As many of you enjoyed my first Crone tale I thought I would tell you a personal one.
I used to be a veterinary nurse and there are a couple of things in common with that and being a Crone. The decision to end suffering or try to prolong life is one and the impossibility of dealing with one’s own animals is the other.
Our old Gubby was a smashing dog. Despite having one front leg missing and starting out on the streets as a begging aid, he had a wonderful life once he adopted us. Always up for fun, never missed a ride in the car or a walk, even a boat ride when the opportunity presented itself. Right to the end he wanted to come with the others for their afternoon wander. He would flop down and say “OK chaps, I’m going to sit this one out. Pick me up on the way back.” When we returned he would be lying patiently, waiting to struggle to his three feet and hop on with us.
Eventually his heart started to give out and we had to do the deed. As usual, I was there to the end, holding him and making sure my voice was the last he heard, my hands on his fur. When he was totally still and the vet nodded to me, indicating he was “gone”, another Crone slipped her hand into mine and shooed me away.
Standing outside the vet’s I watched as if through the wrong end of a telescope as the story unfolded. The hooded figure came out with Gubby, all four feet bouncing, young and sprightly, making me think she would take him to the Rainbow Bridge but she turned and shook her head, bright eyes sparkling in her lined face.
Instead, she walked him down to the river where a barge was waiting. Being a good pagan I immediately thought “Oh the Isle. She is taking him to the Summerlands!” Gubby took one look at the boat and glanced back at me, his tongue lolling in a huge grin… boat ride!!!
There is no island in the middle of the river through our town but I saw them glide to an island where Cernunnos, the Horned Lord stood waiting on the water’s edge. Gubby recognised Him and jumped up in greeting. As if I were standing next to them, I heard the Goddess’ consort say “Oh you fine fellow! Now you have your legs back, I think you should come hunting.”
I realised that the next time I looked up at night sky, the Wild Hunt would be riding and in there would be Gubby, his eyes two bright stars, with his new Boss. I couldn’t have been happier.
And the other Crone – I know Her too. She is my Boss and saved me the pain of taking my own dog to the hereafter. Blessed Be.