The Maiden, Mother and Crone mirror the generational differences within most people’s families and maybe their group of friends or coven. This Pagan triad each posses very different knowledge and working with either one of these powerful figures could help you to better understand the relationships you have with the people around you. Working with them whilst with your sister, mother, grandmother or equivalent could help to mend the relationships you have with these people, and bring you closer together. As a woman, this pre Christian trinity (arguably a triplet Goddess) are important because they’re cycle of appearance describes the three main phases in a woman’s life, although this can be translated to certain times of anyone’s life (woman or man); when you are care free as a child (Maiden), when you take care of someone (Mother) and when you become old or go through a life experience and gain wisdom (Crone). Through this; we can explore the symbolism between perceptions of The Maiden, Mother and Crone of the New Age culture, and the modern woman.
In modern day Wicca and in a lot of religious pantheon’s and paths within Paganism The Maiden is described as a virginal, pubescent girl who is innocent and wholesome. She is also described as an enchantress who flaunts her beauty and youthful, developing body, though pure of heart. She is a muse and poetry in motion for The God and men on Earth. She is associated with the waxing moon (sometimes the new moon), the element air, new beginnings, learning, spring time, and blossoms. Her symmetry calls to the younger generation of our families. Young women may be innocent, naive, sometimes uncaring and unthinking; they do not yet understand how the world works and live in ignorant bliss. Their beauty might get them into trouble; they do not understand that actions have consequences. They can be flirtatious, selfish, erratic, fickle, hedonistic, moody and dramatic, insecure, pensive and confused, yet full of hope and playful fun. There are brighter qualities to the face of The Maiden and ones which mirror within the girls whom can relate to her; She can be seen as independent and strong, wild, brave, perceptive, sentimental, loving, sensitive, questioning, genuine, righteous and just. She is motivating because Her energy exudes excitement, her eyes clear of worry. Society may take these young girls for granted and shun them and their lack of experience. However lack of conditioning leads them to be able to call upon an intuitive sort of wisdom, and an ability to tell the truth, bluntly and honestly. Both human and The Maiden are creative, dynamic and free of responsibility.
The Mother is a woman who is loving and devout to her husband and child. She appears as a radiant being, bosom overflowing, with a full pregnant belly; or as a naked full-figured beauty. She is peaceful, soothing, nurturing, supportive, encouraging, gentle, protective and passionate. Yet She is vulnerable in Her pregnant state and knows that life is fleeting and precious. She’s instinctive and the bonds She has with her child are unparalleled. She is a manifestation of the peak of guiltless sexual pleasure and the bringer of divine ecstasy. She is conscious of her sexual power and knows how to manipulate the minds of men. Cleansing and healing; She comforts her children like only a mother can. This love transcends all and is an untapped power at the centre of our being. The cup of plenty overflows with Her love and cascades down on to us and the Earth is filled with fruitful bounty. Within Paganism, Wicca and magick She is associated with the full moon, the element water, blood, fertility, creation, abundance, growth femininity and beauty. She can appear strong though underneath the exterior lays a fragility. Both The Mother and human keep the hearth of the home warm whilst closely watching their children. The Mother can be seen as a warrior; focused, knows what she wants, balanced and fast, patient, accepting, serious, strong, guiding, hard working and a good leader. She has a darker side to her when she can be possessive, provoking, jealous, emotional, and eruptive. The Great Mother is a mirror image of the mother who brings us up.
The crone is the most misunderstood character in Pagan mythology and indeed Wicca, Neo-Paganism and the New Age culture may describe. She is often perceived as old, dark, cruel, and dangerous; and what the definition of the word is: hag. She is associated with the waning moon, the hardships of winter, death or changes, the element of Earth, chaos, spell weaving, midwives, cutting the strings, rebirth. She is The Queen of the Night, Guardian of The Underworld, protectress, shepardess and keeper of the old ways. The human as a crone has the ability to draw knowledge from the many years of the past, but also has many years worth of experiences to come – No longer tied down by children or distracted by the mundane things in life, this is a time of contemplation, sophistication and refinement. The grandmother stereotype is one which many feel offended by: white haired, forgetful, tired; these people do not want to feel old, even if they don’t mind laughter lines and grey hair, but they want to be respected for what they have achieved in their life, and not judged by their conformation. Others may even be perceived as formidable, dried up, old tyrants, who gossip and don’t ever seem to of known love. Though old age presents many problems, it presents opportunities too. It’s important to become conscious of looking after yourself in the present to benefit in the future by feeding the mind, body and soul with good things. Bad backs, creaky joints and a slowing down of the body can affect self esteem; nature makes you want to fight it, though you need to rest. The Crone is still a symbol of femininity and sexuality, though many younger do not wish to take this view because the aged body reminds them of their own mortality. To be a crone means that you have gained much knowledge and you have had many life experiences. You are not an invisible energy within society but a powerful force whose valuable wisdom is wanted and needed. The process can bring peace and clarity or can fill you with bitterness and discord for the sacrifices made and opportunities missed. Accepting The Croning time can empower you and bring contentment, helping you find the child within, stoking the fire in the belly, renewing the spirit.
All the qualities considered in the descriptions above can be challenged because circumstances can change these three phases in life to cause them to overlap, and personality, where your born and what people surround you all play a part in a person’s development – Just like a single Goddess can take on all three aspects at once. Some males may be able to relate to some of the three phases because The God goes through similar transitions: The God as a young buck, The God as a father and The God as a Sage. We should be forgiving and understanding of the trinity’s darker traits and revel in the new knowledge and outlook on life each turning of the wheel brings.