Archetypes are representations of attributes that exist within all of us. They show us parts of ourselves that may lie dormant and need to awaken, or perhaps reveal traits within ourselves that have become dominant and need taming. As such, archetypes are teachers and pointers to our wholeness. And by honoring them, calling upon them, or awakening them, we can become more whole.
The Triple Goddess archetype is a Celtic version of the ancient Goddess archetype, who has been (and still is) worshiped in many cultures and who represents attributes like fertility, nurturing, sensuality, and beauty. She is an aspect of the sacred feminine. She is One and Three, both of which are sacred numbers. One points to the singleness and unity of life, and three represents many universal cycles such as birth/death/rebirth or creation/destruction/renewal. The symbol of this archetype is the circle, which points to the truth that there is no end, only new beginnings.
No matter our gender, we all can—and ought to—learn from the wisdom of the Goddess. In fact, given the crisis of masculinity currently facing the West—from mental health issues to gun violence to rising membership in hate groups largely populated by men—it is quite possible that a cultural reunification with the feminine could help create the balance and healing we need.
D.J. Conway, author of Maiden, Mother, Crone: The Myth & Reality of the Triple Goddess, says this: “Reconnecting with the Goddess is not just a woman experience but a human experience, greatly needed for the wellbeing and positive development of our species.”
Each face of the Triple Goddess relates to a different stage of life:
Each of these expressions of the Goddess lives within and enhances the other two. Understanding the gifts and lessons of each one can create wholeness and unity within the human being, no matter our chronological age.
The Maiden represents our creativeness, youthfulness, wonder, and reverence for life. She speaks to our trusting nature and innocence. She is soft, yielding, and receptive to new ideas. She is a new seed planted in the ground, soaking up nutrients and beginning to break through the earth to open her face to the sun. She is the waxing moon, springtime, and dawn. She is the virgin, but not in the patriarchal definition. Rather, she is independent, untamed, a huntress following her own desires.
These experiences honor the Maiden:
No matter how our bodies might age, we all carry the Maiden energy within. She is there whenever we feel the urge to try something new. She can also be awakened when we choose to refresh our attitude or perspective on a matter.
The Maiden is deeply connected with nature, so spending time in nature refreshes our mind and connects us intimately with this face of the Triple Goddess. You will find her energy everywhere in nature: in the eyes of a doe, the playfulness of a bunny, squirrels chasing each other up a tree, or a bird singing its song.
This face of the Triple Goddess rules over new beginnings. Honor her by embarking on a fresh start—whether it be in a relationship, work, or pleasure. Do not temper your enthusiasm. Allow yourself to freely indulge in creativity.
The Mother is the caretaker of children, ideas, plants, animals, and many others. She is the full moon, and she represents and embodies lust, reproduction, and creation. Her color is red, the color of life. She is mature and less innocent than the Maiden but has many lessons yet to learn before she comes into her Crone stage.
These experiences honor the Mother:
The Mother is the nurturer who tends to life. This could be inside a womb, or it could be in an outdoor garden, dance studio, or at a writing desk. Honor the Mother by asking for her blessing as you plant seeds of creativity by starting new projects or works of art.
Logic and Order
In contrast to the Maiden’s playful ways, the Mother is more ripened, making her more serious-minded and grounded. She rules over matters of law, finance, order, and justice. She is decisive and swift when she needs to be. Nurture this part of yourself by focusing on creating boundaries and laws within your life. Know where your no’s lie, so that you can more clearly live in your yes’s.
Love and Commitment
The Mother represents love. She brings this love to her creations and to all beings. It is unconditional love, yet tempered by her discipline and wise boundaries. Practice honoring this face of the Goddess by expanding your capacity for love beyond your familiar circle.
Many people dislike the word “crone” and perhaps fear this face of the Goddess, finding her ugly or frightening. This is because she rules over the third and less understood part of the life cycle: death. She represents the waning moon, winter, nighttime, and outer space. She is sometimes called the Hag or the Terrible Mother.
But this face of the Goddess is tremendously powerful. And, whether we like it or not, we all must come to terms with her at some point in life. We should want to embody her as well, as the crone is the wise one and the great bestower, showering the younger generations (and younger incarnations within ourselves) with presence and insight.
These experiences honor the Crone:
No one understands the challenges and promises of letting go like the Crone. Anytime you must walk away from something or someone in your life, voluntarily or not, call on the Crone with a prayer in your heart to find the many magical elixirs within the pain.
It is the wisdom of the elders that we reflect on throughout our lives. Honor the Crone by taking time to sit back, observe your life as if an outsider, and mindfully steer yourself in the direction that is most fruitful. Journaling, therapy, and taking an honest appraisal of your life are all actions that honor this face of the Goddess.
Honoring Your Elders
The most potent way to honor the Crone at any stage of life is to honor the crones in our world, the elders who have seen much, learned much, and have much to share. It is a scar on humanity’s face that we do not spend more time honoring and caring for the elders among us. We can each shift this pattern by spending time and energy taking in hard-won knowledge and wisdom from those who are physically (and even energetically) older than we are.
In these simple ways, we can witness and awaken the Triple Goddess within us and reap the benefits of the balance, joy, and prosperity she promises.
Interested in more about the divine feminine? Read more about ancient goddess archetypes.