Telling My Stories

A life lived outside

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Old Wives Tales vs. Crone Wisdom

Posted by catkisser on August 12, 2009

One of the least noticed but most “in your face” symptoms of overall patriarchal mysogyny is the expression “old wives tale” to dismiss any wisdom that fails the male logic test.  How much do we lose as a society by dismissing in this fashion what, thousands of years ago, was considered one of the best sources of interpersonal wisdom, that of post menopausal women or Crones.

My first experience of feminist awakening I’ve already written about here, but it was my older aunt, Hope, who explained it to me clearly long before second wave feminism reached it’s zenith.  Thinking back, it’s remarkable in itself that she would do so at all, but then I was not shy at all asking about the world from my older female relations and I listened to what they told me.  She was totally honest in telling me her assessment of the nature of my parents relationship and she was dead on accurate as well without being nasty, mean or demeaning about it.

My mother’s side of the family was the old New England down to earth type.  I learned a different set of morals and “correct” behaviour from them that had little to do with traditional “right and wrong” and very strong on treating others with respect sans “moral judgment” on things that actually should be no one else’s concern.  Hope and Vinny didn’t bother to get married until the twins were on their way….almost two years after my cousin, little Hope, was born.  This wasn’t a family scandal, it was barely considered worth noting.  In fact, the joke among my many aunts and uncles on my mothers side of the family was I was the first eldest child actually conceived within marriage.

My female role models among my family were all strong, outspoken women, the men, equally strong and unthreatened by this, with the possible exception of only my own father.

Which brings me to the friendship I shared with my neighbor’s mother, Mrs. Weathersby.  The summer we returned from India my own mother and Diana, who lived across the street on Plum Island became good friends despite the fact Diana was closer to my own age, in her mid twenties, than my mother’s.  All of us got involved in holding seances, playing with the ouija board and assorted craziness which will be the topic of another entry sometime in the future, but through Diana, I got to know Mrs. Weathersby, her mother.  And from her I learned to truly appreciate Crone wisdom.  I was seventeen years old and had I been “normal” I probably never would have paid her much attention but there is something compelling in long conversations with someone who feels free to tell you precisely how she sees the world around her from both long experience and with no “gender” considerations added.  I learned more from her about art appreciation, local politics, relations between the sexes and seeing the world as it is rather than what we want to see than anyone else in my life.  Diana and my own mother joked about our friendship, but in no small part my own transition later in life was to Crone with an appreciation of exactly how wonderful a state of life that can be.

Thank you Mrs. Weathersby for that wondrous gift.


One Response to “Old Wives Tales vs. Crone Wisdom”

  1. Jessica said

    I didn’t know this was here.

    Thank you, Cathryn.

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