Maiden, Mother, Crone-ish?

Maiden, Mother, Crone-ish? February 20, 2014

By Shellei

By Steve Evans from India and USA (Sri Lanka) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Could there be a new archetype emerging? The grand-mama, or maybe the crone-ma? Cronemother?

In different times, and in different cultures, families live/d in extended family homes and communities, where “it takes a village,” or at least a large family to raise a child. In an extended family, a child can receive caregiving, nurturing, guidance, help with schoolwork–in other words “parenting” from many different family members–not just mom or dad. In our nuclear family oriented culture we have been raised on the social norm of mom raises the kids, but what if mom is the breadwinner, or not the picture of ideal nurturing motherhood, or in any way differently-abled and unable to “be the mama”? Often it is grandma who steps in/up to do the job. I am one such grandma, and I meet more of us everyday. I was pretty cozy in my empty nest, then along came a sweet little grandson in need of parenting. What else is a grandma going to do but tuck him under her wing, and start child-proofing the nest. But wait…whoah..hold on..I had a plan, a calling, priestess service to give, secrets of the universe to ponder, a hefty Crone to do list. Instead now there is playgroup, and balanced meals, and three organic snacks a day, and young mamas with different perspectives, and one old crone…

When I was raising my daughter, I dreamed of the day that I would have long uninterrupted periods of time to contemplate the secrets and questions of the universe. I envisioned creating and performing exquisitely detailed rituals lasting hours, or days, each element flowing smoothly into the next, correspondences matched to perfection. Or crafting minutely detailed mandalas out of sand, and contemplating their impermanence. Now I contemplate balance. How to keep a balance between meeting the oh so important, and usually much more urgent, needs of a growing boy–and taking care of my own, often in direct opposition of his, needs. This balance isn’t always easy to achieve, but with a little Crone wisdom, and a dash of Crone magick, we might just manage.

While I can’t possibly justify taking hours or days of time away from my grandson, to create a mandala out of sand, we can sit down together with markers or paints and create mandalas together, while I contemplate the impermanence of his childhood. And those secrets of the universe are regular topics of discussion between a fresh new perspective and a wizened old crone.

When I was a young mother I would have thought my daughter too young to understand those big questions and topics, but maybe it was me that was too young. I see my grandson grasping concepts way “too old” for a little boy, and wonder if this is somehow wrong. Or is it somehow right? What if all children were raised by Cronemothers, what would that look like? What If the new perspectives were guided by Crone wisdom to see and engage their world? We’ve all heard the old saying “if only I knew then what I know now,” Cronemother could make that happen.

With the rising number of children being raised primarily by grandparents we may soon get to see the effect this could have on our society. According to Paola Scommegna, at the Population Reference Bureau, one in fourteen children in the U.S. are raised primarily by a grandparent, 5.4 million children, up from 4.7 million in 2005, and climbing. So is Cronemother a new  emerging archetype? Perhaps she is an old archetype re-emerging now, because she is needed. There is no doubt that Goddess is emerging in many ways in our world today, is it possible that Cronemother is another way She is disseminating her wisdom throughout our culture?  Perhaps this is my priestess service. More questions to contemplate, but now it’s time for playgroup…

By Catherine Scott (Matti) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Shellei is a priestess, artist, and teacher whose spiritual practice is the empowerment of others. Shellei teaches herbal medicine, and facilitates sacred craft, and creative communion. She also creates beautiful Goddess inspired art and ritual wear.



Scommegna, Paola. “More U.S. Children Raised by Grandparents.” 2012. Population Reference Bureau.Web.


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