blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crone Transformations

1.   trans·form/transˈfôrm/       …….Shape Shifting
Make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of.
The product of a transformation.
verb.  change - convert - alter - metamorphose - transmute
noun.  transformation - metamorphosis - conversion


This month I have had the ambition of a slug, a lowly caterpillar
The perceptions of an earthworm stuck in dark mud
I yearn for the freedom to walk outside, upright in the sunshine
I crave the wide sky, bright light and wild wind.
This morning I turn my mind to believing in better days ahead
I reach within to find the dreams, the sacred inspiration
The key to transformations:

Transformations take many forms, some rather prosaic, others wrapped in wonder and mystery. Commonplace: the sight of ice cubes melting into puddles, the flood of light as the lamp is turned on at twilight. These changes occur in plain view, one form visibly becoming another. Other transformations are hidden from sight, alchemy that can be perceived as magical. From a fertilized, incubated egg hatches a fluffy baby bird. From the dark earth in spring, planted seeds emerge as vibrant growing plants.
Earthworms, lowest of the low in hierarchies around the world, are nevertheless seemingly capable of regenerating lost segments of their simple tubular bodies.  This appears to be common knowledge inspiring generations of young experimenters to dissect wriggling victims. More mature scientists have published their findings that it is theoretically possible to grow complete worms from partial segments depending on certain variables such as variety and extent of damage to the body. Earthworms perform many actions that insure the survival of mother earth's fertility.
In 1881 Charles Darwin wrote: It may be doubted whether there are as many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have theses lowly organized creatures.
Caterpillars, visually only one small step higher than the earthworm, are an essential stage of the life cycle of butterflies: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa and adult. Butterflies inspire hope and belief in positive, miraculous change in the darkest, coldest winter. Their grace and colourful beauty have enchanted and inspired people from earliest times. In ancient Greece the word for "butterfly" was the same as for "soul" or "mind".
Butterfly symbolism brings to mind the importance of welcoming changes, allowing outgrown beliefs, and negative perceptions to fade away making space for new patterns that bring hope and inspiration.
Transformation, transition, shape-shifting, endings that facilitate new beginnings…. Are these not the domain of the Crone? While seeking a new way of being in the world how can Crone-within guide me?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tempest Eaton, 1621

       On the list of the first Mayflower’s passengers, I am an unnamed servant to John Carver. Then I become Francis Eaton’s second wife. Call me Tempest, for I was a storm in their blood. The Pilgrim fathers needed me to sate their carnal appetites, while they pampered the wives they hoped would give them children with pedigrees.
       We had been there in New Plimouth for one narrow, pinched year of scraping the ground, carrying logs on our backs, cleaning the linens of the dead. And then we had the feast.
       Eaton’s child had not yet stretched my belly big enough for the men to see, but I knew he was inside me. My first male child, my salvation, the surety of marriage into the pilgrim clan. My prayers of thanks were all for the lust of Francis Eaton and the fertility of his loins. While his first wife lay dying he had paid Carver for a turn between my legs. Since Carver’s seed had never taken, I knew this child was Eaton’s. Soon he would know about that too.
       But I was still a servant at the feast. On the second night, I was at the edge of the firelight minding the large kettle when I saw her for the first time. A cold moon cast silver patches into the forest, and one glint caught the shape of her head. Her shape took its form out of the blackness, her eyes glinted red in the firelight.
       A movement from her lips sucked the air from my throat before I could scream, and her hand made a circle and some corners in the air. A trembling warmth started from my feet and traveled up my body.  This strange vibration reached the top of my head and traveled back down, making a slow turn around my womb before racing back down into the earth.
       The she-devil smiled at me, an old Indian witch with wild grey hair. I was awed by the power she commanded, but not afraid. The voyage, the deaths, the rapes, the corpses may have put me beyond fear of anything, but I knew this witch was not going to kill me. She and I were cut from the same cloth.
We were cunning women and survivors.
       That was the second day of the Feast of Thanksgiving in the New World.  On the third day, Massassoit’s men brought two huge deer into the village. Of course it was expected that I would prepare the beasts for roasting. I sharpened my master’s knife for the thousandth time and slit the belly of the buck. As I scooped out the entrails, an overwhelming nausea brought bile to my throat, and I fell to my knees. There was a flash at the corner of my eye. A brown hand holding a black stone appeared before me and began to slice through muscle and tendon as if it were butter. I did not need to turn my head to know it was her. The black blade had a red glow deep within its glassy surface. With shaking hands I continued the work by her side.
       When I turned to open the doe’s soft belly, I looked into the Grandmother’s face for the first time. Fine lines traced the crow’s feet of a happy youth at the edges of her eyes. Deep furrows made steady paths across her forehead, she had known much fear and worry, but the firm unwrinkled jut of her chin bespoke a courage that had never admitted defeat. Her eyes burned into mine, as I had expected they would, but I pulled the curtain across my mind before she could scry me. Her dark face registered a moment of surprise before she pushed my shoulder, speaking softly but very sternly in words that had no meaning to me; however, I knew to stop all movement and await her permission to move again. In a single slashing motion, she split the deer from breast to anus and scooped the uterus from the animal with her left hand. Holding the tiny fetus toward the sun, she chanted rapidly and carried it a small distance into the trees. When she returned, she grunted and pulled my hand toward the doe. We finished dressing the deer in silence. Before she turned to leave, she held a small piece of liver to my mouth and motioned to me to eat it. I swallowed it quickly. She nodded and was gone.
       I knew she was my ally, then. I did not see her again for five long months. By then she would be the only person on this earth I wanted to see.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

To A Scorpio



Oblique rays shine from her eyes
Of a thousand years--pure child.
Many cycles past, an autumnal lady watched
The breakers boom like iron upon Atlantic cliffs—
Her glances a falcon endlessly falling.
Breathless, see how fast she flies!
Lady in a cloak of November,
Magic slinks around you.
--Juliet Waldron

Friday, November 2, 2012

Crone Avatars


It’s All Souls, which means that in many Latin countries, people are out in the graveyards, having a cheerful picnic with flowers, Tequilla and food, sitting upon the graves of dead relatives. In Austria at noon of All Souls’ Day, the Church bells are rung in order to release earth bound souls. Gerstermesse is here, time for families and friends to enter the cemetery with lighted lanterns which will stay behind when everyone goes home again.
 The Crone Mother-of-All-Living has many names.
She is the ancient Irish Shela-na-gig, threatening us with the womb/tomb.
She is Hel, Queen of the Otherworld. (To the Norse, this was a place of renewal.) From here, new souls returned to earth.
She is Ishtar The Morning Star who resurrects Tammuz, the green grain, whose body is eternal sacrifice.
She is Sekmeht, who by destruction brings creation, the oracular Sphinx with bloody claws, crouching in the desert with a riddle you’ll wish you’d never answered.
She is Black Kali, dancing upon our inertia, dancing as we burn to ashes, with her thundering necklace of skulls.

She is Oya, Queen of cemeteries, of psychic explosions and violent storms. (She just paid us a visit!)

It's time for us in the northern hemisphere to ponder the Crone, now, while the veil between the worlds is thin, while mother earth tilts away from our fatherly solar furnace.

In Mexico, the old Aztec death goddess has returned. Dia De Los Muertos is her special time, her power irresistible. She demands not only total respect but the wildest playfulness from her devotees.
Once she was Mictecacihuatl, who, with her husband, ruled theAztec dead, but her face seems to have never left the national consciousness. Now she has come again to fill the poor and the outcast with pride, offering them kindness and good luck. After all, even the richest, most corrupt magnate in the world doesn’t have the money to buy off Death, the Great Equalizer.   
Her names tell something of her femininity and of how greatly she is feared, for she is often referred to only by nickname. As with The Great Dark Ladies mentioned above, she shouldn't be lightly summoned.  She is The Skinny One, Santisima Muerte, The Holy Girl, Catrina. She is Fortune. She is Change. She is a sudden fire bursting through an earth which we vainly imagined was cold, sleeping--safe!  

--Juliet Waldron