Bony Old Crone
A-stirrin’ Her cauldron
And makin’ a moan.....
Hecate, Crone Goddess, even though She is mostly known as the Crone, today She is seen as Hecate the maiden, Hecate the mother and Hecate the crone. I say "today" because in ancient times there were no such thing as "Crone." In fact, in ancient times, sometimes the maiden aspect melded into the Mother aspect. In ancient times, Hecate was seen as the Dark Goddess. In fact, Maiden, Mother, Crone never came along until Robert Grave's White Goddess, a poetic myth, back in 1948 when his book was first published. However, I learned of this after I got comfortable with Maiden, Mother and Crone and it is okay to see Her as the Crone.
She is a triple goddess in her own right in that She is Goddess of the Sky, Earth and the Underworld. She is the three and the one. Unlike the detached meditations of the East, or the sedate Sunday prayer meetings of the church, witchcraft ceremony is passionate. The more deeply we feel about the Goddess Hecate when we pray to Her, the more moved we are by the liturgy, the more powerful the experience. There is a place of truth and love that reaches the heart. Devotion is a supremely personal matter, found by each of us in our own hearts. The more you learn about the Goddess Hecate, the firmer your faith will become. Learning to see the Goddess in all things is part of it, as the Goddess Hecate is everywhere. See Her when you slice an apple across, sit under a tree, or watch a moonrise. See Her when you perform simple tasks, such as sweeping, and recall the symbolism of brooms. A Goddess view of cooking turns a pot into a cauldron of transformation, gardening into goddesshood, singing into sorcery.
Connecting with the moon is one of the essentials of Witchcraft. In learning to keep time with Hecate's cycles, we can free ourselves from much of the structure of patriarchy. For women, the moon is especially connected to our blood, and so links us to all the mysteries of birth, life and death. The moon connects us with the trees and their stories and uses, as each of Her cycles is named for one of these living kinfolk of the earth. In a society based on solar concepts and imagery, Luna is especially helping in attuning us to the dark side and the many qualities associated with the deep self.
The Crone is the third and final aspect of the three-fold Goddess, Hecate. She is the dark moon and the Dark Moon represents the Dark Goddess, the wintertime, old age and knower of mysteries. The Crone time brings the harvest of experience, when we reap the accumulated benefits of all that we have learned. The Crone is a teacher or wise one, sometimes called the "wayshower" as she shines the light of wisdom for all to see. She brings patience.
In myth and legend, the Crone Hecate is often seen with her great black cauldron stirring up brews for magical transformation or bringing the dead back to life.
She is the fairy godmother who has just what we need to overcome the obstacles in our paths. She is the old woman of the woods, who lives alone in a humble cottage and can teach many secrets.
To admit the Crone is to admit the dark side of ourselves which is like the dark side of the moon----the Crone’s moon.
Hecate’s moon is hidden, and cannot be seen shining in the heavens. It is significant that astronomers and astrologers call Her the New Moon, thereby effectively ignoring the presence of the Crone. Some witches feel that we should return the word New Moon which would be the first sliver of the moon in the sky to the Maiden goddess, which is Her proper place, and reinstate the Old Moon (Dark Moon) as the Dark Goddess/Crone’s. We can therefore count our moon cycles from the first appearance of the slender waxing crescent, that very first sliver, and acknowledge the darkening end as the time of the Crone. To acknowledge this time is to allow for the natural cycles of our being as we move through the ups and downs of living. This is a far healthier way of life where each of our phases is embraced and loved.
The association of loneliness with old age is a common one. A wise crone understands the power that can be attained in solitude. She knows that all oneness is the true meaning of being alone and is actually what the word "alone" is made of. There is a point reached in solitude when we no longer feel isolated because we have found our connection to all beings in the universe. Some witches, when the moon is waning, feels the moon’s power pulling them into solitude, beckoning them to working more within themselves. The Crone teaches us to withdraw from the world during the waning moon to find peace and sustenance for our return journey into the struggles of living. The dark moon of the self is a period of withdrawal from the everyday world. It offers an opportunity to commune with ourselves and tap the creative potential therein. To return to this way of life necessitates leaving the "rat race" approach and validating slowness, inwardness and being here and now.
Solitude is one of the doorways to the deep self. It is especially useful for the cultivation of our powers of concentration. Most witches, as we begin to grow in our magical abilities, find that we seek solitude more and more, as it enables us to focus intensely on the objectives of our spells, rituals and doing more work within ourselves without distractions.
Hecate as Crone understands the power of silence. Many spiritual journeys include a period of silence, or teach its discipline. Some adepts take permanent vows of silence, fir it opens up energies on the psychic level. Silence is the last step of magic, necessary during the gestation or formation period of our spell’s workings for preservation and protection.
It is essential that we practice silence in our meditation and rituals, for it opens the door to universal consciousness.
Hecate as Crone, is the knower of mysteries, secrets of existence, or hidden things. She presides in the dream worlds, guiding us through the unconscious labyrinths of our deep minds. She teaches us the symbolism of our dreams and helps us to understand and shape them to our choosing.
Lastly, Crone Hecate understands endings, and utilize the waning moon for banishings, or spells to ride ourselves of unwanted or stuck energy.
We can become Crones in our uses and understanding of the five elements of creation:
Spirit Crones are conversant on the psychic planes, easily traveling in and out of our bodies, telepathic, clairvoyant, prophetic, divining whether it be Tarot cards, crystal balls, Runes, etc., understanding the cycle of birth, life and death and the rituals thereof, skilled in casting circles for small covens or large, spells, and the uses of dreams.
Air Crones have profundity of thought, quickness of tongue, are adept in poetry, myth and language, the composing of verbal spells, the eloquence of asking aid from forces and elements. Air is to know. The Air Crone is also a Cutting Crone, for our minds are like cutting edges that sort and separate our thoughts. Naming a thing separates it out from the rest of creation. Cutting is also criticism, pruning, saying no, discipline. When we reach the crossroads of our lives, such as the time of passing from child to adult or maiden to mother, we must cut the umbilical cord of our habits on the old path in order to be free to embark upon the new. The cutting Crone is sometimes called Atropo, the third of the three Fates in Greek mythology.
Fire Crones possess understanding of the secrets of fire and energy. They know the ways of conserving, storing and spending energy wisely, using vital forces with care and discrimination, rather than scattering them carelessly and wasting them. Fire is also kundalini, which a wise crone knows how to channel and direct for desired purposes. Fire is will, in which the Crone has achieved mastery. And on its simplest level, fire is our natural source of heat and light, and can be used for magic in many ways. A seasoned witch usually knows how to build and sustain fires, as well as to contain them safely, and extinguish them when necessary.
A Water Crone is no longer a slave to her emotions, nor does she repress or deny them. Water is to dare. She is adept in her relationships with others, knowing enough detachment for an overview, and enough caring for compassion. She knows that her desires are sacred and worthy of cultivation and fulfillment. The Water Crone looks deep into her reflection in underground waters. When the water catches the light of the moon, she is there to find insight and divination.
A wise Earth Crone knows her body, knows the earth, is adept in health care for herself and others who seek her aid. She is familiar with the seasons and methods of planting and cultivation, herbology, and agriculture. And she is also wise in ways of money, seeing its connection to human love and service and precious human energy. She is sensible, practical and dependable, keeps her promises and understands commitment, knows how to work as well as play.
The idea of "balance" can be misleading for it often implies the adjustment of two opposing entities. For example, the yin/yang symbol of the Orient, the sun/moon dichotomy of the alchemists, the anima/animus theory or the Jungians, the god/goddess universe of the Druids and the tetragrammaton of magicians, in all these systems there is an "attempt" to honor and give equality to both ends of the polarity but do not be deceived. While pretending to create a world supportive of the female, they are still perpetuating the dichotomy, and thus the role stereotypes that oppress us all. This, Witches must realize, is the fatal flaw of even more advanced movements such as Neo-Paganism, modern witchcraft and the New Age spiritualities. Liberation can only come by returning to the Goddess
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