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The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power
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The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A probing account of the honored place of older women in ancient matriarchal societies restores to contemporary women an energizing symbol of self-value, power, and respect.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published February 24th 1988 by HarperOne (first published 1986)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  283 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An eye-opener with some uncomfortable unavoidable truths about western religions, patriarchy and imbalance.
Pauline Curwen
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books and one I will keep. Im happy to be a Crone.
J.T.K. Gibbs
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book to savor, read, reread, and learn from over and over again. So much information and inspiration! I bought this when I was mothering 3 young children and learned much from it. Now, in my own Crone years, there is much more to learn and a new perspective.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-my-home-stack
An incredibly powerful and empowering read about woman's true nature in the universe. It's not about letting ego get in the way, but about replacing our male-dominated warmongering leaders with a more instinctive, peaceful, earth-centric and intelligent way of living. I get where some might thinks it's a bit of a male-basher. But instead of looking at it in this way, see it as a reminder of how we as women can find our voice and hold a stronger presence in the peace and truth of this world. ...more
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had some good points to make, but the pervasive "males are the enemy" attitude was off- putting. Also some of the scholarship was outdated, like the nine million Burning Times figure. However, the psychology of the fear of death and the ways people have evolved to address it was fascinating. I'm glad I read it, but I probably won't read it again. ...more
C.J. Prince
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is simply a must read for women growing into wisdom. Highly researched and full of opportunities for contemplation.
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-recently
Loved this book. Loved loved loved.
Emma Weisman
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Read it. It's a game changer. ...more
Kim Adamache
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great read that will shatter what you know about religious beliefs. Many clues to the feminist movement that erupted in the 1970's and a reminder of the significance of a woman's "mature" years. ...more
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is for people who are interested in mythology and symbolic concepts of older women. It covers Judeo-Christian images and Hindu images and bits of other cultures from long long ago. It has nothing about the current age and doesn't try to compare the past to the present. It just reviews these past concepts and images. ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm completely turned off by the lack of focus on women, and rather, the impulsive infatuation with the "big bad male". It's a disservice, really, because there are some beautiful passages written within. ...more
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 onl
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Walker does a most creditable job of covering woman's role throughout history. First and foremost this is feminist literature. Remembering the author's viewpoint, it is a fascinating depiction of women's place in society. From pagan priestesses to today's independent competitive worker, the reader finds much to support her own beliefs. She emphasizes, too, the different natures of females and males. Many men, may find the book troubling but it behooves us to read writing that supports admiration ...more
John Hedrick
Feb 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I picked up this book hoping to read some inspiring observations concerning the forgotten and overlooked power of older women on society.

I was sorely disappointed.

Despite the description, "A probing account of the honored place of older women in ancient matriarchal societies restores to contemporary women an energizing symbol of self-value, power, and respect.", the first two chapters of the book spend more time ax-grinding against the church specifically and against men in general then it does
Allyson Shaw
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: witchy, research
Essential reading for all who walk an esoteric path, self-proclaimed witches or anyone seeking a feminist perspective on the new witch-wave. Of course this predates the current wave by a good 30 years, but much of the writing here seems almost prophetic. The breadth-less scholarship is not without some faults, and the urgency must be understood in the context of thousands of years of silencing of women's spirituality, wisdom and experience. There is much essentialist gender stuff here that is a ...more
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
EXCELLENT BOOK. A must read for anyone interested in pre-Christian religions, the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal cosmogenic worldview, the persecution of half the human race (the "fairer" sex), and the reclamation of the value of woman beyond her "sexual and maternal functions". Walker is a true scholar and feminist. My mind was dazzled by her brilliance like diamonds; at once hard enough to cut the glass ceiling while infinitely illuminating. Dig in and discover a world that wil ...more
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book not to be read lightly.

All women, if they live long enough, become the Crone, The Wise Woman, who passes on Her knowledge and wisdom to those around her. Unlike the youth oriented society of today, past ages recognized the importance of taking care of and listening to those older than ourselves. They learned and passed on the knowledge available to them from those who had lived it.
Jan 26, 2008 marked it as to-read
I read this book when it was about 30 years old and loved it. I'm re-reading it to see if it stood the test of time. Will elaborate when I'm finished. ...more
Willa Guadalupe Grant
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I think this book has a lot to say about the place old women have in society.
Jun 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I joyfully call myself "a crone". ...more
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Rating: 3.5

This book was really interesting. It expresses and supports the view of graceful and natural aging in women.
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The premise of this book is that from 'ordinary human experience is strained through the mythmaking filter of collective unconscious'. The Crone, who represents death as the gateway to rebirth is absent from the patriarchal religions of our modern day, replaced by the model of a linear existence that continues into infinity. The new religion of patriarchy is the root of the demise of human civilization. This exploration of the forgotten archetype of the Crone, the resulting demonizing of old wom ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book was wholly based on a mythological approach that I find utterly unconvincing, that of assuming similar themes in different cultures to mean a window into a world-spanning pre-historic culture. Walker scours the world’s mythology for any goddesses that could possibly be linked, through the most spurious etymologies possible, and then proceeds to build her argument for a pre-historic era of matriarchically-guided bliss. While she does have some interesting discussions about the highly re ...more
Diana Crutchfield
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in world religions and how men and women relate to this, I would recommend fully. If you cannot grasp a feminine deity or non-patriarchal religion or society, then pass on this book

I loved this book and gave a great detail of how everything fits I to each other. This is something I needed to read now and at my time in life. This does not go I to Crone living or the like but more into how it relates to all aspects of life.
Stephanie Sicard
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a great read with a lot of interesting points. One has to ignore the dated use of "primitive" when the author describes other cultures. I found a used copy in a new age store, and read it within a few days. The author may be a bit repetitive at times, but overall it is an empowering read about age and wisdom among women. ...more
Brenda Gleason
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening. Empowering.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think this was an excellent book. Was angry in some chapters and all were informative.
Feb 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2009 marked it as to-read

from Wikipedia:
Barbara G. Walker (born July 2, 1930, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a U.S. author and feminist. She writes about religion, cultural anthropology, spirituality, and mythology from the viewpoint of Pre-Indo-European neolithic matriarchies. She often uses the imagery of the Mother Goddess to discuss these Neolithic Matriarchies. Her most important book is The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983).
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I stumbled across this at a used book store and picked it up. It was a very interesting discussion of the history, psychology and sociology of older women in Western culture. There were times when I felt a little squicky about Walker's very broad generalizations that gave this book a very "us" against "them" tone. It was, however, published 30 years ago- so I might not be reading it in the right context. ...more
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Barbara Walker studied journalism at the University of Pennsylvania and then took a reporting job at the Washington Star in DC. During her work as a reporter, she became increasingly interested in feminism and women's issues.

Her writing career has been split between knitting instruction books, produced in the late 1960s through the mid-80s; and women's studies and mythology books, produced from t

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
141 likes · 51 comments
“Our culture's official rejection of the Crone figure was related to rejection of women, particularly elder women. The gray-haired high priestesses, once respected tribal matriarchs of pre-Christian Europe, were transformed by the newly dominant patriarchy into minions of the devil. Through the Middle Ages, this trend gathered momentum, finally developing a frenzy that legally murdered millions of elder women from the twelfth to the nineteenth centuries.” 0 likes
“Until the Crone figure was suppressed, patriarchal religions could not achieve full control of men's minds. Such religions tended not only to ascetic rejection of the physical experiences of life, but also to fearful rejection of the Divine Old Woman, and by extension of old women generally.” 0 likes
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