The White Moon Gallery Presents

THE CRONE

Created by Jennifer
Tree Crone


Tree Crone by Eloise

used with permission

All original material in this site is under copyright protection
and is the intellectual property of the author.


I Am The Crone

By Jennifer

I am the Oldest of the old, Wisest of the wise, the Power behind power.
I am Hecate, Heqt, Cerridwen, Kali, Caillech, Hel, Cybele, Morrigan, Ala, Mara,
I am the Old Hag of many names.
I am the light in the dark and the dark of the moon.
I am the One behind the veil, the Threshold to be crossed.
I am the dealer of Death, giver of Rebirth.
I am the greatest of Teachers, with the deepest of lessons.
I am Transition and Connection, the spider in the web.
I am Dusk, Midnight, and the dark before Dawn.
I am Surrender when you need to let go.
I am the chill wind in Autumn, the whisper of Winter.
I am the Three-Way Place, the center of the Crossroads.
I am the all-seeing Owl, the Frog under the mud, the flesh-eating Vulture, the Raven and the Wolf.
I am the Destroyer, and your Protector as well.
I am the One to lead you through the Dark, through the Fire, into a new day.
I am the Crone, Oldest of the old, Wisest of the Wise, the Power behind power.


Introduction

As the third aspect of the Triple Goddess, the Crone is the Grandmother, the old Wise One, most commonly associated with death and the end of the lifecycle. She is perhaps the most feared, least celebrated, and least understood aspect of the trinity, as she is both beginning and end.

Typically, we look to the faces of the Triple Goddess as representative of the major phases of a woman's life. The Maiden represents the young Goddess and is "initiated" by the blood mystery of menarche. The Mother represents the fullness of the mature and ripe womb and is initiated by the blood mystery of pregnancy and birth, either literally or metaphorically. The Crone aspect of the Great Goddess represents the elder years of wisdom and is initiated by the blood mystery of menopause.

We may have a tendency to view the trinity as discrete and separate aspects, but in fact, they overlap. The Wheel of Life is circular, and in a circle there is no beginning and no end. The Crone is not only the end of the cycle; She is decline and death after the end of the maturity and fertility of the Mother aspect, but She is also rebirth, heralding in the youth and vigor of the Maiden. She is transition and transformation, a bridge from the end of one cycle to the beginning of a new cycle.

And She is more. She is depth and shadow and the unconscious. She cannot be controlled, or even avoided when the time comes. In many respects, She is the most powerful aspect of the trinity. Perhaps this is why we fear Her so much. She is called "Dark Mother," "Hag," "Mother Death," and has become perverted into the archetype of the ugly Wicked Old Witch found in fairy tales.

Hecate Medallion
from Sacred Source

And She is more. She is depth and shadow and the unconscious. She cannot be controlled, or even avoided when the time comes. In many respects, She is the most powerful aspect of the trinity. Perhaps this is why we fear Her so much. She is called "Dark Mother," "Hag," "Mother Death," and has become perverted into the archetype of the ugly Wicked Old Witch found in fairy tales.

In her book, The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power, Barbara G. Walker discusses just how disturbing the image of the old woman, and thus, the Crone, has been to patriarchal religious worldviews. She points out that in many ways, the Crone was the female equivalent to the image of God, as a wise-looking old man with his white beard up in heaven. While Christianity could include a version of the Virgin, and even a Mother (both found in Mary), there was no place to include a Crone that was not threatening. So, over time, Her image became perverted. But it could not be destroyed. She became the Wicked Old Witch, an archetype that is so deeply engrained in the imaginations of us all, beginning in childhood, that is it difficult to undo. But this is not the only negative propaganda aimed at the Crone. Old women in our society are the least-valued members of the population. We see the aging process as something to be avoided at all costs, or at least hidden. And in particular, our prejudice against age is focused on women. Ultimately, Walker believes that this is a continuation of the suppression of the Crone, and reflects deep fear of the wisdom and power of women as well as a fear of something that cannot be controlled nor avoided death.


The Crone Goddess

Demetra George, in her wonderful book Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Powers of the Dark Goddess, says this, "The dark goddess of many names was the prophetess and holder of mysteries. She bestowed dreams, visions, and magickal knowledge whereby one could fathom the mysteries of the unknown, and this understanding of secret and hidden things brought power in itself." (page 113).

Wise Crone
from Sacred Source
The Crone is the Queen of the Night, and is associated with night and darkness; the waning moon and especially the dark moon; the unconscious realm; the female shadow and shadow work; deep, dark colors and especially black; menopause and the aging process; death and decline; the underworld realm; the end of cycles; wisdom and power; healing and transformation; the widdershins spiral; banishing and devoking; Samhain and the Winter Solstice; Winter; the direction North; spiders and webs; the elderly and the outcast; cauldrons of transformation and regeneration; old seed pods; dormancy and retreat; hibernation; eyes and especially the Third Eye; Owls; Vultures and flesh-eating birds; black birds and especially ravens and crows; times of transition, such as dusk, dawn, and midnight; divination, prophesy, and especially scrying.*

*Information obtained from Maiden, Mother, Crone by D.J. Conway; Virgin, Mother, & Crone by Donna Wilshire; and Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demetra George.


The Crone Has Many Names

Here are but a few of the most well-known Crone Goddesses:

*HEKATE: a very ancient pre-Greek goddess of the dark moon, She may have been a form of the earlier Egyptian Heket, and assimilated into the Greek pantheon as Hecate. She is the goddess of the Crossroads, and presides over the underworld, magick and ritual, prophecy, and childbirth (as protector). Originally seen as a threefold goddess, she was later demonized by early patriarchal religion as the Queen of the Witches, and an ugly old hag. Demetra George, in Mysteries of the Dark Moon, describes Hekate as "every woman's potential as witch, seer, medium, healer . . ." (page 143).

*CERRIDWEN: Cerridwen is a Welsh crone, best known for her cauldron of regeneration, transformation, and inspiration. She rules over death, but over rebirth as well. Cerridwen was also a Triple Goddess; in her crone aspect, she is seen as a "white, corpse-eating Sow representing the moon." (Barbara G. Walker, The Women's Encylopedia of Myths and Secrets).

*KALI: the Indian goddess of death, destruction, and transformation. Kali is rather fearsome and terrifying, but She also has Her nurturing aspect as well. We might think of her as destroying what needs to be destroyed so that something new can take its place. Kali is often shown wearing red, and is strongly associated with blood, representing both life and death. (A more detailed discussion of Kali can be found in Barbara G. Walker's The Women's Encylopedia of Myths and Secrets).


Hecate
from Sacred Source

*The MORRIGAN: Ancient Irish trinity of war and death goddesses, strongly associated with magic and the battlefield. Most commonly associated with the image of the crow or raven. The Crone aspect of the Morrigan is Macha, sometimes called "Mother Death." (Patricia Monaghan, The New Book of Goddessess & Heroines, and Barbara G. Walker, The Women's Encylopedia of Myths and Secrets).

*CAILLECH: The Winter Hag of Scotland and Ireland. In her mythology, she is often portrayed as deceptively strong and outliving many husbands. She is sometimes associated with disease. (Walker, The Women's Encylopedia of Myths and Secrets).


Seeking the Crone

The most natural time for a woman to seek the Crone is at menopause, as she approaches her own cronehood. However, the Crone has great relevance and significance to women, and even men, of all ages. For instance:*

When there is a need to end something
When some project or cycle has come to completion
When there is the need or desire to do "shadow work," exploring the unconscious realm, some trauma, negativity, depression
In order to improve psychic skills and abilities, including mediumship, contacting guides, meditation journeys, prophecy and divination, and especially scrying, which is a Crone art
When there is a feeling of being threatened, outcast, or maligned
When there is a need to put the past behind you and start anew
When there is a need to retreat, rest, and hibernate
When dealing with the aging process, in yourself and in others
When facing death, your own or that of a loved one
When there is a desire to explore the deep mysteries
In order to connect with the ancestors
During the menstrual period, when faced with the "inner hag"
When there is a need for deep wisdom and advice

*Ideas taken from Maiden, Mother, Crone by D.J. Conway; Invoke the Goddess by Kala Trobe; and Virgin, Mother, Crone by Donna Wilshire)


Ritual:
Invoking the Crone Within

By Jennifer

Intent and Purpose: To meet the wise and powerful Crone, and to acknowledge and embrace Her deep presence already within.

Items Needed:
*13 black votive candles
*One large black Crone candle
*Incense: Hecate incense, or any incense you associate with protection, psychic ability, and wisdom. Cinnamon, clove, lavender, and sage are good.
*A shallow bowl or dish of water for scrying
*A black cloak or cloth large enough to put around your shoulders (optional)
*White powder for hair and face, black eyeliner pencil
*Small mirror
*Your journal and pen

Preparation: To be performed on the night of the Dark Moon, for this time belongs solely to the Crone. You might like to fast for several hours before you plan to do the ritual, and also to observe a period of silence beforehand. Before you begin the ritual, take a bath. Use whatever procedures you like to focus on cleansing and purification. Also think about opening up your psychic self. You might like to use a specific incense and/or essential oils that feel appropriate for this purpose while you bathe. Remove all traces of make-up and shampoo your hair. Come to the sacred space cleansed and open to the Crone within.

Sacred Space: Prepare yourself, take your ritual bath, dress in something black. Arrange the candle votives in a circle, large enough for you sit in the center. Place the Crone candle inside the circle at the North, with the dish of water, the mirror, the powder, the eye pencil, the black cloak or cloth, and your journal. Smudge the area around your circle of candles with your incense. Smudge yourself, then step inside the circle of candles and sit down, putting the incense down and facing North and the Crone candle. You are ready to cast the circle.

Cast the Circle: You cast the circle by slowly lighting the ring of black votives in a clockwise direction, beginning with candle #1, where candle #13 is directly at North. As you light the candles, one by one, say these words:

"Crone of Power, Ancient One
I light the fires,
The circle begun.
Crone of Dark and Mystery too,
Within the circle,
I'll find you.
Crone of All, oh Holy One!
Enter now,
So be it done!"

You may wish to call the elements to watch over your circle.

Body of Ritual: Light the large black Crone candle, saying:

"I light the fires of Wisdom,
I invite you in, my Crone."
(from Dorothy Morrison, In Praise of the Crone)

Jennifer at her altar
Jennifer at her Crone altar, symbols on her face:
dark moon over third eye, crescent, and spiral.

Take the black cloth or cloak and wrap it around your shoulders, or simply visualize yourself wrapped by the Crone's black cloak of protection, wisdom, and inner strength. You are embraced by the cloak of the Crone. Know that you are safe here and protected from all harm.

Pick up the mirror and gaze at your own reflection for a moment. Then, put some of the white powder in your hair, then on your face using fingertips. Now take the black eye pencil and gently trace all the fine lines you see, around eyes, mouth, and wherever you see them. Know that as you do this, you are invoking the Crone, and bring forth the Crone within. This is Her face. Look at your Crone reflection. What do you see here? How does your reflection make you feel?

Put the mirror down, and place the bowl of water in front of the Crone candle. Scrying is the Crone's art! Simply gaze into the water. Let your eyes soften as you gaze into your Crone reflection there in the water. Take your time. What do you see? Make note of any images, thoughts, or feelings that may come to you. Be open to whatever impressions come and don't try to analyze them now. Just let them come.

When it feels you are finished with the scrying, put the bowl of water aside and look back to the Crone candle. Feel the power that comes from within you. Feel the wisdom that radiates from your Crone self. Feel the protective cloak of the Crone around your shoulders. This is the time to pray, meditate, or talk to the Crone.

Closing the Ritual: Know that She is already within, and you can call upon Her anytime you need Her.

Thank the Crone for Her presence, guidance in this ritual, and whatever is appropriate as a result of your ritual as you extinguish the Crone candle.

Thank the elements for watching over your ritual, and bid farewell.

The circle candles are extinguished counterclockwise, one by one, as you chant these words, over and over until all the candles are out:

The circle is open, but never broken
The wisdom of the Crone is within . . ."

Ground any excess energy by writing in your journal now and using other grounding techniques of your choice as necessary.

Blessed Be.

*A Personal Note

The general idea for this ritual came from Patricia Monaghan, in her book The Goddess Path. In this book, the author describes the creation of a "Caillech mask" using make-up and talc powder in the hair. Other than this, the remainder of the ritual is my own, to the very best of my knowledge.

I did find it difficult to draw in these lines, however. We must be flexible in our rituals, so I ended up using symbols on my face. I drew in a dark moon over my third eye, a spiral on one cheek, and a crescent moon on the other. Dumping powder on my head was the easy part!


References:

D.J. Conway, Maiden, Mother, Crone: The Myth & Reality of the Triple Goddess, 1995.

Demetra George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess, 1992.

Patricia Monaghan, The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines, 1997.

Patricia Monaghan, The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocation, & Rituals, 1999.

Dorothy Morrison, In Praise of the Crone: A Celebration of Feminine Maturity, 1999.

Kala Trobe, Invoke the Goddess: Visualizations of Hindu, Greek, & Egyptian Deities, 2000.

Barbara G. Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, 1983.

Barbara G. Walker, The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power, 1985.

Donna Wilshire, Virgin, Mother, Crone: Myths & Mysteries of the Triple Goddess, 1994.

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