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The Crone: Getting ready for the unavoidable

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The Crone: Getting ready for the unavoidable
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The Crone: Getting ready for the unavoidable

If the Maiden talks to us about beginings, and the Mother of maturity, the Crone makes us think of endings. This is maybe the less understood aspect of the Triple Goddess, one that usually causes fear because it makes us unavoidibly to face death

The Crone was revered in ancient cultures as a regent of the Underworld, seen in those times as a place where souls went to rest between incarnations, before coming back to the earthly plane. The later asociations this place got with the hell of the revelled religions was the reason why this aspect of the Goddess was equalled to something evil or demonic, forgetting the fact that we all must die as we all are born, and the duty of this Goddess was generally to guide us during this last phase in our lives, getting us ready for the big leap, reigning afterwards over the souls of the dead while they waited for their rebirth.

As in the previous cases, there are many examples from all over the world on this aspect of the Goddess, some of them as follows:

  • Hecate among the Greeks, called during the Middle Ages the Witches' Queen, a deity of the Underwold and the Moon, worshiped in crossroads where she received sacrifices during the Full Moon.
  • Hel, germanic goddess of the Underworld, is recognized as having her origins in the Indoeuropean period (prehistory). All mortals returned to Her when finishing their physical existence.
  • Morrigan, Goddess of the Dead, known in Britain, Wales and Ireland, who also reigned over battles. She had a Triple aspect in herself, and sometimes was also called the Three Morrigans.
  • Tiamat in sumerian mythology, Goddess of the primaeval abyss, both creatrix and destroyer, represented as a snake. In one of the combats typical in ancient mythology where descendants rebel against their fathers and primitive gods, Marduk kills Tiamat, building then the sky and earth with halves of Her body.
  • Kali Ma for the hindus, known in her aspect of Destroyer and Terrible Mother, has, nonetheless, among her atributes a skull necklace, each of them bearing a character from the sanscrit alphabet, which She uses to create words or mantras.
  • Nephthys in Egypt, wife of Seth and regent of the Underworld, mother of Anubis, the jackal-headed god that guides the spirits in their journey after they die.
  • Tlazolteotl, riding on a broom, was associated for the aztecs with the moon, the snake and the bat. Her worship was held at crossroads just like european Hecate, and her priestess were known as capable of cleansing whoever asked of every sin, but that grace could only be asked once in their lifetime.

All these images, except maybe Nephtys, invoque a darker aspect of the Goddess, what in analytical psychology is called "The Terrible Mother". A clear example of this can be seen in a famous image of the Goddess Kali Ma, that shows her copulating with Her consort Shiva, with a dented vagina and feeding on His entrails. At first sight, this is almost a revulsive image; but is not so from a symbolic point of view. We can see it as a reminder that life needs to feed on life to subsist, and a representation of the aspects of Creatrix-Preserver-Destoyer of the Goddess

Pagans see life as an ever-flowing cicle. Contemplating this darker aspect of the Goddess teaches us that as well as everythingin Nature moves in cicles, we as individuals also must do it, acepting death as a passage into another state, as valid and as much part of our lives as our own birth.

The Crone can be associated with the Wanning Moon, and the colours black, deep blue and the deepest purple. Her corresponding season is Winter, and her usual animals are the owl, wolf, crow and raven. Her festival is that of the dead, that is, Samhain.

We should call on this aspect of the Goddess when we must deal with work or emotional relationships that come to an end, menopausia, rest and calm before starting new plans, deaths, retribution of abuses, protection stronger that usual both psychic and physical, and if we want to develop communication with guide-spirits.

This is a site about my journeying toward aging.
To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
~ Henri Frederic Amiel ~