Thursday, August 28, 2014

Triple Goddess (Mother, Maiden, Crone): Wiccan Goddess of the Moon & Fate

The Triple Goddess, often seen as the goddess of the Moon and of Fate, is a deity widely honored by contemporary pagans; especially in traditional Wicca, where she is viewed as one of the two supreme or primary deities, along with her lover and consort the Horned God. The term triple goddess is infrequently used outside of Neopaganism to instead refer to historical goddess triads and single goddesses of three forms or aspects. In common Neopagan usage the three female figures are frequently described as the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone, each of which symbolizes both a separate stage in the female life cycle and a phase of the moon, and often rules one of the realms of earth, underworld, and the heavens. These may or may not be perceived as aspects of a greater single divinity. The feminine part of Wicca's duotheistic theological system is sometimes portrayed as a Triple Goddess, her masculine counterpart being the Horned God.

The relationship between the neopagan Triple Goddess and ancient religion is disputed, although it is not disputed that triple goddesses were known to ancient religion.

While many Neopagans are not Wiccan, and within Neopaganism the practices and theology vary widely, many Wiccans and other neopagans worship the "Triple Goddess" of maiden, mother, and crone, a practice going back to mid-twentieth-century England. In their view, sexuality, pregnancy, breastfeeding — and other female reproductive processes — are ways that women may embody the Goddess, making the physical body sacred.

The Maiden represents enchantment, inception, expansion, the promise of new beginnings, birth, youth and youthful enthusiasm, represented by the waxing moon;
The Mother represents ripeness, fertility, sexuality, fulfilment, stability, power and life represented by the full moon;The Crone represents wisdom, repose, death, and endings represented by the waning moon.

The triple goddess sign is identified with Greek moon goddesses:

Artemis - the Maiden, because she was the virgin goddess of the hunt;
Selene - the Mother, for she was the mother of Endymion's children and loved him;
Hecate - the Crone, as she was associated with the underworld and magic, and so considered to be "Queen of Witches".

The Dianic tradition adopted Graves's Triple Goddess, along with other elements from Wicca, and is named after the Roman goddess Diana, the goddess of the witches in Charles Godfrey Leland's 1899 book Aradia.  Zsuzsanna Budapest, widely considered the founder of Dianic Wicca, considers her Goddess "the original Holy Trinity; Virgin, Mother, and Crone." Dianic Wiccans such as Ruth Barrett, follower of Budapest and co-founder of the Temple of Diana, use the Triple Goddess in ritual work and correspond the "special directions" of "above", "center", and "below" to Maiden, Mother, and Crone respectively.

Some neopagans assert that the worship of the Triple Goddess dates to pre-Christian Europe and possibly goes as far back as the Paleolithic period and consequently claim that their religion is a surviving remnant of ancient beliefs. They believe the Triple Goddess is an archetypal figure which appears in a number of different cultures throughout human history, and that many individual goddesses can be interpreted as Triple Goddesses.

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