The Crone: Wisdom
The old hag at her cauldron is perhaps the most enduring image of the Wise Woman and a remnant of a time when women were the healers of their communities. They were shamans, witches, midwifes, medicine women, and priestesses of the Goddess.
The Crone is a symbol of inherent wisdom that comes from experience. She has lived through love, sorrow, hope, and fear, coming out of it all a wise and confident spirit. Through these experiences she has learned the secrets of life and death and of the mysteries beyond this world. She has tasted death itself and watched those she loved make the journey before her. It is through her mourning that she faces death, grows to understand it, and becomes the gatekeeper between worlds.
The wisdom of the Crone comes only after learning the lessons of non-judgment and compassion. Through these lessons the Crone becomes the balancing scales between light and dark and between life and death. She is selfless, yet she loves herself. She is kind, yet she knows when to be harsh. She is free, she is compassionate, and she is wise. Only the Crone can complete the journey to the Otherworld and birth the Child of Completion.
The Crone is full of power. Her body is no longer fertile, but her mind is sharp and able. She no longer bleeds, keeping her power within her and owning it without shame or fear.
She is often seen as a healer, working in tune with Nature to cure ailments and guide those ready to leave or enter this world. She is the elder priestess of the Goddess; the Grandmother whose words are few yet priceless in their wisdom.
In myth the Crone is often seen as something to be feared. She is a representation of death and its mysteries. Things that are unknown are always feared, thus we work to know the Crone; to understand her wisdom and beckon her to impart the mysteries upon us. We surrender our fear and ignorance to the Crone and let her strike these overpowering influences down as a stalk of wheat with her shining sickle.
As with all aspects of the Goddess the Crone is not only found within the aged. She is in all beings at all times. She can be present in men and women, young and old; though age may very likely come before her lessons are fully realized.
The Crone is a cleansing force that sweeps through the world carrying away those whose time to live is done to make room for new life. She is associated with the element of water and the direction of west – land of the dead. She is the necessary force of destruction like the force of a wave on the shore; ripping away the beach and returning it to the sea from which it came.
She is the reaper, the comforter, the mysterious old woman who possesses the knowledge of all worlds. The next time a thunderstorm passes overhead take a moment to listen to the voice of the Crone. Feel the tears of joy and mourning fall upon your head and take the first steps to understand her mysteries.
Affirmation of the Crone
Use this affirmation daily to seek the wisdom of the Crone within yourself.
You are the source of eternal knowledge
That leads to the completion of the spirit.
Let my soul seek your lessons,
And strive to understand your mysteries.
I will not fear the darkness
For I know you wait for me within it.
A Journey with the Crone
Prepare yourself as you have for the other journeys. Light incense or play soft music if this is helpful to you.
You begin, as always, on that familiar path. Look up through the now thinning branches of the trees into the night sky. The waning moon hangs overhead, it’s sickle shape bright and surrounded by millions of stars.
It is hard to see anything along the path. Shadows take up much of the spaces where flowers once grew. If you look hard enough you may see a healing plant or two tucked in along the path. Take your time and explore a little. You are not afraid.
Animals of the night move in the forest around you. An owl can be heard in the distance asking her eternal question. She wants to know who you are. Can you tell her or are you unsure of yourself?
As you walk up to the gate you see that it is now covered with dying vines, dried up and withered. Leave the baggage of your mundane life on the ground and push it open to approach the cottage.
You can see smoke rippling out of the chimney and the windows are glowing with a welcoming light. Walk to the door and enter.
Bent over the hearth is an old woman wearing a dark cloak with the hood pulled up over her grey hair. When you enter she turns to you, pays you half a glance, and silently gestures for you to sit by the fire. She has been expecting you.
You watch her work in her cauldron, grabbing bundles of herbs from the mantle to add to her brew. After a moment she takes a seat beside you and pulls her hood down to expose her time weathered face.
She turns to you and in her hand is a cup of the brew she has been tending. She offers it to you and says:
“I am the grandmother of mysteries. You have come to this place seeking wisdom. Drink from this cup and learn all that you need to know at this time.”
You take the hot cup and drink deeply from it. What knowledge comes into your mind as the bittersweet liquid passes over your lips? Is anything foggy? Are there things that are not clear to you still?
Speak with the Crone for a time. Spend time with her and learn from her timeless experience.
When you are ready to leave embrace your grandmother and return to the gate. Take only what you need before returning down the path and allowing your consciousness to surface slowly.
Embracing the Crone Ritual
You will need a dark or silver colored bowl of water, your favorite incense, and a candle. Get everything prepared and find a quiet place to sit alone.
This ritual should be done as closely as possible to the last quarter—the waning moon.
Invite the Crone in your own words. You may choose to use a specific Crone Goddess if you like or simply call on the Crone aspect of the Great Goddess.
Now might be a good time to use the Crone meditation you read earlier. Either way, quiet your mind and ground yourself in whatever way works for you.
Recite the following words:
Ancient Crone, allow me to find wisdom within myself and to always remember that your lessons are within me waiting to be revealed. May I strive to understand all that is light and dark without fear.
The bowl of water represents a portal between this world and the Otherworld. When you are ready, relax the focus of your eyes and gaze into the surface of the water. Stare at it as long as you can allowing yourself to “daydream” into the water.
Make note of shapes, letters, images, etc. that you see on the surface of the water. Later you may want to do some research and soul searching to find out what these things mean.
When you are done scrying thank the Crone in your own words and drip some of the water over your hands and face. Pay special attention to the area of your third eye—on your forehead between your eyes.
The ritual is ended here. You may choose to go outside and gaze at the waning moon and be with the Crone.
Prayers and Chants of the Crone
Cleansing waters of wisdom,
I embrace you within myself,
And dance with you ‘round the well.
Let me be a seeker of knowledge,
And courageous in the face of darkness.
My heart sings your melody
And my spirit is forever whole.
Cerridwyn of the Cauldron,
Shape shifting Queen of mysteries,
Let your wisdom surround me and be within me.
Reap away my fear and ignorance.
Lady Crone, bless me with your gifts.
Lady of Autumn,
Fading blossom of Samhain,
I am your heart’s drummer
And forever your student.
The Crone awakens within me.
Now and always I seek wisdom.
the crone: part of the book of tridea by ps. grian debandia of circle of the green