I'm sure many pagans are familiar with the Maiden-Mother-Crone goddess often found within Wicca and other modern forms of paganism. There seems to be a misunderstanding, however, that this was a widespread ancient Goddess. I am only aware of one example of a goddess, Hera, being worshiped as girl, wife, and widow in one of her ancient shrines - and she was not a moon goddess. Additionally, some take this to mean that all ancient Goddesses can, or should, be put into one of the three even when they, historically, would not fit into one. Hekate comes to mind first, often called a crone goddess, and yet she was very much a virgin-maiden to most of the ancient Greek world. I have no doubt she appears as crone to some, yet the Greeks saw her this way for a reason, and to completely overlook it misses out on understanding a big part of her character. (Really, the whole Artemis-Selene-Hekate thing is bound to be it's own post, soon enough.)
But really, it's not just goddesses, but women who try to fit into one of these three groups. For some women these are powerful archetypes to connect with - but there are many of us who just do not fit in. Some try to work around it by saying, well, if you create, or nurture, then you are a mother! But... I create art. Why do we lump artist in with mother? Why can't artist be it's own stand-alone archetype. Well, I mean it is, there are so many more archetypes for a woman to explore if one wants to do so.
I'm not a mother. I do not fit with that group, and I do not want to take away from the mothers by insisting that I somehow fit there, for doing other things that don't really have to do with motherhood. So does it make me a maiden, or crone?
Well, no. I am thirty years old. There are some aspects of maidenhood still within in me, for sure, but there is a lot that is no longer there. I am not a mother, as was said, and in fact the medical issues I had last year? They resulted in a hysterectomy - at my own choice. I have never wanted biological children, and I do not want children at all. I love kids, I really do, but I don't want to be a mom. So having had the hysterectomy, did I jump right into being a crone? Well, no. Again, thirty years old, not quite what I'd call a crone - even if I do notice some traits associated with crones starting to emerge.
Honestly, this is something I have seen a lot of women struggling with, especially those of us who have had early hysterectomies - and especially those who did not want them, but had no choice. They end up feeling left out, when that's not necessary at all! Where is the warrior, the queen, the poet-scribe, the artist, the muse, the hunter, the healer, the priestess?
Humans are complex creatures. I do not think there are many of us who fit totally into one nice neat archetype. A mother can be an artist. A maiden can be a healer. A crone can be a warrior. A woman can reject maiden-mother-crone and still find herself priestess-queen, or anything else. So often pagans love to reject labels, want to be outside the box and all that, so why are we limiting ourselves to these three archetypes as if that's how it's always been, or all there is?