The Mother: Three-in-One Goddess of the Witches

by JoHarrington

The Triple Goddess is a major deity in Wicca. She is a single being, who is viewed as three divine women: Maiden, Mother and Crone.

The Mother Goddess is the most recognizable divine aspect of the Triple Goddess. She has proved rather hard to remove from the record.

Often She has been Christianized in such figures as Mother Mary and St Brigid; or expanded into Her broadest representation, as Gaia or simply Mother Earth. There's also a tendency to remember Her as the personification of a nation - Liberty, Britannia or Erin.

In Wicca, they would all fit very comfortably into the role of the Mother in the Three-in-One.

When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone

Mother: The Goddess of the Full Moon

In Her Mother aspect, the Goddess teaches us to enjoy the fruits of our labors, and to take pride in ourselves at the height of our triumphs.

There is something magical about walking out under a full moon.

Whether you believe that it represents a Goddess supplying energy, or that it's merely a great lump of space rock which never quite made it into our Earth, it still warms something inside.

Perhaps it's the illumination, causing the night to appear distant.  You can see for miles under a full moon.  It's a softer, gentler, but often just as keen light as the sun.

There's safety in that.  An instinctual craving to know what's out there and what's close enough to attack.  The predator can't loom during a full moon.  Unless it's a werewolf, contrary beasts.

In the Three-in-One, the Full Moon is the Mother.  Full-bellied with everything leading to this moment.  It's the moon at its zenith, as bright and apparent as it will ever be.  Beyond this fulfillment of the waxing cycle, there is only waning.  Only disappearing into darkness and nothing.

But that is so in the future!  For now, we can bask in what is and feel glad to be alive.

The summer too is the height of everything.  Winter is spent craving for it; spring is enjoyed as the gateway to it; and autumn is tinged with regret because it's over.  In the middle of summer, the sun is warm, the food is plentiful, the daylight erodes so much of the night.

This too is the realm of the Mother Goddess, dancing in cohort with the Horned God. 

It should be fairly obvious where the Mother sits in the life-cycle of a woman.  However, this doesn't begin and end with children.  It might not have anything to do with children at all!  The Mother is there when you have grown to the stage of independence; and ends when you age into physical frailty.

The Mother is Woman in the prime of her life.

Aswad Meet the Mother

You know that you've turned a corner and reached your big moment, when you can sing along to this with utter glee.

Books about the Divine Mother Goddess

Read these histories and spiritual guides to discover more about the role of the feminine divine, as embodied by the Great Mother.

Mother as Goddess of Fertility

We don't have to have physically given birth to flesh and blood children, in order to be the Mother of all we created.

I'm a Mother right now.  I've never given birth, nor do I have any dependents, but I'm still a Mother.

While we never stop learning, I'm pretty much done with formal education. I worked hard and achieved all of those letters after my name.  That was the theory, now for the practice.

I have years behind me.  Not so many that I don't still feel like I'm young.  But I also have years in front of me.  There's still a future that I can build, even after so much past.

If called upon, I could knock up a meal, build a shelter, find water, look after myself and anyone needful in my vicinity. 

I've made my mistakes; and I still have plenty more to make, and learn from, and grow.  But the emphasis now isn't on growing.  It's on being and adding to what I already have.

In short, I am a Mother, because I'm in the prime of my life.  I can turn to those around me for support, but I habitually look after myself. 

This zenith is no bright spark, which flashes up in one glorious moment and is then extinguished.  It's probably the longest stage of our lives.  No longer children, not yet old.  It's the most useful that we can be in sheer practicality and strength.

The Mother is all about maturity.   If I was a fruit, I'd be ripe and ready for the plucking.  It's an analogy applied to many a Maiden, when she passes puberty and starts looking around herself with certain eyes. 

But it continues to apply right up to the time when I'm past my prime.  I won't say 'best', because who is to judge these things.  This is the Three-in-One, there is no 'best' amongst those triple stages.  Just difference in emphasis.

Because I have attained my maturity, I'm also fertile. In the obvious sense, and in many more ways that are less apparent.  Have you read any of my history articles?  When I was a Maiden, I imbibed the seeds of knowledge.  Now I've passed my exams, now that I'm a Mother, I can pass that information on.

That's fertility.  The seeds you scatter do not have to be living, breathing entities.  The babies that you birth do not have to come from your womb.

Of course, real children are definitely part of the Mother's remit too.  I haven't lingered on actual birth and raising little ones, because I'm assuming that's taken as read.

Books about Raising Children in a Wiccan Family

If you do have little ones, then read these guides for Wiccan parenting tips and activities.

Mother as the Goddess in Touch with Her Sexuality

That the Mother is the Goddess of Fertility goes without saying, but She also governs activities that lead to babies.

There are Wiccan purists who really do draw lines of menstrual blood in the sand. 

Before the first period, a female is a Maiden/Girl; after it's all dried up for good, she is a Crone/Old Woman.

I'm not sure that it's that simple. 

There are some women who appear to have been born with a maturity and sense of purpose, which creates little Mothers in girls, by-passing Maiden completely.

There are those who never slow down, never settle back into repose and reflections, until they die of a good, old age. They never become the Crone. 

It's all in the attitude and, while we'll all have brief moments every day of being one or the other, there are those more comfortable being Mother for their entire lives.

However, there is one area under the Mother's jurisdiction which really can be marked with the onset and ending of the menstrual cycle.

When a woman enters a state of matrimony, in the original sense of 'being able to have children', then she will be guided by the Mother.  The whole arena of sex and sexuality, for pleasure or for reproduction, is watched over by this aspect of the Triple Goddess.

DiscWorld fans, this is why Nanny Ogg is referred to as being very free with her affections, at least in younger life.  Though given half the chance, she'd be right there now too.  Nanny Ogg is the Mother in the trinity of Lancre witches.

The Mother Goddess in any age is depicted as attractive, flirtatious, sexy and fertile.  They all go hand in hand, though you don't have to tick every box to be there.

If the Mother figure is ripe, then there's no question where those attracted to Her are looking for the hanging fruit.  Man or lesbian, they will all be checking out the breasts.  These appear at puberty and basically signal to the world - hey! I'm physically mature enough to be a sexual being!

Think Mother, think breasts.  They're sexually attractive.  They signify maturity.  They provide sustenance for the babies.  All within the realm of the Mother.

BBC Explorations: What Makes You Sexy?

The Mother would know, but so do the makers of this documentary. It's in 4 min segments, so just keep clicking on when one bit ends.

Sex Tips for Women | Feminine Sexuality

Buy these books to embark upon your own sexual journey to uncover your inner Mother Goddess.

The Mother Goddess at the Top of Her Game

Everyone of us has something in which we excel. When we're the best that we can be, then we're in the realm of the Mother.

The Mother stands at the point when everything has been or could be achieved. 

All that training, all that education, all those dreams can be fulfilled right now. The energy has been feeding into this moment.

It is time to reap the benefits of that hard work.  Ride the energy into being what you wished to become when you set out. 

It's like standing at the top of a mountain.  The Maiden time was the climb up.  The Mother time is feeling smug about that trek, while enjoying the view.

It's taking pride in that accomplishment and not being afraid to give others helping hand to join her.

The Crone will make us walk back down the other side, filled with memories and the experience of having done it.

Again don't get me wrong. This is not the end.  Achievement solely means that She now has all of the tools at her disposal to do with as She likes. 

When I was a child, I learned how to read and write.  As I grew, I expanded my reading and writing. As a teenager and young adult, I practiced writing; worked at a newspaper; went into further education; grew and learned; then discovered the ways to teach myself and guide my own learning.

Now I'm a woman and I can use all of those things to write the article that you are reading right now.  It doesn't mean that there will never be another article again.  I've reached a place where I can use those attributes over and over again.

This is fulfillment; or the end goal of the promise that I showed, when I first clutched a pen and scribed a legible word on the paper.

Or what about Ada Lovelace up there?  When she first heard about, then saw, Charles Babbage's 'thinking machine', she looked past his idea for an elaborate calculator.  In her notes, for what would eventually become his Analytic Machine, she envisaged computers; and wrote the first algorithm for one.

You are reading this on the fulfillment of her vision.  She was the first ever computer programmer.

Women Who Fulfilled Their Potential Big Time

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Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: An Autobiography and Other Recollections

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin is acclaimed as the greatest woman astronomer of all time. In this book, her own story of her professional life, work, and scientific achievements is au...

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All Hail the Great Matriarch

In the midst of chaos and panic, She is stability. The Mother will do all that She can to steady and protect Her charges.

Every Saturday, we would all congregate in my Nan's kitchen.  She always had prepared a huge pot of stew and a massive bread pudding.  I was generally dispatched to the shop for more bread.

She and my Grandad had seven children. They had produced thirteen grand-children. We were all in that tiny kitchen, or spilling out into the front room and the passageway.  It was raucous, busy, cosy and close. 

My Nan quietly ruled us all.

Once she died, we tried to keep together. We're still a close family, but there's no central hub to concentrate us.  Gatherings tend to be smaller, a progression from house to house, just a couple of nuclear families at a time, instead of the whole extended mass.

We lost our grand matriarch.

In day to day living, this is perhaps the most instantly recognizable role of the Mother. She rules stability, allowing us a familiar and comfortable place in which to grow to maturity.

As infants, when the world becomes chaotic, or we merely tire, our first reaction is to cling to our parents. They are the safe haven in a rocky place.  We look to them for clues about how to react.  They are the first and most important socializing influences upon our whole lives.

In order to ripen, or focus upon becoming the best that we can be, we need that stabilizing influence.  We need to know that our basic physical and emotional needs are all covered, so that we can expand into things beyond survival. 

Like education.  Like training.  Like attaining puberty and adulthood.

The Mother can watch our backs and cover all that keeps us whole and healthy.  She has already matured.  She knows what to do and how to do it.

She knows just how much stew and bread pudding will feed anywhere up to thirty-odd people.  And she knows that her grand-daughter will fetch the bread.

Pal of my Cradle Days by Ann Breen

Really miss you, Nan. Though what you'd have done if I'd become a vegetarian in your life-time, I don't know. Nos da.

Gifts for Mothers | Present for Matriarchs

Buy your Mom a treat to let her know that you really do appreciate all that she did (and still does) for you.

The Divine Mother of Us All

Since the dawn of humanity, we have worshipped the fertile Goddess as a Mother. Even in the secular today, Atheists will blithely talk about Lady Luck!

Until now I've focused on the Mother as She might appear, or govern, in real life.  There are shades of the Triple Goddess in us all (and not only the females).

But as She appears in the Three-in-One, there is obviously a divinity there. You might be taking on the role of the Mother in the throes of childbirth, but it'll be the Mother Herself who is responding to your call.

In Wicca, we have a saying - as above, so below.  I've dealt with all of the 'below' part, let's return our focus to 'above'; and gaze again upon the full moon at the height of summer.

All life flows from the Mother. You can take your pick of creation myths if you like, but I prefer scientific fact and pragmatism.

The Mother is the Big Bang (innuendo intended).  She's the star-dust falling. She's the single cell anatomies dividing. She's the ocean from which we crawled (or not, in the case of marine life). She's the DNA strands that form us and the air that we breathe. She's the food that sustains us and the water that quenches our thirst.

She's fertility. She's life.  She's all that blooms; and the soil which holds their roots.

She's the power that turns dreams into reality, through the sheer energy and will that pushes them into being.  She's the support that allows us to have the stamina to go on.

She's the Mother.

Posters of the Goddess in Her Mother Aspect

Articles about the Three-in-One Mother and Her Realm

The Divine Mother holding Her baby is one of the world's oldest representations of the world in winter. This is the Goddess protecting the light and the warmth.
There is something so wonderfully bad-ass about the Jacobean noblewoman Dame Robert Carey. Particularly how often she put King James in his place!
Many of our oldest stories and legends conceal a divine journey to find a king or queen. The land itself is personified into a Lady. It's a concept which still has echoes today.
In a Wiccan Handfasting, the Bride takes on the aspect of the Goddess Herself. But where does that tradition come from?
Updated: 04/16/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 10/19/2012

Indeed we shall; and I'm glad that the case is being re-opened. Hopefully there will be resolution this time.

I think that we all have shades of all of Them, depending on the season, the hour, the day, the epoch and the minutiae. It's just good to know who to call on at any given time. Though, of course, They are all the same person.

Shonna on 10/19/2012

I'm still a beginner, too, cariad *hugs* learning every day and un-learning and re-learning all sorts of things. - btw, I saw you turn Mother when you were visiting us in Vegas for the Wiccanning - holding William, spending time with Elen taking her to the archery range - She comes when She comes.
Thanks, it is a powerful story - moreso now that the case has been re-opened with the local police! I'm ever hopeful. We're working also on a way to honor her, her mother and I have been brainstorming....
Miss you, btw, when I get things fixed on my end, we'll have to skype!

JoHarrington on 10/19/2012

I know that whether I think of a priestess of the Mother, it's your face which comes first into my mind. You were the one who taught me to look past the children to what the Mother really is; even while you were caring for your actual kids.

I always appreciate your insights, particularly on subjects like this, where I know your knowledge is so superior to my own. I'm still learning, but then I've seen it all too. Always depending upon what 'it' is.

I'm so sorry to hear again of your friend. It was a chilling story the first time I heard it. In context, with a coda now, it's even more powerful.

Shonna on 10/19/2012

Of course it did! I'd rambled on a bit about the Mother - the Dark Mother particularly and Her compassion and focus on discipline...what I especially appreciated reading about is that you don't have to have children of your body to be a mother - that's so very true - I have been talking with a woman I've known most of my life but have only just seen for the first time since I was small...she's the woman whose daughter was my best friend and she'd been kidnapped and killed when we were very little. She's physically in Crone mode but though you'd think she'd have been stuck in Mother, she's not - she's very much a meld of Maiden and Crone - Crone when she weaves and Maiden when in every day conversation, etc. We came back together for the first time in more than 35 years this past spring - took one look at each other (her daughter was my best friend) and just both started crying and laughing and holding on - she said later that having me hold onto her while she cried felt safe and as if I was the mother here...not her....I reminded her that I am a mother LOL but also that I'm Dedicated to the Mother and when compassion is needed sometimes I can't help but mother people who need it the most - nurture....the Mother can be a tough love type, too, reminds me of my grandmother when we're at the table and supposed to be doing things the way we're supposed to be doing them but then suddenly someone cracks up and the laughter rolls through the room...they peek at mom thinking she'll be surpremely pissed only to find she's smiling, too and even joining in on the laughter...but things still happen as they're supposed to. I'm not really able to put it into words, not being a grand writer LOL but I've felt more at peace being Dedicated to the Dark Mother and honoring her Three-in-One Faces, She's helped me be more compassionate and helped me find my backbone when I've needed that, too.

JoHarrington on 10/19/2012

Win! And I look forward to reading it. :)

Shonna on 10/19/2012

Absolutely did...morE tomorrow...

JoHarrington on 10/16/2012

Oh no! I don't know why it did that, but I'll alert the Wizzley team.

Did my article pass muster?

Shonna on 10/16/2012

Huh...I commented yesterday, it's disappeared! Poo!

JoHarrington on 10/15/2012

Thank you very much; and I'm glad that it held your interest so much. :)

Yes, Marilyn is very much the Mother in sexual mode. She's practically the 20th century representation of the Goddess in that aspect. I couldn't think of anyone more perfect to illustrate the point.

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