There are two new cards in the Divine Muses Oracle's 2nd edition. Today, I'm introducing Crone Magic. This card was inspired by the Power of the Crone by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
For the past few months, I gathered with two of my favorite people (safely of course!) to talk about the stories, poems, and blessings that Dr. Estés shared in her wonderful and compelling audiowork: The Dangerous Old Woman, Myths & Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype.
Half book club and half spiritual healing group, the three of us would reflect, give space, listen, and ask questions about the wisdom & magic of the Crone, and how she was showing up for us in our lives. We'd read poetry and stories to each other, revealing our deep truths, the warts and all—so beautiful they are too! >>>>>
The Old Woman, who acknowledges no master, may be our best guide in this long, dark, labyrinthine spiritual journey. -Barbara G. Walker
We saw the archetype surfacing for each of us in unique, yet powerful ways. For instance, one of us is entering early crone-dom, and she's acknowledging it as an important rite-of-passage for herself. She's a grandmother now, loving her silver hair and honoring her aging body, yet still in touch with her sexy self and the creative flow in her life. The rest of us are witnessing her beautiful process of recognition, and even though we are not officially crones yet, we are realizing this archetype's significant lessons in our own middle-aged lives.
We quickly knew how essential the Crone archetype is to work with—for people of all ages! The Wise Woman holds such deep, inspiring, honest, fun & beautiful magic. I love how Dr. Estés calls on younger folks to explore the Crone, saying there are little “cronettes” within all of us.
She's been lost in our culture, but has been resurfacing in some interesting ways like in the younger generations who have been rocking the "granny hair" trend for a few years and now we're seeing "granny chic" fashion! "Cronettes" embodied!
The Crone is not always what we think! She's a spellbreaker for our society.
When the Divine Muses Oracle sold out a few months ago, I knew I had to add the Crone to the deck. I started looking through images and opened up the creative channel to conceptualize the card. When I create a card, I like to have a title to help hone the piece, but that doesn't always happen. I knew it couldn't just be The Crone or Wise Woman. Once I put the pieces together, I heard myself say Crone Magic. It's so simple—almost too easy. But, it gave me goose bumps and I knew that was the name of this new card.
I chose this image of Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954), painted by Betsy Graves Reyneau in 1946 when Terrell was 83 years old. Terrell was a prominent activist of Black women’s suffrage and civil rights, working alongside women like Ida B. Wells. Her father, Robert Reed Church, became very successful in real estate endeavors after the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis, TN. He had purchased property cheaply while people were evacuating the city in fear. This was an amazing investment and led him to be the first African-American millionaire in the South.
This wealth gave his daughter the opportunity to be well educated, and Terrell would become one of the first Black women to get a college degree. She was a renowned educator and speaker on social equality for Black Americans. She was one of the original members of the NAACP, and was co-founder and first president of the NACW, her words “lifting as we climb” is still its motto. Her work was integral in ratifying the 19th amendment because her state, Tennessee, was the 36th state needed to legalize the women's vote!
This reflection of crone is more relatable than some images we see of her. We often see her as disheveled & scary. But I chose Terrell to reflect the crone we see in our daily lives, not a mystical being that is the gateway to death, but a grandparent or older friend with a light in their eyes, and stories they proudly (and maybe mischievously) share with us.
The owl is linked to the goddess Hekate, often seen as the Crone in the Triple Goddess. The owl is a symbol of wisdom and ancient knowledge. They can see in the dark with open, all-seeing eyes, beyond delusion or the distortions of reality and confusion of darkness. The Crone can guide one to see the reality of things as they really are, with a birds-eye view.
The plant on the left is mugwort, also known as cronewort, which exudes the spirit of the Crone. The leaves have silvery-white hairs, which whisper Crone wisdom. Mugwort opens subconscious channels for dreaming, divination and meditation. It’s a beautiful herb to connect with ancestors too. It’s sometimes also known as the witch’s herb. If you feel drawn to work with it, please research the safest and best practices before using mugwort in your magical work. (<<This is just one link with some info.)
I spent time writing the entry for the accompanying guidebook, reflecting on the aspects of the Crone I wanted to add, trying to keep it concise, while also giving the reader space to fill in how the archetype surfaces for them. (Parts of the five paragraphs above this one are from the guidebook.)
I've experienced some deep-seated realizations from Dr. Estés' work on the Wise Woman archetype and conversations I had with my "cronette" circle. I highly recommend her audio books if this topic calls to you.
There's also Barbara G. Walker's book on the topic, which is from 1985, but still an interesting read with historical references as per usual and bibliography six-pages-deep. If you're a fan of Walker's work, you might enjoy: The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, & Power.
The Divine Muses Oracle is finishing up production and about to set sail. ETA is sometime this summer! If you want to be notified of its arrival, please subscribe to get updates.
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Maree Bento is an artist and practitioner of the mystical & healing arts.
She’s a professional tarot reader and veteran deck creator born under a Sagittarius Sun with a Libra Rising & Capricorn Moon conjunct Pallas Athena. She's been deepening her astrology studies the last few years, after a years-long hobby interest in the subject.
Maree was a licensed massage therapist for 17 years practicing various holistic modalities for body, mind, and spiritual well-being & connection.
Her background in the healing arts inspires her present approach to tarot, creativity, ritual, and divination.
She loves traveling, especially to her ancestral homeland, the Azores, and has been relearning her mother tongue. She enjoys connecting with family, friends, & animals, She lives in Portland with her beloved, David, and their huggable hound, Dante where they hike rain or shine.
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