If someone asks you to describe your personality, how do you explain who you are? I tend to discuss my personality from a psychological perspective (introverted, conscientious, etc.), but I’m also beginning to think of who I am and where I’m at in my development from a spiritual viewpoint. I believe the easiest way to do this is to start with an understanding of who Goddess is. For today’s #Thealogy Thursday, I’ll be discussing traditional views of Goddess, as well as newer conceptualizations; I’ll also interweave ways we can see ourselves in Her form.
The most familiar way of viewing Goddess to me is the three-fold model of maiden, mother and crone. I’ve referenced Starhawk’s classic The Spiral Dance for my explanation here. The maiden relates to the beginnings of development. She is free-spirited and filled with possibility. There is knowledge and experience she hasn’t yet tasted. The mother is found in creativity, in new life, in fullness. She loves and lives out her destiny. She knows herself and satisfies her desires. The crone shows up in wisdom and inner work. She intuits that which is needed, even if it means loss, because she knows loss leads to renewal and rebirth.
I conceptualize our personalities as consisting of all three at once, in various forms and expressions. I don’t think this viewpoint is consistent across practitioners of Goddess Spirituality, but personally I want to find a balancing point between each expression in me. Others may take these three typologies more directly, focusing their practice within one aspect of Goddess, and conceptualizing themselves in one of the three visages at different points as they age.
In The Spiral Dance, Starhawk also refers to a pentagram of life aspects, including new life, opening, fertility, inner work, and dying. The main difference between this and the three-fold Goddess prototype is the addition of the second stage, which involves self-definition and autonomy. I appreciate this addition because I struggle with Goddess models that place the group above the individual as the ultimate “feminine” way of being in the world.
Goddess can also be seen as nature, not just in nature. She is the very earth itself, and the moon above. I’ve deepened my practice of viewing myself and humanity through the metaphors presented in nature. My understanding of concepts tends towards the practical and the concrete, so this practice is extremely appealing to me because I find myself returning to the stories to make sense of various situations.
Lasara Firefox Allen’s Fivefold model, laid out in Jailbreaking the Goddess, is a way to view Goddess that is less strictly tied to female biological processes than the traditional model. Her typology includes Femella (Goddess as innocent), Potens (Goddess as warrior), Creatrix (Goddess as creator), Sapientia (Goddess as wisdom), and Antiqua (Goddess as aged one). I will need to spend more time with this model to determine how well I think it captures Goddess’ essence.
We can also use specific archetypes or mythologies to connect to expressions of Goddess at particular moments in our lives. I’ve found correspondence books to be helpful in this regard. I also use Goddess tarot and oracle cards to select the aspects of Goddess that I need to embody to handle specific situations.
Part of the beauty of myth is that it gives us a narrative to which we can attach our own comings and goings. I’ve perused the Women Who Run With the Wolves book by Clarissa Estes, and I’ve found that the story of Baba Yaga pops into my head in some situations. There may be certain stories that you find interweave themselves into your life, perhaps because you identify with one of the characters.
Goddess is much more than our individual personality and characteristics. She exists whether we see Her in ourselves or not. My perspective on Goddess spirituality is that it blends the esoteric and mundane, and that it has meaning for our personal lives. Somewhere in the many myths, visions, and conceptualizations of who She is, we are.