It’s easy to say that you should connect with your inner crone or Goddess. It sounds very ‘new age’ (do people still use that term?) to say that you are connecting with the Goddess. But what does that mean?
And how do you do that?
There are many paths you might take to connect to a symbol that feels comfortable or right to you, and that you find inspiring.
You might research goddesses from different religions and cultures to see whether you feel an affinity with any of them.
For the following descriptions of the goddesses, I used Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book, Goddesses in Older Women. She has done outstanding work in researching ancient goddess archetypes.
If you’re drawn to Greek or Roman mythology, you might want to read about the goddesses and crones that are associated with older women –
- Metis, who helped Zeus ascend as leader of the Gods, and whom Zeus later swallowed (to prevent her from bearing a son who would someday supplant him). Her wisdom was practical and down to earth, and very useful
- Hecate, who could see three paths at a crossroads, and who was always present at major transitions in life
- Hestia, goddess of the hearth and temple. As an archetype she was the still point within, often thought of as The Self
- Demeter, who traveled to Hades and back to save her daughter, Persephone
Do you feel more in tune with righteous action? Then you might identify more with goddesses who deliver justice through sometimes violent anger, balanced with wisdom –
- Sekhmet, the Egyptian goddess whose name means “the powerful” was both a goddess of peace and of wrath
- Kali, the Hindu goddess who was created to defeat demons – she represents both the enlightened and dark sides within us all
- Ereshkigal, the Sumerian goddess of the underworld, dark goddess of death, who can decide who lives and dies
- Crow Mother, the Hopi kachina (spirit being) who blesses those who maintain morality and virtue, and punishes those who do not
For more traditional symbols, not traditionally thought of as goddesses but certainly crones, you could look at women in religion and history
- The Virgin Mary, the very embodiment of serene acceptance, surrender and strength
- Hildegard of Bingen, a Renaissance woman of the Catholic church before there was a Renaissance
- Many, many saints in the Catholic Church
Perhaps you would like to explore your own ethnic background for ancient goddesses and crones.
A great resource for finding out about goddesses in the part of the world where your ancestors came from is the website Shrine of the Forgotten Goddesses. Here you can investigate goddesses based on what ‘realm’ they were worshipped in. For myself, I looked at the “South American realm,” and found an impressive list of Mayan and Aztec goddesses.
But feel free to search the world’s religions past and present for goddesses and crones you can draw inspiration and knowledge from!
And feel free to read myths and stories from around the world that celebrate, caution against and simply share feminine themes of creativity, love, loss, and joy. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. has written an extensive work, Women Who Run With the Wolves, filled with myths and tales from primarily western, mexican american and native american, cultures.
Take these tales of wisdom, the cautionary tales of loss, and stories of hope, and try them on.
Do any of them fit? Have you had similar experiences that you can learn from?
What parts of yourself have you lost? What can you learn from the stories of these women from other cultures and their losses?
My friend, Michelle, first introduced me to Hildegard of Bingen.
She was a Catholic Abbess in Germany who lived from 1098-1179. Hildegard experienced a profound spiritual enlightenment when she was 42 years old – she was truly a crone at the time! It was after that time that she wrote books, letters (corresponding with emperors, popes, Catholic officials, and nobles), composed songs, became an expert on trees, plants and herbs, and wrote treatises on philosophy and medicine. In her time she was widely admired and was a formidable spiritual leader.
The more I learn about Hildegard, the more I admire and am inspired by her.
Hildegard would have been impressive at any time in history, but perhaps even more so because women at that period of time were often invisible. I don’t have to be invisible, and she inspires me to learn and embrace my spirituality and communicate it in the ways I am able to. Sometimes that’s by talking and writing. Other times it’s by doing my daily spiritual practice and bringing it into my everyday experiences, where I don’t have to talk about it at all.
I can just BE.
Connecting with goddesses and crones in the past and from myth and legend is enlightening and energizing.
You can make it a fun and interesting search for personal meaning, or a journey to who you want to become.
We don’t have to be as we’ve always been.
Now is the time to explore the parts of yourself you’ve forgotten or ignored or hidden – the parts of yourself you’d like to bring out!
What will you take from your exploration?
Until next time,