Crone Chant for Good Judgment

Goddess Comments & Graphics

Crone Chant for Good Judgment

Ancient Hag, Wise Grandmother,
You of Wisdom, like no other,
Help me weigh choices with precision,
To make a good and fair decision
Show me what I need to see,
Shed some light on what should be.
And should I turn a deafened ear
Open it so I can hear
Help me feel what I should know.
Show me now which way to go.    
Guide me in what I just do.
This, Old Crone, I ask of You.
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The Unfinished Journey .. The Best Is Yet To Come ?

The Unfinished Journey .. The Best Is Yet To Come ?

Author: Crystal Crone

As I sat in the quiet of my sitting room last week, my mind drifted back over the years of my earth journey. I wondered to myself if this could be because I was now comfortably at ease in my life as the ageing crone. I tried to shake myself out of my mauling by focusing on all the things that were pressing my mind for attention.

Dinner lay uncooked on the kitchen unit, birthday cards lay unwritten on the table, and my journal had thrust itself under my nose as I had gone to my cupboard for candles, as if crying out for attention. Well, dinner can wait until I am good and ready, the pen is not my exclusive right in this house full of people and so what if I hadn’t made an entry in my journal for four days!

No one would know that except me and as nothing ritualistic or momentous had happened during those days, why should I worry?

Now old girl, I thought wryly, is this you doing what you said would never happen and kicking back against this ageing process you have found so comfortable? I soon made up my mind that there was far more going on than this!

Life for Pagans is fairly disciplined by the very nature of our beliefs and for me to slip outside of what is the norm for me is both unusual and quite a shock to this fragile system.

So with all this in mind, I took myself off to the chopping board to redesign what was to have been a heartily cooked meal, to a hastily prepared salad. All the while my mind was ticking over, trying to establish what was going on here and why the rebel I never knew existed, was pushing its way to the front of my mind in an effort to be heard.

I hope I can be believed when I say that my life as a crone has never held any fears or regrets for me. In fact, I have never really noticed the transition in many ways as, following the passing of my daughter, I became both substitute mum and nan to my grandchildren. I guess there has never been time to notice those lines forming on smooth skin, or the vision that seemed slightly impaired, or the feet that ached at the end of a long day.

No, in all honesty my life seems to stretch down the years with fun, laughter, discipline of devotion and of course, tears of loss from my life of those who were part of me.

Thinking all this, I banged the hastily prepared salad onto plates (just to make it look as if some thought had gone into the preparation really) and returned to my chair in my now sun bathed sitting room, to mull over these new and disturbing thoughts in my head.

My long journey hasn’t always been easy, or even good in parts, but is has been mine to make. Along the path, I have met many people who have left their mark on my life, made a few mistakes, or errors of judgment had one or two regrets to I guess. Being me, I have never really focused on my destination (if you but knew my ability to get lost on a journey I may have made many times before, you would understand why that is :)), but my journey has been very important to me in terms of personal life satisfaction. I never ever got everything I tried to do right … why should I have done so, I am mortal after all, not some divine creature.

So with this in mind, I got to thinking about life in general and the world in particular!

To say it has changed beyond belief since I was a child is to state the obvious. After all, many rivers and streams have run under proverbial bridges since that time of old! I guess that the safest thing to say is that changes came, I complained, or rejoiced, as the case may be, that so much change was surely unnecessary, then continued to walk my path in a way that suited me and my way of life best.

I was always mindful of cause and effect, always as careful as I could be that my actions did not impact in a negative way, on the lives of others. Mostly, I was able to live as maiden, mother, and now crone, according to my own will.

I have had blessings, to many to recount, these were no doubt balanced in some way by my losses, which were fewer, but raw to my soul. I have reveled at Sabbats, danced at celebrations, performed my rituals and spells with honor and devotion and tried to point young seekers of paths to where the knowledge, or help, for their intent lies. All very satisfying one might think, so why this sudden departure from the norm, to the world of the ageing rebel?

Does this happen in the lives of everyone approaching a time in their lives when the end of the road is far more visible in the distance than the beginning ever was? And why is it that I had never given any thought to this before, I wondered?

As I grappled around my mind for something to blame for these phenomena (the human side of me looking to blame something again), I was consumed by laughter that bordered on hysteria almost! Of course this time will come upon all who are walking the path of life toward end destination, I was willing to bet that each and every one had reached the same impasse as I at some stage to.

The revelation it was to me to finally acknowledge the end destination should not have been the cause of my hysterical laughter for sure, so from that I had to assume that it must be my blessed peace that awaited me in the Summerlands, or that the “rebel” had been born, so to speak. I decided it was neither … I am as yet unprepared for journey’s end and nor am I about to rebel against that which has formed the foundations of my life.

My bemused sister, returning from a hard day at work, looked at me with something in her face close to an intention to call on the men in white coats, bearing a straight jacket. It took a very hastily thought up explanation to allay the fear I saw in her eyes for sure!

After she and the children had feasted on my oh so carefully prepared salad, we sat and spoke about the way she had found me when she came in from work. She has four years to catch up to this day in my life and I would like that she, or anyone else that may come to this, will realize as I did that it isn’t negative to think journey’s end, especially if you have tried to fill your life with all you wanted to do.

Being human, we will always find things we would like to have done, there will be many things we will wish we had thought more carefully before we did, but at end stage it was our journey to make whatever.

I can’t say this world is a good place to be; who could with all the abuse we make of the precious gift the Mother gave us to care for. People are feared for their safety as fundamental Islamists attempt to impose by terror, their beliefs on others who want nothing more than the freedom and peace to follow whatever faith they choose believe in.

Our wildlife is threatened by climate change and civil liberties we always took for granted are stripped away at an alarming rate these days. But even with all that, we live in a world that is so precious, we can choose to learn or not, we can follow a path we choose for ourselves because we are basically all spiritual beings living a human existence. This ageing crone has many of years of devotions under her belt (well maybe a skirt as the waistline has not been compatible with belts for some time now :)), so I am prepared to listen in reflective silence these days.

The people I have met have been there for a reason, a season and hopefully, many for a lifetime. I have hopped on and off “the bus of life” many times on my journey … on occasion I would have to be dragged back on board kicking and screaming, but all in all it has been good for me and mine.

I would say to young Pagan pathwalkers that if the experiences of an old crone count for anything, it is to say that the future lies in their hands now. There is much to be done, many voices to be heard, the young amongst us are our hope for the future. They must never forget that the best of learning comes from the voice of experience, so the elders amongst us must be heeded as they draw on those experiences.

But they are the absolute future.

We who travel on to journey’s end will do what we are able to save for them the wonders of our precious world, as we draw on their youth and strength to give power to our tasks yet to do.

The Mother never said it would be easy, no bump free ride was ever promised, but she did give us gifts in life that were ours to use, or not.

As I said, I have met many learned people who have inspired and enlightened me; I have thought at times that I know all the answers because of my age. I know now that we are never meant to have all the answers and that is not to be regretted, but rejoiced in, as it means that the best may still be yet to come.

My heart tells me that it is, even if the signs are not so good at this precarious time for our planet.

I wish all, Pagan or otherwise, a journey without fear, a life full of fun, laughter and adventure with the promise that age is interesting and not at all as bad as it may seem. For myself, I will journey on in the same manner I have lived my whole life, the destination may be over the horizon, but I have far to much to do to approach it willingly.

After all, I shall become a great grandmother of yet another soul needing the loving arms of this old crone I feel :).

We Three Crones

We Three Crones

by Heartsong

Tune: “We Three Kings

 

We three crones of magic-past are,
Bearing gifts, we traverse afar,
Fields & fountain, moor & mountain,
Following each our star.

Chorus:

Oh, star of wonder, star of might,
Star of radiant beauty bright,
Inward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us with thy magick light.

Gold I bring, the Earth’s hidden gleam,
Guards our Mem’ry, draws forth our dream;
Weary-curing, strong enduring,
Holding time’s circling stream.

Chorus

Frankincense I carry with me.
Incense aids the spirit to see;
Analyzing, wize, up-rising,
Sense of the Earth, flow free!

Chorus

Myrrh is mine, it’s bitter perfume
Lifts new life, a magical broom;
Praying, flying, purifying,
Away with old lingering gloom.

Chorus

Glorious gifts of magic (wimmin) we praise,
Maiden, Mother, Ancient of Days;
Strength, and sense, and energy; whence
Return to our sacred ways.

Chorus

Samhain – Crone Spell

To Produce, Psychic Dreams

PURPOSE:  To aid all around psychic development

BACKGROUND:  Samhain is the season of the Crone – the “Old Woman” aspect of the Goddess, the divine midwife who brings us into life and helps us cross over into death. A guardian of sacred thresholds, she also spins, weaves and cuts our life threads. Because of this, she is sometimes depicted as a spider or represented by a web. Sometimes known as the “Hag” or Cailleach, the crone is strongly connected with psychic abilities and the ability to walk between the worlds–the capacity to traverse the borderland between everyday reality and other realities such as Faerie or the Land of the Dead.

Items you will need:

  • Two teaspoons of dried mugwort
  • One teaspoon of powdered elder leaves
  • Six drops of  cypress essential oil
  • Mortar and pestle
  • One charcoal disk in a fireproof dish
  • One black candle
  • Matches or lighter

Casting the Spell:

  • Blend the mugwort, elder leaves and cypress oil in the mortar and pestle.
  • Light the charcoal, then the black candle, saying:
Hecate, Goddess of the Crossroads,
Direct me.
Weaver, guide my thread into
The spaces between.
 
  • Sprinkle the incense onto the charcoal, and inhale the scent.
  • Close your eyes. Visualize yourself walking from the East to a Crossroads at sunset and stopping to face North. From this direction, a dark figure approaches. This is the Crone. When She stops, She will beckon you to follow her. She will lead you to a gateway: don not pass through this time, but note what it looks like and any symbols that are written on it. This is the gateway through which you must pass before you can walk between the worlds–and you will need to look out for it, or its symbols, in lucid dreams during this winter.
  • Keep careful note of your dreams between now and Imbolc.

 

The Spells Bible
Ann-Marie Gallagher

A Visit With The Crone – A Short Story

A Visit With The Crone – A Short Story

Author: Jadalya Boudicca

 
The inspiration for this short story came to me after a very turbulent and uncertain time in my life. I had just taken a major leap of faith that would have long-lasting effects, and whether it was positive or negative I didn’t know. Basically, one period of my life was ending, and another was beginning. I was terrified and unsure of myself, peering over the edge of the proverbial cliff and readying myself for the leap into Goddess-knew-what. I was coming face-to-face with the Crone, that unpleasant and brutally honest Hag that always appears when a death is imminent.

For those unacquainted with Crone energy, She can be one of the most terrifying aspects of the Goddess to face. Whether She be Black Annis, Baba Yaga, Kali, or one of the Fates, She always evokes a sense of foreboding, and it is well that She does, for She is not surrounded by flowers and sunshine, like the Maiden, nor does she carry a countenance of nurturing comfort, like the Mother. She is the essence of wisdom in its most raw form; She sees what lies in the murky darkness beyond and stares into it without fear. By communing with the energy of the Crone, one learns to accept death in life and acknowledge its necessity in growth. This is a hard lesson to face, and many of us will continue to struggle with it time and time again; however, when we learn it, we are graced with the ability to accept life’s flow and live in continuity with it’s cycles rather than fight it, and by doing so, we grow.

Let me introduce you now to the Crone.

A Visit With the Crone – A Short Story

I have met the Crone once or twice. Her fearsome eyes look you through to your bones, the houses of your stories, and read there all that you are and from whence you have come. She judges there where you will go, for she knows where all things must go.

The first time I met her, she scowled at me. “Your stories are dry; your words have no flavor and your lips are all but dead. One day you will die, and then what? Ha! Come back to me when you learn of it, and THEN share with me a story worth hearing, and I shall give you one as well.”

“But I do not know how, Grandmother, ” I said. “The only way I know to learn IS to die, or become near-death, and I fear it…Grandmother, I fear it’s grasp!”

“Heh…you are dead enough now, living as you are, “she replied, her voice harsh and rasping. “Go from me, now, and do not return until you have something worth saying and something worth hearing.”

I departed from the Old Hag then, forlorn. What is this she asked of me? To die, and THEN tell a story? One cannot do such a thing; it is impossible! Foolish old woman, I thought. Better to never go back…she spins old wives’ tales from the cobwebs of her senile mind!

I went to sleep then, and dreamt of great suffering, and of the Grandmother gnashing her teeth and swallowing me whole. “No, Grandmother!” I screamed. “Do you not recognize me? Do your eyes not know me?”

“I do not know you, ” she said, her eyes dark and glistening, her teeth yellow and tearing at me. “I do not know you because you do not know yourself.”

I leapt awake then, sweating and gasping for breath. Just a dream, I told myself. The old Hag has me scared out of my wits, with all her talk of death and dying! Let me throw her off now, out of my mind. And with that, I rested my head once more, and fell back into dreaming.

Once again, the Grandmother appeared in my dreams, with her fearsome grin and watery eyes. “Grandmother, ” I screamed, “why do you do this to me!”

“I do not do this to you, ” she smirked, “for you do it to yourself.”

Once again, I leapt awake, trembling and fearful. Were these just dreams? I shall face the Hag, once and for all, I thought. And a third time I slept, and a third time she appeared, more terrible and ferocious than before, making wrathful sounds and threatening to tear me apart.

“Grandmother, ” I said, my voice small from fear. “Three times you have appeared to me, and three times you have come to me with death. I am afraid, but I am here to face you now.”

“Then face me you will, ” she said, and swallowed me up. Down into the darkness of her belly I fell, but it instead of pain, I felt only warmth. How strange, I thought. The softness cradled me, and down I went, until a light could be seen. The light terrified me, but on and on I went, until I was enveloped no longer in darkness, but in light, and I felt arms around me, cradling me. “There, there, my sweet daughter, my beautiful one, ” a voice whispered, and when I opened my eyes I saw not the Hag beast, but a beautiful woman, and I knew this to be Mother.

“Mother, where has the old Hag gone?” I asked.

“She is here, too, ” the Mother said. And with that, I awoke, no longer afraid.

I rose and sought out the old Crone. “Well, ” she croaked. “What have we here! You are not the same sniveling girl that was here yesterday. Sit, and tell me what has changed. Tell me your story.”

I told her of my dreams, and as I told her my story, her eyes softened. “I have learned not to fear endings, Grandmother, for with all endings come beginnings.”

The Crone nodded, and her bones creaked as she roused herself. “That is a good story, child, ” she said. “Now, as promised, I shall tell you one myself.”

She looked at me then, and the darkness of her eyes drew me in until I once again could see nothing but black. In the darkness I saw swirls of light, small suns and stars. I saw these lights split and come back together, until they took the shapes of animals, great and small, all coming from the same light, and all returning to the same light. I saw men singing their songs, and women weaving their tapestries, until sound and material became one, intertwining all life together.

“You see, child, ” she whispered. “All comes from One, and all is connected. You are I, and I am you.”

Goddess Of The Month

DEMETER

Goddess of grain and agriculture, pure Nourisher of youth and the green earth, health-giving cycle of life and death, and preserver of both marital fertility and the Sacred Law.

In Greek mythology, Demeter (Greek: “mother-earth” or possibly “distribution-mother” from the noun of the Indo-European mother-earth) is the goddess of grain and agriculture, the pure nourisher of youth and the green earth, the health-giving cycle of life and death, and preserver of both marital fertility and the sacred law. She is invoked as the “bringer of seasons” in the Homeric hymn, a subtle sign that she was worshiped long before the Olympians arrived. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter has been dated to sometime around the seventh century B.C.E. She and her daughter Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which also predate the Olympian pantheon. The Roman equivalent is Ceres, from whom the word “cereal” is derived.

Demeter is easily confused with Gaia or Rhea, and with Cybele. The goddess’ epithets reveal the span of her functions in Greek life. Demeter and Kore (“the maiden”) are usually invoked as to theo (‘”The Two Goddesses”), and they appear in that form in Linear B graffiti at Mycenaean Pylos in pre-classical times. A connection with the goddess-cults of Minoan Crete is quite possible.

According to the Athenian rhetorician Isocrates, the greatest gifts that Demeter gave were cereal, which set humans apart from wild animals, and the mysteries, which give humankind higher hopes in this life and the next.

The Eleusinian Mysteries

Without a doubt, the most important role of Demeter was as a goddess of the Elusinian mystery religion. In this capacity, her primary function was to provide the cultic adherents with hope for eternal life (or a pleasant afterlife). Though little is known of the specifics of worship, it appears that it involved a hidden knowledge (gnosis) being shared by the participants:

The object of the [mystery] is to place the [participant] in a peculiarly close and privileged relation with the divinity or the deified spirit…. all of the members of the city, gens or household could freely join in the cult, if they were in the ordinary condition or ritualistic cleanliness; and the sacrifice that the priest performed for the state might be repeated by the individual, if he chose to do so, for his own purposes at his own house-altar. Both in the public and in the mystic service a sacrifice of some sort was requisite, and as far as we can see the religious conception of the sacrifice might be the same in both. But in the former the sacrifice with the prayer was the chief act in the ceremony, in the latter it was something besides the sacrifice that was of the essence of the rite; something was shown to the eyes of the initiated, something was done: thus the mystery[.]

These rites are one of the most compelling enigmas in human religious history, as the vow of secrecy that all participants were obliged to take has remained largely unbroken—meaning that many elements of these practices have been lost to the mists of time.

Demeter and Poseidon

Demeter and Poseidon’s names are linked in the earliest scratched notes in Linear B found at Mycenaean Pylos, where they appear as PO-SE-DA-WO-NE and DA-MA-TE in the context of sacralized lot-casting. The ‘DA‘ element in each of their names is seemingly connected to an Proto-Indo-European root relating to distribution of land and honors (compare Latin dare “to give”). Poseidon (his name seems to signify “consort of the distributor”) once pursued Demeter, in her archaic form as a mare-goddess. She resisted the sea king’s advances, but she could not disguise her divinity among the horses of King Onkios. Poseidon became a stallion and “covered” (read: violated) her. Demeter was literally furious (“Demeter Erinys”) at the assault, but washed away her anger in the River Ladon (“Demeter Lousia”). She bore to Poseidon a daughter, whose name could not be uttered outside the Eleusinian Mysteries, and a steed named Arion, with a black mane. In Arcadia, Demeter was worshiped as a horse-headed deity into historical times:

The second mountain, Mt. Elaios, is about 30 stades from Phigaleia, and has a cave sacred to Demeter Melaine [“Black”]… the Phigalians say, they accounted the cave sacred to Demeter, and set up a wooden image in it. The image was made in the following fashion: it was seated on a rock, and was like a woman in all respects save the head. She had the head and hair of a horse, and serpents and other beasts grew out of her head. Her chiton reached right to her feet, and she held a dolphin in one hand, a dove in the other. Why they made the xoanon like this should be clear to any intelligent man who is versed in tradition. They say they named her Black because the goddess wore black clothing. However, they cannot remember who made this xoanon or how it caught fire; but when it was destroyed the Phigalians gave no new image to the goddess and largely neglected her festivals and sacrifices, until finally barrenness fell upon the land.

Demeter, Persephone and the Eleusinian Mysteries

The central myth of Demeter, which is at the heart of the Eleusinian Mysteries, is her relationship with Persephone, her daughter through a dalliance with Zeus. In the tale, Persephone becomes the unwilling consort of Hades (Roman Pluto, the underworld god of wealth) and is taken from her mother’s side into her new spouse’s dusky kingdom. Demeter, distraught over the loss of her precious daughter, devoted the entirety of her time and attention to seeking her, which had the consequence of halting the progression of seasons. During her search, she had many additional adventures, though none of them were sufficient to distract her from her maternal concerns. Eventually, the situation on Earth grew so dire that Zeus found it necessary to intercede directly, imploring his brother to return Persephone to her mother. Before she was released, however, Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds, which forced her to return to his realm for six months each year. When Demeter and her daughter were together, the earth flourished with vegetation. But for six months each year, when Persephone returned to the underworld, the earth once again became a barren realm. This myth, in addition to providing an aetiological explanation for the progression of the seasons, also explain the connection between Demeter/Persephone and the Eleusinian Mysteries (which were centered around the achievement of eternal life).

Demeter’s stay at Eleusis

While Demeter was searching for her daughter Persephone, she found it expedient to adopt the guise of an old woman (Doso). In this form, she received a hospitable welcome from Celeus, the king of Eleusis in Attica (and also Phytalus). He asked her to nurse Demophon and Triptolemus, his sons by Metanira.

As a gift to Celeus (in thanks for his hospitality), Demeter planned to make Demophon as a god, which was achieved by coating and anointing him with Ambrosia, breathing gently upon him while holding him in her arms and bosom, and by burning away his mortal spirit in the family hearth every night. Unfortunately, Demeter was unable to complete the ritual because one night Metanira (the child’s mother) walked in and saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright. This angered the fertility goddess, who lamented that foolish mortals did not understand the power of her ritual.

Instead of making Demophon immortal, Demeter chose instead to repay her host’s generosity by teaching Triptolemus the art of agriculture. From him, the rest of Greece learned to plant and reap crops.

Portrayals of Demeter

  • Demeter is usually portrayed on a chariot, is frequently associated with images of the harvest, including flowers, fruit, and grain. She was also sometimes pictured with Persephone.
  • Demeter is not generally portrayed with a consort, though the exception is Iasion, the youth of Crete who lay with the goddess in a thrice-ploughed field and was sacrificed afterwards.
  • Demeter placed Aethon, the god of famine, in Erysichthon’s gut, making him permanently famished. This was a punishment for cutting down trees in a sacred grove.

Reference:

New World Encyclopedia

A Visit With The Crone – A Short Story

A Visit With The Crone – A Short Story

Author: Jadalya Boudicca
The inspiration for this short story came to me after a very turbulent and uncertain time in my life. I had just taken a major leap of faith that would have long-lasting effects, and whether it was positive or negative I didn’t know. Basically, one period of my life was ending, and another was beginning. I was terrified and unsure of myself, peering over the edge of the proverbial cliff and readying myself for the leap into Goddess-knew-what. I was coming face-to-face with the Crone, that unpleasant and brutally honest Hag that always appears when a death is imminent.

For those unacquainted with Crone energy, She can be one of the most terrifying aspects of the Goddess to face. Whether She be Black Annis, Baba Yaga, Kali, or one of the Fates, She always evokes a sense of foreboding, and it is well that She does, for She is not surrounded by flowers and sunshine, like the Maiden, nor does she carry a countenance of nurturing comfort, like the Mother. She is the essence of wisdom in its most raw form; She sees what lies in the murky darkness beyond and stares into it without fear. By communing with the energy of the Crone, one learns to accept death in life and acknowledge its necessity in growth. This is a hard lesson to face, and many of us will continue to struggle with it time and time again; however, when we learn it, we are graced with the ability to accept life’s flow and live in continuity with it’s cycles rather than fight it, and by doing so, we grow.

Let me introduce you now to the Crone.

A Visit With the Crone – A Short Story

I have met the Crone once or twice. Her fearsome eyes look you through to your bones, the houses of your stories, and read there all that you are and from whence you have come. She judges there where you will go, for she knows where all things must go.

The first time I met her, she scowled at me. “Your stories are dry; your words have no flavor and your lips are all but dead. One day you will die, and then what? Ha! Come back to me when you learn of it, and THEN share with me a story worth hearing, and I shall give you one as well.”

“But I do not know how, Grandmother, ” I said. “The only way I know to learn IS to die, or become near-death, and I fear it…Grandmother, I fear it’s grasp!”

“Heh…you are dead enough now, living as you are, “she replied, her voice harsh and rasping. “Go from me, now, and do not return until you have something worth saying and something worth hearing.”

I departed from the Old Hag then, forlorn. What is this she asked of me? To die, and THEN tell a story? One cannot do such a thing; it is impossible! Foolish old woman, I thought. Better to never go back…she spins old wives’ tales from the cobwebs of her senile mind!

I went to sleep then, and dreamt of great suffering, and of the Grandmother gnashing her teeth and swallowing me whole. “No, Grandmother!” I screamed. “Do you not recognize me? Do your eyes not know me?”

“I do not know you, ” she said, her eyes dark and glistening, her teeth yellow and tearing at me. “I do not know you because you do not know yourself.”

I leapt awake then, sweating and gasping for breath. Just a dream, I told myself. The old Hag has me scared out of my wits, with all her talk of death and dying! Let me throw her off now, out of my mind. And with that, I rested my head once more, and fell back into dreaming.

Once again, the Grandmother appeared in my dreams, with her fearsome grin and watery eyes. “Grandmother, ” I screamed, “why do you do this to me!”

“I do not do this to you, ” she smirked, “for you do it to yourself.”

Once again, I leapt awake, trembling and fearful. Were these just dreams? I shall face the Hag, once and for all, I thought. And a third time I slept, and a third time she appeared, more terrible and ferocious than before, making wrathful sounds and threatening to tear me apart.

“Grandmother, ” I said, my voice small from fear. “Three times you have appeared to me, and three times you have come to me with death. I am afraid, but I am here to face you now.”

“Then face me you will, ” she said, and swallowed me up. Down into the darkness of her belly I fell, but it instead of pain, I felt only warmth. How strange, I thought. The softness cradled me, and down I went, until a light could be seen. The light terrified me, but on and on I went, until I was enveloped no longer in darkness, but in light, and I felt arms around me, cradling me. “There, there, my sweet daughter, my beautiful one, ” a voice whispered, and when I opened my eyes I saw not the Hag beast, but a beautiful woman, and I knew this to be Mother.

“Mother, where has the old Hag gone?” I asked.

“She is here, too, ” the Mother said. And with that, I awoke, no longer afraid.

I rose and sought out the old Crone. “Well, ” she croaked. “What have we here! You are not the same sniveling girl that was here yesterday. Sit, and tell me what has changed. Tell me your story.”

I told her of my dreams, and as I told her my story, her eyes softened. “I have learned not to fear endings, Grandmother, for with all endings come beginnings.”

The Crone nodded, and her bones creaked as she roused herself. “That is a good story, child, ” she said. “Now, as promised, I shall tell you one myself.”

She looked at me then, and the darkness of her eyes drew me in until I once again could see nothing but black. In the darkness I saw swirls of light, small suns and stars. I saw these lights split and come back together, until they took the shapes of animals, great and small, all coming from the same light, and all returning to the same light. I saw men singing their songs, and women weaving their tapestries, until sound and material became one, intertwining all life together.

“You see, child, ” she whispered. “All comes from One, and all is connected. You are I, and I am you.”