Our tilting earth swings on its ecliptic tether, the night claws back dominion from the day, and the crone ascends, as she has for millennia. It’s the autumnal equinox, that liminal, time-worn passage between light and dark, life and death, things that are known and mysteries yet to be uncovered. The crone’s hour.
That mythical crone.The crone is every midwife, wise woman, and witch in history. Feared and misunderstood, she is the veil between worlds. She has the kind of wisdom and magic that can only come from a long and soulful existence, her story written in wrinkles, her root-like hands gnarled with her lifetime’s work. She emerged in spring as the fragrant, sweet maiden, and was ripe with the erotic fecundity of summer and motherhood. Now, in her old age, she’s the enlightened one. Her knowledge is untaught and unsanctioned, sprung wholly from the depths of her experience, and this, of course, makes her dangerous. She instinctively knows the truth of all things. She threatens the status quo. She makes people uncomfortable.
The crone archetype is often rendered invisible in a society that punishes women for growing old. It’s no secret that the world worships the young. We equate age with uselessness and weakness. But in fact, the crone is the most potently powerful of the archetypes, the matriarch, the wise grandmother, the queen. She’s beholden to none, unattached and free. She is the secret-keeper and the wisdom-bearer, and the autumnal equinox is the time of her crowning.
This day is a powerful crossroad, an opportunity to take to heart the lessons of the crone and prepare for the long months ahead. To meet the utterly impartial face of death, and dare to declare it beautiful.
The crone teaches us to learn from the past. She synthesizes all of the knowledge and experience we’ve gained in the last few months, completing the cycle that began with our rebirth in spring. She shows us what is right and good in our lives, and reveals to us what is poisonous.
The crone teaches us to let go. Once we can identify what is poisonous to our lives, we can begin to suck it out of our bloodstream like snake venom. The crone, in her wisdom, knows that sometimes poison looks more like nectar – what you think may be good and healing for you can be destructive. Relationships, career paths, habits, outlooks. The crone helps us sift through our own illusions and face ourselves with honesty, and then she helps us let the harmful things go.
The crone teaches us to embrace darkness. Winter is unavoidable, an essential part of the earth’s cycles of life and death. It’s here, in the dark months, that we meet ourselves, here that we heal, here that we become enlightened. The darkness is crucial for growth and the restoration of our energy, a vital resting period before the rebirth of spring.
Lean into this time. Tune into the energy of this day, the wise crone’s ascension. What have you learned about yourself and the world in the past few months? What have you brought to life during this time? What might be poisonous to you? How can you embrace the upcoming months of reflection and restoration?
After moonrise, descend into the crone’s dark waters with this soothing bath soak – sage for wisdom, bright orange peel for the dying light of summer, and vanilla to invite sweetness into all the cycles of life.
This bath tea is the dark sister to the herbal bath tea I posted in spring.
Autumnal Equinox Bath Soak
What you’ll need:
Black sea salt
A few leaves of sage
Cheesecloth or muslin
1. Using the epsom salt as your base, add the ingredients in whatever quantity you like to a drawstring muslin bag or a square of doubled cheesecloth. Tie the opposite corners tightly over one another.
2. Draw your bath, and submerge this parcel in the hot water for several minutes. Meditate on the crone’s lessons.