Over the last several years, there has been a growing interest in learning about the Triple Goddess symbol. Whether people come across the emblem while watching television and movies or stumble across it in literature or simply see someone wear this symbol, it sparks curiosity and the desire to learn more about it.
This powerful symbol is used today by people practicing certain religions such as Wicca, Paganism or Neopaganism. It has been around for decades while having deep origins in the past. So, what is the meaning behind the Triple Moon/Triple Goddess symbol? What does it symbolize? Read on and find out.
Triple Goddess/Triple Moon Symbol Meaning Explained
The short, simple answer to what the Triple Goddess symbol represents is the concept of maiden, mother, and crone. However, the short answer doesn’t provide much insight for those who aren’t familiar with this concept and/or Wiccan practices already. So, let’s get right into explaining it.
Maiden, Mother and Crone – The Triple Goddess in Pagan Faith
The maiden is represented in the symbol by the new moon. In our journey to dive deeper into the meaning, the moon phases are meant to reflect phases of a woman’s life or even phases of reproduction, with the life being divided into three parts, and the first being youth; the young, vibrant woman just starting on life’s path. This young woman is eager to explore all life offers but may still lack life’s valuable knowledge and experience.
The maiden is associated with the period when one learns about their spirituality and other aspects of young life, such as sensuality. It can also be a heightened time for creativity to bloom and prosper. This stage also represents a time of beginning new endeavors and learning about oneself and what goals they seek. Some of the most noteworthy deities represented as the maiden include Persephone, Artemis, Rhiannon, Freya, and Diana.
The full phase of the moon in the symbol is the mother. The mother, or the full moon part of the symbol, is about a time of mastering life and aspects of one’s personality. This part of the Triple Goddess can mean love and also a responsibility. This stage of life can call on one to learn about loving not only others but also themselves.
It can also represent power and learning to acquire and use that power to positively manifest things in life and manage power effectively. Learning to use power in a responsible, effective manner is indeed a challenge for a woman striving to perfect this process. Some of the most well-known mother figures or deities in history include Demeter, Selene, Ceres, Isis, Dani, and Badb.
The waning crescent moon in the symbol represents the crone. The crone is particularly associated with wisdom, specifically the power of acceptance—the acceptance of the process of life and the inevitable death of each person, including themselves.
This part of the symbol is significant because one has learned a great deal over their life span and is ready for what may come next. The most recognized crone symbols through history and mythology include Baba Yaga, Morrigan, Cailleach Bear, Hecate, and Kali.
The Origins of the Triple Goddess/Triple Moon Symbol
The origins of the Triple Goddess/Triple Moon symbol are controversial for many, but it would seem that Robert Graves first references the symbol we have become familiar with today. He was a poet and writer, and expert in mythology who published two distinct books in the 1930s called The White Goddess and The Greek Myths. However, some suggest the Triple Goddess deity or concept were hailing from ancient times in the Mediterranean and Eastern European cultures.
Ancient Accounts and Cultural Beliefs
Some interesting similarities in other cultures are the primary cause for such speculation, including in Greek culture, Hera. She was worshipped throughout ancient times as a girl, adult, and widow. In the Moirai culture, the three Fates are widely referenced and are part of popular culture today.
Some other examples include Tridevi, which are Sarawati, Lakshmi, and Kali, or even the Graces sometimes referred to as Charities. This concept is also prominently featured in ancient Celtic culture through the goddess Brighid in reference to smithcraft, poetry, and healing.
The deity that Robert Graves placed his focus upon and inspiration for this symbol is Hecate. She has been celebrated and worshiped for centuries and has been referred to as both Artemis and Diana in Greek and Roman mythology. Diana is symbolized by the moon, and both Artemis and Diana are associated with the hunt.
The writer Lucan provided a clear account of the Triple Goddess concept in the 1st century BCE in regard to witches. These witches were said to reference Persephone, a Greek goddess, as being the third aspect of Hecate. Another account and perhaps the first written instances of Hecate being referenced by three phases of the moon, or triple moon, were written by Porphyry in the 3rd century AD in his book On Images.
Uses of the Pagan/Wiccan Triple Goddess Symbol
Robert Cochrane has been credited for bringing the Triple Goddess design into the modern practice of witchcraft, which would eventually lead to the creation of the contemporary symbol and its uses in Wicca and other types of witchcraft practiced today. Practical uses for the Triple Goddess in Wiccan include prayer, rituals, and even magical works.
In many magical circles, particularly of Celtic origin, the High Priestess will wear crowns or head adornments that prominently feature this symbol. Its meaning in this context is feminine energy and psychic ability and would be used in rituals or ceremonies.
Today, many people wear the triple moon symbol as a representation of their spiritual beliefs. The triple moon design is commonly found in the form of necklaces, rings, and earrings. Many Wiccan items such as spellbooks and altars are also adorned with the Triple Goddess symbol.