The Crone Goddess or Dark Mother is an aspect of the Triple Goddess, together with the Mother and the Maiden she represents part of the circle of life. She defines wisdom that comes through experience, acceptance of death and dying, but she is also the warrior, the strength of the clan's bloodline, she is honored and revered for her age.
However in today's society where we are taught to 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.
In her positive aspect she is often depicted as a Grandmother, a wise woman, or a midwife. Her own child baring days are past; she is the wisdom keeper, seer and healer, and a warrior whose experience and knowledge is sought out to guide others during life's hardships and transitions.
Unfortunately in the Middle Ages the Crone Goddess became the Wicked Witch and Hag Archetype of our fairy tales. Her knowledge and wisdom was persecuted by the Church's fear, and we grew to fear growing older. Age should be celebrated, revered, and respected, as it is only through age that wisdom is gained.
Those who are drawn to the Crone are drawn to the old ways, the hidden paths, they are often the teachers, and students, they have a sense of timelessness about them. They are the keepers of wisdom.
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.Ereshkigal (Sumerian): Goddess of the Underworld
Hekate (Greek) : Goddess of the underworld and magic.
Hella (Nordic) : Ruler of Helheim, the land 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.
Nicneven (Celtic): Goddess of Magic and winter.
Nephthys (Egyptian): A funerary Goddess associated with death, magic and reincarnation.