goes along with being female in this society. I couldn't wait to be freed from the focus on "appearances," so that I could become fully myself, inside and out.
Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging was born when I was 46 years old in July 1989 as a direct response to the call of the Crone. Within one week of that dream I was handed $50 and a borrowed computer. Immediately I sat down and fired off a letter- "Calling All Crones!"-and mailed it to 100 women - friends of mine, friends of my friends.
Though at the time none of my friends or acquaintances shared my my fascination with the Crone , the propulsive force of the dream was so powerful that I knew that I was not alone. That any energy which seeks release from the deep sleep of the collective unconscious knocks on the doors of many individuals at once. (Freud was not the first to speak of the "subconscious;" nor was Darwin the only discoverer of "evolution.") As I told my local friends-they thought I was a bit daft but supported me nonetheless-"there have to be others out there who are feeling the energy of Crone."
I was right. Within one week of sending out the "Calling All Crones" letter, I received a phone call from a California woman who had been handed the letter by another at the first meeting of a "Crone Group" she had decided to start.
Neither of us would claim to be the first to experience the energy of Crone. Although at the time I did not know anyone personally who felt Crone energy the way I did, I have since learned that Crone had been calling us for aan extended period of time. Just how far back we should go to recognize the contemporary reclaiming of Crone is anyone's guess. How the Crone archetype arose within the collective unconscious is as mysterious as the origins of any Idea whose time has come. Let's just say that during the final years of the 20th century this archetype filtered up into conscious awareness of a number of individuals and groups, most of whom were unknown to one another. For example, the feminist author Z Budapest began doing initiation ceremonies for Maiden, Mother and Crone in 1976. In the early '80s, a group of women in Maine were holding Croning Ceremonies and even self-published a book about it. Beginning in 1987, another group calling themselves "Crone," at one time 300-strong, banded together in Seattle.
Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging, which began with that spontaneous photocopied letter, was in its 11th year of publication in 2001 and had an 80-page quarterly with a full-color cover, as well as a national and international circulation of approximately 15,000.
For the past five or six years of its distribution, the publication received press attention from at least a dozen big city dailies, including the Chicago Times, the London Sunday Times, the Seattle Times, and the San Diego Union. In 1998, The Toronto Globe & Mail said that Crone Chronicles "is doing for crones what Ms Magazine did for an earlier generation of feminists."
In 1998 Crone Chronicles was nominated for an Utne Reader annual award in the category of "Personal Life Stories." In February 1999, Crone, Croning Ceremonies, and Crone Chronicles were featured on a four-minute segment of Good Morning America.
In 2001, Crone Chronicles unfortunately came to a close. However, with the help of BBI Media and their resources, the dream that was Crone Chronicles has been reimagined as Crone: Women Coming of Age.