In Some Pagan traditions, we see the divine feminine as a triple Goddess. She is Maiden, Mother and Crone. We can also see these three faces of the Goddess as the three stages of womanhood.
Sadly, Western society seems to revere women in the maiden stage of life a lot more than it reveres mothers and crones. This causes women to long for their youth, rather than choosing to celebrate the wisdom that comes with age.
When we look at the Major Arcana of tarot, it is easy to see the High Priestess as Maiden and the Empress as Mother. The question is which Major Arcana card would represent the Crone?
In some decks, The Hermit is female. That would be a good choice. In some, Death is as a woman. That would work too.
But here’s the rub. The High Priestess and the Empress are always female, no matter the deck. The Crone should have that same honor. I think she should be associated with a card that is always feminine as well.
For this honor, then, I submit two choices. One is Strength, usually pictured as a woman who has tamed the savage lion with her compassion. The other is the Star, who pours the healing light of heaven upon the Earth. Both of these images are extraordinarily beautiful and sacred, are are almost always illustrated as beautiful women.
In our society, we often think of older women as dried out, used up, crotchety and ugly. What would happen if choose to honor crones as compassionate healers who radiate beauty?
As women, we could learn to feel beautiful even as our hair color fades and our skin starts to show the marks of time. We could share our wisdom and feel empowered to truly make a difference on the planet.
A few years ago I had the honor of performing a croning ceremony for a few friends. I wrote a chant for the occasion.
She is Maiden, she is Mother, she is Crone
She is spirit, she is magick, she is flesh and bone.
She is courage, she is wisdom, she is grace
We see the Goddess in her face
As youth leaves, it leaves magick in its place.
A friend of mine used to say “Things of quality have no fear of time.” More than anything, this is certainly true of women.