Spring brings many things with it as it slowly unfurls in winter’s wake: birds chirping at ungodly hours, pollen covering everything with a thick, yellow sheen, and rude children running around and getting into everything.
There are endings to observe and new beginnings in which to rejoice. We honor the passing of our sistren and welcome the new crones rising with the springtime. It is to these fledgling crones that I turn today, with hands outstretched in warmth. They need our ancient wisdom to guide them, to teach them not to wear their scrying robes to the market and how to brew the perfect hangover cure—to show them the path of the crone.
For the crone just starting out, there are so many mysteries to uncover, so much to learn. All will be revealed in time—slow, plodding time—but in honor of our cronehood, I have a few pointers to start them on the correct path.
1. How to get crusty potion junk off your stovetop
Start with elbow grease. And I do mean that literally. Throw some elbow bones and dish soap in a container full of warm water and let it soak. No incantations or special ingredients needed; it truly is this simple. Sometimes we crones get so wrapped up in special ingredients and phases of the moon that we forget the basic cleaning tips we learned at our grandcrone’s knee.
Might take a week or so, but with enough time the grease will seep out of the bones and you’ll be able to scoop all that good stuff off the top. (This has a shelf life of just about forever, so make a large batch and store in a cool, dry place until needed.)
You might be thinking—can I do this with any bones? No. Elbow grease has the best cleaning properties. Accept no substitutes.
When you’ve collected enough grease, you’ll want to spread this over the dirty areas and let it sit for a while. Scrub off with a damp cloth. May leave the smell of boiled cabbage behind, but a brisk airing out will take care of that.
2. What to do when children keep trampling your belladonna, doll’s eye, hemlock, and other sundry herbs and plants
Generally, these plants on their own will eventually take care of any unwary children tramping around your yard, but if they’re a particularly hardy bunch of spawn, you’ll need to step things up a bit.
Mouse traps—the snapping kind, none of the glue variety, please—are inexpensive and very effective, while also blending in nicely when partially buried in the ground! (Mind that you don’t fall prey to one as you go about your business weeding, though!)
If you have something truly precious to protect, bear traps are often on sale this time of year! But I understand that some crones are unwilling to go quite that far—it is on the extreme side of things, but if your batch of prize-winning Venus Flytraps had been destroyed by the size 4 shoes of neighborhood children, you’d understand. For those a bit more faint of heart, I’ve also had solid results by encouraging stink bugs to settle along the edges of my property to discourage young ones from trespassing. Nothing like the smell of corpse farts to keep away unwanted visitors!
Also, consider investing in “Beware of Snakes” signs. Doesn’t matter if you aren’t cultivating snakes—kids will believe just about anything.
3. How to get rid of that musty magic smell
We’ve all been there—work a couple of spells, brew a couple potions, forget to air out the place, and then BOOM! Suddenly everything smells like moldy sage, old patchouli, and rot, no matter how long you leave the windows open or how strong of a wind you conjure.
A time-tested solution, passed down in my family from one generation of crones to the next, involves hot water, baking soda, some lemon, a splash of high-end gin, seven sprigs of eucalyptus, and a martini on the side.
Combine the first five ingredients in a spray-top bottle and shake well. Drink your martini and croon the ancient crone music of beginnings and new life as you liberally spritz your home with the mixture. If you don’t know the ancient crone music of our ancestors, have a few more martinis and it will come to you.
I recommend doing this yearly when the full moon is in Virgo to get the maximum effect, but if you’re in a pinch any full moon will do.
4. How to keep your robes as black as night
Keeping your black robes vaguely reminiscent of black holes or the color of pitch can be incredibly difficult. Somehow they end up dingy looking, more gray than desired, and covered in cat hair.
To restore your robes to their original glory (think aliens of Attack the Block, only minus the glow-in-the-dark teeth), you’ll need eye of newt, the blood of a raven, Woolite, and essence of wildflower. You might need to go to a specialty store for the Woolite, but the rest can be found at your local apothecary.
Soak robes in this mixture (with enough water to cover) for two weeks, preferably for the weeks preceding and following a new moon.
Air dry and you’re good to go!
5. Remind the spirits out back who’s boss
You are head crone of your domain, but in the last weeks of winter, before spring truly settles in, spirits creep in and feast on the dregs of your seasonal depression and lethargy. All the tasks left undone call to them, your heavy sighs summon them, and once those spirits plant roots they’re hard to shake. You’ll hear them taunting you from the corners when you turn off a light, see them in the corner of your eye as you leave the house. Stay strong of heart and mind and you can send them on their miserable way.
The fresh scent of lemon will loosen their grasp and the bright, crisp light of the sun will stun them, but to truly banish these spirits back to the deep dark woods, you must throw merriment and music in their faces. Summon your clan and entreat everyone to bring food and wine with them. Be raucous and full of laughter until the shadows are empty and still. You’ll know the spirits are finally gone when the air pressure changes and your ears pop.
The journey of a crone is a long, meandering one, rewarding yet full of uncertainty. As you begin your path, I wish you all the best and hope that these tips will serve you well. May the Mother Crone look upon us all with favor.
Unless otherwise indicated, pictures from www.pixabay.com.