The triple goddess is a familiar symbol and figure in many pagan and Wiccan traditions. Alexandrian, Gardnerian, Dianic and solitary followers of Wicca often honor this form. To me the triple goddess can have two meanings. For this week’s Pagan Blog Project post, I’d like to explore both.
Maiden, Mother & Crone
First I’d like to look at the modern interpretation of the triple goddess as the Maiden, Mother & Crone. Many well-known pagans such as Robert Graves, Ronald Hutton and of course, Aleister Crowley have written a great deal on the maiden, mother, crone aspects of the goddess. Crowley actually focused the Crone aspect onto Hecate, calling her “the woman past all hope of motherhood, her soul black with envy and hatred of happier mortals.” And “a thing altogether of hell, barren, hideous and malicious, the queen of death and evil witchcraft” in his novel “Moonchild”.
The basics of the triple goddess from this perspective is that the Goddess forms and the moon forms mirror each other. In that the waxing moon represents a new beginning and youth which would be evident in the Maiden. The full moon would be power and ripeness, such as the round full belly of the Mother. Finally the waning moon would be the dead, darkness and death which would be the final aspect, or the Crone aspect of the Goddess.
We can see this influence throughout much of modern Wicca and paganism through the art of Mickie Mueller for example. The follow photo is an image that reflect the Maiden, Mother & Crone aspect of the Goddess.
|Maiden, Mother & Crone - Mickie Mueller|
Photo used with artist permission
A few months ago I saw this picture show up on my news feed. I was very familiar with Mickie’s work but I was not aware that she was hand painting items and dealing directly with her fans that so loved her work. I watched the progress on this piece and was astounded as she shared new pictures each day. I even watched as the new owner proudly shared the final product on Mickie’s page. With the mass marketing and pagan supermarkets that have littered the internet I was extremely pleased to see how truly appreciated and how gracious Mickie was to her client.
Another example from Mickie, is this pendant which is based on the same Maiden, Mother & Crone aspect.
|Maiden, Mother & Crone Pendant|
To see more great work by Mickie Mueller please visit her shop at - http://www.etsy.com/shop/MickieMuellerStudio
Triple Form Goddess
Another aspect of the triple goddess that I have encountered in my studies is the triple form goddess. These are goddesses that are represented as having three forms, three heads or from the three ways.
|Hecate, illustration by Stéphane Mallarmé, in les Dieux Antiques : nouvelle mythologie illustrée (Paris, 1880). A Neoclassical rendition of a late Hellenistic or Roman original – Public domain|
Hecate is depicted throughout history as having three bodies. She appears as three females of the same age, unlike the Maiden, Mother, Crone representation. She appears to be a young woman and carries torches, rope and daggers. She is often accompanied by dogs.
|Richard Cosway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons|
This triple form of Hecate is said to be a representation of the areas of her dominion, the heavens, the earth and the sea. Because she is said to be the night wandering goddess of the crossroads, the three forms are said to watch each direction.
Antonine Imperium issued a coin in honor of Hecate (Hekate) available for purchase. I found this coin online and decided to order one. Side one shows Hekate in her triple form with the inscription “Hekate Soteira” and the reverse has a crescent moon at the top, a key at the bottom and the minting information inscribed on the bottom.
|Hekate Soteria coin - Designed by John H. Carlson|
Photo used with artist permission
I like to think of the triple formed goddess Hecate as watching in the three directions at the crossroads, torches held high to light the way. I’ve tried several times to create my own Hecate Triformis. Thus far I’ve only been able to come up with this abstract version. I’ll certainly keep trying.
May her mysteries be revealed in your dreams,