Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother and Crone for Modern Practitioners
Maybe you’ve seen or read about the Triple Goddess: the Maiden, Mother and Crone divinity. This is an ancient concept from many different cultures but was made popular by the modern Wicca movement. But how do we understand and apply the Triple Goddess archetype to our modern witchcraft practices? Whether you’re Wiccan or not, the Maiden, Mother and Crone are a part of everyone. Read more.
Who is the Triple Goddess?
The Triple Goddess is the Divine Feminine in trinity form. The Maiden is the goddess in her childhood through late teen years. The Mother is the goddess who has bore and given birth to children. And the Crone is the goddess in her later years, following the “change” when she no longer can bear children. At least, this is the Triple Goddess concept in its most basic essence. But the symbolism goes beyond face value. The amazing part of the Triple Goddess belief/concept is that it applies to everyone’s life phases: young, middle age, and older years. And not just age, but also experiences. Naivete to maturity. The apprentice to the sage.
Triple Goddesses Across Cultures
The Triple Goddess archetype is one that reaches far back into ancient times and stretches across cultures. Although, you’ll notice, these Triple Goddesses don’t necessarily embody the Triple Goddess Maiden, Mother, Crone archetype as is popular in modern times. But they embody specific qualities or domains important to their respective cultures. For example, Brigid is an ancient Celtic Triple Goddess but is not depicted as Maiden/Mother/Crone. But rather, each of her three forms rules over one of the following: smithing, poetry and healing. Another example of a Triple Goddess is Hecate, the ancient Greek goddess of the crossroads. And yet another is The Morrigan.
The Maiden: Symbolism and Deities
The Maiden is the young girl, before child-bearing years, usually depicted as a teen. However, technically the Maiden is also a girl in her infant and childhood, as well as adolescence. The Maiden aspect of the Goddess corresponds to the Waxing Moon phase. She is our youth, our new beginnings, our birth, when we begin walking our path in the craft. She is Spring, when the earth has just awakened from a long slumber. As far as young girl deities that may be considered “Maiden”, here are a few: Persephone, Eostre, and Artemis. Sometimes the term maiden goddess is applied to any goddess who doesn’t marry and/or have children.
Mother Goddess: Symbolism and Deities
The Mother Goddess archetype is the Divine Feminine full with child, perhaps with other children surrounding her. She is the earth, full with bounty and ready to be harvested. The Mother Goddess is the fruition of YOUR magic, ideas, healing, opportunities, family life, etc. The Mother is Summer and the Full Moon. She’s not just the physical aspect of a mother, but the emotional and spiritual too. For instance, perhaps you could never have children, but you are a caretaker or adopted children. You are STILL a mother and an embodiment of the Divine Feminine. Mother goddesses include: Gaia, Demeter, Dea Matres, Isis, Mary, and more.
Crone Goddess: Symbolism and Deities
The Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess archetype physically represents a woman in the later years of life, after the “change” that menopause brings. However, her symbolism reaches beyond that. The Crone is also wisdom and experience manifested from a full life. She is the time when we’ve reaped our rewards and are living peacefully and quietly with our memories. The Crone is the season of Winter and corresponds to the Waning Moon. A few crone goddesses include: the Cailleach, Banshee, Baba Yaga, and Spider Grandmother.
How Do We Apply the Triple Goddess to Modern Life?
As a witchcraft or pagan practitioner, you may choose to honor the Triple Goddess as your matron deity by placing her on your altar, invoking her in ritual, etc. OR you may choose to honor the aspects of the Triple Goddess within yourself and your own life phases. Only you can determine whether you are living the Maiden, Mother or Crone goddess era of your life and what that means to you. Suffice to say, we all have a little of every aspect within us. Even men! And as they say, “Dance like the Maiden, Love like the Mother, Think like the Crone.”