Hecate has been coming to me in my dreams as a guide. I didn’t realize that’s what was happening at first but different prompts in my waking life have been directing me to put some pieces together of what I’m processing in my inner and outer worlds.
Our emotions are guides and for me, frustration was a prevalent feeling I kept getting, although I couldn’t pinpoint why. One of my biggest frustrations has been with seeing so many posts on social media defining the ‘crone’ or ‘hag’ archetype as someone who has no use for beauty, sexuality, or sensuality; the things of youth, as though these things are something to be ashamed of. When any content insinuates that someone MUST choose between beauty and ‘haggishness’, (yes, I made up that word just now), I get frustrated. How is a ‘Crone’ or ‘Hag’ not beautiful?! How is it that in the same breath we complain about the patriarchy defining beauty but then use those same standards when defining the ‘Crone’ or ‘Hag’ for ourselves?!
The three major phases of a woman are the Maiden (represented also by the waxing moon), the Mother (represented by the full moon), and the Crone (represented by the waning moon). Hecate was a Titan and Goddess in Ancient Greece and often represented as three-formed or triple-bodied. Hecate is Queen of the Night and Goddess of Witchcraft as well as one of the rulers of the underworld. Hecate is also one of the corresponding deities of the Crone. With the wisdom of the Crone comes the understanding that there is no separation of these phases, (one reason Hecate is the embodiment of the number three). They are all one person and their separation is as relative as time itself. My frustration lies with the thought or belief that any woman has to decide between these at any point of her life, that she can’t choose to embody one, two or all three of these aspects of her self at any given time in her life.
Before I continue with Hecate, let me clarify that I can appreciate women wanting to rebel against a patriarchal construct of who they’re “supposed” to be. Society and the media have invested countless hours, millions of dollars along with having invented technology and procedures to shame (mostly) women into making the average woman feel less than, and the older the woman gets the more ashamed she should feel. Actually, any woman that doesn’t look like the caricatures of womanhood that they’ve created in labs, surgical centers, and through clever editing tricks, they shame. This is rooted in centuries of men’s fear of powerful and strong women. As women grew in knowledge and wisdom, they were feared and even put to death, accused of being witches when they were simply using a lifetime’s worth of knowledge when working with herbs or as dulas. Dulas were often accused of being witches, along with any female ‘healer’ or any woman that understood and worked with the earth or moon cycles when planting and growing food. The older women, the archetypal ‘Crone’ or ‘Hag’ had to fear being called a ‘Witch’ and would have to run and hide for their lives, banished into the woods alone. The men who feared intelligent and wise women were left to feel more powerful as they were left alone to perpetuate a lie based in their own cowardice and these women weren’t able to help the people in their communities that could have used them.
So you see, the desire to run and hide now is, in a sense, a way of avoiding and denying your very power. There is power in our sexuality and that sexuality evolves as you do. It’s a mistake to think of ourselves or our stages of life in an either/or fashion. The most important thing to know is that we have a choice and it doesn’t have to be delegated by anything outside of ourselves, not our society, and definitely not any of our fears. Each woman has a choice based on who she is and where she’s at in life. If a woman chooses to isolate herself or express her sexuality in her own way, then it should be because she chooses to for her own sake and not for any other reason. Personally, I am excited to witness my own evolution, including my relationship with my sexuality as I age. My sexuality is at the core of my personal and creative power and that’s the most sacred part of who I am. When I treat it as sacred, I attract partners that see it the same way and we co-create something beautiful. Its spiritual potency can’t be denied. Most of my life someone else has tried to define my sexuality and the messages are always conflicted so I explore sexuality now to understand what it means for me. Every woman does this in her own way and when she takes control of that she takes her power back.
Hecate travels with hounds and in one of my first dreams, (in a series of Hecate themed dreams), I saw three black hounds with glowing red eyes waiting for me in a doorway, sitting under the moonlight of a waning moon. At first, I was startled to see them but then I realized they were there to guide me to safety. In a later dream, I saw a woman in a black veil who smacked my forehead to ‘wake me up’ to help me accept my power. The veil is related to Hecate as she moves between the veil of the dead and the living. The veil is also representative of the veil between the conscious and subconscious mind. The instant that she touched my forehead I began to levitate as I felt the delicate balance between the light and shadow within me and how they can complement one another for the greater good. I was shown the peace that comes with the acceptance of all the aspects of your self and the serenity in surrendering to the dance of the polarities within you until you feel the marriage of the two. In this space there is no either / or decision of what or who to be based on the fears of men, or based on the generational traumas and curses we have to deal with; instead, there’s a unification of all aspects of your self, including integration and transmutation of fears. My choices and decisions are mine and mine alone and the only influence the patriarchy has over me is to give me the courage to be louder and stronger. If I want to be sexy or sexual, I do it for me, how other people perceive that is none of my business, just as my decision is none of theirs. If I want to embrace the Crone and morph into someone who is virtually invisible, I can do that too, but only for my own sake and not out of fear of others. I will embrace the breath of life within me and the earth as I embrace the ebb and flow of the changing seasons. Stepping into your full power for the sake of love instead of fear offers a liberation that can’t be defined and Hecate has been showing this to me for the last month and I’m only just realizing this.
I’m at a crossroads now as I determine what to do with this information. Hecate, (who also rules crossroads), embodies all of the phases of life so she has ultimate wisdom as she guides us through any crossroads when we’re willing to walk through the darkness with her as a guide. It’s time to see where the journey is leading me and be patient as I wait for the light to reveal itself again. This much I know for sure, how much more terrifying must it be for those consumed by fear, to see a Mother, evolving into a Crone, owning her sexuality without the need for validation or reassurance, but to strike more fear in those cowards who seek to control others by making them feel small. How terrifying it must be to see a Crone not cowering or running and hiding, but risking everything to be a portal, a conduit, a voice for so many women still finding their way, yearning to hear their own heart and what it beats for, and for those women who need to find and use their voice.
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Photo by: Jim Hesterman Photography