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Friday, March 18, 2011

Triple Goddess: Beyond Aphrodite

The Triple Hecate  (William Blake)
It wasn’t that long ago that “childless” was synonymous
with “barren.”  Barren” is currently defined by
as “incapable of sustaining life” (as in “the dead and barren Moon”).

According to that centuries-old logic, if a woman were
without child (for whatever the reason – perhaps she’s
either younger or older than childbearing age), it was
assumed that she was somehow less than fully viable.  If she were younger, at least hope lay on the horizon.  If she were older, she was just plain over the hill with no horizon in sight.

The single- (or perhaps double-) pointed worship of the Fertility Goddess (be she Aphrodite, Parvati, Frigg, Isis, or countless other incarnations) at best obscures – and at worst negates – other equally- vibrant female archetypes.  Ironically, it was a male – poet and author, Robert Graves – who came up with the perfect solution.  That solution he named the “Triple Goddess.”

The Triple Goddess was Graves’ reinvention of earlier work that Jane Harrison had done.  Graves took Harrison’s “three aspects” of goddess-worshipping, matriarchal early Europe, and turned them into the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone.  He then equated these Triple Goddess aspects with the waxing, fullness, and waning of the moon.

According to, the Triple Goddess has become “an embodiment of unity, an all encompassing view of the potentiality in women of all kinds.”  No longer does Aphrodite alone rule.  She is now equally joined by Artemis (the virgin goddess of independence and youth) and Hecate (the mature goddess of wisdom and strength). 

Women are no longer solely defined by (and valued for) their fertility (sexuality and beauty).  The Triple
Goddess has now made them truly three-dimensional.


Copyright March 18, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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