Triple Goddess

Last Tuesday I mentioned the representation of “the three goddesses” that Trilogy reminded me of in its first book. Dr. Scanlon entrusted me with taking this to the blog, so here I go – late as ever (seems to be a terrible pattern engulfing my life nowadays) – to explain the idea of the Triple Goddess. So, I’m going to start in modern day neopaganism and wiccanism and I will work my way back into history. I think that will be the coolest way for me to go about doing this.

The symbol above is a representation of the Maiden/Virgin, Mother, and Crone. In order, respectfully, there is a waxing moon representing enchantment and birth, a full moon representing fertility and power, and a waning moon representing death and wisdom. These are figures seem to have come from the three goddesses of the moon from Greek mythology – Artemis (virgin goddess of the hunt), Selene (mother), and Hecate (a wise old witch).

Hecate was also involved in another triple goddess formation when she became involved with Demeter’s search for Persephone when the young girl was abducted to the Underworld. Hecate helped to commence the search, and once the deal was struck, accompanied Persephone down to Hades annually. Hecate – Older woman or crone. Demeter – Mother. Persephone – Maiden.

Hecate on her own was/is also represented by three separate figures that combine to create a unified figure. She is a goddess of the Underworld responsible for witchcraft and darkness. On her own, she already has the three “phases” of the moon mentioned in today’s modern day neopaganist and wiccan religions – facing three different directions, Hecate is symbolic of three different natures of Woman. She is not only the goddess associated with darkness and witchcraft, but childbirth, protection, and motherhood, despite being a virgin goddess.

Hecate was also something of an equivalent to Isis in Egyptian myth.

BUT continuing the importance of the Triple Goddess –

the ever-mentioned Astarte in our poem also had her very own place in a 3xGoddess formation. With Qudshu (Qetesh/Athirat/Asherah) as the mother figure (sexual pleasure and fertility), and Anat as the maiden (virgin goddess of war), Astarte played the crone (representative of divinity, reproductive power of nature, and war) kind of combining the maiden and the mother into one. She was almost directly adapted into Aphrodite – her Phoenecian association with the “star” Venus stuck with her. Wikiepedia says that Astarte was also “one of the Canaanite deities whom the Israelites must abhor.” If only I knew more about the Bible…

Anyway – that’s the gist of it. Now that I’ve read the entire poem, I actually think I see a way that this idea of a triple goddess can be connected to the poem. But it is indeed far-fetched.

This is definitely a poem that I am going to wish we could spend forever on, but as it is, I know I’ll just have to come back to it later and get to know it just a little bit better. It’s so wonderful and full of gumph!

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2 Responses to “Triple Goddess”

  1. imalekgh says:

    Well, Astarte was a goddess much earlier than Aphrodite was even a concept that could be worshipped. Also, the triple goddess is typically looked at as all are equally important – they are also neither ACTUALLY the others’ mother, daughter, or grandmother (the crone/hag/witch figure is typically seen as the oldest). Essentially, they are all on a single level of divinity, they just represent different aspects of the same thing.

    The connections that creates this arc between Astarte and Aphrodite is relatively simple and a natural kind of progression. One of these connections is – Astarte was considered a deity manifestation of the evening star. The evening star, just like the morning star and by any other name, is the planet we know today as Venus. Also, Astarte’s ties to fertility and sexuality –> Aphrodite. Even some of their symbols are the same, for example the dove is a symbol of both.

    Something cool that I also just realized is – the symbol for the evening star is a star inside a circle. A star inside… a halo? Hmmm. Maybe that’s a bit far-fetched 🙂

    It’s just the way history goes – gods and goddesses were adapted between cultures to suit the needs of those cultures. As an example, Bacchus/Dionysus was adapted from a middle eastern god of wine and entertainment – that’s why he is almost always represented in “feminine” (to the Romans/Greeks) robes as opposed to the more “manly” toga, because in the middle east they wore robes. But anyway, cultures take from each other all the time and I think Astarte –> Aphrodite is just a huge example of that. Cultures always need a goddess to represent fertility and reproduction, because fertility is what keeps the Earth alive. Astarte and Aphrodite serve as essential and necessary explanations of the natural world.

    I hope that helps haha And I think it would be so cool if we could take time out in class and just spend that time with the goddesses, God, and the angels just talking about symbolism and the evolution of their existence – but I’m sure there’s already so much to talk about! I guess we just have to wait and see! 🙂 If not, hey, keep commenting – I love talking about this sort of stuff!

  2. Kristina Tkac says:

    I can definitely see how this is connected to the poem especially Astarte.
    I know you said,
    “Qudshu (Qetesh/Athirat/Asherah) as the mother figure (sexual pleasure and fertility), and Anat as the maiden (virgin goddess of war), Astarte played the crone (representative of divinity, reproductive power of nature, and war) kind of combining the maiden and the mother into one. She was almost directly adapted into Aphrodite – her Phoenecian association with the “star” Venus stuck with her.”

    But I guess what I do not understand is how she was almost directly adapted into Aphrodite? The whole goddess concept is starting to make more sense throughout the poem and now that I have read up on it more. But I do not comprehend how one can adapt into another? Is it because Aphrodite was love? And Astarte’s mother was for sexual pleasure? Or because she was a representation of fertility which in return could relate back to love and sex? Or do I just got this all wrong?

    Could we possibly try and go over it in class a little?!
    But good post this really made everything connect in a really different way for me!