The Triple Goddess is arguably the most important deity in the vast majority of Pagan and Wiccan pantheons. She also is often one of the most misunderstood. Robert Graves called her by a few different names:
The Goddess: Three Deities or One Deity?
The Triple Goddess also references three aspects of one being which can be seen in cycles found throughout mythology. She symbolizes the separate stages in the female life cycle and the waxing moon, full moon, and waning moon phases. Common references to a triple deity are:
In Greek Mythology, an example of a trinity of deities are Artemis, Selene, and Hecate. Whereas Artemis is the Waxing Moon or Maiden, Selene the Full Moon or mother, and Hecate the Waning Moon or Crone. These distinctions mirror the trinity or threefold nature of the triple goddess throughout other pantheons.
In Norse mythology, you’ll see reference to the three Norns, while in Celtic mythology it’s the single Morrigan. According to Mythopedia:
The Morrígan was a shapeshifter who took many forms; she would often appear in multiple forms throughout a single story. The most common of these forms were a shapely maiden, a battle ready warrior-queen, an old crone, and a raven.
Learning about the roots of the Triple Goddess, and exactly what her “faces” are, can help you better choose how you want to connect with her during your magickal workings.
Honoring The Goddess honors the feminine divine in us all, no matter our gender or phase in life.
Also known as The Huntress or The Virgin, The Maiden is the first in the cycle of the three faces of the Goddess. She is generally portrayed as young and innocent, and is seen in the Spring. The Maiden is often used in magick relating to all kinds of new beginnings, like new jobs, new living space, pregnancy, birth, etc. She is symbolized by the color white and the waxing phase of the moon.
The Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess tends to be the one that the majority of magickal practitioners can relate to the most. She is the matron, the teacher. She represents the high point of the Summer, fulfillment in all areas of life, and sexuality. The Mother is best called on for magick related to childbirth, fertility, marriage, and other major life decisions. She doesn’t have a specific color associated with her, but can generally be represented by most rich colors. She is also symbolized by the full moon.
The final aspect of the Triple Goddess, The Crone, is far less understood and far more slandered than both The Maiden and The Mother. This is likely due to how most society’s view aging and the elderly, as a kind of dirty secret to be hidden away, but that couldn’t be further from the case when it comes to The Crone. Also known as The Dark Mother or The Wise One, she is often portrayed as being a “hag.” She has experienced much and has plenty of wisdom to impart. The Crone is death, winter, deep mysteries, and darkness because life always has to come full circle. Her color is black, and she is symbolized by the waning moon.
A Fourth Category?
In some Neo-Pagan circles, The Maiden, The Mother, and The Crone are worshiped alongside a fourth face of the goddess; sometimes called the Enchantress or Queen. This fourth face represents those who have grown out of the Mother phase but are not yet in the Crone phase. This relates to the Autumn season and the waning energies of summer and life. By adjusting for the fourth face of the goddess you can have:
- New Moon — Winter — Crone
- Waxing and First Quarter Moon — Spring — Maiden
- Full Moon — Summer — Mother
- Waning and Last Quarter Moon — Autumn — Queen/Enchantress
No matter how you choose to work with The Goddess (either together or separately), always make sure to honor and respect each phase. Honoring The Goddess honors the feminine divine in us all, no matter our gender or phase in life.
Wright, Gregory. “Morrigan.” Mythopedia. Accessed on July 1, 2020. https://mythopedia.com/celtic-mythology/gods/morrigan/.