The Crone Goddess or dark mother is the last aspect of the Triple Goddess, together with the Mother and the Maiden she represents part of the circle of life. In todays society where we worship youth and beauty, this aspect of the Goddess is the most frightening and misunderstood of the three, as she represents our destruction, decay and death. Traditional societies however, view death as part of a cycle. Here, as in nature, the death of Winter is followed by the promise of rebirth in the Spring.
Her colour is black and she is associated with the waning or new moon, Autumn and Winter.
In her positive aspect she is often depicted as a Grandmother, a wise woman, or a midwife. The word Crone is derived from the old word for crown, suggesting the wisdom that emanates from the head like a halo. Her own child baring days are past; she is the wisdom keeper, seer and healer and midwife, whose knowledge is sought out to guide others during life's hardships and transitions.
Unfortunately in the Middle Ages the church feared these woman and the esteem with which their communities held them. Many of them were killed during the Inquisition and the wise woman of old was relegated to the Wicked Witch and Hag Archetype of our fairy tales. This is a corruption of the original meanings of the word witch and hag which respectively derived from the word wit, denoting wisdom and hagio meaning holy. Today as more woman live longer and take more prominent roles within society the tide is starting to turn as they start to reclaim their power.
Below I have begun to put together an A-Z list of Crone Goddesses. In the list you will find many Goddesses from around the world who are associated with wisdom, magic, old age, death, the underworld.
The Crone Goddesses are wonderful to call upon to help you deal with the menopause, change or to help face your own mortality.
She can help you remember the cycles of life if you are experiencing a loss.
Invoke these Goddesses to help you face your deepest fears as despite there often fierce ways and appearance they offer great wisdom to those prepared to look upon their faces.
The Crones encourage us to be wild and free, they show us the strength and courage within us all.
Ala (Nigerian) : The spirits of the dead find peace in her womb.
Ama No Uzumi (Japanese) : A Shinto ancestral Goddess of longevity, protection and psychic abilities.
Asase Yaa (West African) : She represents the womb of the earth from whom we are all birthed and will return to at our death.
Annis (Celtic) : A frightening old woman, keeper of wisdom and old ways.
Badb: (Irish) A shape shifting warrior Goddess who symbolizes the cycles of life and death, wisdom and inspiration.
Baubo (Greek) : A bawdy Goddess who uses female sexuality and laughter to raise a smile from Demeter,
Baba Yaga (Russian) : In Slavic mythology she is the wild old woman; the witch; and mistress of magic.
Cerridwen (Celtic) : The Keeper of the Cauldron.
Cailleach Bear (Celtic): The hag and destroyer Goddess who ruled over disease, death, wisdom, seasonal rites and weather magic.
Elli (Nordic) : Goddess of old age, she defeated Thor.
Grandmother Spiderwoman (Native American) : An old wise woman who gave man the sun and fire.
Ereshkigal (Sumerian): Goddess of the Underworld
Estsanatlehi (Native American) : Goddess of life, death and immortality.
Hekate (Greek) : Goddess of the underworld and magic.
Hella (Nordic) : Ruler of Helheim, the land of the dead.
Inari (Japanese) : She guides and protects the spirits of the dead.
Kali (Indian) : Goddess of destruction and rebirth.
Kalma (Finnish) : Underworld Goddess of death and decay.
Lara (Roman): Mother of the dead.
Libitina (Roman): Goddess of funerals and pyres.
Lilith (Hebrew) : Adams first wife and guardian of women's mysteries.
Macha (Irish): The wild woman who battles against injustice to woman and children.
Mórrígan (Celtic): Crow Goddess who understands the nature of death.
Mother Holle (German): The Wise Queen of Winter
Nicneven (Celtic): Goddess of Magic and winter.
Nephthys (Egyptian): A funerary Goddess associated with death, magic and reincarnation.
Sedna (Inuit): Mistress of life and death.
XochiQuetzal (Mexican): Goddess of the cycles of life celebrated on the Day Of the Dead.
If you are interested in the Maiden Aspect of the Triple Goddess follow the link to Goddesses for children and teenagers
For the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess go to the Fertility Goddesses section where you will find information on Goddesses associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
I recommend the Crones Counsel website if you want to connect with other people who are seeking to rediscover this wise woman energy for themselves.