Crone vs. Hag?

What is the difference between a crone and a hag? Is there a difference? (I tried google pictures but still the subtle differences are lost on me!)

The word crone is used with a strongly positive connotation in modern Pagan communities to mean an older wise woman. It’s considered an honor to be a crone within this context. Whereas *hag *has not developed any positive connotations. Etymologically, *hag *is derived from hægtesse, from a Germanic root meaning hedge, implying witchcraft. It carries overtones of horror. *Crone *simply means aged woman without implying any eerieness.

Ah! So there *is *a difference. Very good!
So suppose we have a fit of intolerance and feel like persecuting, we burn the hags, but not the crones?

Crone = old. Hag = old and scary. :slight_smile:

Ironically, it’s the Crones nowadays who are the Witches. But with the words reclaimed for positive meanings.

Are there any equivalent words for men?

The three divisions of adult females – Maiden, Mother, and Crone – are based on body changes due to childbearing and menopause. A Maiden is supposed to be a woman before sex, a mother is one whose body has been affected by baby-making changes, and a crone is post-menopausal.

Since men don;'t go through “fatherhood” changes when they sire children, and can continue to do so well along in life, not undergoing menopause, there’s not really a male equivalent.

But if you’re looking for a male equivalent of “hag” you can always be a Coot.

Or a Geezer.

And submitted for your approval. . . one Louise Emmons, best known for playing the old hag in the “Our Gang” short “Mush and Milk” (“Don’t drink the milk. . . It’s spoiled”)

A cursory look at her film credits indicates that the was Hollywood’s hag-at-large in the 1920s and 1930s.

I don’t know about crone being a positive, but for me it doesn’t carry any additional connotation other than advanced age.

Hag on the other hand tends to imply an especially unpleasant or unattractive woman who is not necessarily older than middle age.

A crone is an old woman; a hag is a monsterous humanoid - except for the night hag, which is a fiend.

Whenever I saw Hume Cronyn in a movie, I always thought of him as “Crone Human.”

Crone = Old lady with long hair, wise (or oracular or mystic), possibly a Pagan or a Wiccan, someone who wears lots of scarves and possibly smells like incense or sage.

Hag = That scary skin-and-bones old thing at the end of the creepy moss-overhung driveway who you’re pretty sure cooks and eats the neighborhood cats at night. Alternatively, a REALLY strong insult for someone older, especially if they’ve had plastic surgery.

Or Codger.

In Terry Pratchett’s works, “crone” (when it’s used at all) is a technical term for the senior member of a coven of witches (though oddly, the term is never used at all anywhere within Granny Weatherwax’s hearing). Meanwhile, “hag” (when it’s used at all) is a synonym for “witch” of any age (including, for instance, twelve-year-old Tiffany Aching).

I always think of ‘hag’ as more to do with attitude than age.

Very good! Although, I have a feeling hags (/ witches / crones) are a bit too old fashioned for the Twilight Zone.

We’ve certainly come up with some options, though. Some trads like Youth, Father and Sage, which has a nice parallel to Maiden, Mother and Crone. (And, let me correct you - most modern pagans don’t consider biological motherhood a requirement for Motherhood. Motherhood is the stage of life when you’re creating and doing stuff - maybe making babies, or maybe making art or maybe making a living.)

Another male triad is Warrior, Hero and King, or sometimes Hero, King and Sage.

The idea of the threefold system is that in an ideal lifetime, there’s a period of life when we’re the learners, a period when we’re the do-ers, and a period when we’re the advisers. Even Erikson notes this in his decidedly non-pagan Stages of Development.

Personally, I prefer a four or five phase system, myself. If my 6 year old is a “Maiden”, I have trouble thinking of her as a “Mother” in another 6 years when she starts bleeding but is still learning about life and utterly dependent on her parents. There’s got to be something before Maiden or in between the two. It’s not about the biology of menarche, it’s about the stages of psychosocial development. But my arguments have fallen on deaf ears within the pagan community, mostly.

Or a Duffer.

Well done on your Knowledge (Monster) check. Now, roll initiative.