Kali stood for Existence, which meant Becoming because all her world was an eternal living flux, from which all things rose and disappeared again, in endless cycles.
From The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
Last week, blossoms started appearing on the bare branches of the red maple tree. This morning, a blue jay (at least I think it’s a blue jay) tugged at a still-bare twig, and then flew off with it. I assume a nest is being constructed nearby.
Though spring has been revealing herself for a few weeks (this is California, after all), today is the first day I felt her presence. The air is cool and crisp in the early morning, but the light has changed. The sky is intense, Mediterranean blue.
Persephone returns from the underworld.
According to The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Persephone is the Crone form of the Triple Goddess Demeter, the Queen of the Underworld long before legends of Hades/Pluto abducting her for his bride. She is the Death-goddess. She was, in another form, Kali Ma, the Hindu Triple Goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction.
Spring has always been a difficult transition for me. It has never felt like the beginning of something for me. It has been rather confusing.
I’m listening to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) as I write this. There is nothing pastel about it. Nothing Easter bonnet about it. It is the laborious ascent from formless to form.
“Black was Kali’s fundamental color as the Destroyer, for it meant the formless condition she assumed between creations, when all the elements were dissolved in her primordial substance.”
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
Now I know why spring was always confusing to me, why when I see the pastel blossoms, I also see the gnarly beauty of the twigs and branches they claim as their residence.
Spring isn’t the butterfly; it is the transition to the butterfly. Caterpillars, I think, are one of the most courageous creatures on earth. They respond to the call to enter the cocoon, in which they dissolve into a kind of primal soup that eventually gives birth to the butterfly. The same creature that trod on the ground, now flies above it—sees from a different perspective.
That is the promise of embracing the ordeal—creation, preservation, and destruction—that life is. In the end, we have a different perspective. What we once knew gives way to what we now know. To grow means to change.
I am not a fan of either matriarchal or patriarchal systems. I think that both tend to require a loyalty to a system over loyalty to one’s heart. So, I’m not advocating for a return to a matriarchal system.
I do think, however, that it is time for the patriarchal system, best exemplified by our Congress (in particular the Republican branch of it) and the Papacy, to give up the ghost. It would be nice if it did it quietly, but it seems like it wants to take as many of us down with it, including the earth as we know it, to prove it is right and powerful.
I am a woman in her sixties. This is the Crone phase of my life. We live in a society that demeans that. Think Mitch McConnell, a man in his seventies, called Democratic women “The Golden Girls” —as if that is an insult.
So while it is not necessarily time to restore the matriarchy, I do think it is time for us Crones to embrace what we have learned as women—within our own bodies we experience the profound way of life that is bound up with death and destruction as well as birth. It is time to call the patriarch what it has become—little-boy bullies—and send it scurrying.
We need to destroy the sentimentality that the patriarch has descended into so that life can ascend.
I ask you, would a society that really embraced the ordeal of life have allowed the poor patients in the charity hospital in New Orleans to die after Katrina because they were poor? Would we really think we have a God-given right to own weapons that are weapons of war—intended to cause as much death as possible in the briefest time? Would we deprive women of the right to make choices over their bodies? Would we think we are all in this alone?
Crones have been dismissed as dried up old women. Really what Crones are are people with the wisdom that comes from living life authentically. You do not have to be a woman to be a Crone.
It’s time for the voices of the Crones to rise and be heard so that what ails us—a disconnect from life itself—can be healed.
It is time for the right of spring to be experienced for what it is.
Bring in the Crones. Don’t bother they’re here.