Maiden, mother, crone, the triple goddess, three facets of the view of a woman's path through life, often through a pagan perspective.
Maiden,the spring of a woman's life, is the phase of a girl from around 10 or puberty to perhaps 21 or older.
Mother, summer of a woman's life, is the phase of bountiful child bearing years, responsibility, creativity, being at the height of the prime of life.
Crone, winter of a womans life, was perhaps seen as the phase from menopause, however we live longer now and many women view Crone from 65 +
So another phase has more recently began to grow within the long space between mother and crone... Maga, Autumn Queen or Enchantress, the autumn of a woman's life.
A phase of life where a woman no longer bears children, menopause is around the corner, currently occuring or passed by. She is gaining a new sexual power, a new sense of freedom in life. Maga is wiser, often spiritually and emotionally more mature, she knows her life, she has experience. She knows her mind. She is a spiritual creatrix.
With all her life experience she has the ability to truly give to her community if she chooses.
She is fifteen or twenty plus years off from becoming crone in todays times, and now may have grown up / or older children very often, which enables her more freedom to delve deeper into her interests and her own meaning to life.
I first read the word 'Maga' on Jane Hardwicke Collins website.
"The name ‘Maga’ came from one of the women in our community, Sylvia Keepers (**). An apt and potent image, ‘Maga’ was intended to represent the female version of ‘Magus’, who is the wise man and the magician.”
You'll be able to read her brilliant essay on Maga. here; http://www.moonsong.com.au/autumnwoman-harvestqueen/
Plus the article this quote came from here; http://goddessspiritrising.com/the-four-phase-feminine-way-by-jane-hardwicke-collings/
I was sure I had heard this phase before reading Jane's essays, in the pagan world but never really connected as it was using the word queen or autumn queen, and I haven't found much material on it as yet ( or when I find time to read) .
In 2017 I was part of a ceremony at a Women, Witch, Goddess gathering (WWAG), by Rebekah Ranger. Rebekah wrote a ceremony for our friend to honour her phase in life and acknowledge her spiritual progress.
The word Queen, or Autumn Witch, has already been used in Wiccan circles for a long time to honour this phase of a woman's life.
The Queen ceremony was one in which our friend was really coming into her own spiritually, I recall she was moving up within her Coven, she was very clearly reviving her very sexy stunning self, she was a grandmother too but wasnt by any means 'old'.
It was the first time I had seen anyone honoured in a ceremony as Queen or Maga in this way. It was beautiful.
Since then the words, Queen, Maga, Enchantress, Autumn Witch, I have noticed in more conversation, more blogs and articles. I love the word Enchantress which I feel personally fits this phase holistically but each person i speak to feels different about their preference of word.
Aside from the awful American meaning of maga, most people tend to go with Maga as the accepted name for the phase. I wonder if it's because it's the wider known name and was introduced via Jane Hardwick Hollings, as the Wiccan path isn't as easy to access for most people unless you emerse yourself.
It makes sense to include this facet into the path of the modern womans life, and honour a woman in the prime of her spirituality, her more mature body and mind, and her (hopefully) newly found sexual self. To help her feel empowered in her age, and not feel 'old' when she isnt, but instead enjoying turning fifty plus, welcoming menopause, loving the map of life that is her bodies physical experiences, feeling content with herself, and honouring her life experiences.
I have delved into the facet of Enchantress/ maga/ queen in depth recently, despite not feeling I am in the maga phase yet, as I have spent a few months creating a ceremony for a lady who feels she is entering her autumn years and wants to honour and welcome her autumn years of life.
It was an honour to be asked to create, I did all I could to create a ceremony I felt was suited to all she asked me to do.
During the ceremony it was clear that we really do need these in our community, not only as individuals but for our children to learn from too. Children are open, so much more than adults. We did a drum journey and a number of the girls came back from the journey with more feeling and insight than the adults.
If these girls can grow up with the memory and experience of this ceremony and other rites of passage ceremonies their own view of themselves, of life, would likely be more positive and hopefully their life experiences won't be as hard to manage when they are faced with different situations. They'll learn to embrace themselves, and they will pave a better future for their children. A greater sense of community would return. They will feel more open, empathy, and perhaps in my naivity it will contribute to the world being a better place.
I was sent a lovely thank you for the maga ceremony I wrote, these words show how important rites of passage can be as individuals too.
''A big thank you for a beautiful ceremony. It completely fulfilled me and was just the boost I needed to feel lighter and less, well, “old” ".
How amazing that someone can feel so much better about themselves after a ceremony. Every rite of passage I have attended I have witnessed a change in the person having gone through it.
They really do work for empowering people to feel good about their next phase in life.
I feel really lucky to have experienced life as I have, to have found my path and beliefs young , which enabled me to experience lots of rite of passage ceremonies, maiden, baby namings, mothers blessings, croning ceremonies, handfastings, and two pagan funerals. They are all mostly pagan in style but I have never been to two ceremonies that have been the same, even mothers blessings vary from person to person, as we are all unique with different ideas on what empowers us as individuals.
Each is so different and catered to the individual, which really gives these ceremonies so much more meaning.
Having walked alongside the maga, Enchantress, Autumn queen, Autumn witch facet of life these past few months, I am looking forward to embracing her wisdom within me, and especially seeing my hair colour change.
I fully encourage every woman reaching her autumn years to fully embrace it, own it, love life, enjoy your grey hairs, lack of menstruation, and deeper wisdom...a great phase of life, an added bonus in many ways gifted to us as we are gifted to live longer on earth than our ancestors.
Easy for me to say I know, I'm still very much within the mother realms, with a hint of maiden raising her head from time to time, I feel glimpses of maga, and teeny shimmers of crone, perhaps from past life or this one to come. We all have each of the facets of the woman's path, or goddess within us, any of which can arise anytime.
Let's enjoy being women.
I'll leave you with this by Jane Hardwick Collins because I think it's a great description by her.
Maiden ~ carefree
Mother ~ responsibility
Maga ~ carefree responsibility
Crone ~ responsibly carefree!