“[The Crone] is not bothered with the petty, the everyday nonsense that hinders our ability to make courageous decisions. She is wise, yes, but she is also tired, and she is really, really good at cutting through the BS.”
The moment I read the email, the right side of my entire body lit up with goosebumps (a sure sign that what I’m experiencing is really important).
“I thought I would just let you know something good. I know I’ll see you Monday afternoon… but this news is quick and important. After a tough few days, my Crone self showed up to support me today– and she is a fucking bad ass. Bad. Ass.”
The Crone is arguably one of my favorite archetypes.
I say ‘arguably’ because I have so many favorites; it is almost laughable to put them in some type of hierarchy because that’s just not how it works. We need different archetypes at different times in our lives.
But the Crone– the wise, old woman archetype– is a trusted source of strength for me, for reasons I will explain below.
What Is An Archetype?
Before I tell you more, we should probably chat about what an archetype even is.
I have some good news: If you have a body, you have access to archetypes. You don’t have to have any sort of magical power or be in touch with any sort of woo-woo stuff. Archetypes are universal.
According to Celticembodiment.com, “Archetypes are psychic structures – universal patterns and ancestral memories – that are shared by all human beings. They live in the Collective Unconscious, which in a sense is the psyche of Mother Earth that we are all plugged into. Archetypes influence our thoughts and behaviors, and the lens through which we view the world. Although archetypes cannot be directly observed, they can speak symbolically to us through our bodies using myth and folklore as a conduit. Their symbols are nebulous and sometimes enshrouded in mystery. In the body, they can appear as an image, a metaphor, a feeling, a felt sense, a knowing.”
I have a client who told me once that when she is struggling with a decision or finds herself paralyzed with fear, she often will ask her Crone, the 90-year old version of herself, what she would do. This client goes within herself and imagines that she is at the end of her journey, and this 90 year old self appears with both the wisdom of age and the courage that is often born in the face of mortality. This inner archetype is a part of her that she calls upon in order to get no-nonsense advice.
And for those of you unfamiliar with archetypes, I am going to give you the straight up definition of the Crone archetype to get you caught up:
“The literature describes the Crone archetype as a pre-existent form in the collective unconscious that embodies instinctive ways of channeling wisdom, inner knowing, and intuition, guiding us through the transition of life, and going inward to bring forth the light for transformation.”
I think one of the reasons the Crone is so powerful is that she is you – but you at the end of the road. You’ve felt this in your own body, when you are at the end of your “rope”, the end of your patience, or just at a point where you can no longer deal with the nonsense that life itself can be at times.
This ability to access clarity and discernment is the Crone’s magic. She simply doesn’t have time for the bullshit that so often holds us back from making the decisions that we really and truly want to make.
She is not bothered with the petty, the everyday nonsense that hinders our ability to make courageous decisions. She is wise, yes, but she is also tired, and she is really, really good at cutting through the BS. (She also likes to cuss a lot, which is something that my clients and I all agree on. This research has been purely qualitative and is not at all empirically valid.)
Getting to Know Your Inner Crone
We all have access to her. It just takes a little bit of imagination and a willingness to be curious.
Find yourself stuck in life? Ask the Crone version of yourself – your 90 year old self – what she would do.
Trust the answer that first comes to the surface (and do not pay attention to the conscious rational mind that will inevitably roll its eyes, tell you that you are ‘making this all up’ and that this is dumb or nonsense). You have to bypass the critical mind in order to get to the good stuff.
Are you struggling to make a decision?
Do you feel lost in a relationship or your career? (Read: Being Lost is the Way)
All of these situations could benefit from a check-in with your Crone, who will quickly get down to the bottom line, and inform you of what is really important to you in any particular dynamic.
Try this easy guided imagery the next time you are alone, in a comfortable place with limited distractions:
Sit down, close your eyes, and imagine that you are arriving at her house. It is the home you would imagine your 90 year old self would LOVE to live in. The sky’s the limit, just be sure that it is a place you know she would want to be.
See yourself walking up to the door, knocking, and being met by her on the other side. See her face. Witness her expression and the look in her eyes. Go in the house, and allow her to lead you into the coziest part of the house. Imagine you both sit down to have a drink, and you are warm and it feels inviting.
Then imagine that you are sitting across from her, and you feel safe, loved, and wanted. She asks you if there is anything you need help with, and it is your turn to speak.
Ask the question. Ask her what she thinks you should do.
And see what your mind reveals. Stay in the imagined scenario. Let the imagination create her response. Trust it. Trust yourself.
The Crone will not steer you wrong.