Maiden, Mother Crone: The Triple Goddess Explained…

wise women working with the triple goddess

Is the triple goddess calling to you?

She has become a significant symbol and deity archetype in the last 50 years, yet the roots of the triple goddess reach deep into ancient cultures, and span far across the globe.

Recently, Neopagan traditions like Paganism, Wicca, and Neopaganism have begun to explore expressions of triple goddesses, and in my own lunar practice, her three aspects often show up too.

So I’m going to share what I know, and I hope this helps you embrace the beauty and power of the triple goddess in your spiritual practices too…

Necklace of triple Moon symbol with Moonstone

What is the triple Goddess?

The Triple Goddess is a powerful archetype found in many mythologies and spiritual traditions, representing the three stages of a woman’s life: maiden, mother, and crone.

Each aspect of the embodies different qualities and energies, symbolizing the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

  • The Maiden represents youth, innocence, and new beginnings

  • The Mother embodies nurturing, fertility, and creation

  • The Crone symbolizes wisdom, maturity, and the culmination of life experience

Together, these three aspects form a complete and balanced expression of the feminine divine, reflecting the cyclical nature of existence and the interconnectedness of all life.

The triple goddess is revered for her wisdom, strength, and resilience, serving as a guide and source of inspiration for those who seek to connect with the deeper mysteries of the universe.

Where does the concept of the triple goddess come from?

The concept of the Triple Goddess can be traced back to the work of the 19th-century folklorist Robert Graves and his influential book “The White Goddess.” In this book, Graves explores the idea of a universal goddess figure associated with three distinct phases of womanhood: maiden, mother, and crone. He draws upon ancient myths, folklore, and literary sources to support his theory that these three aspects of the goddess represent the stages of the lunar cycle and the cycles of nature.

While Graves’ interpretation of the triple Goddess has been widely embraced in modern pagan and Wiccan traditions, it’s important to note that his theories have been subject to criticism and debate among scholars and practitioners.

Nevertheless, his work has had a significant impact on contemporary understandings of the divine feminine and the symbolism of the Triple Goddess archetype.

Maiden, mother, crone (and the phases of the Moon)

In the Triple Goddess concept, the three archetypal figures of maiden, mother, crone represent the different stages of life as a woman. And these, in turn, can be symbolised by three distinct phases of the Moon).

Maiden

The Maiden represents youth, beginnings, purity and innocence. I love her wide-eyed wonder and sense of optimism and possibility – blessings of the maiden goddess.

The maiden archetype is associated with the waxing crescent phase of the Moon, when la Luna is growing and brightening. In this phase, you might find yourself exploring new opportunities, and experiencing growth and creativity.

In your spiritual practice, invoke the Maiden to guide and support you through the early stages of a new venture or personal growth.

In mythology, the Maiden archetype is embodied by Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Spring who has an innocent, playful temperament and a vulnerable nature.  The maiden archetype also appears in Ariadne, Selene, Brigid, and the Muses.

Mother

The Mother symbolizes the prime of life, fertility, and nurturing. I feel this archetype close when I’m being creative, making art and, of course, spending time with my own children.

This phase corresponds to the Full Moon, when the Moon is at its brightest and most vibrant. As you reach the peak of your potential, you need to learn to take responsibility for yourself and others, recognizing that nurturing and support are important to sustain life. The mother goddess can show you how.

In your spiritual practice, you can call upon the Mother aspect of the triple goddess for strength, abundance, and protection.

 In myths, the mother archetype appears as Demeter, as well as as Gaia, Isis, Bast, Frey, Juno and the African deity Yemaya.

Crone

The Crone embodies wisdom, experience, and the ending of cycles. Often associated with magic and the occult, the crone aspect of the goddess can pull the threads of fate, and is closely connected to death and transition.

The crone is linked to the waning crescent phase of the Moon, when the light and energy of la Luna starts to fade away. In this phase, you may become more introspective, focusing on reflection and the lessons learned throughout your life. You might develop a deeper understanding of the mysteries of life, embracing the wisdom that comes with age.

In your spiritual practice, call upon crone archetypes for guidance, healing, and transformation.

In mythic tradition, the crone archetype was worshipped as Hecate, Circe, Baba Yaga, Kali, the MorriganFreja, and Sekhmet.

Although the strengths, qualities and characteristics of these archetypes may seem very different, when you’re working with feminine energy, remember that the Goddess is fluid. She doesn’t stay in the boxes we put her in. So you may feel the emergence of both the mother goddess AND the maiden, in the same day.

Trust her presence, however she shows up. 

Infographic guide to the triple goddess: Maiden mother crone

How to work with the triple Goddess

In your spiritual practice, you can call upon the Triple Goddess for guidance and support in various aspects of life. For example, you might seek the Maiden’s energy for new beginnings and fresh perspectives, or the Mother’s nurturing presence to help you care for yourself and others. Or, you can draw upon the wisdom of the Crone for insight and transformation during challenging times.

Here are 5 ways to explore the deeper meaning of the triple goddess symbol:

1. Read stories of the triple Goddesses

Research and enjoy the stories and mythology of the triple goddess! symbol The rich metaphors will help you to understand her deeper meanings, and how the goddesses can help you in your own life.

2. Explore the maiden mother crone archetypes in your life

  • How does the magic of the maiden show up in your life?

  • What does the mother archetype have to teach you?

  • How is the crone represented through your body during your menstrual cycle?

These three female archetypes offer SO much wisdom and integrating this can help you become a more integrated and whole woman.

3. Work with the lunar cycle

Maiden mother crone are closely connected to three different Moon phases, so every month offers another opportunity to make friends with each archetype.

Spend time working with the energy of the waxing Moon, the full Moon and the waning Moon.

Now download the e-book: How to Get Started with Sacred Cycles

4. Activate your feminine power

The triple goddess encapsulates the spectrum of divine feminine power and can really helps us to draw this power down into this reality. 

By exploring your own feminine power (and figuring out where it’s blocked), you can start to bring the triple goddess to life in an embodied, authentic and deeply personal way.

5. Trust your own experience

Finally, explore and trust your own experience of how the triple goddess is showing up. Every person has beliefs, ideas and circumstances that allow different expressions of the goddess of appear. Trust the knowledge that comes to you, and guides your journey forward.

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