It’s an inevitable phase of our life: we grow old. Many have tried and failed to find the fountain of youth, while others have accepted, embraced even, our mortality; growing older is a part of living.
Aging is more than wrinkles and aches. Pagans and Witches alike look to the Crone for wisdom and guidance because the fact is, She has experienced more than we have. She’s been there, she’s done that and probably even has the t-shirt.
When I was a girl, my mother played bingo twice a week and often took me with her. My siblings were much older, with lives of their own and my father worked late into the night and so more often than not, on a Wednesday of Friday evening, I’d be dotting my single bingo card with a marker next to my mother, who’d have the table in front of her filled with the same cards full of numbers.
I imagine some kids would have been thrilled just to have been out of the house on a school night. But my thrill came from the women around her. In one way I suppose you could say I had a dozen or more grandmothers, as my mother was much younger than the group of ladies she had befriended. They’d often gather at the hall hours before bingo would start and play cards for pennies. Others would arrive just as early to get a good seat. I’d often occupy myself by playing outside, or sitting with one of the older women and listening intently as they regaled stories of times past. A ham sandwich cost a nickel, a movie was ten cents. Sometimes, if the music came on, the older gentlemen who were there would say, “Hey, kid! Come over here, I’m going to teach you the box step!”
I learned how to jitterbug, too.
One woman, Loretta was her name, who I had gotten somewhat attached to, brought in a small musical keyboard. She’d looked at my hands once when she was teaching me to play blackjack, and said, “You’ve got piano fingers”. And so, the following week she came in with this keyboard, and my “formal” piano lessons began.
… I can play Over the Rainbow like no one’s business 😉
My point is, I learned a lot from these women. Some of the life lessons didn’t catch on back then, but as I got older, I’d had more, “AHA!” moments than I could count.
The Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother and Crone) denotes the cycle of life; specifically, a woman’s life.
In today’s society, it is youth and beauty that is worshiped, while age is ignored or even in some ways, shunned. With things such as Botox and plastic surgery, anti-aging creams and mocridermabrasion, let’s face iit (no pun intended) no one wants to accept that some day, we will be old, and the cycle of our own life will expire.
I get it, it’s scary. this fact of life. I’d by lying if I said I, myself completely embraced it because frankly, it scares the hell out of me.
This is why the Crone Goddess, or Dark Mother, is the most frightening aspect of the Goddess. She reminds us of our own mortality and brings with her destruction, decay and death, even though many traditional societies regard death simply as a natural cycle of life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. As the tree’s leaves are reborn in the spring, bloom and blossom gloriously throughout the summer, they also dry, age and die, falling off the branches of the trees, returning to the ground from which the tree itself began as a seed. We are reminded that the death of Winter is followed by the promise of rebirth in the Spring. The Crone Goddess’ color association is black and she is also associated with the waning or new moon as with the seasons, Autumn and Winter.
When we think of her though, it isn’t all just doom and gloom. She is most often depicted as a Grandmotherly type or a wise woman.. The word Crone derives from the old word for crown, suggesting the wisdom that emanates from the head like a halo. However, the word’s origins go back to Old Northern French, Middle Dutch and late Middle English, meaning, in short, “An old woman”.
What it means to be a Crone is that your own child baring days have past; you are the wisdom keeper, seer, healer and perhaps even the midwife, whose knowledge is sought out to guide others during life’s hardships and transitions. Why?
Because you’ve been there, done that and you have the shirt. 😉
It seems that more is expected of a Crone. If you were to find, say, a 75 year old woman picking fights with others and carrying on in such a way that a spectacle was made of everything, I’d be inclined to believe that most intelligent people would stay away. But a 82 year old woman who conducts herself with grace and fairness, who doesn’t cause controversy and disdain among her peers would be most beloved and sought after for wisdom, insight and guidance, right? It is said that we all must grow up sometime, and the true Crone has not only embraced this, but has willing passed on her lessons of hardship, love, betrayal and wisdom in life onto others without judgement of others for the faults of human nature.
Her wild days are over 😉
So if you are approaching your Crone years, look back upon your life and its lessons, and think about the wisdom you could impart on those who come to you for help based on this…. It is what I too, will be working on in the years to come…
For a Croning Ritual, visit my website at: http://www.krystalmadison.com/resources1.html
Photo Credit: Lunaesque Website: http://www.lunaesque.com