Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The Transformation of the Crone

There, at the foot of the tree, belonging to no man,
A silver apple falls.
There, amongst the branches, the mother sits.
Weaver of dreams against the weft of the wood,
Insight falls like gentle rain on a moon-bathed garden.

Song to Hecate, by Alison Jones

Now we make ready for the great festival of Imbolc, sometimes called Candlemas or Brigid. In many places, the dates that roughly correspond to Feb. 1 through the 3rd are celebrated because they are the midpoint between the darkest night at Yule and the perfect balance of light and dark that comes at Ostara – Spring Equinox.  This has been subsumed by modern culture into the weather divination event,  “Groundhog Day.”

All around us, Life is stirring in Her sleep, preparing to rise again. The days are noticeably longer.  Even in the snow and ice in my own backyard, the white-throated sparrow is singing her songs of awakening. While some of the fiercest Winter weather may still lie ahead, the tips of some shrubs and trees are blushing with returning sap, cold-hardy sprouts are poking from the earth, and the first lambs are being born (hence the name Imbolc, which refers to the “ewe’s milk” of the nursing mothers)

We of the Old Ways see Imbolc as a traditional time for dedication, or beginning a new path of initiation and spiritual study. The commitment that students of the Craft make to “a year and a day” traditionally begins at this time.

And at Imbolc, we honor the great mystery of the Triple Goddess, as She changes now from the Dark Mother and Crone who has accompanied us since Samhain, into the Maiden once more.

Thus, on this last day of January, as on all final days of each month, we honor the Great Goddess Hecate, Goddess of Witches, She who guards the crossroads. It is Hecate, Goddess of the Night, who teaches us the ancient Mysteries.   The last day of each month is sacred to Her, but especially this one, being the point of Her transformation and renewal. In a mighty miracle and mystery, the Crone transforms once more to the Maiden.  Hecate, the Ancient One, who has guided us in the darkest nights of the year with Her torch is now revealed as Blessed Brigid of the Sacred Fires.

What transformation are you in the process of creating or becoming?  Take some time today, to consider your own awakenings.  Use this time before Imbolc to consider what you wish to give your attention to, over the next year and a day. A new skill? A new way of being a healer or Priest/ess for Gaia and Her children? Has a special God or Goddess called you to worship and serve?

All that was old becomes new again.

Listen now with all your heart as you, too, are changed.  Let yourself be guided to what is next for your soul’s journey.

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  • January 31, 2010, 12:18 pm Beth

    I received a rather pointed comment in Twitter that it appears I am mixing pantheons here. In a way, perhaps, but while it is true that Hecate (Hekate) originated in Greece, She almost certainly traveled with the Romans (who adopted Her) to the British Isles.

    Like much of our own present day world that adopts and adapts across lineages, it is unknown how much in the Celtic post-Roman pantheon was “pure.” And there is precious little actually known about Hecate’s earliest origins in Greek culture.

    In addition, since the Celtic tribes at one time stretched from Ireland to present-day Turkey, it would be rather surprising if there was NOT a cross-pollination of Deities.

    Lastly, as author Miranda Green discusses in Chapter Eight of The Celtic Worlds, caution is necessary in any discussion of what is “Roman,” much less “Celtic.” Both were a complex amalgam of many other influences and cultures, the separate threads of which have long ago been lost to conquest, agenda-laden historians, and simple lack of data.

    For those following the New Old Path in these modern times, we already have a rich tradition of being called by Gods and Goddesses from many cultures. Why would we expect for Them to remain aloof from each other? Or not overlap together?

    Just my own thoughts about this, with deepest love and respect, to She of Ten Thousand Names.
    – Beth

  • January 31, 2010, 12:44 pm Jo

    I loved the original post and like the additional – makes perfect sense to me – we really don’t know where the Gods & Goddesses originally come from in any pantheon – so much that I have read leads me to believe that all have cross-populated cultures and mix freely –

  • January 31, 2010, 1:00 pm Mariele

    Beautiful, beautiful. Many paths all leading to the same place; many names, all one name.

  • January 31, 2010, 1:08 pm catherine

    I read these words watching the sunshine twinkle off the ice and snow. Part frozen, part liquid—Winter’s magic transforming as the earth turns beneath the post storm sun. Magical and beautiful in either form!
    it inspires to me to bless those that have need of specific ways of naming and their traditions. Believing in her love and abundance, I know She would deny them nothing….
    Then She throws me a snowball, sticks out her tongue & says “let’s go have some fun!” 😉

  • January 31, 2010, 1:26 pm Joanna

    Hecate is sister to, or a mirror version of, the Cailleach, the Old Woman of Winter in Celtic myth. Both are epiphanies of the Crone Goddess, are they not?

    I attended a workshop on Whidbey Island some years ago with John & Caitlin Matthews. She mentioned that in the UK or other European countries, it makes perfect sense to work with one pantheon of gods/goddesses, because they have an ancestral connection to the deities of their native land. But in North America, we are almost all immigrants (or our parents/grandparents were). So for us, it makes perfect sense that we blend and mix our pantheons, as it is a reflection of North American culture. Just something to think about.

  • January 31, 2010, 2:24 pm Arie

    Well I never mix pantheons in the same sacred space.
    One ritual for each one.

  • January 31, 2010, 4:31 pm Kendra

    Ah, what Joanna says is exactly what I was thinking! we here in the U.S. are mutts and it makes perfect sense to blend and mix whatever speaks to us – a great deal of what speaks to me is Native American, like the land we live on, but I am conscious that it is not my heritage – but it seems natural to me that we blend and create rather than rigidly adhere and one of the things that I like about you Beth, is you get the Grateful Dead, because I think rock and roll is a form of modern religion and we are living in a exciting and formative time for paganism.