Mar 3, 2009

The Threefold Goddess

Spanning many traditions found around the world is the concept of the goddess as being threefold. These perceptions shared associations with the moon phases, with the growing seasons and with the phases of a woman’s life. Most frequently they are described as Maiden, Mother and Crone. With a strong connection to the Earth and its cycles, it’s not surprising that this view can be found in so many cultures.

The Greeks, Romans, Norse, Celtic and Hindu spiritual systems all had groups of goddesses who fit this interpretation. Sometimes a single goddess could embody all three and sets of threes were also found in some of the minor deities.

The Greek Furies and the Fates of Roman and Nordic beliefs are examples of this. Several goddess were of such complexity that they embodied the Triple Goddess all on their own. Brighid, Hecate and Kali all had multiple aspects. You can work with established triads of goddesses or compose your own based on what feels best for you.

~The Maiden, a young girl, represents the first stage. Newness, youth, purity, and innocence were qualities possessed by the Maiden. This matches the new moon phase. Fresh flowers, new grains and the color white are all appropriate for working with this energy. Springtime rituals often involve these deities. Specific instances when you might want to invoke the Maiden are during any new beginnings, when starting a new job, at the start of a new relationship and as part of a puberty ritual for young girls.

~The Mother, a woman who has reached puberty, represents the second stage. Her role is one of fertility, growth, sexuality and ripeness. She also is in a position of power, either from her life-giving forces or in her actions to defend her young. The full moon corresponds to the Mother, as does the color red. Summer and fall rituals, when crops are growing and being harvested, are when to work with these goddesses. Working with the Mother often happens when projects are reaching fruition, in rituals as part of marriage
and childbirth, for protection of people or animals, and when working with plants.

~The Crone, an elderly woman, represents the last phase. She is symbolic of wisdom, experience, change, transformation and death. The waning moon is associated with the Crone. Like the moon phase, the death she represents is necessary for rebirth. Winter is her season and her color is black. Working with the Crone is related to rituals that are about the ending of things (quitting a job, divorce, etc.), moving out of a home, extreme protection or retribution (assault, abuse), passing through menopause, or dealing with a death.

1 comment:

Hibiscus Moon said...

A beautiful post and a GORGEOUS picture. Thank you.