The Crone and the Cauldron

30 10 2009


Halloween, or Hallowed Evening, or Samhain, is one of my favorite times of year.

It’s a powerful, spiritual time when we celebrate the feminine, commune and remember the dead, and celebrate the veil of consciousness which separates the two worlds, being at its thinnest on this night.

It marks the end of the third and final harvest. It’s a time of deepening darkness in the natural world (before we had daylight savings), where there is a natural pull inward with the coming winter.

Traditionally, it’s the time of the Crone Goddess. The crone is the old woman of great power whose life wisdom comes from both her great age and the many things she has lived through. She is the eternal grandmother of rebirth. She is reborn as the beautiful young Goddess on Bealtaine, May 1st.

The crone’s cauldron is a deep part of the Halloween myth that represents the cosmic womb. It’s a place where all things are conceived, grow, and are born.

We tend to place a heavy focus on life and youth in this culture. We don’t like to think about death, and are mostly afraid and unfamiliar with it. There is even a strong movement occurring in self-development circles where people don’t dare even utter what is seen as negative. Sometimes I think this is just another way to keep death away.

In many ways, in my opinion, there is a sadness to our post-modern refusal to understand and integrate the natural seasons of our lives and emotions. We have lost something of understanding the natural cycles of life and death, being young, being old. We are in such a constant fight with getting older. We see it as a bad thing instead of a natural cycle of eternity.

I have heard in the last week or so many people having dreams of loved ones who have passed on from this life. I am not surprised. It’s that time of year. It’s a gift to be visited by someone you lost.

I have experienced this the most when I am just about to wake up. Pay attention to those few moments. It’s a very rich and keen time. Especially if you are getting up before first light. There are hundreds of messages hanging in the air for you that are ripe for the picking. But they will only be whispered. So listen closely.

The cauldron is the symbol for what we will be brewing this long winter. On May 1st, whatever it is, will be cooked. For me, the cauldron contains my ideas and wishes. I am actively putting things in there and stirring, stirring, stirring. Things need to cook, and simmer. It is a reminder that ideas and emotions, need time to simmer until done. It’s difficult to tolerate emotions that don’t move along quickly that are painful, and ideas that don’t come to fruition when we want or need them too.

The crone’s cauldron is the place of transmutation. Things go in raw, are cooked through the heat of fire, and come out tender and more complex than when they went in.

For me, I am pausing this Hallowed Eve to embrace my one precious life that is moving quickly with age. It’s okay to become the Crone Goddess. I am brewing up wisdom, compassion, understanding, and a wicked outrageous sense of humor about it all in my cauldron. We’ll see what bubbles up this spring.

We are eternal beings. There is nothing to fear.




One response

30 10 2009
angela kelsey

ingredient list for this crone’s cauldron: yoga practice, books read and to be read, every revision of the memoir-in-progress, morning pages, new and old friends, self-doubt, exhilaration that comes from telling the truth. Looking forward to May 1. Thanks again.

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