Madonna turns 60 next month (August 2018), which got me thinking about our view of ‘The Crone’ in popular culture and how, in order for true feminist equality to rise, we need to re-vision the out-dated patriarchal view that an older woman is a ‘dried-up hag’!
We need to be more aware of the ways of being that are sold to us through advertising; to notice our judgements regarding older women/yourself; and to encourage the re-emergence of a sisterhood (of feminist equality) that uplifts and supports each other.
So, before your preconceived judgements about Madonna (more on that later) start flickering through your brain, let me tell you a bit about ‘The Crone’, which is the third and final, necessary, cycle of life – from The Maiden at Spring, through The Mother at Summer, into The Crone at Winter.
In today’s society we’ve been sold the concept that only young is beautiful – from anti-wrinkle cream to hair dye and botox, the world is obsessed with youthful looks. Yet The Maiden energy can also be naïve, immature, and easily manipulated. No wonder then that Patriarchal Society focusses more on this energy. Without the manifesting fertility (not simply the reproductive abilities) of The Mother, nor the wisdom and transformational powers of The Crone, the feminine is without power, whilst the masculine is forced forward.
Society’s inequality has created widespread mental health problems, uncertainty, insecurity, plus an Earth (our great Goddess) crying out with environmental issues (fluctuating/out of balance seasons/emotions – Spring, Summer, Winter; the cycle of life; of the goddess). We are, after all, microcosms of the macrocosm; we are all connected.
The Church, in the Middle Ages, distorted our view of Crone power, because they feared the wisdom and esteem such women carried. The Crone Goddess represents death and transformation, she’s the necessary dark-side of life that’s so often shunned. The Church has traditionally only recognised women as being Virginal Mothers (Mother Mary) or Whores (Mary Magdelene) – sex/pleasure/power for women was entirely condemned from the start.
All Crones or Witches were killed during the Inquisition (their fight against heresy; any belief contrary to ‘one God’) and the wise woman of old was relegated to the Wicked Witch and Hag Archetype of our fairy tales. Distortions again from the original meanings of the words witch and hag, which respectively derive from the words wit, denoting wisdom and haggio meaning holy.
The word Crone actually comes from the word crown; the wise woman called on to re-vision, cut through, and transform society. Madonna is still, therefore, unquestionably in my mind, the true Queen of Pop.
Madonna is her chosen stage name, which comes from the Medieval Italian “ma donna” meaning ‘my lady’ and is often used by the Roman Catholic Church (of which Madonna was raised and quickly left) to refer to Mother Mary. Just think of her songs ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Like A Prayer’ and ‘Material Girl’ and we quickly have the soundtrack to this very blog.
I’ve been a fan of Madonna’s anarchist pop drive from way back, though I have to admit to being on the ‘desperate’ bashing band-wagon during her Britney kissing, leotard crotch thrusting days. I’d switched off, though research tells me she’s continued, working with MIA and Nicki Minaj, among others – two more recent female pop artists I respect. And so I’m offered lessons of my own regarding Crone projections. That said, if this was one big sitting of a Madonna play I’d be stand-up applauding her again, and I’m definitely excited to see what culturally controversial art she delivers next.
“I stand before you as a doormat. Oh, I mean, as a female entertainer,” she told an awards audience in December 2016 when named woman of the year by Billboard. “Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant sexism and misogyny and constant bullying and relentless abuse…..
“If you’re a girl, you have to play the game. You’re allowed to be pretty and cute and sexy. But don’t act too smart. Don’t have an opinion that’s out of line with the status quo. You are allowed to be objectified by men and dress like a slut, but don’t own your sluttiness. And do not, I repeat do not, share your own sexual fantasies with the world. Be what men want you to be, but more importantly, be what women feel comfortable with you being around other men. And finally, do not age. Because to age is a sin. You will be criticised and vilified and you will definitely not be played on the radio.” (Quotes taken The Irish Examiner)
Madonna is one of those forward-thinking women who, like the feminists, has fought her way to acknowledgement, playing the game when needed, breaking cultural boundaries, and pathing the way for change, albeit in a fun, artistic, unapologetic, sometimes shameless, in your face – possibly the best – way. Yet she’s been vilified from the start – she’s one of those artists people love to hate. She’s challenging. And she’s human; she’s on her own journey of life that’s never perfect.
Mythological Goddesses including Kali, Lillith, and The Morrigan, are also representative of The Crone; of the dark, transformational, wise and powerful feminine. They’re archetypal characters that can be embodied by all; called on in times of need; harnessed for inspiration and strength. They too are challenging, yet that’s their glorified strength.
So, in a world of feminine uprising it feels right to re-vision our view of ‘the crone’ – the post-menses, wise, older lady in our cycle of life; of the goddess.
If we’re to re-awaken our power, as both men and women, this patriarchal stereotype of older women being ‘past it’ has to be re-written. Consider why it is that only men get the ‘silver fox’ glory and so on.
Juicy, vibrant, and wise are just some of the adjectives I could use to describe The Crone (post-menstral) women in my Tantric connections. They’re potent, and intimidating, with their heart-ful, cup-overflowing manners. They’re in their full self-sovereign sexual power, just like Madonna, which is exactly why popular patriarchal society still works to drain them/us dry.
Which version do you choose to move forward with?
Juicy, wise, self-sovereign sexual power Vs Dried-up, insecure, manipulated and oppressed.
Fuck it’s harsh when laid bare like that, yet I do see this as the over-riding truth right now, which is why I’m writing and sharing such transformative tools, as are many of the True Crones (as I’m now re-naming them) that I look to for inspiration – self-sovereign older wise-women in their sexual power.
Awaken To Tantra is our up coming Urban Retreat in Leeds (August 4th and 5th) offering you the opportunity to kick-start your juicy self-sovereignty. Encouraging you to re-vision the feminine – Maiden, Mother and Crone – in your life, whether in a male or female body.