Maiden Mother Crone
By Christine Schultz
I love Ruth Gendler’s Book of Qualities. It personifies concepts such as loneliness, patience, and forgiveness. Forever, we humans have been anthropomorphizing characteristics, principles, and even times of life. This shows up in all ancient and modern religions, fairy tales, myths and legends. These characters, including those considered gods and goddesses, metaphorically deliver wisdom by way of stories and poetry over and over in different ways. I love picking apart the qualities of the archetypes in ancient and modern literature.
The crone archetype is an old woman who readies herself for death. Maiden is the archetype who emerges. It’s the circle of life. Yet, there is this very interesting thing that happens throughout life: it’s all the little life-death cycles that constantly take place within each incarnation. In nature, a leaf falls from a tree, and the next year more than one grows on the branch where the old one fell. It is part of all life to shed, be reborn, and advance. It’s possible also for a crone to once again feel like a maiden while shedding old, unnecessary behaviors and thinking patterns. And a maiden may experience what crone represents when she experiences the growing pains of letting childhood go. The same is true for the mother who is continually pruning and trimming what is not needed as she moves forward in her maturation. Our brains do this too: in our sleep (death analogy) the brain trims extra and unnecessary connections while fortifying what is needed. We are constantly releasing aspects of ourselves throughout life. It’s often difficult and painful to let go, and yet that is when growth occurs.
The trimmings are difficult to release and ego fights it. While ego is kicking and screaming, it’s in the process of letting go that allows us to grow into a more mature version of ourselves. Ego can be very stubborn, and the pain of letting go is the pain of the ego. One can remain in victim mode for days, years, even lifetimes. If we’re not fooled, however, ego does acquiesce and come around. It’s a constant cycle of releasing what the ego insists is important. Then the ego integrates a more broad, even universal truth into the evolved version of itself.
The psychological and moral growth struggle of ego release feels the hell of anger and self-doubt. Yet, that place is where we receive nutrition for all new growth. It’s illustrated as mud under the lotus flower; the myth of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, and as yin to yang. It is the feminine aspect of ourselves - receptivity. It is where we receive new information.
It’s a constant upward spiral of maturation by way of moving through difficulties, shifting our perception, and integrating. We burst through the quagmire of being a victim, forgive ourselves and others, and are launched into understanding our connection to the divine purpose of all there IS from the soul’s perspective rather viewing things from the ego’s perspective - until the next cycle begins.