The triple moon symbol is a widely known symbol for witchcraft. It symbolizes a few different things including the moon phases, life, and the goddess herself. With this symbol, we see three aspects of the goddess, making her a triple goddess. Triple gods and goddesses are seen in most religions which is what makes them so interesting to me. I love looking into the history of concepts that witches and other religions use today because it’s crazy how many similarities there are between beliefs.
In Wicca, the triple goddess is represented by the maiden, the mother, and the crone. This goddess is said to represent the complexity of the human psyche. Not only does it symbolize humanity, but it also symbolizes the moon phases, the divine, earth’s cycles, and the power within you. This is why many witches have the triple moon symbol tattooed. I think that the triple moon and the pentagram are probably the most widely known symbols of witchcraft.
Although the religion, Wicca was created in the 1950’s, the concept of triple goddesses have been around since the ancient religions. It is seen in the Celtic religions with the goddess, Bridgid who ruled over three important practices in the celtic society: healing, poetry, and smithcraft. It has also been seen multiple times in Greek mythology. One example is Hera: girl, woman, and widow. Another example is the moon goddesses, Artemis, Selene, and Hecate. They each symbolize a different moon phase. To get even more specific, Hecate is often seen with three heads because she is also the goddess of the crossroads. This is so she can see in all directions but it also alludes to her being part of the triple goddesses. These Greek goddesses were an inspiration to the Wiccan version of the triple goddess. In the pre-Christian times, the people in Europe and the Middle East often worshipped The White Goddess of birth, love, and death. The most widely known triple god is the Christian one of God, the son, and the Holy Spirit. This triplet is symbolizing all the aspects of the Christian God.
Triple Goddesses are confusing when you first start researching them because they can be presented as one goddess, three goddesses, or simply aspects of a goddess. An example of a single triple goddess is Brigid who symbolizes three different aspects of herself. Then three different goddesses who go together would be Artemis, Selene, and Hecate. Finally three things that symbolize one God/Goddess would be the Holy Trinity. Confused yet?
With these types of Entities, there can be connections to many symbols in nature which is another reason why they are so widely used. For example with the moon goddesses, they each symbolize a different moon phase. When we do magick we can work with these deities and what they symbolize to boost our intentions.
The most used triple goddess concept in witchcraft is the maiden, mother and crone. This symbolizes the life of a woman (witches mostly tend to be women) and has many natural correspondances.
The maiden represents a witch’s young life of learning. In this phase of life we are constantly learning and growing. Because you are always growing, and this is the beginning of life, the maiden is represented by the waxing moon. During the waxing moon you are working towards a goal and learning what you need to achieve in your young life. The maiden is also associated with the spring season as this is when birth and rebirth happens. Spring is a season of beginnings and new beginnings and this is what the maiden is all about. She is also associated with the sunrise because it is the start of a new day. We can explore the maiden within us when we express ourselves, learn something new, become independent, explore, discover new things, and exercise creativity.
The mother represents the time in a witch’s life when she is giving birth literally or when she is giving abundance back to the universe. When a woman has a kid, many see this as the greatest sacrifice for humanity. She is giving up the rest of her life to raise someone else. Evolutionarily speaking, this is the greatest thing that someone can do for the planet. In a metaphysical sense, a child is an opportunity for the Earth’s vibration to raise which helps all of humanity. So essentially, this is the time when women are most powerful in an evolutionary sense, this is what we are meant to do. If you choose to not have kids (which is perfectly okay) you will know you are in the mother phase when you reach self actualization through your life goals. By achieving your goals, you are channeling your highest self which raises the vibration of the planet. This is especially true if your goals involve themes of magick, helping the planet, or being kind to others. For you, you will be the mother of your goals rather than a child. Both mothers are valid and needed in this world. The mother is symbolized by the full moon as this is when we accomplish our intentions and celebrate. This is also when our magick is most powerful. She is associated with midday because this is the brightest time of day and also Summer because it is the time of year when the sun is shining and nature is most abundant. The mother is our time of manifestation and a woman’s most powerful aspect. We are mothers, whether it is of a child or of creativity. In many religions there are powerful mother goddesses and this is the embodiment of the divine feminine.
The third aspect is the crone. The word crone has a lot of misconceptions and disrespect but in witchcraft the crones are the most respected witches. This is because in the ancient cultures, the elders were the most revered members of society. In a woman’s life this is after she is done having children or she has accomplished her dreams. In this part of life, she is wise from learning life’s lessons and paying off karmic debt. This is when she will be passing down her gifts and stories to the next generations. The crone is associated with the sunset and night as life is starting to wind down for her. It is also associated with autumn and winter as she has borne her fruit and is preparing the next generation or just celebrating her success.
The concept of the triple goddess is complex, old, and confusing. This article is simply me dipping my toe in triple goddess research. It is a concept that I consider ubiquitous as most religions have some kind of trinity. Whether you’re Wiccan, eclectic, or curious, the triple goddess is a widely used concept in witchcraft that everyone should know.