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In modern pop-culture, the Crone is seen as both Wicked Witch and Fairy Godmother. I believe that this is a concept not very far from the truth. The Crone, as the aspect of the Goddess, is the elder wise woman with knowledge of all magic.
In First Degree Lesson 2, Reverend Don Lewis describes the Crone as “the Great Sorceress” and “the Hallowe’en Witch.” For many, the Crone is the ideal Goddess of the witch in that she is the one who holds the power of magic in her hands. She is a guide for all witches to the inner secrets and deepest knowledge.
She is also the guardian of the veil, not only between this world and the astral plane but also between life and death and rebirth. The Crone is called “the Destroyer” in that she is the Goddess of Death, which, for many, brings an image of fear.
Fear of the Crone
“In many minds today, Crone is synonymous with wrinkled, dependent, frail, debilitated, ugly, grotesque, dispensable, useless, or unimportant old woman.” Ruth Gardner explains in Celebrating the Crone that this was caused by the events that formed the image of crones and witches in the mind of society including the inquisition, the burning times and the degradation of women.
I believe that Rev. Lewis was correct in saying, “People who do not possess wisdom often fear it, thus is the Crone Goddess often feared as well.” In our society, when people fear something or someone they tend to degrade it, make it into something they can look down upon and over power. This may be one of the many causes of so many fairy tales depicting the defeat of the wicked witch.
Seeking the Crone
Just as any other facet or face of Deity is associated with certain aspects of the Divine, so is the Crone. The Great Sorceress can be called upon for any magic, but her closest association is in divination, shadow work, endings and new beginnings.
A witch can find great success in calling upon the Crone when performing magic associated with:
The Names and Correspondences of the Crone
“Through the years, the Crone has been called by many names…All of these (and others) reside within each of us.” – Ruth Gardner
Crone goddesses include Cerridwen (Celtic), Grandmother Spiderwoman (Native American), Ereshkigal (Sumerian), Hekate (Greek), Kali (Indian), Lilith (Hebrew), Nephthys (Egyptian), and XochiQuetzel (Mexican).
Hekate is the face of the Crone I have the most knowledge of. In First Degree Lesson 2, Hekate is “the Great Crone Goddess of ancient Greece, patroness of magic and wisdom, and a Goddess of the Spirit World.” She is said to be associated with the Egyptian Goddess Hekat, which, linguistically, would make sense as well as the fact that Hekat and Hekate share associations with deep mysteries and magic. Hekat, also spelled Hequit, is the Goddess of magic and midwifery, giver of wealth and wisdom. She was also considered associated with Nut and Hathor, just as Hekate is linked to Demeter and Artemis or Persephone as a completion of the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone.
The priestesses of Hekate were considered especially powerful in ancient times when her worship was at its height. Powerful priestesses even ruled as queens in some societies especially preluding the fall of Troy in which Hekabe or Hekuba ruled and is known for cursing the wandering Odysseus. Hekate’s worship continued strongly until it was forced underground by the Romans and even there continued in some covens who were said to meet at the fountain of Hekate Trevia during the full moon.
The Witch School First Degree by Rev. Don Lewis Lesson 2
Goddess-guide.com “Crone Goddesses”
Hecates Cauldron.org “Hecate the Crone”
Order White Moon.org
Celebrating the Crone by Ruth Gardner. Llewellyn
http://tribes.tribe.net/hekatesmagick/thread/fdf55736-49dc-411b-b4c... “Hequit-Hekat-Hekate and the hags of Ancient Egypt” by Saeth
***This essay was created for Lesson 2 of the First Degree course
***For entire essay including my personal interactions with The Crone please see my blog: http://hedgewife.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-crone.html