If I command the moon it will come down
And if I wish to withhold the day
Night will linger over my head
If I wish to embark on the sea
I need no ship
And if I wish to fly through the air
I am freed from my weight
- Ancient Greek Papyrus
She is acknowledged, and worshipped in many contemporary cultures,
by diverse names and in many aspects. She is the Goddess - counterpart
to the God, and equally important to spiritual balance in today's
The first association made with the word "Goddess" is usually the
images of primitive fertility goddesses, which are found scattered
over Europe, images which are thought to be among the first representations
of the divine known to humankind. In searching for Her we undertake
a journey into that part of our own psyche, which resonates to the
call of the wise.
However, She is not only the inspiration of dead civilizations,
nor an historical curiosity - seeking the Goddess is not a reversion
to the primitive, but rather an identification with a multi-faceted
symbol. She means many different things to those who choose Her
as artistic patron, or as inspiration for their creative work and
If we are inspired by myth, we are drawn to examine the roles of
men and women in the society, which gave rise to the myth. Among
the earliest cultures, images of fertile women and of the hunt were
crafted in stone and clay, in ochre painted on cave walls and carved
into the rock. They are representations of two human needs - children
to increase the tribe and food to sustain it - arguably the oldest
representations of deity. The images are important in their own
right, for beyond the necessity for water, food Shelter and companionship,
these early people sought to express their concept of forces in
nature, which shaped their lives. Like all good art, it crosses
cultural barriers and evokes feelings, which are relevant today,
because we are still connected to the same human needs.
Today, priestesses and priests of the Goddess add their knowledge
of psychology to the experience of history, to create a new worship
from an ancient wisdom. They celebrate the Goddess in religious
rites, yet they also draw parallels between the myths of the Goddess
and the phases of human life - just as some people relate to the
myth of Persephone in the Rites of Eleusis and perceive that it
tells the tale of the Maiden (Persephone), the Mother (Demeter)
and the Crone (Hekate).
A triumvirate of maiden, mother and crone is, in modern paganism,
related to the phases of the moon, corresponding to first crescent,
full moon, waning moon and dark moon. The process of birth through
growth, maturity, aging and death is also connected to the aspects
of the goddess, though the aspects are called by many diverse names
from as many different pantheons.
In dreams, the Maiden often represents the potential self, the person
we are becoming, and a possibility not yet real. Something has been
conceived - a new attitude or idea, the seeds of a poem, an unknown
strength, the courage to resist, or create or die.
There is a place within us which contains the Maiden - complete
unto ourselves, virgin, we proceed from a willingness to meet every
stranger as another deity in disguise. The Kore in Greek Myth can
represent the potential within us all. We seek Her power, in the
willingness to enter initiation, to abandon perceptions, to enter
the realm of the unknown. She is the Maiden who lives in harmony
with nature, who is reckless and restless about rules and restrictions.
She is the Kore, stolen away by death into the underworld where
She undergoes the transformation knowledge brings. She is stolen,
dispossessed of Her innocence to become the initiate who is Persephone,
Queen of the Underworld.
The knowledge gained in this journey, from child-woman to ruler
of the dark mysteries of the underworld, marks a separation from
the mother in the individuation process; severed from the complacency
of childhood, we face our own decisions and trials. We take risks
- sometimes risks that are not wise ones - but all these risks and
adventures make us who we will become. We are reminded that a willingness
to face our own mortality and effect the transformation of an initiatory
experience marks our ability to complete the cycle of personal spiritual
growth. The Maiden awakens us to the potential and creative strengths
that slumber in the underworld of our own psyche.
The Mother is nurturing, creative and gives of Her substance to
the world. She embraces the principles of returning and recycling
energy. Through Her, the gifts borne by the Maiden are transformed
in the crucible of mature realization.
The Mother can be perceived as our nurturing self, complete, but
also a companion. She reaches beyond the singular to contain a multitude
of possibilities. She is the relating principle, able to encompass
a relationship of equals, to create and to build strength in Herself
and others. Giving of Herself, She receives in return the freedom
to fill Her cup with new dreams. The Mother has many images - She
is the serpent and the butterfly Goddess; She is the deer, the bear,
the wolf or the sow and is mistress of the art of transformation.
Her association with these creatures is not totemic; She is not
a woman with the characteristics and strengths of an animal. Instead,
She is the creature or the Goddess. Part of these tales of transformation
speaks of metamorphic change, dispossession and the process of alienation.
Many myths tell of a Goddess who, in the dark of night, or at certain
times, transforms or is transformed by some magic process (not always
by choice) into a mythic beast. Her offspring are referred tor as
foals, cubs or kids and are more powerful than their (often) mortal
fathers in that they have the blood of faerie and the power to transform
themselves. These myths are part of our Heritage, where the realm
between the worlds exerts its attraction and speaks to us of spiritual
Red is the color of the Mother - blood of birth, of the menstrual
flow that Heralds the sea change at puberty and heats the blood
in passion. It also represents blood drawn by Her or owed to Her
in battle. It is no co-incidence that love Goddesses are often also
warrior Goddesses; their language is that of the blood, the water
She teaches us that duration and ripening, of ideas and maturity,
are important; She emphasizes that we must free our children and
ideas to blossom in their own way. Until we have given of ourselves,
we cannot either return to the Maiden within and learn things from
a new perspective, or move into the realm of the Crone, who is the
weaver of dreams.
The Crone is the queen of the shades, dark mistress of the night.
She gathers the strands of our realizations and weaves a many-colored
tapestry to illustrate our lives.
As a midwife and timekeeper, She attends each birth and cuts the
cord that binds us to the Mother. She is priestess and seer, weaver
of magic and tide, who holds the spindle and measures the thread
of our lifespan, weaving it into the web for a certain time and
then releasing us to the regeneration of death.
As ruler of the crossroads, She is the giver and taker of gifts.
She may grant us everything we desire or withhold it. She may wear
all the faces of the Goddess simultaneously and is often portrayed
as a serpent with many heads or as a medusa. She is that which we
most fear and are most fascinated with - the realm of death. She
leads the initiate into the depths of their own renewal in Her role
as teacher of the mysteries.
She is found in the twilight world, as wise women are often portrayed,
or on the edge of a forest, a river, and the sea or in an isolated
cave. This makes Her a figure of dreams and magic. When we seek
Her power within us, we challenge the boundaries of life and are
"out on the edge" of reality. Her, the balance is precarious but
She teaches us to synthesize realizations from the knowledge we
glean from experience of life. Some of Her powers are those of the
Fates, the Norns, and the Muses. She is also seen as a spirit of
the wind and of wild places where things may be transformed into
their opposites. As such, She can as easily change Her form and
be seen as a woman of any age She chooses.
She is wanderer and oracle, Herbalist and shape shifter, wild woman
of the wilds. She moves between the worlds of humankind and the
elder gods freely and without restriction for She is a creature
of all places, not just one physical realm. Where the Maiden can
be seen as encompassing potential, and the Mother contains all fulfillments,
the Crone rejoices in release from ties. Her knowledge of that which
binds makes Her the ruler of cord magic and spinning. She apprehends
the lessons of past, present and future and leads us into the mysteries
A MODERN PRACTICE
The Triple Goddess who manifests as Maiden, Mother and Crone, is
one of the forces worshipped in the Old Earth Religion and in modern
Paganism and Wicca. She is the creator / preserver / destroyer who
interacts with other multi-faceted deities.
We borrow from cultures of the distant past a concept of pattern,
an ordered progression of changes within the individual and within
society. Whether we perceive the Goddess as the primal female aspect
of our own nature or as an aspect of deity; or indeed, as the creative
principle of the universe, we can relate to imagery of the Goddess
and find reflections of Her cycles in our own bodies. The process
of change and growth that occurs in our life is echoed in the myths
of the Goddess, from various cultures, which stress connection with
nature and cultural rhythms.
The theme of the Goddess leads to an examination of the role of
deity in our everyday lives and, in turn, an exploration of the
inspiration provided by spiritual or religious principles.
Now and again in the world individuals seek personal inspiration
from the environment and express that connection through art, music,
dance and ritual. We create the fragile strands of a cultural web
and call on the many aspects of deity who are part of our spirituality.
The Goddess has many names and is as real to Her Priestesses and
Priests today as She was in remote history. We call on the ancient
wisdom, on the Lady who has changed Her shape to fit the needs of
Earth's children. We worship and celebrate in open fields and groves
of trees, in suburban living rooms and city parks, carrying a wild
magic in our hearts and a willingness to undergo transformation
and challenges in the names of the deities we worship.
The Goddess is once more honored in all Her aspects and finds a
place in our hearts and our daily lives. Her power is seen in nature,
in the depth of sacred pools and in the pull of the tides of earth
and sea. The Mystery lives within us and is known by many names;
we all carry Her within us, whatever our gender or age.
Both as artist and individual, I am poised between the faces of
deity - between the underworld of dreams, myth and creativity on
the one hand and the realm of thought, action and self-expression
on the other. As priestess and woman I flow along the edge of the
blade, a precarious but exhilarating balance - celebrating deity
Header Image - Rhea by