My favorite symbol is the triquetra, pictured above. It is a symbol that represents the “trinity”, for example:
birth, death, rebirth
creation, manifestation, destruction
past, present, future
Or, the triquetra can represent my personal favorite trinity: the Triple Goddess.
The Triple Goddess is a compilation of three feminine archetypes—The Maiden, the Mother and the Crone.
An archetype (“arche”= original/origin; “type” = model/pattern) is an expression of a particular kind of energy we all recognize when we hear it. Many archetypes survive through time (Magician), others emerge in only certain cultures or times (MAGA), and some eventually fall out of common usage (Scribe).
For a study of another common archetype, the saboteur, visit this article:
The Maiden is the archetype of youth, characterized by curiosity, innocence, new beginnings.
The Mother is the archetype of responsibility, of giving birth (not only to children but to ideas), of building a foundation and nurturing a home environment.
The Crone is the archetype of feminine wisdom, reflection, and letting go.
Any woman (and men, too), at any age, can tap into the energy of any of the three archetypes; i.e., a woman in her crone years can tap into the curiosity and freedom of youth, and many a maiden is wise beyond her years.
Having said that, these three archetypes do most often correspond to certain stages and ages of life—the maiden being the young woman, the mother carrying her into the midlife transition, and finally the crone, the woman who has completed her creations and is now offering wisdom to the next generations.
As I have reached the empty-nester stage in my life, I feel the call of the crone. The part of me that is shifting from receiving knowledge to giving it. From looking for mentors to being one.
I aim to continue to deepen my wisdom as I grow older. Contrary to some cultural beliefs, it is not true that we all become wiser as we grow in age. Some of us just grow older—and more bitter and closed off to boot. Take for example this quote by Micheal Meade in his book “Fate and Destiny.”
The passing of time makes everyone older, but not necessarily wiser. People either wise up to who they are at their core of their soul or else tend to slip into narrow, egocentric patterns…many actually become more childish in old age.
Cultivating wisdom, and one day becoming a true elder that can help usher younger generations into their wisdom, requires intentionality, passion, and pursuit. And, wisdom requires five essential ingredients:
Humility is a misunderstood quality in our culture, where it is often used to keep people silent and compliant. But true humility asks us simply to question what we know, and admit what we don’t. Humility is the perfect starting point for growing wise.
Curiosity is not simply a trait for the young—or for the maiden—but for the young-at-heart. Wisdom cannot be gained without actively seeking more and more truth — even as we know that “truth” often changes. What do you wish to know? Who might you want to learn from? The teachers and the teachings stop flowing only when we do.
If there is one piece of advice elders hand down to the younger generations, it is this: reflect on your life, and do it often. But because we are so busy, many people don’t take the time to reflect on their lives until nearly the end. By bringing reflection into our daily practices, however, we can learn, and grow, as we go.
As much as we might wish that wisdom could simply be heard or read and then embodied, for us to truly become wise we must experience life for ourselves. We have to try things. Fail now and then. Get lost on occasion. These things are mandatory; wisdom will not arise through careful living.
Nothing happens without the heat of the fire of desire! But how to keep it lit day after day, year after year, in a world that would like nothing better than to put our fires out? That answer lies within our souls, and what they came here to do.
I look forward to these next years of my life as I transition from the Mother into the Crone. And I will do so by continuing to invest in the ingredients that make for great wisdom.
Award-Winning Author & Wholeness Advocate
Interview on Illumination
Author: Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness — A Memoir of New Beginnings, winner of the 2020 IPA for Body, Mind and Spirit
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