Christianity and the Suppression of the Crone Goddess is commenting on an article by Anomalien called The Mississippi Legend Of Yazoo City’s Evil Witch Curse.
The article’s an entertaining read. It tells a story from the 1800s of an elderly woman who lived a solitary life and was rumored to brutally murder men. The story goes that just before her death she cursed the city of Yazoo which 20 years later burned to the ground.
The story is a variant of many of the folks stories of the evil old woman in the past thousand years. With the birth of Christianity God became a man and attempted to destroy all other religious belief and practice. The Crone Goddess of the pagan traditions has been reduced to the spooky old woman who uses her powers to harm and curses others.
The part of the story that fascinated me was the manifestation of the curse. Men who feared the empowered feminine and transferred their fantasies of violence upon the Crone. They chased her through the swamps leading to her death. Later they experienced the very essence crone archetype as she was reborn as the fire of spirit. This fire burned all the structures of the town to the ground so new life (hopefully more tolerant) could grow and thrive.
The story reminds me of the violence that the repression of older beliefs that Christianity can breed. Monotheism identifies anything that is not of itself: male; transcended, divorced from nature, anti-feminine sexuality, as evil and to be shunned. This is the duality at the heart of Christianity, the worship of the Yang energy without the Yin balance.
In ancient Pagan belief, the Crone Goddess was an expression of the end of the life cycle. It is a reflection of nature and was as sacred as any other part of life. She was the bringer of death and regeneration as all that died must be reborn.
Traditionally the Crone Goddess was held as the fount of wisdom. Women from the age of 60 were honored and ‘Croned’ as they moved into this third phase of life. In many traditional societies these women were the council of tribal chiefs.
The denial of femininity as part of divinity in the expressions of monotheism have created fearful archetypes buried in the collective unconscious mind. Its use of duality has demonized and dominated the lives of others producing hatred and loathing. We see this clearly in its treatment of the goddess tradition of the pagan religions.
The Crone Goddess is the last phase in the triple goddess Mother, Maiden, Crone life cycle. Traditionally they are connected to the phases of the moon. The Crone Goddess is connected to the waning moon. This is a time of Yin energy, looking inward to uncover the hidden wisdom that comes with experience and practice. For more on Moon Magic visit our blog 7 Magical Phases of the Moon.
The duality of the Crone archetype is also connected to the sabbat of Samhain. Learn more about this tradition in our article, How to Celebrate Samhain With Ceridwen Bringer of Death. The Crone Goddess plays both the part of the grim reaper, and the guide to the living who wish to honor their dead. Death is understood as a natural part of life and grief is honored and healed.
As one who walks your own personal, powerful, spiritual and magical path, the symbolism of this story is very empowering. Instead of repressing and fearing the dark parts of yourself that languish in your unconscious mind, call them forth and empower them. Your Crone is your power, your wisdom, your understanding of the cycles of life, nature, the universe and your expression of divinity.
Don’t do her violence, honor her!
The Crone archetype is that of the wise old woman. In the pagan traditions she would have been associated with decline, experience, wisdom, and death.
Crone is a term used for older wise women in the community who are over the age of 60. To become a crone there would be a ceremony were they were honored and ‘Croned’. In many traditional societies these women were the council of tribal chiefs.