This post is part of an assignment for my Birth-Death-Regeneration: Triple Goddess class at Ocean Seminary College.
First, I considered the relevance of the triple goddess concept and maiden, mother, crone archetypes/stages in my own life. I appreciate the expanded concept of the Women’s Wheel of Life elucidated by Elizabeth Davis and Carol Leonard and find there is more room within their construct for women to identify with the Wheel. The expanded wheel includes:
The Blood Sister
The Dark Mother
However, I also find the original Triple Goddess concept is still useful. Why? Simply because in very, very broad ways, they encompass the three blood mysteries of womanhood and serve as clearly recognizable transition points in my own life. My life IS in fact divided into three distinct stages. Before menarche and after menarche are distinctly recognizable in my memory. A couple of months ago I finished working through a Women’s Rites of Passage workbook and in it we were asked to explore our relationship with menstruation. I was surprised to discover and write the following:
I was shocked to discover during the first menstruation meditation that there is a clear division in my bodymind between before menstruation and after and that after involves less happiness and more confusion and angst and altered relationship to my body. In the meditation I saw/experienced myself as carefree and happy prior to menstruation and also eagerly awaiting her arrival. Post-menstruation I recalled the intensely painful cycles I experienced, the feeling as if I was “sick” when I had my period, and no longer feeling in blissful harmony with my body. Giving birth in power and joy helped me reclaim my body joy, but it is only in the last year that I’ve begun to consider that moontime itself might hold sacred wisdom and opportunity for connection…
As referenced, giving birth is also a distinct, transformative and intiatory rite in my own life. As with menstruation, I also observe a definite distinction between before motherhood and after motherhood. And, in many ways, I am not the same person I was before going through this rite of transformation.
Finally, while I’m not to the Crone stage yet, I can sense that this will be similar only it will likely represent the division between life as a mother with children at home and life as a mother with adult children.
I wish to acknowledge that I know that many women do not become mothers for a variety of reasons, so they may in fact feel excluded from the very transitions and distinctions I describe above. That is why I prefer Davis and Leonard’s exploration of 13 archetypes. And, it is not my intention to make any reader feel excluded or overlooked by the Triple Goddess image, just to explain how I am able to see her represented in my own life’s trajectory.
As I have described previously, within my circle of friends, we have been wonderful for some time at celebrating the Blood/Women’s Mysteries. We have Mother Blessing ceremonies for each pregnant woman as well as maiden ceremonies for our girls who are coming of age. My mother and her friends had a coming of age ceremony for all of their daughters when I was 13 (and my sister 11) and it was very meaningful for us. Two years ago, I facilitated a blessingway ceremony for all of my friends’ 10-12 year old daughters follow a series of Meetings at the Moon classes. We also had a new SageWoman ceremony just this month to honor the wise women among us. One of my goals is to have a regular monthly Moon Circle–to bring some of that sense of celebration and power from our Mother Blessing ceremonies more fully into our lives and to celebrate the fullness and completeness of women-in-themselves, not just of value while pregnant. (In January 2011 some friends and I did begin holding quarterly women’s retreats loosely based on the seasonal cycles, with the intention of perhaps having this become a monthly circle, and with the intention of celebrating our lives, whatever the stage or experience.)
As I read the material for this lesson, I was thinking about the wheel of the year and about the woman’s wheel of life and I decided it was time to make my 2013 Moon Calamandala drawing! It seemed like the perfect time! The Moon Calamandala (TM* ;) ) includes the dates of each full moon in 2013. It also includes a variety of “womanrune” symbols to pictorially explore what our family would like to bring into our lives during each quarter. In the classes I teach, sometimes I encourage my students to think in circles rather than in lines. To me, this is what the Moon Calamandala represents as well. Here, we see the year as a cycle, a circle, another turn around the sun, rather than as a series of linear boxes as a graph, implying a distinct beginning and ending. The four goddess images represent the seasons and the four quarters of the year. Within each quarter are that quarter’s moons and the womanrunes symbols I chose to indicate family hopes, dreams, or plans for that part of the year. The waxing and waning moons are also indicated symbolically.
My 2012 Moon Calamandala (above) and the 2013 drawing ready to go into the frame. You can see a larger image and description of my 2012 calendar in this post, which was part of an assignment for a different class at OSC.
Seemingly appropriate for the Mother turn of the wheel, I received much assistance from my littlest one as I was completing the calamandala: