Friday, October 29, 2010
I politely disagree on just the three and offer up an additional two phases…
The Maiden archetype is generally depicted in white with long, flowing blond hair. She is running through a meadow, communing with the animals, and basking in the glow of nature. She is innocent, not aware of the ways of the world. She is just coming into her own and at peace with herself.
How many teenagers these days are like that?
In my mind, a Maiden falls in the birth to preteen age group. She exhibits the youthful innocence that has come to be expected of the archetype and has not yet become worn down or jaded against the expectations of society.
I was introduced to the concept of the Warrior phase while working on my degree studies through the Family Wiccan Traditions International (which has since disbanded). Since I always felt that there was a huge gap between the Maiden and Mother, I quickly folded the Warrior into my own life and belief system.
The Warrior represents women from their teens until somewhere in their mid-twenties. She is on a quest to discover who she is and what she wants out of her life. She is learning when to take a stand, fighting fiercely for something she believes in. She is also learning when to compromise. She may or may not be in a relationship, but understands that her needs and happiness come first.
The standard image of the Mother is a woman who is with child or one who is holding a small child in her arms. She has long dark hair and wears red, for the blood that she has shed. She is the nurturer, guide, and protector for those to come.
To me, the Mother does not have to actually have children. She not only nurtures her children (and pets), but herself, her significant other (if she has one), family, friends, and her career. She is fiercely protective of the ones she loves and guides the younger generations with a gentle, but firm hand. She is represented by women in their late twenties until early forties.
I always felt that there was another gap between the Mother and Crone, but never knew what to call that particular phase. In the SageWoman Magazine issue 74, entitled Visions of the Goddess: Queen, I found what I had been seeking in an article called “Why We Need the Queen.”
The Queen presides over the woman in their late forties until their late fifties to early sixties. If she has children, they are grown and beginning their own lives. They are wiser, still have “it,” and pretty much have life figured out. They are living out their dreams, taking risks, and doing what they want to do when they want to.
Cloaked in a veil of darkness, the Crone breathes wisdom into the younger generations. She has lived a long, full life and retains her blood each month. She has done her duties and now is her time of rest. Her light still shines, but is dimmed by experience.
With women living longer than ever and more active in their older years (my grandmother is still feisty at 87), the entire image of the crone has changed. She still clings to her youth (especially if there are grandchildren) and serves as a Matron and respected elder of the family. She pursues her hobbies, may still work, and keeps busy doing things she loves. She has learned from experience and applies the wisdom she has acquired, not making the same mistakes anymore. She is loved and celebrated by all, sought out for council, and living on her terms.
So there they are - my five female archetypes.