The Goddess appears to us in three forms – Maiden, Mother, and Crone – that correspond with the phases of the moon. The God also has three aspects – the Young Lord, the Father, and the Elder – that are echoed by the sun’s position in each day. Likewise we Wiccans live through three main stages of life as with the passing of the seasons. To be aware of this pattern is to add a deep layer of significance to your spiritual practice.
The Maiden is the young goddess of love who answers to no one. She is wild, free, and full of potential. Each month, her reign begins just past the invisible new moon when the first sliver known as Diana’s Bow is visible in the sky. Your Waxing Moon rituals and spellwork fall under her auspices. She also presides over any magic involving beginnings, blessings, initiation, intuition, purification, and searching one’s own heart for one’s personal truth. Her colors are white, green, and pink.
Each year, she appears in late winter and springtime. At the sabbat of Imbolc, she is a young girl who is honored for her youth, purity, and potential. At the sabbat of Ostara, she has come into her full powers as the personification of springtime. At the sabbat of Beltane, she and the God come together in love to perform the Great Rite, which results in her becoming pregnant with the new young God. Maiden goddesses include Artemis/Diana (Greek/Roman), Brighid (Celtic-Irish), Persephone (Greek), and Rhiannon (Celtic-Welsh).
The Mother is the mature goddess of fertility who protects her children and oversees the harvests. Each month, she is honored at the full moon and she shows a slightly different face for each of the full moons of the year. She presides over magic that involves agriculture, animals, community, creativity, family, fertility, food, health and healing, household, inner strength, leadership, physical strength, and relationships. Her colors are red, green, gold, and silver (for the full moon).
Each year she reigns in all her glory over the summer months. She is the Earth Mother who nurtures the crops through the agricultural cycle. At the sabbat of Midsummer, she is heavily pregnant with the new Young Lord. At the sabbat of Lammas, she reaps the first harvest and at the sabbat of Mabon, she gathers in the second harvest. Mother goddesses include Demeter/Ceres (Greek/Roman) Freyja (Norse), Frigge (Norse), Gaia (Greek), Isis (Egyptian), Mary Queen of Heaven (Judeo-Christian), and Selene/Luna (Greek/Roman).
The Crone is the dark goddess of death, endings, transformation, and wisdom. Each month, her reign begins after the full moon and extends through the Waning Moon phase to the invisible new moon, and she shows a slightly different face for each of the new moons of the year. She presides over magic involving banishing, death, dying, communicating with the dead, endings, and releasing things. Go to her for comfort in your grief, inner peace, rest, and rejuvenation. She reveals secrets. She shows us the beginning in every end.
She grants us the strongest possible psychic and physical protection. Invoke her for retribution and black magic involving destruction – though I am obliged to point out that this would run counter to the Wiccan Rede of “do no harm.” Her colors are black, deep blue, red, and white.
Each year the Crone holds sway during the autumn and winter months. At the sabbat of Samhain, she oversees the personal sacrifice of the God and the death of the year. At the sabbat of Yule, she is the one in the shadows who brings forth the Sun, the new Young Lord who is newly crowned the King. Crone goddesses include Cerridwen (Celtic-Welsh), Hecate (Greek), Hel (Norse), and Santa Muerte (Mexican).
Many Wiccans gravitate naturally to the aspect of the Goddess who most closely matches their own particular age and role in life. But you do not have to be in a certain stage of life to work with a certain aspect of the Triple Goddess. She is infinite and she transcends time.