Most of my days are spent running around, trying to make sure my three littles don’t hurt themselves or each other. It can be exciting and fun, or exhausting and frightening. I am a Mother. Every once in awhile I have a “self-aware” moment when I realize that these three little lives depend on me. Like, really depend on me. Their lives are my husband’s and my responsibility 24/7 365 days a year. That’s perhaps the most frightening aspect of parenthood. You know you’ll never be a perfect parent, so you worry endlessly over how each little action you take or word you say will affect your children for the rest of their lives. Or, maybe I’m just an anxious, over-dramatic worrywart.
As a mother, I pray to the Mother aspect of the Goddess. I relate to her because she is THE Mother. If anyone in the universe can understand me absolutely, it’s her. I can also relate to the Maiden. I’ve only been a mother for four years. For twenty-six years I was a girl and young woman. The Crone however, is one I am not familiar with as of yet. With my identity tied so tightly to being a mother, it’s hard to consider what comes after that. Technically we’ll always be mothers, so where lies the line between the Mother and the Crone? A lot of texts suggest that when a woman enters menopause, she has entered the last life stage. If that’s the case, would a hysterectomy at any age take the place of menopause simply because it causes it?
I’ve spent a lot of time recently debating this in my mind. Health concerns have put a full hysterectomy in my very near future. Does that mean I’ll be entering a new stage of life? Am I ready for that? After sleepless nights, I’ve come to the conclusion that my image of the Crone has been wrong. I’ve imagined a haggard old lady in black, rocking in a chair by a fireplace. I picture her strong in her years, and wise beyond them. But picturing her as only an old woman does her an injustice. She is still a woman, still remembers the days of the Maiden. She is still a Mother. She is not only an old woman, she is the image of all the stages a woman passes through in her life.
It is to her that we are brought when we die. She is the one who takes our souls and cycles them into their next life. And as a woman who has lost a child, it is with her that I imagine all the lost children. She rocks them, tells them stories, and “boops” them on the nose. The Crone is the Goddess in her entirety and cares for our souls as we move through life. If she can be all that, when should we feel honored enough to relate to her? Is menopause enough? Is it when those you have cared for start caring for others of their own?
I began looking into my wiccan books tonight because it is a New Moon, a phase that is associated to the Crone. After several minutes of writer’s block and two spotify playlists, it was my husband that suggested I discuss what the Crone means to me. So, for me the Crone represents not only old age, but of satisfaction with what you have done with your life. My children are small, so I have many years of worrying before I can see for myself if I raised them well. When the day comes that I look back over my life, and see my children successful and happy on their own terms, I will embrace the Crone. Until then, I will continue to see the Mother when I pray, and ask her for strength to raise my three strong little witches. But I won’t immediately think of death when the Crone is mentioned, she’s represents life far more than death.