I call Upon You, Oh Crone so wise~
One Who rules the darkest skies.
Come and be my treasured Guest~
And Aid me on the most magickal quest.
In the earliest societies that revered the Moon as the Goddess, the third dark phase was personified as the Dark Goddess---wise, mysterious, sometimes stern, yet can be compassionate. The story of the Dark Goddess begins thousands of years ago in a time before recorded history, when the Moon was worshiped as a primary feminine divinity. The Dark Moon Goddess was loved and honored, and they accepted Her wisdom and Her mystery teachings of the dark. In her wisdom, which arises from experience, she encompasses the season of Winter and the underworld. Grounded in Her inner strength, the Dark Moon Goddess is filled with compassion and understanding. The Crone is the Sorrowing Mother who dispenses justice with both love and sadness. The Crone knows the laws must be upheld, but this does not keep Her from feeling sorrow when the verdict appears harsh to us. Injustice and imbalance, whatever forms, are detested by Her. We may not understand or see the balancing of life’s scales, but the Crone never rests until those scales are balanced.
She rules over the magickal arts, secret knowledge, and oracles. Her animal totems are those which live below the earth such as snakes, serpents, dragons; bird of the night which are the Owls; ravens, crows and horses.
To understand the Crone is to understand the deepest Mysteries. The Dark Mother is the ultimate Teacher of the very deepest of spiritual Mysteries. Her Mysteries include the contacting of spirits. It is through Her that we learn prophesy, seeing clearly backward and forward through time. If we do not acknowledge the Crone, how can we "remember ourselves." Through the Dark Mother, and the records of our past lives, we learn the necessity of focusing our energy onto important things such as spiritual growth, living our lives the best we can and seeking the Goddess within. She does not seek us, we have to seek her. When we have finally reached the Divine center and sit at the Mother’s feet to receive knowledge, the Crone appears and beckons. The Dark Mother guides us with Her lantern of ultimate truth and wisdom, not running ahead as does the Maiden, but just before us with a firm, confident step. She teaches us that there are unlimited treasures within the treasures. We must seek the Crone for our magickal teachings, psychic powers and prophetic knowledge. These are things the Witch could never obtain in her day to day life. It is the night and to the Crone that she must turn to. The Crone holds the key of life; She is the light within the darkness, the Power behind the Mother’s throne. With Her aid, our eyes are opened to the deepest of spiritual mysteries, and we gain the knowledge that is needed.
Over the course of history, the original role of the Dark Goddess as a renewer was forgotten, and she became to be feared as the destroyer through patriarchal myths, as She is still thought of in today’s paganism. Throughout many world mythologies, She is portrayed as the Temptress, the Terrible Mother, the death bearing Crone, the destroyer and the terrible, or the fearsome bent figure of a woman bearing a scythe, instead of the loving, wise Crone. This is because man has feared the Crone, who represents the unknown as well as the difficulties one has to endure, because they do not understand Her. We must remember that to say something is destroyed, implies it is done away with completely; the cycle has stopped. This means that re-creation would have to start at an absolute beginning. In the Goddess’ cycle, nothing is actually destroyed. Although things die constantly, everything that dies is merely reorganized, redistributed, reformed, then reborn.
What happened to cause this change and to now see the Crone harsh and something to fear? This change probably took place at around 3000 BCE, where there occurred a transition in the predominant religious and political structure that governed humanity. Matriarchal societies, which had worshiped Goddesses of the earth and moon such as Innana, Ishtar, Isis, Demeter and Artemis gave way to patriarchal societies, which followed the solar Gods and heroes such as Gilgamesh, Amen Ra, Zeus, Apollo and other Olympian Gods and then later on to Yahweh. From there, while originally the Goddess reigned supreme and alone, the patriarchal cultures later relegated Her to a position of secondary importance, as the Mother of the God/King such as Isis as the mother of Horus. The Goddesses were also forced to accept Gods as their husbands, without whom they were powerless–such as the marriage of Hera to Zeus and Isis to Osiris. It has even bled over into the Crone aspect wherein some pagans in the name of duality matches Her up with a God in rituals not realizing that the Crone stands alone, independent and free within Her own right. When Wiccan covens do this, it shows that they truly do not understand the Dark Goddess. The dependent status of the Goddess was later intensified when she was made the daughter instead of wife of the omnipotent Father God/King and inherited his characteristics. This pattern was symbolized in the birthing of Athena from Zeus’ head, and she maintained her elevated position as her father’s favorite by denying that she ever had a mother at all and by destroying her matriarchal antecedents, such as Medusa and Pallas. It has spilled over even into today’s followings in modern paganism which is called Wicca, which many call the "old religion". The teachings of the Great Mother have long since been replaced with the Wheel of the Year of the Sun God and the Sabbat celebrations centering around his life cycle. The all encompassing Goddess with myths of love and compassion in all her phases are now replaced with the Dark Goddess as something to be feared and warrior Gods eating their children or life being continued through trickery and rape. If followers of the Goddess wish to return to the true "Old religion" and worship the Great Goddess as daughters of yesteryear did, many frown at this and consider it lacking the balance of the male and female and that one cannot survive without the other, never realizing that it is the Goddess herself that keeps the balance. The true "old religion" entailed honoring the Goddess in her many facets and not simply as a sex partner and mother. What most do not understand is that the Moon (feminine) and the Earth (feminine) evolve around each other as they dance across the nightly sky each month and share with each other’s energies. It is the Moon that keeps the Earth Goddess in orbit and on the right track.
There is also confusion in that now everyone calls the Dark Moon the New Moon. The New Moon is a patriarchal word. The dark phase of the moon, not to be confused with the dark side of the Moon, occurs each month in the three days before the actual Dark of the Moon up to the Dark Moon, which most consider the New Moon. Over the centuries, as people no longer worshiped the moon as Goddess, nor used the Moon as the calendar, they began to fear the dark and everything associated with the dark, including the name itself. Unfortunately, because they feared the dark, is it no wonder that they feared the Dark Goddess, whom they do not understand. So, instead of the Moon being called the Dark Moon, it became the New Moon. But today’s Witches are claiming Her rightful name of Dark Moon and Her independence, strength and freedom of standing alone without a God.
For all women, the lunar cycle is linked to women. The dark moon phase is linked to women when they are shedding their blood. When the lunar cycle is overlaid on the menstrual cycle, the full moon corresponds to ovulation and fertility, and the dark moon is analogous to the actual shedding of the blood. The ancient Goddess-worshiping cultures of yesteryear understood that when they bled, it is woman’s most powerful time of the month; a time when her psychic and spiritual energies are most highly sensitized. At this time of a woman’s cycle, she tends to want to withdraw and go within, to look upon her darker self, but in this masculine world of today, women are prevented in doing that. The renowned Aleister Crowley preferred to have sexual acts with women when they were shedding their blood, as even he knew it was a most powerful time of their body, as blood is very powerful. If it is considered a powerful time for women during the dark moon menstrual cycles, then it should also be considered a powerful time of the month when the Moon is in Her dark phase. But just as with the rise of the male god cultures of Zeus and Horus and in which women’s menstrual cycle became taboo, so has working magick when the Moon is in Her dark phase become taboo. The cycles of the Moon and women feeling its energies are a women’s gift.
In the Craft, and most particularly in your mainstream traditions, it is said that you should never do magick when the Moon is in its dark phase of three days. They say it is a time of rest; a time to retreat behind closed doors, as the Dark Goddess roams the land with Her destructive powers. They say that Her powers are too strong and that we should not visit with the Crone, and if we do, that we should not tarry too long for fear that we could not handle the Crone’s harsh energies.
Even in the Craft today, we have confusing and sometimes negative associations with the concept of the Dark Mother and of the energies that She carries. They say that pagans not long in the Craft should leave working with Her dark powers to the adept, to the ones who have been with the Craft for many years and whom can handle Her harsh energies. These same pagans are unfortunately putting fear of the Dark Mother in the minds of others.
In most pagan books you do not even see many rituals for the Dark of the Moon or for the Full Moon. Occasionally you will see an article wherein you are to embrace the dark power by means of performing a ritual. However, the Dark Lord is most of the time called in as well. This is not necessary, and you really only need to embrace and call in the the Dark Mother during the waning to Dark of the Moon. For the Dark Goddess represents inner strength, independence from duality for She IS the Hermit in the Tarot with Her torches leading us to wisdom. She and She alone holds the power and gives the power to those seeking it. The Dark Moon is there in the night sky and it stands there alone in all Her power, even though we cannot see Her. During Her dark phase, the feminine Earth comes between Her and sun, giving Her her much needed rest from the demanding male energies of the Sun, as we, too, need our rest from the masculine world in which we live. The sun does not contribute to the Moon’s energies but only allows us to see what phase She is going through. It is not the Sun who helps effect the tides during Full or Dark Moon for only the Moon effects the tides of the ocean and the tides of woman and man. Her powers are there just the same.
She stands alone and She stands strong. The Crone teaches us survival. She has survived all things and from Her we may learn that we, too, will survive all things. But first, we must seek Her to learn of Her teachings. Many do not truly understand the Dark Mother because to understand her, you must walk with Her. Women are daughters of the Goddess, and we carry Her gifts naturally. We know Her no matter what Her phases is, as She is Mother and Crone to us all. We women feel her like no other because we are Her.
The Crone represents a time in looking into the void, into the unknown and to find the truth that is hidden in the darkness. It is a time for meditation, psychic power enhancement or for looking into past life memories to help better understand current difficulties. Dark Moon energy also lends itself to divination and matters where truth is an issue. We need to seek the Crone each month to release those things that we have hidden in the dark recesses of our mind and are afraid to face.
The Dark Moon represents the mystery, performing different types of magick, divination arts such as the tarot and scrying, and the banishing of negative energies and seeking wisdom from the greatest teacher of them all, the Crone. It is also a time to meditate with the Dark Goddess and to listen to the messages of wisdom that she has to share with you. It is a time to move back into ourselves, disappearing, hiding and dwelling within our inner selves so that we may be reborn and are able to look at things in a different light....the Crones inner light.
There are a lot of Witches who seem to come more alive during the waning moon up and into the Dark of the Moon. There would be many, many more Witches feeling the magickal powers of the Dark Moon, if they would push the taboo teachings of fearing the Dark Goddess and her energies that some teach in today’s covens. We need to go back to yesteryear daughters of the Goddess, back to before the patriarchal Gods with myths of war, rape, destruction and killings which took over the world and squashed the wise teachings of the Dark Mother.
Embrace the Dark Goddess and Her magick. When embracing the Dark Goddess and performing magick, always do ritual and magick three days on or before the Dark of the Moon. Some say that you can do dark moon magick two days before the Dark Moon, on the Dark Moon, and two days after. Through years of research, we have come to understand the Moon more so than ever before. Once the moon turns to its true dark phase at that given moment, it will soon start to shift into its waxing phase. Until it does shift into its waxing phase, the moon’s energies are erratic. It is best not to do any banishing rituals 24 hours after the Moon is considered dark which most astrology calendars give the time when the Moon reaches Her darkest phase.
When doing Full Moon magick, many pagans say that you can do full moon rituals two days before the Full Moon, on the Full Moon, and up two days after the full moon. This is not accurate, as the moon’s energies start to shift one minute after the actual time of the Full Moon. It is best not do any positive magick 24 hours after the Moon is full. For an accurate time when the Moon is full, consult the U.S. Naval Observatory website.
But Daughters of the Goddess, do not fear the Dark Goddess but embrace Her, once a month, and better it be when the Moon is dark, and there ye shall assemble yourself in some secret place and adore Her, the Crone, and sing, dance and perform magickal rites all in Her honor! We must teach ourselves to once more see Her as She is and not as the annihilator, the destroyer, the pain giver and perpetual suffering that patriarchal myths portray Her.
Many pagans think you need a God along side the Goddess for balance, but in the end, it is the Crone who keeps the balance in all things. The Crone is the deep love, the teacher, the wise one, the comforter, and She is understanding. It is through the Crone that we can learn life’s mysteries. It is the Crone who keeps the balance.
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