Thursday, October 31, 2013

Season of the Crone



HERE, ON THE doorstep of Samhain, veils of mist blur the edges between the end of one thing and the start of another. It has been that way all day; light rain dripping onto yellow maple leaves, then hanging suspended in the soft, damp air, hovering between heaven and earth.

Twilight falls. The mist grows deeper, spread over the land like the finest silver cloak, sifting down through the atmosphere. It beckons me.

Come. Let us speak to you, it whispers. This is a language you know in your bones. This is a borderland you know in your dreams and have known from the womb..

I feel close to the Crone these days. Not only in the turning of the year, but in the seasons of my own self, the power gathering for some purpose I cannot see. The Divine Feminine wants me to notice her. She speaks through the spider's web, the autumn mist, the living lines in my face. She speaks through the cycle of seasons, myth, symbol and story.

She speaks of the boundless fertility of the earth and her seasons of rest. The cycles of the watching moon. The Three Fates who spin the thread of life, measure out its length, and choose when to sever the thread. The Three Weird Sisters, in and out of time, straddling reality and the supernatural. Between the worlds.


To me, names like "witch" and "crone" seethe with power. Wisdom. Mystery. They invite me into a sisterhood as old as time.

I live in a bungalow, in a city, far from the countries of my ancestors. Far in time from the Old Ways. Yet, somehow...I feel akin to the witch-crone in her cottage. She lives somewhere inside me, of that I'm sure. There are the cats, after all.




Maybe our society's version of the crone in the cottage is the old woman who lives with her many cats...or the old woman who feeds the pigeons, or the old woman who scolds children and talks to squirrels, or the old woman who picks up litter in the park? Not necessarily evil, just...odd.

That is why this passage jumped out at me from a lovely book I just read:

"There was a movie I loved with all my childish heart: Thomasina. The title character was a cat that died and, with the help of a woman thought to be a witch by the townspeople, returned to tell stories of its nine lives. I never tired of the movie, for I identified completely with the unusual woman who lived deep in the woods, taking in hurt animals and healing them with patience and love. In my heart, I knew I would be a strange woman just like her someday."

Love that strangeness in yourself. Listen for the voice of a shape-shifting enchantress, who sounds like falling mist and looks like the fierce clutch of an owl's claw on its prey. I have a feeling this is a good time to hear her--witch, goddess, crone, hag, sorceress. Like a force of nature, like the turning of the year, she is more than we can put one name to.




Catechism for a Witch’s Child
When they ask to see your gods
your book of prayers
show them lines
drawn delicately with veins
on the underside of a bird’s wing
tell them you believe
in giant sycamores mottled
and stark against a winter sky
and in nights so frozen
stars crack open spilling
streams of molten ice to earth
and tell them how you drink
a holy wine of honeysuckle
on a warm spring day
and of the softness
of your mother who never taught you
death was life’s reward
but who believed in the earth
and the sun
and a million, million light years
of being

© 1986 J.L.Stanley

13 comments:

  1. Blessed Samhain to you, Carmine! This time of year brings me close to the old stories... I feel my ancestors close and also the longing for something of the Old Ways which seems lost and hidden back in time. My life does seem quite close to the witch in the woods, and I was quite struck by the excerpt from the book as I have written almost the exact paragraph on my blog somewhere describing my childhood love of the film "Thomasina" and how it shaped me.

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    1. Samhain blessings to you, Valerianna! I thought of you as I was writing this because of your life in the forest cottage...it seems there is a sort of Thomasina sisterhood of women, which is a comfort.

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    2. Yes, with our Maine Coon kitties!! ( they are M Coons, yes?) I came back to mention that I wondered if you have listened to the audio book, "The Dangerous Old Woman" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes? I'm listening to it again for the third time and it is perfect for this time of year. Some magical tales she tells...

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    3. I have not, but Iwill--thank you for the juicy recommendation. As for the kitties, they are brown tabbies like Pasha, but Stazi Lu is a Persian mix and Juni...of unknown breed, but she has medium-length fur so she's got some fluffiness going on. :)

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  2. Bright blessings to you at Samhain, and may all good things come to you in the new year that is coming into being. I just LOVED this post.

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  3. Samhain greetings to you too! I loved this post Carmine, it resonates very strongly in me.our holiday last week really fed my soul at a deep deep level, sleeping in a woodland,lulled by the rain and the wind.

    That poem is wonderful too, thank you for sharing it.

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  4. Oh, I put a long comment here... and it is lost, it seems. Blessings of Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, and the season to you.

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    1. now that it seems to be working... beautiful post, Carmine, as usual.

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    2. Darn! All my best comments disappear, too...thank you so much, Raquel.

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  5. oh.

    what a beautiful, beautiful, space you have here. you've left me utterly breathless with your writing. many, many blessings to you....xo

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