The Crone Archetype: A Lifetime of Wisdom
The Crone is the archetype that rules over the waning crescent moon and the final stages of the Fall season in December.*
Associated Lifecycle Stage: Late Life Stage: Late 60s to 70s and beyond.
Associated Moon Cycle Phase: Waning Crescent Moon.
Associated Season (Sun Cycle): Fall—Late-Season. Near complete death.
Associated Womb Cycle Phase: Luteal Part 2. Pre-menstrual dying.
Associated Phase in Cosmological Cycle: The beginning of the end. The last stars begin to burn out.
Associated Gifts: Lifetime of wisdom. Keeper of oral traditions, sacred secrets, and stories. Grandmother medicines.
The Crone represents the final stages of life and the embodied wisdom of a lifetime. She rules over the throat physical-energy centers and is the keeper of stories, sacred secrets, and oral traditions. The Crone is known for speaking her truth and stories, sharing her wisdom, and bringing a joyful, humorous irreverence to difficult situations. In this way, The Crone can embody Sacred Clown medicine.
The Crone holds Grandmother medicine, which can be incredibly nurturing, playful, and full of nostalgia and dearness for younger generations.
The Crone is the final life stage of the life cycle archetypes. At the time of her death, The Crone forsakes her life to be born again into maidenhood. Because of this, the Crone rules over the final stages of the Fall season, just before the sun begins to make its way back across the sky toward the Northern hemisphere. Her month is the month of December* when the darkness begins to reach an apex and it feels as though the light may never return. The darkest points of the year stretch between the Winter Solstice where the sun reaches a stationary point for about 12 days (think the 12 days of Christmas). This darkest of time is when the Crone gives her life to the Dark Mother to be soul reaped.
The Crone’s final mission in life is to make good and peace with her life. The Wild Woman archetype who ruled over mid-Fall and the November moon played an important role in supporting The Crone in this work. It was the Wild Woman’s efforts and work in soul retrieval that prepares the Crone for her final moments before the Winter Solstice season when the Dark Mother reaps her soul and she is born again through the Immaculate Conception of the Virginal Mother. In this way, The Wild Woman is like a Death Doula for the Crone, helping her resolve lifetime(s) conflicts and heal karmic patterns so they will not follow her into the next life.
In shadow, The Crone resists the imminence of her death and refuses to die or heal past conflict or karmas, and thus becomes a horrible burden on her family and a strain on the ecosystem of her surroundings.
The light and wisdom of the Crone teach us the beauty of the Circle of Life and Death; that by forsaking life when nature asks us to, we can be born again and made whole once more. When we cling to life unnaturally, we become like the walking dead, carrying death inside of us. Through our acceptance of death and by our grieving and letting go, healing karmic ties, we give death its proper reverence and we honor Life and the younger generations. For without death, Life cannot be. It is by death that Life is—Life is fueled and nurtured by death. When we untie the knots of entanglement, we set ourselves and others free and grant ourselves peace in the coming lifecycles.
The Waning Crescent is the moon stage of The Crone. This can be experienced in the waning moon cycle of the physical moon and the waning moon cycle of the womb during phase 2 of the Luteal phase, just before bleeding. The Waning Crescent is a symbol of the dying time and final stages of life. This is a sacred time in the moon cycle when we can connect with the wisdom of The Crone and receive her guidance, medicine, and mentorship. Just before bleedtime, womb-keepers will feel the imminence of the menstrual cycle as prostaglandins cause inflammation in the womb and the womb lining begins to die. There is a knowing that “the time is soon.” When we womb-holders deny our bleeding time and avoid it or dismiss it, we refuse our natural death and rebirth cycles. We become The Crone in shadow. When we embrace our womb cycles and the coming death and rebirth, we can experience the grace of death and the grace of our embodied experience as womb-holders.
We may connect to this feeling of the “last days” in our modern world as we are faced with the imminence of climate change and mass extinction. There can be an eerie feeling of existing at the end of an era during the Croning stage of the Earth cycles and civilization cycles. By connecting to Crone wisdom, we as a people may tap into the wisdom of what is to be. We can enter into grace with this time and place and play our roles in partnership with Nature as she moves us collectively into the next cycle of collective rebirth.
As we come closer to the closing of December, the end of the wheel of the year, and the rebirth of the Sun, remember the sacrifice and beauty of the Crone. She holds the embodied wisdom of a life well lived and is the keeper of stories and oral traditions. The sacrifice of her life at the time of death is a grace and a mercy that allows for rebirth and renewal in the self and all of Nature. When we honor her life stage and allow ourselves to receive eldership and be present with the waning time and imminent death, we remain connected to the Circle of Life and Relations. We remain connected to our Ancestors and Ancient Elders.
*Applies to the Northern Hemisphere.
Invitation: Somatic Practice. Meeting The Crone
The Crone represents the culmination of our wisdom and life story. We can meet The Crone of our psyche by going within ourselves and making contact with this part of ourselves to receive her medicine of peace and acceptance for a life well lived and imminence of death.
I invite you to sit or lay down in a comfortable space. Check your space for cues of safety by looking around the room. Notice if there is anything you can do to make yourself more comfortable or feel safer. Find an object or image in your space that brings you comfort and connect with it.
Now close your eyes wherever you are sitting or lying down and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Imagine you are sitting on a beautiful snow-filled mountain beneath a vast and starry night sky with a sliver of a waning crescent moon in the Western horizon. Even though there is snow all around you, you are warm and safe. You are filled with wonder and mystery sitting in this magical space.
From the mountain's mists, an old woman appears and approaches you. She is dressed in a long leather and woolen dress. She sits beside you and holds your hand, smiling with closed yet happy eyes. As you sit and breathe in and out with her beside you, your breath comes out in soft puffs. Peace and acceptance fill your body. The Cosmic scene in the sky connects you to all of creation. The Crone places something heavy in the palm of your hands. You look down and see a large handmade book. You open your book and see images and writings of your life filling the book. You look to The Crone and she points to your throat. As she does, you open your mouth and begin speaking what is written in the book.
The Crone instructs you to place this book within your Medicine Bag given to you by The Healer. You place your book in the Medicine Bag. She tells you that whenever you like, you can reach into the medicine bag and pull out this book of wisdom and stories to know and speak it. She now instructs you to lay down upon the snowy mountain. As you do as she says, snow falls from the sky and begins to cover your body. A sense of peace and safety fills your heart as the Earth cradles you in this dying space, giving the parts of you that are ready to die permission to let go and be reaped and rebirthed,
After a while, The Crone pulls you upright and gives you a big, warm hug that feels like the magical hug of a beloved grandmother. She turns and walks away from you and disappears into the mountain mists from where she came.
Now wiggle your toes, legs, hips, and body, up to your arms and hands. move your head from side to side gently and return fully to your body. What was the felt sense of this experience like? Did you notice any sensations in your body when you met with the Crone? Were you able to experience her essence and being as felt sense in your body?
If you like, you can journal about your experience.