In a recent workshop, I explored the Triple Goddess concept with fellow Collagers. During my research in preparing for this workshop, I learned that this particular moon goddess represented as Maiden, Mother, and Crone was “invented” in the 1940’s by author Robert Graves. Many debate the origin of the Triple Goddess as the singular goddess embodiment of Maiden, Mother, Crone first named by Graves. It is true that the ancient symbols that have come to represent the contemporary Pagan’s Triple Goddess as interpreted by Graves do have ancient origins, and the goddess triad concept is archetypal and shared around the world, throughout time, but the triplet gods and goddess triads identified in ancient times have yet to reveal a direct link to Graves’s Triple Goddess.
Being as I am not an expert in this history, I kept our interest in the Triple Goddess motif strictly as a symbolic muse in honoring distinct phases of a woman’s life. More importantly, the Triple Goddess archetypes allow us to revisit our role as the goddess of life embracing all phases of existence, from birth through death to rebirth.
We identified the defining characteristics of each phase, including the historical corruptions of the representation of “crone” in which we breathed new life into her wise and wondrous ways, as originally intended.
Accompanying a brief origin to the concept of the Triple Goddess, I included a brief explanation by Jane Hardwicke Collings, in which she discusses The Four-Phase Feminine Way introducing the Maga phase between Mother and Crone. Collings offers an evolution of the Triple Goddess that embraces the extended lives and milestones reflective of the body’s natural cycles, roles, and life span of the modern woman, allowing for an additional phase of life that didn’t even exist in ancient times. It is an extension of the Mother phase, yet not quite Crone, identified as Maga.
This was a fun one to explore for each of us. In fact we all connected with the idea of the Maga phase and I think it really changed any original expectations or intentions we each had about the Triple Goddess idea. Interestingly, we all created more than one card. We were unexpectedly drawn to create a Triple Goddess as a Council card (a card including all phases, including Maga), but also “called” to create a card honoring each phase separately, to be included in our Committee suit.
I look forward to creating Mother, Maga and Wise Woman (Crone) cards for my SoulCollage(R) deck, embracing the shared goddess forms of my life’s journey. Have you explored this motif in your deck yet? I would love to hear your goddess life phases that have shaped your experiences so far. Are there any that you have identified that are are outside these traditional interpretations?
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