I was a teenager when I first learned of the idea of the Triple Goddess. It was explained to me that she was often symbolized in Wicca by the horned moon, or the triple moon. This is an image of the full moon with a crescent on it's left and another crescent on its right, both horns pointing outward.
"Just as the moon cycles through phases of being young, full, and in decline, the goddess has three phases," I was told.
Much later I learned that there are many goddesses, across several different cultures and traditions, whose myths and stories are so extensive that they embody all phases and experiences of womanhood. These goddesses are often called Triple Goddesses.
Examples of Triple Goddesses include: Kali, the Tridevi, Brigid (often symbolized by the Triquetra), and the Egyptian goddess Isis whose myths express her at all stages.
When we work with the Triple Goddess through contemplation, meditation, ritual, or acts of devotion, we activate the healing powers of these archetypes in ourselves. We awaken a more holistic understanding of the divine feminine within our own lives.
In this article I'd like share with you my own personal understanding of the aspects of the triple goddess, and some insights around how that might be expressed everyday.
TRIPLE GODDESS: MAIDEN, MOTHER, AND CRONE
Let's start with a basic definition. The Triple Goddess represents three primary phases of a woman's experience, as well as how these cycles are reflected in the cycles of the natural world. These aspects are the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, each symbolizing different stages a woman goes through.
Maiden: The Maiden represents the youthful and somewhat virginal aspect of the Goddess. She is often associated with the waxing moon, springtime, and new beginnings. The Maiden embodies qualities such as innocence, independence, curiosity, and the potential for growth. As she ages, she explores the first flushes of sexuality, and the sweet nectar of desire.
Mother: The Mother embodies the nurturing and life-giving aspect of the Goddess. She is often associated with the full moon, summer, and fertility. The Mother represents motherhood, fertility, abundance, and the power to nurture and protect. Clear about how desire leads to manifestation, she is the giver of life and embodies the peak of a woman's life and the height of her creative power.
Crone: The Crone represents the wise and elder aspect of the Goddess. She is often associated with the waning moon, winter, and the end of the life cycle. The Crone symbolizes wisdom, transformation, and the acceptance of the natural cycles of life, death, and rebirth. She is a guide for the community and a source of spiritual insight.
The Triple Goddess also represents the cycles of nature and the cycles of the moon. Many practitioners of neopagan and Wiccan traditions honor and work with the Triple Goddess in their rituals and ceremonies, often aligning their magical workings with the phases of the moon and the attributes of each aspect of the Goddess as needed.
MAIDEN: THE YOUNGEST OF THE TRIPLE GODDESS
Youthful vibrant energy
Independence and a sense of adventure
Potential for growth
Joy, enthusiasm, and playfulness
Growth of the land
Embracing change and transformation
The waxing moon in the lunar calendar
The season of spring (and in my opinion early summer) in the solar calendar
Symbolic of the morning sun and the dawn of a new day
In our modern society, an unhealthy obsession with youthfulness has been indoctrinated into our culture. The omnipresence of digital and social media, filled with carefully curated images of youthful beauty, sets unrealistic standards for women.
Young girls receive the message that their youthfulness itself is sexy, and in an effort to please others and to survive, they become hyper-sexualized and objectified. But the maiden is about so much more than nubile youth. The maiden is also a warrior and a fierce activist of life.
In our youthful years, we embark on journeys of self-discovery. We weave together the threads of our identity through our life conquests, good and bad.
It's our curiosity that leads to greater connection with the world, and the will to create something unique.
This personal growth in our lower chakras takes center stage. During youth, our root and sacral chakras develop, helping us establish a solid connection to our home, our family, and our cultural identity. Youth is when we learn the fundamental lessons of trust, belonging, and survival.
When these skills are not learned, we may have an extended maidenhood, or a desire to return to the ways of the maiden in order to truly know ourselves.
During this phase of life, we explore our passions, our relationships, and our unique creative expressions. It's where we experiment, often pushing the boundaries of our comfort zone, in pursuit of discovering what truly lights the fire within us.
Our Solar Plexus, our center of will, plays a pivotal role in our sense of self and personal power during this phase of our life. As we enter adulthood, we refine our self-identity and develop a clearer sense of purpose. Even if we don't know exactly what we're doing, we still hone our willpower.
The solar plexus/chakra in our gut, fuels our ambitions and drives us to create the life we desire. It's a time of asserting our autonomy and individuality. All of these dynamics are a part of the power of the maiden.
The modern day experience of learning to work in the world, or cultivating a career, is a part of the maiden's journey; mastery is something we uncover later, in the mother phase.
The maiden reminds us that life is full of possibility and adventure. Some of us become warriors in the military, while others may choose to become teachers, activists, or express that creativity through other forms of service at work and in life. The sky is the limit.
These lower chakras become important anchors for our rising spiritual energy, guiding us through the ebb and flow of life's challenges and triumphs.
With age, our wisdom deepens. We learn that the journey of self-discovery is ongoing. Our sense of identity, our relationships with the world, and our creative potential are ever-expanding and interconnected. We will cultivate the rising intelligent energy through our chakras multiple times throughout life.
Youth is the fertile soil where the seeds of our identity, our relationship with the world, and our creative will are sown. As we grow, these aspects blossom and bear fruit until we reach an energetic stasis in which we are ready to move through the initiatory gateway into the archetype of the Mother.
SHADOW MAIDEN ARCHETYPE
I feel like it's important to acknowledge that for many of us, the journey of the maiden is tough. Sometimes we don't receive the love and acceptance we need in order to grow in the best way.
When the Maiden archetype remains in shadow, she might shoulder excessive responsibilities, burdening herself with more than she can bear. In doing so, she loses her thirst for exploration and conquest, becoming mired in duties that dim her adventurous spirit.
Rather than engaging in the interactions that would strengthen her individual character, she might rush into the responsibilities of the Mother archetype prematurely or feel overly identified with the Crone before her time, missing out on the fullness of her youthful potential for growth and self-discovery.
And if as the maiden we have been treated poorly, suffered terrible accidents or experiences, or taken off on adventure only to end up crushed, it can be hard to trust this aspect of ourselves as we age. We have to forgive ourselves for poor decisions or times in which we didn't do what was best. If you're alive, you're winning, and your body and life can and will heal from the traumas of your youth. The fire of the maiden can help you heal.
The shadow maiden who is healing, will heal faster with one or two close friends, companions, or therapists who can teach them how to trust themselves again, and who can help them heal the values, beliefs, or erroneous ideas that were cultivated through toxic family patterns.
Practices like EFT (emotional freedom technique), Reiki (energy healing), Emotion Code, NLP, hypnosis, subliminal recordings, and Yoga can be helpful in rewriting our stories, but it isn't necessary to spend a lot of money to heal.
For some women, spending time in nature, reading books, and connecting to sources of quality education around family, values, and mindset, can help realign our mind.
Some women explore Buddhism or other forms of spirituality. They choose to travel in order to meet good people who can exert a healing influence. Others take classes to understand boundaries and psychology better.
No mater what we choose to do, the shadow maiden heals by addressing the pain and trauma within from a place of compassion. If she can connect with a healing mother figure, it will accelerate her healing.
From there, we can integrate what we've learned into our lifestyles, and bring our nervous systems and somatic bodies into alignment as well.
The more we can celebrate the maiden energy within ourselves, the more we strengthen our lives to expand into the Mother phase.
The maiden asks us to enjoy who we are, and not to forget that we are powerful.
Next week I'll be writing about the MOTHER and all of her gifts and challenges. Did you like this article so far? Join my newsletter to stay connected!
DAILEY LITTLE is a healing practitioner, transformational life coach, ordained Priestess, and teacher who founded Healing Heart Reiki to help others navigate life with joy. She offers private sessions, and teaches classes in healing and mindset from a magical peaceful corner of the world in Northern California. For more info see: www.SantaRosaReiki.com