Psychology of the Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother and Matriarch

The  Moon Goddess (Photo: Istock/mejnak)

The idea of the Triple Goddess is rooted in antiquity, in prehistoric societies, in Greek and Roman culture and mythology. The Triple Goddess is often portrayed as one goddess with three faces embodying the archetypes of maiden, mother and matriarch all in one being. She is associated with the moon, and often called a moon goddess.

These three archetypes are portrayed throughout the world in literature, poetry, mythology, ancient religion, folk stories and fairy tales.  Many of our modern archetypes of womanhood are derived from these archetypes and implicitly influence how we define womanhood in today’s world.

The Triple Goddess is a symbolic way to illustrate different developmental phases of a woman’s life and/or  different aspects of personality in one person. We carry aspects of all three of the Triple Goddesses within us all of our lives.

There are rituals to mark these life passages throughout the world. The passage to Maiden is marked by various cultures.  In modern America, the rituals associated with the Maiden are the Christian confirmation,  the Jewish bat mitzvah, the American Sweet 16, the Hispanic Quinceanara, and the Japanese Seijin-no-Hi. The passage to Mother is marked by marriage (is there anything so over the top in America these days?), the baby shower and the more subdued Blessingway. Transitioning to the Matriarch is not so celebrated…. perhaps the endless discussions about menopause and downsizing might be the most obvious rituals of today marking the passage to martiarch.

What qualities does the Maiden represent? The Maiden represents the beginning of a cycle, virginity, youth, romantic love, sexual adventure, new beginnings, exploration and excitement. The maiden is joyously discovering the pleasure of competency in the tasks she undertakes as she forges her identity. The maiden is associated with the waxing crescent and waxing gibbous of the moon, at the beginning of the lunar cycle, moving from new moon to full moon to waning gibbous and waning crescent. The maiden is represented by the Greek moon goddess Artemis. Artemis is the goddess of the hunt. She carries a bow and arrow, is found in the wilderness and is the protector of young girls.

What qualities does the Mother represent? The Mother represents the fullness of creation, creativity, nourishment, sexual love, the Earth Mother, harvest, fertility, mature sexuality, stability, birth and power. The Mother is associated with the full moon. The mother discovers the pleasure of intimacy and closeness with others, as she also integrates multiples life roles into her identity.  The Greek moon goddess Selene is associated with the Mother. Selene is the personification of the moon itself. She drives her moon chariot across the heavens. Mythology tells us she has had several lovers in her lifetime and many, many daughters. She is at once powerful, nurturing and life giving.

 

Istock/LiudmylaSupynska

What qualities does the Matriarch represent? The Matriarch represents the accumulation of wisdom, the Wise Woman, self-development, choices, transitions, crossroads, deliberation, a deeply protective figure ( the fairy godmother), companionable love, the waning of a cycle, magic, and the knowledge of healing herbs. The Matriarch has great power and standing in society. The Matriarch looks back on her life and works to integrate her life experiences with  feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction, and yet also looks to the present and continues to contribute.  The Matriarch is associated with the waning gibbous and waning crescent moon. The Greek moon goddess Hecate, who has power over heaven, earth and sea and knows magic and brings prosperity, is associated with the Matriarch.

How do you feel as you read this?

Do you identify with any of these developmental life stages?

Are you in any of the stages now? 

Or do you feel as if some of the aspects of all three goddesses reside within you ?

 

Stock/DredK

Can you experience the fun and excitement of the maiden? Run free in the forest? Or on the beach? Ride your horse through the field? Drive your Maserati with the top down on the big highway? (Ok, I’m getting carried way here, lol). Laugh out loud? Fall madly in love? Experience the sun on your face? How does it feel to be this woman?

Are you the “mommy” that has found herself to be so intensely the center of the family? The woman who has experienced pregnancy and birth in all its joy and tribulation? The woman who loves her partner deeply but has found that love is not blind? But loves anyway. Are you the woman whose cutting edge of youth is wearing away? Who is now more tempered and realistic, yet still finding joy? How does it feel to be this woman?

Or are you the woman who has shed the illusions of youth? Who is the still a solid part of the family, but not the main center, but there to be called upon when needed?  The woman who no longer cares that she is liked by all? The woman who is attractive in her own way but not bothered to be attractive according to societal norms? Who isn’t hemmed in by needing to be attractive to men? Who expresses herself more plainly now? Are you the woman who has seen many things and is now able to understand the machinations of people? With your magic, are you able to feel deep joy and optimism despite the many deceptions you can see in the world? What magic and wisdom do you have to share with others?

If you find you need to balance the aspects of the self, what can you do to cultivate this balance? 

Maiden energy is cultivated by letting yourself be more light-hearted, having some irresponsible fun,  going into nature, doing a physical hobby (horseback-riding or ice skating or skiing), experiencing joy, becoming competent at tasks, watching a funny movie and laughing long.

  • Essential oils such as neroli and sweet orange have uplifting qualities that feed maiden energy. Sweet orange promotes feelings of optimism and hope. Neroli helps stabilize intense emotions and balances feelings of euphoria with a calmness.
  • Flower Essence Services’ Dandelion Dynamo  is made for balance and pacing in life and also ameliorates menstrual moodiness and pain.
  • The flower essences of Larch and Elm helps balance the Maiden’s growing optimism and confidence of youth as she explores and incarnates into her divine self.

Mother energy is cultivated by doing good for others, volunteering, cooking for others, gardening, caring for others, being respected for your work and experiencing deep joy.

  • Essential oils that feed mother energy are rose and lavender. Rose has long been associated with mother energy, with compassion and with healing emotional wounds, for relieving anxiety and depression. Lavender is known to be the mood balancer, the Rescue Remedy of the essential oil world.
  • Dr. Hauschka’s Nurturing Rose Body Oil is light, well balanced and contains no artificial chemicals, perfect for mom and baby.  Dr. Hauschka’s Moor Lavender Body Oil has been carefully researched and is safe for mom and  baby.
  • Flower Essences Services has a wonderful herbal infused oil called Calendula Caress, safe for mom and baby, ethically farmed and harvested. So warming and nurturing!
  • The flower essence of Mariposa Lily helps balance the mothering aspect, helps gently repair feelings of alienation and abandonment.

Matriarch energy is cultivated by mentoring those at work and in your family, teaching, writing down your wisdom, passing along your life experiences, volunteering to help in your community, giving back to your community.

  • Essential oils that feed the matriarch energy are clary sage and cypress. Clary sage is known for  balancing female hormones and supports increased dreaming, vision and intuition. Cypress is known to help move the energy of the feelings of deeper psychic fear.
  • Flower Essence Services’ Benediction Oil is a wonderful herbal infused oil that is helpful for transitions, spiritual healing and grounding.
  • The flower essence of Lady’s Slipper helps balance the matriarch aspect, as it helps the soul’s inner higher purpose align with the daily external work.

 


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