Hecate, the goddess of the crossroads, is the Crone. The crossroads in Europe still have little cairns where people drop their stones in honor of the goddess. Those cairns have always been the places of Hecate. The crossroads represents a place where consciousness is crossed by the unconscious, in other words, a place where you have to surrender your ego will to a higher will. The Crone has gone though one crossroads after another. She has reached a place of surrender where her ego demands are no longer relevant. This is the positive side of the Crone. She is a surrendered instrument and therefore detached.
Detachment doesn’t mean indifference. It means she has been there. She has suffered, but she can draw back from the suffering. A conscious person in the presence of an unconscious person’s pain may suffer more than the unconscious person. So, it’s not that she doesn’t suffer. It’s not that she’s indifferent or withdrawn. She’s right there, totally present. She’s got nothing to lose.
She can be who she is and live with the straight, flat-out, naked truth. Therefore the Crone acts as a tuning fork in an environment because she is so real herself. She rings a true tone. People are brought into harmony with that tuning, so it’s very releasing. People can respond to their own true tone. The Crone can afford to be honest. She’s not playing games anymore. She brings people into that soul space where all outer conflicts dissolve and they can experience their own essence.
She has nothing to lose. Who she is cannot be taken away from her. She has no investment in ego. Therefore, there is no power operating. She’s the kind of person you can honestly talk to, profoundly trust. She has no reason to persuade you to do anything or be anything other than who you are.
I would think of her masculinity as being very discerning, with no sentimentality. She would be able to cut with a well-honed sword. She would be able to see what is no longer essential to life, a relationship, for example, that has become destructive. She would perceive it, see through to the heart of it, and cut where necessary, but cut with love. I always envision her wielding a golden sword with a silver handle. All the perceptivity of gold, but handled with the love of silver. The masculine and feminine together. She has the kind of wisdom that takes life with a grain of salt, smiles at the divine comedy….
I have known four or five Crones, two of them men. I have gone to them when I thought I couldn’t go any further. Their love was palpable. No advice. Simply being, saying almost nothing. I knew I was totally seen and totally understood.
They could constellate my own inner healer because they could see me as I am.
~ Marion Woodman
Image: Night Woman / Crone Tree by Carolyn Hillyer