The Maiden, Mother, Crone is a very common form of the triple goddess. The Maiden representing youth and puberty, the Mother representing motherhood and life, the Crone representing wisdom, old age, and death. In the majority of imagery, the Mother has a rounded stomach. This day in age, we know that physically giving birth to a child is not all that makes you a mother. There are plenty who adopt, who foster, and those who are content in mothering nieces, nephews, etc. There’s also the large population of young women choosing not to have children. The biggest question regarding the Triple Goddess, is when do we progress from the Maiden to the Mother, and from the Mother to the Crone?
The triple goddess is one of the oldest deities. Centuries ago it was expected that women become mothers. They started off as Maidens and became wives shortly after puberty. Motherhood was a blessing to women, many were frowned upon for not having children. Then in their old age they would turn to the Crone for guidance and comfort. But that’s not the case anymore. Many women aren’t having children, and at a much higher rate than ever before. I think that looking at her as the adulthood stage of life is better idea for our time. After all, we have our youth, our adult years, and our old age. Those three forms relate to every woman.
So if we aren’t using the obvious stage of literal childbirth to progress from the Maiden to the Mother, how else will we know? Puberty? Some girls begin menstruation while still in elementary school. I would argue that they are still children. How about when we legally become an adult? Or when we are financially independent from our parents? Maybe it’s not a set time meant for every girl, maybe it is the day the young girl in question no longer turns to the Maiden and instead turns to the Mother.
The other question is when do we start turning to the Crone instead of the Mother. In some of the Wicca books I have read they suggest that when women begin menopause, they have progressed into the last stage of life. But what about those that go through menopause early? I am thirty-two and a mother of a four year old, three year old, and two year old. I still feel strongly attached to the Mother, but am technically going through menopause. Even when a woman goes through menopause naturally, they don’t just stop being a mother.
I feel as though I have a long time before I will enter the Crone phase. Being a mother defines me right now. My children are young, and my husband and I feel as though our family is still beginning its journey. Maybe the puberty, motherhood, and menopause work perfectly for some as steps into the newest chapter of their lives, but for those of us who don’t fit in perfectly I think it comes down to a feeling. I feel connected to the Mother on a spiritual level. It is she who I pray to and ask for guidance from. Maybe the more I go through menopause the more I will find myself drawn to the Crone. It could be that steps are right, but our interpretation is wrong.
Only time will tell, as of this moment in time I find myself in the mother stage. Maybe menopause will change that and maybe it won’t. Maybe if I find myself a grandmother in the years to come I will find myself finally drawn to the Crone. Maybe there will simply be a day when I go to my altar and replace my red pillar candle with the black one. Then I will close my eyes and pray to the Crone, and know that no matter what steps brought me there, I have still made it and am comforted.