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January 30, 2011

More meandering of a tired brain.

There are many triples in the world of Paganism, especially where the feminine divinities are concerned.  Ancient Greeks were less concerned with roles it seems but they do have a few (or modern scholarship has attributed a few, I haven’t decided which).  The one in bold seems to be the most historically accurate.

  • Maiden, Mother, Crone/Grandmother (sorry this on always makes me gag and I think it is inaccurate)
  • Maiden/Virgin, Wife/Bride, Mother (I like this one, it feels right to me)
  • Maiden, Wife, Widow (eh, don’t like this one either as it makes ones role defined upon a husband only)
  • Maiden, Wife, Woman (as in belonging to herself, more new agey)

A number of Goddesses are plugged into these roles:  (remember Hekate was never portrayed in ancient times as a crone that is a modern view only.  Heck even Rhea who was mother or grandmother to most of the gods was never portrayed as a crone either.  In Lagina, Hekate was seen as a Mother Goddess.  Oh and maidens were not necessarily virginal they just didn’t belong to any man.  Hera, while a mother to at least 2 children, was never defined as a mother only as the wife of Zeus.)

  • Hebe, Hera, Hekate
  • Artemis, Hera, Hekate
  • Hekate, Persephone, Demeter
  • Kore, Demeter, Hekate

I’m sure there are a few more that my tired brain is forgetting.  I find it interesting that Hekate is in every ancient Greek triplet that I have ever seen.  I believe that this is because before her worship arrived in Greece, she was an all-encompassing goddess.  Her arrival in Greece caused her role to become limited because either she had too much power (so she was broke into individual goddesses which in a way made her more accessible/comprehensible) or because there was already a pantheon in place where her powers overlapped causing her to become nothing more than that Ghost and Magick Goddess.  Do I have anything concrete to back this up?  Nope.  Just a lot of reading and a lot of stewing, so don’t present this as fact to anyone or you’ll be laughed out of the room.

There just isn’t enough ancient material to fill in the gaps, no matter what some scholars say.  Myths serve many functions but an important thing to remember is that they are stories made up by men to aid in memorization of something, to teach something, to create a reason for why something was done in a particular way, to explain some natural “order”, etc.  They were not handed down by the gods.  Every time I start to get caught up in what the myths say, I am reminded of something that Zeus told me in a meditation.  “Do not learn about me from myths.  That is like learning about your movie stars from gossip magazines.”  This shocked me and still has the power to shock me.  I was raised a Roman Catholic and was taught that the bible is TRUTH.  So I’ve always figured that myths were to be trated in a similar fashion.  (This is how I know that it wasn’t my psyche talking during that meditation because I would have NEVER come up with that on my own.)  While there is some layer of truth in myths, I don’t think it is usually literal truth.  (If sex happens with actual animals in this day and age, please, I don’t want to know.)  Their purpose seems to be to make you think.  Myths tell what the ancients believed to cause the season for example or why you should always be polite and hospitable to strangers or why you should or shouldn’t act in a certain fashion or why there are ills in the world, etc.  Some myths are simply an ego boost.  “Oh yeah well Zeus is my ancestor so I’m better than you.”

Hmmm…I seem to have lost were I’m going with this…so I’ll call it a night.  Just remember, myths are not literal but teaching tools and we do not have the same cultural lens with which to view them.  Some myths will never make sense to us.


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