Moon Magic and the Triple Goddess

The Moon has three visible phases:

Growing crescent )
Full moon O
Waning crescent (

)O(

This is followed by three days of darkness, the dark moon.

The Moon with her large and impressive presence taught our ancestors that like her own phases all life was cyclical, going from birth to growth to death back to rebirth.

Since the earliest times the Moon has been linked to water, as her gravitational pull affects the oceans’ tides. Her primary connection, however, has always been to women whose menstrual cycle mimicks the Moon’s phases: pre-ovulatory, ovulatory and post-ovulatory stage followed by bleeding.

Our moon-times are intrinsically linked to moonlight. Women who sleep without artificial lights and who are exposed only to the Moon’s light, tend to ovulate around the full moon and bleed at the time of the dark moon.

The Ancients considered moon-blood to be a source of incredible insight and power. Every month a woman would bleed without having sustained an injury and would have “healed up” after just a few days without any lasting effects. For that reason women were believed to be particularly blessed and in possession of great intuition and healing powers. At the time of bleeding when women’s powers were seen to be at their peak, they would separate off from the rest of the group to connect with the Goddess. These women would later be known as Her priestesses.

Just as the Moon was understood to be responsible for germinating the seeds in the ground, the Ancients believed that she was directly responsible for human conception. Whenever a woman became pregnant it was thought that her moon-blood had “coagulated” to form a baby. There would be no more monthly bleedings until after the birth.

After menopause when a woman ceases to bleed altogether, her moon-blood with all its magical powers was seen to have been absorbed by her permanently. Presumably a similar explanation was given for nursing mothers who also retained their moon-blood, although only temporarily. Instead of only being able to access her great spiritual and healing powers during her moon time, a post-menopausal woman could do so all the time. For that reason older women were greatly revered and respected for their immense powers of intuition, healing and divination. They became their tribe’s elders, leaders, healers and advisors. They were also seen as being closer to the Goddess in Her aspect of death and birth bringer and were esteemed midwives and priestesses.

Once our foremothers had spottend the connection between the Moon’s phases and their own monthly cycles, they started to use that knowledge to measure time. Women made early lunar calendars by marking bones with special grooves and indentations. This eventually lead to measuring, mathematics and formal sciences. Words such as mental, measure, month and menstruation all come from Moon [in Latin “mens” means “mind” and “mensis” means “month”; in Germanic languages words for “month” are all derived from the word for “moon”].

The same as the Moon’s own phases are cyclical so were our lives understood to being part of a spinning wheel with no beginning and no end. The three phases of the Moon were seen to be a representation of a woman’s life cycle: young, mature and old. This would eventually evolve into the emergence of the Triple Goddess.

The growing crescent moon is the Maiden Goddess.
The full moon is the Mother Goddess.
And the decreasing moon is the Crone Goddess.

The Maiden

The Maiden aspect of the Moon Goddess is the Virgin in the true original meaning of the word: She is a strong and independent young woman who belongs to no-one other than Herself. She can do as She pleases which includes making love with whoever, whenever and however She wants. The Maiden is a young woman who has not yet been pregnant or given birth.

The Maiden Goddess is all about beginnings, about birth and growth. She is adventerous and curious with youthful exuberance.

She is best known as Artemis-Diana, the huntress, the protectress of women and children, the Lady of the Wild Beasts.

This aspect of the Goddess has been retained by patriarchal society, although in a twisted way. In today’s world a virgin is a young woman who has never had sex with a man. She is not just seen as innocent, but also as meek and chaste. The Catholic Virgin Mary on her moon sickle is an example of the maiden aspect of the Moon Goddess in a male-oriented society. [1]

This is a far cry from the free and untamed Artemis with her crescent bow: Artemis of Thrace, the land of the strong and independent Amazons.

Artemis and as such the Maiden Goddess is the archetype for Sagittarius.

The Maiden Goddess is Jupiter.

The Mother

The Mother aspect of the Moon Goddess is the full moon.

She is all about fertility and the nourishment and sustenance of life.

The Mother is ripe, lush, full-bodied and sexual. She is strong, powerful and fiercely protective over all she creates and loves.

She is pregnant, giving birth and nursing Her children, both real and idea ones.

Like the Maiden the Mother is also an accepted role-model for patriarchal women minus the sexuality minus the fierce power to protect. Protection is now seen purely as a man’s job and until recently a mother had to be tied to a husband. The Catholic Mother Mary holding baby Jesus is an example of the mother aspect of the Moon Goddess in a male-oriented society.

Demeter, the Greek Goddess of the Earth, is one of the best known examples of the mothering aspect of the Moon, although She is neither represented as being sexually active – like Aphrodite – nor nursing an infant – like Isis. The classical Greeks who wrote down the tales and legends that we now know as “Greek Mythology” were already patriarchal in their worldview and as a result Demeter’s character isn’t showing all of the aspects of the Mother Goddess.

In the most famous tale about Demeter She features alongside Her maiden self / daughter Kore, who represents spring and growth. She nurtures and sustains the Earth with Her abundance, both plants and animals. One day Hades (Roman Pluto) kidnaps Demeter’s little girl. Demeter is frantic and searches for Kore all across the Earth and the Heavens, leaving no stone unturned. Eventually thanks to the Crone Hekate She discovers not just Her daughter’s whereabouts, but also that Zeus actively encouraged her abduction and subsequent rape. At that point Demeter goes maaaaaaad. She is so furious that She stops all growth on Earth lest Her daughter is returned to Her.

This is a perfect example of a mother’s love for her child and her fierce need to protect.

The Mother aspect of the Moon is the archetype for Cancer.

The Mother Moon Goddess is the Moon in modern western astrology.

The Crone

The Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess is the part of Her that modern society is most afraid of. We no longer believe that life is cyclical, that death is followed by rebirth. To us death is the final end. As a result, we fear the Dark Goddess and Her representative the Crone and try to deny Her existence. It is time to relearn who She really is!

The Crone Goddess is the waning and dark moon. She has lived Her life, has nurtured Her children and contains the wisdom of both the Maiden and the Mother.

The Crone or Dark Goddess is about wisdom, intuition and healing. She is the Goddess of Transformation who receives the dead and prepares them for rebirth. She is the Goddess of Destruction AND Creation, of Death AND Birth. The Crone is the time keeper who reminds us of our limitations and boundaries.

Far from the Dark Goddess being our enemy as She is often portrait, She is in fact our beloved ally. She is our guide through the darkness, the unknown. In Her dark womb we can rest and transform for the next stage on the everturning wheel.

In some parts of the ancient world it was believed that the souls of the dead travelled to the Moon where they would wait as the Unborn for their return to life.

In Her aspect as Goddess of Rebirth the Crone is also the midwife, the protectress of women and their babies in childbirth.

The Dark Goddess isn’t always depicted as an old woman (like Hekate or Mother Holle). She is also often shown as a Snake (Medusa or Dikte) or Spider Goddess (Grandmother Spider) who both represent the continuity of life through rebirth – both shed their skin and appear to be continuously reborn. The Goddess as a bird (Lilith or Circe) is another form of the Dark Goddess as according the Marija Gimbutas during the Neolithic carnivorous birds especially nocturnal ones were encouraged to eat the flesh of the dead in order to complete the death process. As the layer of eggs the Bird Goddess is also the Bringer of Life.

The Dark Goddess / Crone is the archetype for Scorpio.

The Dark Goddess / Crone is Saturn – Grandmother Time, the Setter of Limits and Boundaries
The Dark Goddess / Crone is Uranus – the Destroyer
The Dark Goddess / Crone is Neptune – the Guide to Inner Wisdom
The Dark Goddess / Crone is Pluto – the Transformer

NOTE

[1] Interestingly the Virgin Mary with Her immaculate conception really shows Her neolithic roots, when the Goddess was still seen as being androgynous, i.e. having a womb and containing all of the generative life force so as to impregnate Herself.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leslie
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 01:11:56

    Lovely and very clear- thank you!

    Reply

  2. Delphyne
    Mar 25, 2013 @ 15:38:12

    This is so well written – I’m enjoying reading all of this on a snowy late morning in New Jersey. You’ve put so much work into this and I just wanted to not only share my enthusiasm for it, but also my appreciation. Thank you!

    Reply

  3. neroprotagonist
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 03:17:29

    Reblogged this on Transhuman Rebellion in the Philippine Setting and commented:
    I’m big on transhumanism, but you can’t have transhumanism without the occult to guide the way.

    Reply

  4. `L
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 20:45:58

    Thanks for this blog, it’s wonderful, very inspiring:)
    I was wondering, have you ever considered the three stages to be pre-menstruation (like before menarche), menstruating, and post-menstruation? I say this because even though I know people say you can be a mother by mothering ideas, truly you can mother ideas at every stage of life and unfortunately, I’ve found that many women feel they haven’t come to that next stage of female being simply because they’ve yet to have child. Also I don’t feel that saying the maiden has all the sex she wants does justice to the profounly deep/rooted/sensual and integrated unabated and unrestricted freedom that young women have in their youth. Finally, if the stages were based around menstruation instead of motherhood, they would be completely based in the organic feminine biology (irrespective a sexual engage with a man). Just a thought.
    Also I wanted to be sure that you’ve been connected to Judy Grahn’s Metaformic Theory, a really well developed theory of human origins being based in menstruation. If you haven’t heard of it yet you can read it for free online if you google: “Blood, Bread, & Roses”
    Ok, much ❤

    Reply

    • Silvestra
      Jun 07, 2014 @ 21:13:11

      Hi ` L! I’d not considered linking the three phases of the moon solely to menstruation rather than the sexually connected life stages of a women. It’s a brilliant interpretation, I like it a lot! As you say it would make it all about organic feminine biology irrespective of a woman’s life choices. Thanks for your comment and the book recommendation! (I hadn’t heard of it) Blessings, S. ^_^

      Reply

  5. Trackback: Goddess Energy | Mommy Witch's Book of Shadows
  6. janet
    Apr 06, 2016 @ 23:51:20

    hi….my kids always talk of god as a woman…i dont discourage or encourage this…i just love that the goddess shines through and enlightens herself to the innocent…im a catholic i love the thought that jesus loved a woman..i loved the thought that my lord respected worshipped and recognised women as equals and superiors..i love faith and spirituality dont like religion so much..male and power and money orientated..)0( xx

    Reply

  7. Gabriella
    Jun 28, 2016 @ 01:15:52

    I recently bought a necklace that has the three phases of the moon, and I knew some background to the meaning, but I didn’t know a lot, after reading this I’m so glad I bought it because it will be a constant reminder of the three phases of life and also a great support system to know not everything comes to an end! (I also bought it because I have a huge addiction to the moon!! And the Greek goddess Selene, who represents the moon!)

    Reply

  8. Melissa K
    Aug 26, 2016 @ 15:04:02

    Hi Silvestra, would you mind sharing the name and artist of the triple goddess picture above? My Mom and I love it! Thank you also for your beautiful description of the life phases. I have been looking for a way to talk about this with my little girls.

    Reply

    • Silvestra
      Aug 26, 2016 @ 17:08:25

      Hi Melissa, thanks for your kind words. ♡ Regarding the artist’s name, I don’t actually know. I found the picture on Google search with no further details. The artist’s name seems to be at the bottom of the picture, but unfortunately the resolution isn’t high enough to be readable. I’m sorry I can’t help. The picture is absolutely beautiful and the person who painted it deserves the highest praise. Perhaps someone else reading this knows their name? Best wishes and many blessings to you, Melissa, your Mom and your little girls. S.

      Reply

  9. hugo
    Feb 26, 2017 @ 21:41:57

    really amazing stuff!!!! thank you so much for sharing. as a gay male… would i be able to participate in moon worship/workings? at this point, i am just reading and gathering information… so i dont know much. i feel like i need to reconnect.

    Reply

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