1. What was your inspiration for the song, and how did it come to you?
a. My adopted "grandmother" Eve Smith who at age 73 drove
cross-country all by her lonesome to Las Vegas to "follow her
heart" and become a stand-up comedian and consequently a successful
TV and film celebrity, was the inspiration for Wise Woman.
Do you recognize this face? Eve Smith, an actress who
started her career very late in life, was Karen Soroca's inspiration for
So was my maternal Grandmother Florence, who was always my
biggest fan and always encouraged me to use my God given talents.
Karen Soroca's Grandmother, Florence, was always her
b. As I started to go through my midlife changes, I started to read
about all the choices women have today. I came across a book by Susun
Weed, Menopause the Wise Woman Way, and it intrigued me. Iíve
always been interested in the wisdom of indigenous peoples and their
respect for all living things that come from Mother Earth, feminine
energy. So I kept reading and reading.
c. Then I went on a yoga and meditation retreat in Mendocino, CA. I am
a yoga instructor and every year I like to take a week off to be in
community with other yoga students and teachers. This time meditation was
a big part of the retreat and I had to sit in silence for days on this
land that once belonged to coastal Indians of the region.
"I had to sit in silence for days on this land
that once belonged to coastal Indians" (Soroca on Yoga retreat)
I kept hearing this melody deep inside me and then the words just
flowed out. I was in my room in an old Victorian House and as I looked in
the mirror, I saw myself, and all the women who came before me and after
me peering through my eyes. It was a cosmic experience. I believe that
creativity comes through us when we are receptive to our higher self and
so I just wrote down what I was hearing. The whole first verse was there
before I even got home to further work the song.
2. Exactly what is the formal definition of a Wise Woman?
A Wise Woman in older more matriarchal societies comes from the word
"crone", which meant revered elder of the circle. Crone through
time has had such a negative ring to it. I prefer the phrase "Wise
Woman" because it doesnít carry all the bad images of a toothless hag
like the witch in Snow White and other fairy tales. It is also connected to
menopause, 'one who keeps her wise blood inside' and no longer menstruates,
a Wise Woman.
3. Is "Wise Woman" specifically a Native American term?
"Wise Woman" is not specifically Native American. There have
been statues of wise women found from ancient Crete and other old societies
including East Indian. It is used in many indigenous cultures.
4. What did it mean in terms of a womanís role in the tribe?
The Wise Woman was the leader who was the link between past and future
generations, the physical and spiritual world. She used her intuitive powers
to help women give birth, heal the sick, aid the dying. She was a healer who
knew about herbs and energy. She also instructed the young men how to
pleasure women. She taught the younger women the ways of her tribe. These
are generalizations because customs varied among different tribes in
different cultures. Basically, she was an elder whose wisdom was revered.
5. In general, what is the historical significance of a wise woman?
Historically, the wise woman was often feared in western cultures that
were mostly patriarchal and ruled by men. Women were little more than
property and had little power. They could not own land. They were often not
educated and had little choice but to be married and under the rule of their
husbands. The women who were in tune with their inner wisdom and intuitive
gifts had to stifle their abilities because if they used them, they were
often thought of as witches and burnt at the stake. Many of the so called
witches in the Middle Ages were healers who knew about the use of herbs.
Since the Church often accused them of doing Satanís work, they often had
to practice underground or they would be killed. Thank God things have
changed, at least in the United States, and womenís special talents are
being recognized and respected more.
Itís not a matter of men being better than women or vice versa. We all
have male and female energy in us. Itís a matter of recognizing this and
balancing it and living in a balanced society, not one dominated by either
sex. A Wise Woman recognizes the spirit in all of us.
6. Are there any specific historical examples of a wise woman?
Yes, there are lots of examples. I need to research this further.
7. Why is the wise woman idea relevant for todayís woman?
Today, the baby boomers have reached menopause and we do not do anything
silently. Plus, science has extended our lives, so we are living longer.
There are just more of us past 40 or 50 today than ever before in history.
Since we have many more years to live after our children have left the nest,
we certainly donít want to sit around and twiddle our thumbs. We realize
that we have much to contribute to society. So we can take our nurturing
energy and transfer it from our families to the community, our extended
family. Women are the nurturers Ė our hormones might have something to do
with this. As we go through menopause and our hormones shift, so do some of
our needs. Now we have years of experience to help us make decisions. The
wisdom of older women is now beginning to take hold and be respected. This
is very important in todayís world. We are as the song says, "a
mother, a daughter, a friend and a wife, a sister, a teacher, a healer of
strife, a mover and shaker, a lover of life." We have many more
opportunities today to live full, rich lives.
8. Is this song just for women going through their change of life or do
you see it as broader in scope?
This song is geared toward menopausal women, but not exclusively, because
all women go through various stages and transitions and all women need to
"follow their hearts" in order to live full, satisfying
My friendís eight year old daughter loves the song and so does
my twenty-five year old stepdaughter.
9. How does being a modern day wise woman help a woman to cope with all
her roles in life?
A modern day wise woman has many choices and in making these choices, she
needs to use her intuition to answer her own truths. She might sit and
meditate or practice yoga or tai chi or attend church whatever she does she
needs to trust this inner wisdom to help make pertinent decisions. She is
able to cope with life because she has deep trust in the process of life.
10. Are you a wise woman?
Iíd like to think so, I want to age gracefully without fearing the
process, however, I will let each of you come to your own conclusions.
11. How does being a wise woman reveal itself to women in their everyday
life? And what does the idea of Wise Woman mean to you personally?
Being a wise woman reveals itself in many ways; by seeing the wisdom
of our grandmothers, by respecting nature and all living things, by being
true to oneís higher self and not doing something because we think weíre
supposed to, by owning our female powers and at the same time, not imposing
our will on others, and by using our nurturing nature for the good of all
humankind. The idea of a Wise Woman to me personally embraces and
acknowledges all of this.
For me, personally, I find wisdom in the observance of things in nature
and through my daily yoga practice. My students are all my best teachers.
The writing of music gets me in touch with my higher self. By having the
courage to follow my heart, I move away from fear and trust that what I am
doing is right for me now, right livelihood, right on every level and it
leads me towards living a full life, appreciating every moment of every day.
12. Whatís the most important message you think women can get from
listening to Wise Woman?
The most important message women can get from listening to Wise Woman
is that we must believe in ourselves and know our self-worth at any age. We
are never too old to be productive, creative women who choose to live full
meaningful lives. You are never too old to follow your heart. When you do,
it leads you in the right directions.
13. What are your dreams for Wise Woman?
I want the message of our song Wise Woman to be heard around the world. I
want it to be empowering and an inspiration to all women so they can go on
with their lives especially at midlife when we have many more productive,
creative years ahead of us. I want the song to encourage women to overcome
their fear of doing something new at any age. I would like to set up a fund,
a Wise Woman fund to help women go back to school and become self-sufficient
so they no longer have to remain at poverty level and struggle to survive. I
want to be able to help women help themselves.