Maiden, Mother, Crone

...three aspects of the triple goddess, which every female knows on a deep, soul level no matter what her age or stage of life. Sure, the maiden--or Kore--could be said to be the personification of innocence and couldn't possibly know what it means to be a mother and an old woman, but yet, every maiden shows glimpses of these future stages. She's the mother when she cuddles kittens and babysits and learns to nurture her bff through every drama and crisis they come to share. She's the crone, or wise woman within when she offers sage advise or surprises her own mother by offering words of wisdom that you think she couldn't possibly know. I remember when I was holding my baby girl, Chloe, and crying because I had just learned I had thyroid cancer and she put her hand on my face and looked into my eyes and said, "It's gonna be okay, Mommy." I remember blinking and looking at her and thinking, "Oh, my God, a wise woman just spoke to me," and I knew I was face to face with a deep soul who would have as much to teach me as I would her. Her words definitely brought me around and I felt like God had spoken through her and I relaxed, knowing she was right. It was going to be okay. I just had to trust. The maiden is not far from us even when we become mothers and crones. We can still recall the dreaminess, the giddiness, the je-ne-sais-quoi of that time of life, and we can even channel the maiden when dancing, dreaming, and playing. As mothers, we move into the active, nurturing stage of life, juggling schedules and kids, husbands, work, and projects; a time when our energy is truly at its peak and we can stand in the middle and look back at the maidens we once were and sigh (both sad and glad to be through it) and look ahead to the future of empty nests and the crowning of the crone--time to ourselves, time to Be More, Do Less. The crone years, usually sometime after 50, has the true gift of overview and begins to care less and less about outer world concerns and what people will think and how they will be perceived. She will often speak her mind because she knows and because she doesn't give a damn. She's been there, done that. She doesn't suffer fools gladly but at the same time she has all the patience in the world because she can leave grandbabies with their mothers after spoiling them rotten, turn inward and find solace in her own company, and she can go home (to herself and perhaps to the old man or woman she's shared her life with). She truly has the vision of past, present and future and standing at the crossroads like Hecate, can point the way if you just turn to her and ask for guidance. She knows the way.

I have to admit, I'm in a funny in-between place, like many of my friends who had babies late in life--half mother/half crone. One foot in the active Doing stage and one foot in the contemplative Being stage. It's kind of an interesting place to be, a little like a balancing act, a little schizophrenic at times, occasionally dizzying as you dig deep into the underworld of the unconscious where Hecate reigns and navigate the world above, sowing seeds and reaping harvests like Demeter, a personification of Mother Earth, herself. But wait, what of Persephone, Demeter's daughter, who was abducted from her mother and taken into the underworld where she became queen? With Hecate's help (she with the gift of overview), Demeter found Persephone and her daughter was returned to her for half the year and would spend the other half in the underworld with Hades, the dark god who presides there (with Hecate as her guardian). In that way, Persephone became the mediator between the upper and the lower, the darkness and the light. It is her mediation that brings an end to the dualistic way of seeing the world. The triple goddess reminds us of that oneness--that multi-facted jewel that we are.

I have been exploring the triple goddess and playing with the three aspects in my writing and art for some time now, and in March I will be leading two workshops at the wonderfully exciting 3-day spring retreat, Persephone Rising, at Buzzard's Bay on Cape Cod. The retreat will be held at a wonderful, old farmhouse near the water and a nature preserve, where we will celebrate the muses of art, nature and the goddess in each of us. In one of my workshops I will be taking participants on three guided journeys to meet their inner maiden, mother and crone and to receive gifts from them. This will conclude with a nature treasure hunt. Then, in the second workshop, we will be honoring one of the three goddesses by creating a shrine or altar and a goddess effigy or doll with found objects from nature, paint, and collage. There will be other workshops to choose from that will include writing and art and singing and dancing our wild selves--a true experience of mind, body and soul. Take a look at the wonderful classes planned and join us, as like Persephone, we celebrate the rites of spring in true goddess fashion--diving deep within and carrying our found wisdom out into the world in sacred ritual, celebration, and play!