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The Triple...Err...Quadruple Goddess

Author: Kalynn Osburn
Posted: March 13th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,103

Across multiple traditions it is popular to hold the coven gatherings on the nights of the full moon each month. Though views differ as to the purpose of this time, it is mostly a chance to talk, eat and work communal magick as oppose to participating in high ritual for the holiday at hand. There are generally four full moons every quarter, and each moon has its own name and attribute according to Wiccan belief. Some make for good work in certain spells and are believe to be powerful enough that a witch or coven may decide to hold off on important magick till that particular moon.

The same also goes for particular moon phases. In Wiccan lore, the phases of the moon are symbolic of the phases of the goddess or of womanhood in general. For the divine goddess, the moon represents the multitude of goddesses that take different places in the pantheons. You’ll find that in almost every pantheon there are goddesses who fit these descriptions in one way or another. Some even comprise all three at different times in their mythos. Thus comes the image of the Triple Goddess, as well as the Triple Moon symbol that graces the necks of many pagan women.

The Maiden Goddesses: often virginal or sometimes simply unmarried deities who have power over aspects of spring, love, beauty, freedom and sex.
The Mother Goddesses: married or pregnant goddesses who’s dominion is over children, family, hearth and fertility.
The Crone Goddesses: past the age of children, they rule over mysteries, wisdom, fortunes, and death.

However I find that even this time honored point of view lacks something. We forget that the moon has an altogether unconsidered dark face. At the last of the month before her cycle begins again, the silvery light is turned away from us and we lose sight of the goddess for a few dark nights. It is during this time that I believe the goddess takes on a new aspect, one that most would prefer to ignore.

While most women are comforted by the nature of the Maiden/Mother/Crone continuation, not everyone conforms to that idea be they deity or woman. I am a little hesitant on what to refer to this aspect as since I don’t want it to be perceived as negative or insulting. But at our heart, women are creatures of duality, so it only makes sense that there would be goddesses who represent this part of a woman’s innate nature. So I shall simply call this group... The Dark Goddesses. These are goddesses who represent the alternate course of a woman’s life. Not evil per say, but ambitious and perhaps even ruthless in their pursuit of their goals. While some may want to turn away from this persona, there is in every woman a capability to be cutthroat and dominating. It is as much a part of us as is our ability to be nurturing or kind.

So when one considers all these aspects together both in their mortal and divine perspectives, one sees a more in depth, philosophical view of their own nature and self.

Maiden Goddesses: Ostara (Germanic) /Chloris (Greek) /Artemis (Greek) /Persephone (Greek) /Thecla (Catholic) /Caer (Celtic) / Psyche (Greek) .

The waxing moon, or the first cycle, is representative of the Maiden. During this aspect, the goddess is in her spring season. She is young and beautiful. Full of life and joy she cavorts and carouses, spreading her sweetness and life bringing ability wherever she goes. She is headstrong and resilient and able to withstand most anything. Her vitality gives her power and energy in abundance and she smiles easy.

Mother Goddesses: Demeter (Greek) /Isis (Egyptian) /Tailtiu (Celtic) /Hestia (Greek) /Freya (Norse) /Aditi (Indian) /Danu (Celtic) / Erathipa (Aboriginal Australian) /Frigg (Norse) /Gaea (Greek) /Sheela-Na-Gig (Celtic) .

During the full moon phase, the goddess is said to be in her Mother aspect. At this time she is in her bountiful summer years. She is a little older but stronger for it. Her body can bare more pain and she is fierce and abundant in her happiness. No longer lithe but steady, proud. She walks with more carful footing than before, aware of her duty to protect the life within herself. She guards her belly and then her children with all the cunning and power of a she-bear. She is more powerful now out of necessity and instinct.

Crone Goddesses: The Fates (Greek) /The Norns (Norse) /Aiaru (Oceanic) /Baba-Yaga (Slavic) /Ala (Nigerian) /Ama No Uzumi (Japanese) /Ceridwen (Celtic) /Elli (Norse) /Hekate (Greek) Libitina (Roman) .

During the final phase of the moon, the waning moon, the goddess is in her Crone form. Past her child-baring year, she is at the onset of menopause and heading into her silvery age with dignity. Her body is tired, but wise and she knows more than she did before. She does not crouch but relaxes, observant and intelligent. She is more tolerant and even-tempered and less full of fire in her breast. Now she is at her most powerful, but has little need to use it. She is patient and knows the best results often happen without her aid.

Dark Goddesses: Hera (Greek) /Hathor (Egyptian) /Morrigan (Celtic) /Kali (Hindu) /Athena (Greek) /Lilith (Hebrew) / Ereshkigal (Mesopotamian) /Sedna (Inuit) /Nephthys (Egyptian) /Medb (Celtic) .

And then comes the darkness. Some call it the new moon, but to me this is the goddess in her Dark form. She would be described as cruel, cunning and even devious. Unwilling to lie compliant by the aspects of her brighter sisters, she strives towards her own goals. Sometimes her ambition comes at a high price and she loses much in this pursuit. And yet she is strong. She is powerful. She is confidant and a queen in her own realm. None surpass her save at their own peril. She is quick to strike and will not hesitate to devour and opponent or usurper to her throne. This does not apply to any particular age of woman and as such can be applied to many goddesses at different points in their story line.

When women forget this aspect of the goddess, they forget a piece of themselves. It is not in every woman to embrace the dark aspect of themselves any more than it is within every woman to embrace the mother in herself. But it is there nonetheless. I believe that much like we draw on the different names of the goddesses for our power, we must learn to draw on their aspects for the strength that lends us. Whether that is the free spirit of the Maiden, the Resilience of the Mother, the wisdom of the Crone, or the Ambition of the Dark Goddess, they are all pieces of what we need to survive in our lives. Remember this the next time you call down the moon or seek out to worship the goddess that her face may not always be the one you want to see, but it is always a reflection of your own.


Kalynn Osburn

Location: Springfild, Ohio


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