A Simple Path: Journey of a Hedgewitch

October 1st, 2008

*The Hedgewitch lives in the space between the Village and the Forest. Between the mundane and the magical. S/He lives with a foot in both worlds.
This column is dedicated to the Hedgewitches of the planet earth.

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The Time of Balance Shifts to Darkness:
Embracing The Crone

In every season, there are lessons for we observant humans.
In the spring we have rebirth and renewal. The lesson of the Maiden.
In the Summer hard work, followed by abundance and plenty. Lessons of the Mother.
In the Fall we have dying back; the inevitable and necessary death which must come to all living things. But, also, the promise of another cycle to come. These are the lessons of The Crone.
The Crone understands that Her job is the one we fear most, as humans. So much so, we have painted Her face green, made her hair wild and ugly, and her nose embellished with the odd wart. We have made her a devil incarnate, because of our inherent fear of the ultimate Unknown which She represents.
She comes to us in the moments of transition. Her time is the Time of Fall becoming Winter and Winter becoming Spring.
She accompanies souls to the Underworld, and sees them safely to their next destination.
She dwells in twilight and darkness.
She is there when a new soul is born into the world and is present when an old one shuffles off its mortal coil.
She understands our need to ‘avoid’ Her. And yet, has so much wisdom to share with us while we still live!

As a Hedgewitch, and priestess of Hecate, these lessons have been brought home to me in ways I mightn’t ever have imagined. I always assumed that my Matron goddess would be a sweet, Motherly type. One who smells like cinnamon rolls and always has something encouraging to say. A fierce protector of Her children, but a gentle spirit.
Yet, when I sought my Path, and a goddess to guide me, it was Hecate who arrived on the scene.
Not a Motherly type at all! Though, She embodies all the elements of the Triple Goddess, and hence represents the fullness of Motherhood, along with the freshness of the Maiden and the dark treasures of the Crone.
Her lessons are often harsh ones. Death must come to all life and life to all death. She is the fiercely protective goddess I imagined, yet, is only interested in Justice, and when called upon, will mete out justice to ALL parties involved. So, a tip, woe be unto you if you call her in on a job where you feel wronged, but have a part in the blame (which, by the way, is nearly always). Everyone gets exactly what they deserve where She is concerned.
She is unafraid of letting us fail, spectacularly, because we learn so much more from failure than from success.
Her Wheel’s name is Karma and She is content to watch us bring our own destruction to make room for our authentic life. The one we were meant to live.

Now, it is not merely Hecate who rules the dark half of the year, and Cronedom in general. There are many, many Crone goddesses to meet the needs for wisdom of all the children of earth. Perhaps your own Personal Crone looks nothing like Her. Perhaps yours is a wise and kindly Grandma, who smells like cinnamon rolls.
Crones come in many forms and yours will be the very one you need in order to embrace Her. We have need of Her wisdom in all the phases of our lives.

It is not only in death, as an end to our mortal life, that Her lessons shine through. When the leaves fall, as they are doing now, it is a Supreme aspect of Her lesson. The lesson of Letting Go.
The leaves do not lament their change of color, as it is their most amazing feat! They do not weep when their stems grow dry and the wind catches them. They simply swirl to the ground, and become organic fodder for the tree that nurtured them.
Their lesson is our lesson. Letting go, and allowing Nature to take Her course does not have to be sad and dreary. Without the fallen leaves, there wouldn’t be fertilizer for the tree, who rests and awaits the promise of new life again next Spring.
Just as in our own lives, we needn’t mourn the end of things and become saddened. The end of a cycle simply precedes the beginning of another. There is a wait involved, but this is the way of all things.
Just as we waited for our seeds to germinate and grow and develop into our plants, which will later feed us, so must we await the renewal of life in its own time.
Winter’s barren beauty is a grieving period, for all the life which has ended. We do take time to pause and reflect on what has been removed from our lives. But we needn’t be without hope. Winter is a season, just as Spring is, and each one follows the other in its way, just as it has since time began.

So, in honor of the Crone, and Her many lessons of life and death, light and darkness, cycles of Nature, I devote this column to Her wisdom, and suggest that this may be a time in each of our lives where we embrace the lessons of the Crone. Look around and watch Her effect on the world. The leaves fall to remind us that it is perfectly all right, and safe and natural for us to let go of things in our lives whose time has come to end.
This can be habits, relationships, and material things.
Encourage the Crone to come and bless your life with Her lessons. Clean out the closet, cupboard and pantry. Give unneeded things away to make room for a new blessing. Make your bounty of donations an Offering to Her.
Light a black candle by the Dark of the Moon, and invite Her to come and sit with you. Embrace the lessons of the Darkening of the Year. In a season of “spooky”, be not afraid of Her wisdom or Her lessons. She was our first friend and will be our final companion. But this soul-transition is not Her only gift to us.
Take a moment and petition Her to show you the lessons She has for you, while you yet live.

Embrace the Crone and Her wisdom.

Brightest Samhain Blessings to all!

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