The Goddess as Crone

The Goddess as a Crone

Like Kali of India, the Crone of the Old Religion is a Dark Mother who affords passage from this life to the next. As the Old Religion was suppressed in Europe, the image of the Crone could not be erased. Instead, the Catholic Church incorporated Her aspects into the Christian iconography, so that the Hag became the Black Madonna, and the Crone was approached as St. Ann, the mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus. St. Ann, by Church authority, is described as being herself the product of an "immaculate conception" in order to give birth to Mary in the same way, although it is Mary who is called the Immaculate Conception. So before Jesus, there were two women who were conceived miraculously to prepare the way. Protestants, who in main reject anything to do with Mary except as a "vessel", are generally unaware of this nuance in Catholicism.

The Crone is one of the most respected and honored figures of human history, from the image of Wisdom, as with Sophia, to the image of Winter, as with Black Annis or the Cailleach. She is also the passage from life through death to new life, as with Cerridwen or Kali. The Crone Goddess was in Paleolithic times depicted as bird-like [see the writings of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, for example], so it is no surprise that crows, ravens, and owls are associated with Her in the Old Religion. If you still fear Her, then try the meditation called "Unmasking the Crone" in Green Witchcraft II: Balancing Light and Shadow, and see if you are able to first identify, then release your fear. Sometimes you really do need to go through that "dark night of the soul" to find the light of day, and sometimes the thing you believe you fear is not what you actually fear. Once you are able to confront that fear and willingly take the hand of the Crone into your own and place your trust in Her, you will pass that fear and be set free. Remember -- the Crone is also the Mother.