Aspects of the Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone and What It Means to Not Belong

Boris Ovin

Image: Boris Ovini

“Where there is a woman there is magic. If there is a moon falling from her mouth, she is a woman who knows her magic, who can share or not share her powers. A woman with a moon falling from her mouth, roses between her legs and tiaras of Spanish moss, this woman is a consort of the spirits.”

Ntozake Shange

This blog was a request that I am finally getting the time to sit down and write, I am not sure if I am fully prepared for a piece such as this for a couple reasons. First, this topic is entirely about the Divine Feminine, an aspect I have only recently started to work with, and embrace. I always had Masculine energy around me, I was also always more comfortable with the Masculine side of myself and my Magick; not that I didn’t like being a Woman—I didn’t understand how to be a Woman, huge difference.

Then, I had my hysterectomy, and I really lost touch with my Feminine side; it was not until the Dark Goddesses, and my Beloved Crones came forth that I began to realize I am as much of a Woman and Witch as my Sistren who still have their Wombs, and Sacred Blood. I do, however, still hold onto some regret, or guilt almost for not cherishing my Blood when I had it, for not understanding that part of my life and for expressing myself sexually in all the wrong ways. It’s one of those “If I knew then what I know now” type situations while at the same time being an “everything happens for a reason” situation.

A bittersweet, catch 22. Aren’t they all, though?

The second reason that I am freaking out about this post is because it’s about a Pagan concept. For a long time, I have denounced the title Pagan even though I understand it is an umbrella term that I technically fall under, blah, blah, blah. For some reason I hate the term, that’s really all there is to it. I feel like it does not accurately describe me, and I also feel like it hinders me, it binds my power for some reason.

If I were to describe myself it would be, and has always been, a Luciferian Witch, though even that morphs and changes because I walk a line between Satanism and Luciferianism; as similar as they are, there are several differences. For me, Satanism is much darker, and when tapping into the collective adversarial energy that is Satan it entirely changes my Magick, and my mentality; when I tap into the Luciferian energy of illumination and knowledge, it changes my Magick and mentality in totally different ways. Same goes for Draconian Fire.

I like to tap into all forms of energy as I see fit. Why does one have to limit themselves with titles, words and colors on a spectrum that doesn’t even really exist?

Hell, if I am going to be honest I feel that even the title “Luciferian Witch” hinders my growth, so I have recently chosen to just say, I am.

At the end of the day, myself just like all you are everything and nothing existing together at the same time. What wonderful contradictions we are.

With all of that said, the request was to write about what it is like to be a Woman whose age is supposed to be in one phase, but she feels, and is in an entirely different phase. I am obviously referring to the Maiden, Mother, Crone idea. I have always found it interesting that Women of the Craft are divided, but our Brothers do not have anything similar. Part of me feels that it is because Women are inherently more spiritual than Men; I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. The Feminine and Masculine are different because they need to be in order to balance each other out, if we were both emotionally and entirely intuitively based, we would be a heaping pile of chaos, and tears. We need the Masculine’s logic, and stoic, solid foundation to anchor us when the tides of emotion become too much to bear alone. I am not referring to gender, either, I am referring to energy; Women can be Masculine, as Men can be Feminine.

There is this other part of me that feels this is yet another way the Patriarchy has had some effect, or conditioned us. And, before any of you start to freak out thinking I am some extreme, neo-Feminist for using the word Patriarchy, I am not, I just know this is a male dominated world.

Before I get into my opinion and experience being 31 and using Crone energy, I am going to define the terms. The Source I am using is a book from my personal collection called: ‘The Three Faces of the Goddess: Maiden, Mother, Crone’ by D.J Conway.

“The first aspect of the Goddess is the Maiden, sometimes called the Virgin or Huntress. She is spring, the fresh beginning of all things. The Maiden is the continuation of all life, the repeating of endless cycles of birth and rebirth, both of the body and of the spirit. She is the dawn, eternal youth and vigor, enchantment and seduction, the waxing Moon. Traditionally, Her color is white, denoting innocence and newness.”

“The Mother aspect of the Goddess is summer, the ripening of all things. She is the re-creation of life, both plant and animal; She is also the creation of universal bodies. She is the high point in all cycles, whether of living or creating, for the Mother blessed and gives with open hands. She is the Great Teacher of the Mysteries. Symbolically, the Mother aspect is the boiling or churning cauldron, the re-creative pot, and the ripeness of womanhood (or adulthood in general). The day, lustiness, reproduction, creation in any form and of anything—these are all within Her realm. Traditionally, Her color is red, the color of blood and the life force.”

“The Crone aspect of the Great Goddess is the least understood and the most feared of the three aspects. She has been called the Terrible Mother, the Hag, the Dark Mother, the Wise One. Because She deals with death and the end of cycles, most people tend to avoid this face of the Goddess. Black is Her color, and sometimes dark blue and the deepest of purples. Black is the absorber of all light, the color of darkness where all life rests before rebirth. The Crone is winter, night, outer space, the abyss, menopause, advancement in age, wisdom, counsel, the gateway to death and reincarnation, and the Initiator into the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. The waning Moon is Her monthly time of power.”

“The Crone’s number is nine and multiples of nine. This number symbolizes wisdom and Sacred Magick. Nine is also a Moon number, which means spiritual completion and wholeness. The Moon goes through its phases from New to waxing to Full and back again to New. In life, we go out from the Crone’s recycling cauldron into existence, then eventually return again to Her waiting vessel. Physical death is part of life’s cycle of wholeness.”

Personally, I believe that we have the ability to be all aspects of the Goddess at once, or when we choose; I do not think numeric age has anything to do with the power we tap into. I believe that we, as Women, are able to tap into all aspects of the Goddess because all those aspects already exist within us.

So why wouldn’t I conclude that we can tap into them?

When I went into menopause at 27 (equals 9) it was intense, to say the least. I noticed a dramatic change in my power, my way of thinking, how I viewed the world, and even my moral compass; I seemed to suddenly give zero fucks.

The first of the Crones to come to me was my Beloved Baba Yaga, followed by other Dark Goddesses such as Kali, Hekate, Lilith, and Demeter. There is a level of humility gained when working with such powerful aspects of the Great Goddess. The biggest lesson I have learned so far is I now understand life and death more than I ever have, all because I am held in the embrace of primordial Darkness. I sit on the edge of life and death, teetering back and forth.

It’s interesting, and intriguing to be drawn to an aspect that most people feel is earned only through years walked on this Earth. I find that fellow Witches are more interested in my energy now because I am so young but my energy is that of the Crone. Conversely, fellow Witches are equally confused as they are interested when they realize how Motherly I am. Chalk it up to my Cancerian Soul, or the fact that I am both Mother and Crone, I know my truth.

I walk among all aspects of the Goddess because I am She, and She is Me; I limit myself to nothing and no one, no spectrum or creed because I am everything and nothing and so are thee.

If you are interested in purchasing the book I sourced:

About the Author

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Jaclyn Cherie, who is also known by the name Noir has her roots in New York. She is an Author, Writer, Hedge Witch Luciferian, and Wild Woman. © Jaclyn Cherie and The Nephilim Rising, 2015-2017

7 Comments

Hello Jaclyn, thanks for sharing this. I hope you don’t mind me commenting on this, and forgive me if any of my comments are off-base. I am male in gender (and a little more balanced in spirit, I’d like to think), so there’s a natural sense of caution that I feel making any sort of comment on something so deeply personal and feminine in nature. But, I have been ruminating on some of these same topics lately, and recently in my life I have been gaining new awe and appreciation for the divine feminine, to the extent that I’ve been able to understand some part of it. I’m lucky to be married to an amazing incarnation of the goddess myself, and I’ve been gradually learning to shut my mouth and listen to her more often. 😉 I tend to run on the assertive side, so this has been a welcome lesson in balance. Anyway.

I became acquainted with this page and with Noir because I wrote a piece about the mythology of Lucifer in regards A Song of ice and Fire (the books Game of Thrones is based on). Noir read it and liked it and shared it on her page, and so I’ve been following and reading ever since. I really enjoy the perspective, and think you folks do a lot of really great writing, and I love the personal nature of the posts as well.

https://lucifermeanslightbringer.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/lucifer-means-lightbringer/

So, about the triple goddess. In ASOIAF (the book series), the author (George R. R. martin) has pulled the ‘maiden, mother, crone’ triple feminine divinity concept in to one of the religions in his world. The religion worships seven gods who are one – three female who are actually called ‘maiden, mother, crone’ and three male who are the warrior, smith, father – with the seventh being the mysterious “Stranger” who is a standard death god / goddess. The Stranger has no gender. ASOIAF is roughly based on the medieval world, as is most fantasy, and so it’s fairly patriarchal. Because of this, it began to occur to me that the ‘maiden, mother, crone’ cycle is missing something. And this is the point of my comment – I want to ask you how you feel about this, because it might apply equally to the celtic 3-fold goddess concept.

The whole idea of patriarchy is to control women. Patriarchal man says that women should be sexy when he wants them to be – on magazine ads, in movies, the news anchor, the sports sideline reporter. His wife should be chaste and modest and faithful, however. It’s not that patriarchal man wants women to be sexy or not sexy – he wants control of the woman, that’s the key. So consider the jump from maiden to mother. Maiden is known for her chastity and purity, while the mother is known for creating life. After that, the woman becomes the crone – an old woman who is valued for her wisdom (forgive the crude generalizations here). All these roles are, to an extent, safely confined and defined. My question is – what about the single empowered female, the wild female spirit, sexually empowered in her own right, at her own choosing, who is not bound by a man or by the role of mother? Should women go from innocent virgin to “baby-maker?” I’m not saying maidens, mothers, and crones cannot be empowered, or course. But what about women who don’t fit into those roles, who don’t want to be a maiden or a mother?

I don’t have nearly the appreciation for the subtlety intended in the three fold goddess concept, so it’s possible I am just missing something. But it seems like the hand of patriarchy can be felt here – the message is women should be chaste until they become mothers. After that, they are “old ladies,” non-threatening. There’s this hint of controlling the sexuality so as to not be threatening to men. Obviously, as we can see with the phenomena of “slut-shaming” and the double standards applied to promiscuous men and promiscuous women, society has a huge problem with women who are openly sexual. I live in San Francisco and I know a ton of women who are neither chaste maidens or mothers or crones. They are just people – many artists -who live how they want to, and are doing a great job of it, if you know what I am saying.

This “missing piece” is more evident in ASOIAF because the author likes to create strong female characters who chafe against the bounds of patriarchy in a wide variety of ways. It’s one of the things which makes it tolerable to read about a society which is so patriarchal as medieval society. These women do not fit the mold of maiden, mother of crone, quite conspicuously. Many of them manifest more male energy than the “typical female” or the in-world conception of a female’s role. So maybe that’s the answer – it’s just a bit of male energy being depicted. But still, I can’t shake the feeling that there is another cycle or role of the female divine nature, particularly now that society is finally, finally beginning to move away from pure patriarchal authoritarianism and beginning to value women as equals in society.

As someone who is pondering the nature of these roles and the issue of not fitting into them precisely or exclusively, I thought perhaps you’d have some insight on this idea. Thanks very much for reading this and for writing the piece, take care. 🙂

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I don’t have anything to say except, brilliant comment! Thank you for giving your perspective, as always I love how you break it all down.

P.s Noir and Jaclyn are one in the same, haha. I used Noir as my admin tag for Dear Wicked, it stuck and has followed me since; Jaclyn is my real name. 🙂

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Cool, yeah, take you rtime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I was chiefly wondering whether these elements which I am perceiving as “missing” might actually be present in the maiden, mother, and crone roles in ways I am not aware of, or if perhaps there is a missing aspect. Cheers!

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I know I’m late to this party, but I’ve been around Wiccan circles a long time and might be able to speak to your confusion. I was taught that the Maiden was not just the innocent girl, but also the sexually-awakening adolescent; “virgin” was said to originally mean “unmarried” and have more to do with one’s social classification than the state of one’s hymen (I don’t know how etymologically or historically valid this teaching is, but of course it has value to the psyche, far beyond fact). It’s also worth considering that the most popular Maiden goddess is Artemis/Diana, who is armed and very dangerous–not the usual powerless childlike image at all. Other virgin warriors are Athena, Anat, and Al-Uzza, and I’m sure there are others, but I’m working from memory here. I wonder if that warrior energy is the thing that’s missing from your conception of the Maiden?

Oh, btw, there are triple goddesses in Celtic myth and archeology, but they’re not Maiden-Mother-Crone, no matter what Robert Graves might say. Brigid, the Morrigan, and the Goddesses of Sovereignty are all presented as groups of sisters. Statuary found in Roman-influenced Celtic lands portray the Matronae, which are three identical mother figures.

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When my spiritual butt-kicking occurred, it was The Morrigan who came to me. Flew in my face like the Crow she is. That’s where I started. Where I ended up is a whole different story 🙂
I am Crone, 99%, and I think I kind of skipped over the Mother stage. I had to grow up fast and I think I started giving “zero fucks” as you put it so eloquently, around age 16.
I’ve never been broody, never really understood/liked children (I think because my childhood was so strange… and short) and I’m now 40. It was, in fact, just a few months before my 40th that I had my dream. All my “friends” my age have (some very recently) popped out kids. I’ve never felt that compulsion.
I also have never really understood how to “be” Womanly. A Woman. Despite my name meaning that, and always having men fawning over me (that’s not conceit/arrogance – it’s hindsight… it was honestly very overwhelming, especially when I was a young girl) like I was some sort of Elixir of Woman. It terrified me sometimes. I’ve never been comfortable with that side of myself, until the last few years. But even the last decade of “acceptance of self” is not … Mother. It’s just on the cusp of Mother and Crone 🙂 If that makes sense.

Lovely, interesting, enlightening article once again. Thank you.

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