Triple Goddess
Triple Goddess
  Bride,  Mother & CRONE [Panel 8]

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Panel 8
Panel 9
Panel 10


[Panel 8] The initiate has experienced the mystery of connection to a power greater than themselves.  She is now ready for her next great initiation ceremony, that of marriage.
Here we find our initiate as a seated bride dressing her hair as an angel exults.  She cannot be certain of her fate but she remains assured that she has completed the necessary steps to become a full adult contributing member of the tribe.

fig. 1
Watercolor by Maria Barosso, 1925 after a detail of the young bride in the Roman wall painting in the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii (60-40 BC), .  The full scale reproduction is held by the The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan 

Ephugon Kakon, Heuron Ameinon: [Panel 9]
 I Have Fled the Worse and Found the Better

(A saying spoken at both initiations and weddings: )

 The next to last scene consists of a seated woman with a veiled head, who represents a successful transition from girlhood to matronhood.

Initiation into the Dionysiac secret society (or 'thiasos') may have been incorporation into an actual living community, which is nevertheless also a community of the next world. It secures the fate of the initiated in this world and the next: when compared with the unforgettable experience of his initiation, the physical death of the initiate hardly counts as a transition at all. [Panel 9] & [Panel 10]

Virgin Mother Crone
Myth and Mystery of the Triple Goddess

 The three final scenes, a woman dressing her hair as a bride, a matron or mother watching approvingly and love-god Eros also assenting, complete the cycle.

 The Virgin, responsible for herself; Mother, the nurturing woman in the fullness of life; and Crone, the wise, old healing woman. This is the dynamic by which the Cosmos unfolds, giving us our creative magic that allows the creative, continual transformation of the culture.

The goddess triad represents three distinct phases of a women's life which correspond with the three phases of the moon (waxing, full and waning). Virgin representing the strong, self-defined goddess. Mother representing the nurturing goddess as source of all nourishment, and the crone representing the goddess of death and transformation. The archetype allows the initiate to   embraces her role as the god of life in all phases of existence, from birth through death to rebirth.

Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer From the earliest ages, the concept of the Great Goddess was a trinity and the model for all subsequent trinities, female, male or mixed.  From the Brahmans who evolved a male trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to play these parts to Christianity's Holy Trinity of father, son and holy ghost the powerful men in charge have tended to replace the feminine with the masculine. Even androgynous Dionysus himself, as a life-death-rebirth deity reflects this tendency.  The shift back from the relentless patriarchal takeover of this powerful female archetype by innumerable traditions during the last two great ages remains as one of the more significant thresholds to cross for the 21st century to mark the beginning of a new great age.

Eros, a son of Chronos or Saturn, god of Love, is the final figure in the narrative.





In Aristophanes' Frogs Herakles tells Dionysos of the [Eleusinian] initiands whom he will later see in the underworld enjoying a blessed afterlife, the most cherished benefit conferred by the initiation."

Three things distinguish living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are: the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road and the patience to learn deep love over time."
---Clarissa Pinkola-Estes "Women Who Run with the Wolves"

Initiation || Pompeii ritual meal page 1 || Journey begins page 2 |moment_before_the_revealing page 3|  This is our final page but find more related images here



Dorothy: Synchronicity means meaningful coincidence, it is often used by the intuitive to recognize they are on the correct path of their true destiny.
One our culture's great sychronicities strikes chords in concert with this girl's initiation in Pompeii and Dorothy. Like our initiate above, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz also immortalized a successful girl to woman dark sea journey. Playing the soundtrack of Pink Floyd's classic album, the dark side of the moon next to a video of the Wizard of Oz results in a remarkable number of matched scene transitions.
[click images to learn more]
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Hecate, the underworld goddess of witchcraft, was the only child of the Titans Perses and Asteria. From her parents she inherited powers over the earth, sea and heavens. She assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone and after their reunion became Persephone's minister and companion in Hades. She was closely associated with Eleusinian mysteries.  Hecate was called Triformis and shown with three faces, each a lunar phase.As the "goddess of three forms" she was Luna (the moon) in heaven, Diana (Artemis) on earth, and Hecate of the underworld.

At midnight, Hecate's devotees would leave food offerings at intersections for the goddess ('Hecate's Supper'), and, once deposited, quickly exit without turning around or looking back.
Hecate in Antiquity by Robert Von Rudloff, M.Sc., M.A. of Horned Owl Publishing

The Trinity
a mythological survey

the orphic egg

The ancient symbol of the Orphic Mysteries (Dionysos is the principle Orphic deity) was the serpent-entwined egg which signified Cosmos as encircled by the fiery Creative Spirit. The egg also represents the soul of the philosopher; the serpent, the Mysteries. At the time of initiation the shell is broken and man emerges from the embryonic state of physical existence wherein he had remained through the fetal period of philosophic regeneration.

An interpretation for a contemporary woman who needs an encounter with the wild and wanton spirit of Dionysus

"As I am the initiate in this inner drama, I take for myself the poses of the initiate in the mystery. I take the red background. Other aspects I am free to interpret. I divide the story into seven stages, as seven is the mystical number of initiation. "
Continue this alternative story of the Villa of the Mysteries


Also visit our survey of the Orphic mysteries which, as a successor to these Bacchic rites competed against Christianity for the first few centuries of the great age we are now departing.

For those of you thirsting for insight into the culture's spiritual path we wish you good blessings and recommend the essay: Love by R.W. Emerson

"I was as a gem concealed;
Me my burning ray revealed."


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