Ruling over both life and death, the Crone holds within her all aspects of the Triple Goddess. She is the mature and aged Maiden and Mother now possessing the wisdom and experiences of youth, adulthood and old age. She stands at the crossroads, at the bridge between death and rebirth.
She makes herself known in the horrifying aspects of our deepest fears, the fears we have yet to face and the mysteries that we have yet to know. She is often portrayed as Kali, holding a sword and a freshly severed head dripping blood. As the story goes, this represents a great battle in which she destroyed the demon Raktabija.
We shudder at the thought of Kali with her bloodlust, but we cannot deny the presence of the Crone. We dread to look her in the eyes but if we could learn to truly face her and in doing so, face our own dark natures, we would see the wisdom of the Ancients.
From death comes rebirth.The cauldron is a symbol of the Crone. The Crone Hecate is often seen with her great black cauldron stirring up brews for magical transformation or bringing the dead back to life. It represents the womb from which all life springs and must return, for the Crone holds within her the greatest mystery of all, the mystery of death and of the afterlife.
The waning moon is the symbol of the Crone. She is the dark moon, the wintertime, old age and knower of mysteries. The Crone time brings the harvest of experience when we reap the accumulated benefits of all that we have learned as the Crone brings patience and wisdom to us all. She is the fairy godmother of folklore, the old woman of the woods who lives alone in a humble cottage and can teach ancient secrets. She is full of the wisdom and experience of life and death, and Autumn and Winter are the seasons of her reign.
We know the Crone under many names – one of these is Hecate, Greek goddess of the crossroads. Like the crossroads, she has two quite distinct aspects. In the day she exerts a benign influence on husbandry and farming, but during the hours of darkness she is involved in ghosts, tombs and the afterlife.
As a goddess who retains attributes of the three aspects of the Triple Goddess, Hecate is often seen in triple form. She rules not only over death and the underworld, but over birth and regeneration, combining fertility with death as a power of the earth – a feared and revered figure.
Visual representations of the Crone are usually frightening in appearance. Hecate is most often depicted as having three heads; one of a dog, one of a snake and one of a horse. The Queen of Night is also shown with three heads and six arms but the three heads are the three faces of the Goddess; Persephone (Maiden). Demeter (Mother), and Hecate (Crone).
The Crone comes to all of us, in the end.