Subject: Crone Mysteries: Embracing the Dark 

Embracing the Dark Goddess
by Dominae 
During a dark time of my life, when I was trying 
to deal with the 
pain of past experiences, I had a vision of the 
dark goddess Lilith. 
Lilith was the wild haired and independent first 
wife of Adam who 
refused to be dominated by him. Because of this, 
she was cast out of 
the Garden of Eden and replaced by the more 
complacent Eve. In my 
vision, Lilith appeared frightening at first 
sight; claw-footed and 
winged with blazing red eyes. But I did not turn 
away from her. I 
knew that no vision comes without reason, so I 
drew closer to her. 
When she felt my fear fading she spoke to me. She 
told me that her 
beating wings were her freedom, her claws held 
her power and her red 
eyes blazed with the anger she felt towards those 
who had tried to 
suppress her. Behind the anger was pain. Behind 
the pain flowed the 
strength, understanding and the wisdom of our 
full feminine nature. 
When I stepped back from her and looked again she 
was beautiful. All 
of the fear I had placed on her had disappeared 
and I knew that she 
had much to teach me and the I had much to learn. 

It is no wonder that the Crone aspect of the 
Triple Goddess is the 
most feared and misunderstood. She represents the 
most frightening 
aspects of our humanity; destruction and death, 
fears we have yet to 
face and mysteries that we have yet to know. 
While most of us would 
love to dwell in the youth and light of the 
Maiden and Mother 
Goddesses, we cannot deny the Crone's presence. 
Though we may try to 
push her to the backs of our minds, the Crone 
makes herself known by 
emerging in the horrifying forms of our 
nightmares and deepest fears. 
But it is only because most of us dread to look 
her in the eyes that 
she emerges in such terrifying forms. If we could 
learn to truly face 
her and therefore our own dark natures, we would 
see that she holds 
within her the wisdom and strength which we need 
to heal ourselves 
emotionally and to become more spiritually 

While the pagan God is represented in two aspects 
(the young, wild 
and passionate God of the Hunt and the older, 
more reserved and self-
sacrificing God) the Goddess is represented in 
three aspects. These 
aspects are the Maiden, Mother and Crone. The 
Maiden is the young 
Goddess, represented by the moon which is waxing 
towards fullness and 
the season of Spring. She is the carefree Goddess 
who is full of 
wonder and budding sexuality and who rules among 
the blossoming of 
life towards Summer.

As Summer and Fall approach, the Mother Goddess 
takes rule as the 
Goddess of the full moon and Summer season which 
moves towards Fall. 
The Mother Goddess is the life-giver and nurturer 
of the Earth and 
her people.

The waning and new moon are the symbols of the 
Crone or Dark Goddess. 
She is the older Goddess who is full of the 
wisdom and experience of 
life and death. The Fall and Winter are the 
seasons of her reign 
where the circle of life moves towards and 
through the stage of 
death. She rules the Underworld, which was a 
place for all spirits no 
matter what their earthly behavior had been. 
Monotheistic theology 
transformed what the concept of the Underworld 
was into the more 
commonly known Hell full of everlasting torments. 
Pagan belief still 
holds true to the initial concept of the 
Underworld as a place for 
all to rest and prepare for physical rebirth.

The cauldron is a symbol of the Crone Goddess and 
is representative 
of the womb from which all life springs and must 
return. The Crone 
takes in energy and matter so that it may be 
broken down and 
recreated in other forms. She holds within her 
the greatest mystery 
of all which is the mystery of death and of the 
afterlife. Visual 
representations of the Crone Goddesses are 
usually frightening in 
appearance. She is the Wicked Witch who is seen 
in abundance during 
Halloween, in fairy tales and in the movies. 
Because of her 
frightening appearance, she is often feared and 
ignored by pagans who 
see her as being evil and destructive.

When someone says the word "Witch," the Crone in 
her modern depiction 
is the image which will most likely appear in 
one's mind. But it must 
be understood how patriarchal society and 
monotheism has portrayed 
the general idea of the Witch in such a negative 
manner because in a 
society where the patriarchy rules, the Powerful 
Woman is seen as a 
threat. The Witch is strong, wise and 
self-sufficient if she so 
chooses to be. The Crone possesses all of these 
wonderful qualities, 
along with a lifetime of experiences and 
encounters to draw from. She 
is not someone to fear, but a helpful and 
insightful guide who should 
be called upon to aid us in confronting our fears 
and feelings of 
being powerless. For pagan men, study and 
encounters with the Crone 
can help in understanding the strength and 
emotion of women as well 
as getting in touch with men's own feminine 

The Crone has many names and is included in the 
pantheons of many 
cultures. She is Kali in India, Hekate in ancient 
Greece, Eresh-Kigal 
in Sumeria, Morgana in Britian and Lilith in the 
Near East. In this 
article, I will be discussing three of the Crone 
Goddesses; Kali, 
Hekate and Lilith, along with ways in which the 
Crone Goddess may be 
helpful for emotional healing and the gaining of 

Of all of the Crone Goddesses, the Hindu goddess 
Kali is the most 
hideous and fear-evoking. Kali is a black-skinned 
goddess who appears 
to be fierce and unapproachable. She wears a 
necklace of skulls 
around her neck and has four arms which she uses 
to flail her victims 
to death before devouring them. She is often sen 
with protruding 
fangs or tusks and a long tongue which she uses 
to lap up the blood 
of her victims. The skulls around her neck were 
used by her to form 
the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. Each skull 
was inscribed with 
one of the fifty letters of the alphabet which 
collectively were 
called the matrika (mothers) and words were 
formed with these 
symbols. When myths speak of words being formed, 
it is usually a 
metaphor for the act of creation.

Although Kali is frightening in appearance, she 
is a fierce warrior 
goddess who is a fighter of demons and yet is 
still able to dispense 
grace to her followers. She was first manifested 
from the brow of the 
mother goddess Parvati in order to slay the demon 
Daruka. The demon 
had gained divine power and was threatening the 
safety of the gods. 
It was told that a drop of blood which fell from 
the demon would 
produce millions more like him, so Kali could not 
slay him in a usual 
manner. Instead she held him up and drank every 
drop of blood from 
the demon, therefore saving the gods from 
destruction. But the taste 
of blood and the thrill of destruction made Kali 
insatiable. She was 
unable to be controlled by anyone, including the 
gods. The thrill and 
ecstacy of killing made Kali dance an 
uncontrollable dance of death 
on top of her victims. Kali was so uncontrollable 
that. The god Shiva 
was almost trampled under her dancing feet.

One of the most frightening depictions of the 
goddess Kali is a 
statue of her squatting over her consort Shiva 
and engaging in sex 
while eating his intestines. Kali is the goddess 
of destruction and 
regeneration, and it is therefore appropriate 
that she be depicted in 
this manner. While she is taking in Shiva's seed, 
she is destroying 
him simultaneously. Shiva is a god of life and 
Kali is a goddess of 
death. These two forces meet and join in this 
statue of Kali and 
Shiva, where Kali kills and prepares to create 
new life from Shiva's 

Because Kali is a manifested aspect of the Mother 
Goddess, she is 
representative of the Cosmic Power and of the 
totality of the 
universe. She is the destroyer who makes way for 
creation and is 
therefore seen as harmonizing all pairs of 
opposites. The four arms 
of Kali are often viewed as being symbolic of 
this harmony. Her upper 
left hand grips a bloody saber, her lower left 
hand holds a severed 
head by the hair. Her upper right hand is often 
seen making a "fear 
not" gesture while her lower right hand bestows 
boons to her devotees.

Those of the Hindu religion realize that in order 
to fully understand 
the Goddess, we must understand all aspects of 
her. They do not see 
Kali as being evil, but s being one of the 
manifestations of the 
Divine Mother, or Shatki. In fact, there is 
hardly a village in India 
which does not have a temple devoted to her. She 
is one of the most 
recognized and respected deities of the Hindu 
pantheon. The horrific 
looking Kali represents an important contribution 
to Vedic Hinduism 
by showing both the negative and positive aspects 
of the Mother 
Goddess. She symbolizes a meaningful abstract 
view of Hinduism, that 
creation and destruction arise from the same 

As a Goddess who rules over both life and death, 
the Dark Goddess or 
Crone holds within her all aspects of the Triple 
Goddess. She is the 
mature and aged Maiden and Mother, who possesses 
the wisdom and 
experiences of youth, adulthood and old age and 
who stands as a 
bridge between death and rebirth. As a goddess 
who retains attributes 
of the three aspects of the Triple Goddess, 
Hekate is often seen in 
triple form. She rules not only over death and 
the underworld, but 
over birth and regeneration as well.

Hekate is one of the most ancient and primordial 
representations of 
the Goddess in Greek mythology. She was 
originally said to be the 
daughter of Nyx (Night) and therefore a Titan who 
predated the more 
commonly known Olympian gods. While most of the 
Titans were 
overthrown by the more civilized gods of the 
Olympian pantheon, 
Hekate was given a place in the Olympian realm 
and was very honored 
and respected by Zeus, the most powerful god in 
Greek mythology. She 
was so respected by him that he gave her dominion 
over the Heavens, 
Earth and the Underworld. He also allowed her the 
one power that only 
she retained; the ability to grant or withhold 
anything that humans 
asked of her. Mythology later changed Hekate's 
origin to that of the 
daughter of Zeus and Hera so that she could more 
easily fit into the 
structure of the Olympian myths. In Hesiod's 
Theogony, sh is said to 
be the daughter of Perseus and Asteria.

Because Hekate was given rule over all of the 
three realms; the 
heavens, Earth and the Underworld, she was 
originally a goddess who 
encapsulated all three aspects of the Goddess. 
However, as Olympian 
mythology evolved, her dominion was minimized to 
primarily that of 
the Underworld. She is said to have helped 
Demeter in her search for 
you daughter Persephone in the myth of 
Persephone's descent to the 
Underworld. In the myth, the young Persephone, 
who represents the 
Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess in Greek 
mythology, is spotted by 
the Lord of the Underworld, Hades, while she is 
picking flowers in a 
field. He captures her and takes her to the 
Underworld to be his 
mate. While Persephone is in the Underworld, all 
of the plant life on 
Earth dies and cannot come back to life until she 
is returned to 
Earth. Her mother Demeter goes searching for her 
daughter with the 
help of Hekate, and a deal is made with Hades 
that he allow 
Persephone to return to Earth for half of the 
year (Spring) and spend 
the other half (Winter) as his mate in the 
Underworld. This myth was 
told to explain the changing of the seasons and 
the path of the 
circle of life. It is repeated in various forms 
in the mythologies of 
many cultures.

Because of the importance of the myth of 
Persephone, Hekate is most 
commonly recognized as the Goddess of the 
Underworld and of death and 
its mysteries. But as it is with all Crone 
goddesses, Hekate still 
possesses the attributes of all three aspects of 
the Goddess. She is 
the Queen of Night, who rules over magick, ritual 
and prophecy, but 
also over childbirth and regeneration. Many 
statues of Hekate depict 
her with three heads and six arms. The three 
heads are the three 
faces of the Goddess; Persephone (Maiden). 
Demeter (Mother), and 
Hekate (Crone). In the Triple Goddess form, she 
is known as Hekate 
Triformis, the Goddess who rules over the three 
phases of the moon.

All animals are sacred to Hekate, but the dog is 
her primary animal. 
Hekate is said to be followed by packs of howling 
dogs who can see 
the spirits of the dead who follow her. Although 
she is the goddess 
of the vast Underworld, she is seen primarily as 
the goddess who 
rules over those who have died unnatural deaths. 
Those who have died 
unnaturally, such as from suicides, executions 
and death at birth 
were often buried at crossroads, where three 
roads meet. This is one 
of the reasons that Hekate is said to be able to 
be summoned at the 
cross roads by those who would ask for her help 
with magick, 
childbirth or false claims against them. Many 
statues and masks of 
Hekate have been found at crossroads, where her 
presence is believed 
to be most powerful. Offerings of dog meat, blood 
and small cakes 
topped with candles have been found at the 
crossroads as gifts to 
Hekate. But the crossroads also have another 
significance. As a 
symbol of the place there paths of fate may be 
taken and where the 
paths of life and death meet, it is appropriate 
that Hekate could be 
summoned as asked for guidance at the crossroads.

Hekate is one of the deities known as The Goddess 
of the Witches. Her 
precedence over death and mysteries as well as 
her told as 
protectress and revenger of those wrongly accused 
and oppressed makes 
her a powerful goddess who can aid us in many 
different areas of 
need. Hekate is worshipped and respected because 
she has the power to 
destroy and create through rebirth as well as 
disclose the wisdom and 
mysteries that come with the knowledge of the 

As an initially primordial goddess who was the 
daughter of Titans, 
Hekate evolved to become the more "civilized" 
goddess of the Greek 
Olympian pantheon. As with many gods and 
goddesses, she changed in 
lineage and function in order to meet with the 
needs of changing 
cultures. However, the dark goddess Lilith is one 
who retained her 
primordial feminine self throughout the evolution 
of many cultures. 
Various manifestations of Lilith can be seen in 
Sumerian, Babylonian, 
Canaanite, Persian, Hebrew and Teutonic 
mythology. Persistent 
throughout these mythologies, Lilith is the 
primal seductress and she-
demon of the night, a killer of mortal children 
and Mother of child 

There are several myths which account the origin 
of Lilith. The 
Hebrew Zohar states that God created the 
masculine sun and feminine 
moon initially equal in power and reign. However, 
because of their 
equality, the moon and sun were constantly 
arguing. Because the moon 
more frequently questioned the authority of the 
sun, god in judgement 
told the moon that she must diminish herself. 
This means that her 
radiance would be less than that of the sun and 
that she would take 
rule over the night. Her diminishment is seen in 
the waxing and 
waning of the moon's phases.

Lilith is created in this myth by the diminished 
moon, who is angry 
and resentful at having to distance herself from 
the sun because of 
God's judgement. The anger and rage which the mon 
feels from the 
judgment of God creates a powerful light from 
which Lilith is born. 
Therefore Lilith, in essence, is the power that 
is gained by the 
feminine when she is misunderstood, alienated and 
"diminished" by the 

Another myth claims that Lilith was present at 
the time of God's 
first presence. It states that God and his 
feminine representation, 
the Shekina ruled above (in the Heavens) and that 
Sameal (the Devil) 
and his feminine representation, Lilith ruled 
below (on Earth.) These 
four manifestations of the one source of Power 
were like four shoots 
coming forth from the same seed. 

While Hebrew myths are full of the tales of 
Lilith, she is very 
rarely seen in the Old Testament of the modern 
Bible, where the story 
of her origin comes before that of the creation 
of Eve as a mate for 
Adam. It is told in this myth that God created 
man from the dust of 
the earth and that woman was created in the same 
manner. Man, or 
Adam's wife was named Lilith, but the soil from 
which God created her 
was impure and of a lesser quality than the dust 
from which Adam was 
created. Again, Lilith argues with Adam as to why 
he should be the 
dominant of the pair. She refuses to lie under 
him during intercourse 
because she feels that this is an act of 
domination of her by Adam. 
Lilith wished to be an equal with Adam, having 
the same freedoms and 
ability to choose as he. Fearing that Adam would 
be able to overpower 
her, she flees from the Garden of Eden and utters 
the ineffable name 
of God. Lilith flies through the air and dwells 
in a cave by the 
shores of the Red Sea. There she mates with 
demons and brings forth 
millions of demon children, called Lilim.

The name Lilith is derived from the Semetic word 
for night. As an 
intense and fiery emanation of lunar and feminine 
energy, Lilith is a 
goddess of the night who rules over spirits of 
the dead. Her symbol 
is the owl, and she is depicted with wings and 
the owl's taloned 
claws. She is also often depicted as the serpent 
with a woman's head. 
She is said to have given Eve the forbidden fruit 
of knowledge in the 
Garden of Eden.

When Adam and Eve fell from the grace of God, 
Adam vowed in penance 
to avoid the sexual pleasures of marriage for a 
hundred years. It is 
said that Lilith then sought her revenge. Each 
night she would come 
to Adam while he slept, mount him and have sexual 
intercourse with 
him. She would capture his sexual emissions and 
use them to produce 
more of her demon babies.

Lilith was a succubus; a she-demon who would 
visit men while they 
slept and have intercourse with them without 
their knowledge. A man 
who was visited by a succubus would feel pressure 
on his chest while 
he slept and have a feeling of "being drained" 
when he awoke from 
sleep. A succubus would not only have sex with 
the sleeping victim 
but would also drain them of their vital energy. 
Therefore, a 
succubus is a demon seductress and psychic 
vampire who is feared by 

The connection with Lilith and mortal children is 
a strong one. She 
is said to visit infants while they slept and 
tickle them, causing 
them to giggle in their sleep. Lilith is also 
known to have murdered 
many infants or to cause the children's deaths 
during childbirth. 
Numerous amulets worn to repel Lilith form 
pregnant mothers have been 

The myths of Lilith and her vengeful actions 
against men show her to 
be full of anger, rage and resentment at the idea 
that she could not 
be wild and free and still remain in the favor of 
God. She represents 
the darkest facets of femininity; the opposite os 
the maternal and 
nurturing instinct which seeks to be sexually 
indiscriminate, wild 
and self-sufficient. While the maternal instinct 
causes one to desire 
to bear and protect infants, the qualities which 
Lilith represents 
are evident when one wishes to abandon her 
children, motherly and 
wifely duties. Women possess both maternal and 
dark feminine 
qualities and it is natural that they have both, 
because they are in 
persistent struggle to be both independent and 
nurturing at once. 
Feelings associated with Lilith may come before 
and during 
menstruation when a woman may feel compelled to 
speak her mind, be 
isolated and ride the waves of her emotions.

Masculine and Feminine energies are both 
extremely powerful, but 
significantly different in their qualities. When 
viewed through the 
myths of masculine heroes, masculine energy is a 
force with strategy 
and purpose. It is represented by the hero who 
plans his actions and 
takes a logical and rational progression towards 
his goal. Feminine 
energy differs in that as seen through the myths 
of the Crone 
Goddesses, it is often intensely emotional and 
chaotic. Kali dances 
the wild Dance of Death without logical reason 
and Lilith mates and 
murders often indiscriminately. The Crone is 
instinctual in her 
actions, but this does not mean that they have a 
lesser purpose than 
those of the male gods. It is because she is 
instinctual and 
emotional that she is able to guide us through 
the mysteries which 
may not be fully understood and yet can still be 
known. The realm of 
dead, magic and the unknown can best be known by 
one who does not 
rationally think of them but instead allows them 
to be revealed 
without conscious thought with the aid of the 

When one is overwhelmed by emotions, fears and 
the desire to take 
actions which may not seem logical, the Crone 
Goddess can be called 
upon to guide and aid in understanding the darker 
desires one may 
have. A woman cannot fully understand herself and 
a man cannot fully 
understand Woman or his own feminine nature 
without understanding the 

As a holder of the deepest mysteries, the Crone 
is an obvious choice 
for those wishing to understanding magick and 
ritual as well as the 
art of divination. The Crone knows all phases of 
the circle of life, 
death and rebirth and is therefore able to 
disclose that which we as 
mortals may not foresee and also aid in molding 
energy so that it may 
manifest into our desired goals. It would be 
appropriate to call the 
Crone the Goddess of the Witches for these 

But the Crone is also helpful in understanding 
the death processes 
and in dealing with the grief over the loss of a 
loved one. Since she 
rules the Underworld, she has knowledge of these 
areas which we least 
understand. When we approach old-age, the Crone 
is there to comfort 
and guide us to a better acceptance of this stage 
of life. It is for 
all of these reasons that the Crone should not be 
feared or denied. 
She should be faced and recognized as one of the 
balancing forces of 
nature and as a means to balance the spiritual 
natures within