Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not Here, Not There

When I was trying to grow up both female and Catholic, the church kept telling me about "the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." And when we uppity women got too '"hysterical" to ignore, they threw us a bone and said, "Oh, yeah, well, the Holy Ghost? That sexless, inhuman dove or flame or whatever the fuck it was? That "thing" that gets so much less attention than the sexed, humanized Father and Son? That's you. That's the "divine feminine," or "wisdom," or "Sophia," at least to the Greek Orthodox, or something; can't you shut up now?"

Well, no.

And, so I was ready-made to be attracted to Wicca, with it's real trinity of Maiden, Mother, Crone. Now that's a trinity that I can understand and one that has nurtured my spiritul development for nigh on a quarter of a century, and it's the spiritual truth that I expect will be on my lips and in my heart when I dance across the river between my garden in Virginia and the orchards in the Summerlands (it's a thin border and a river full of crossing stones. I can see it, once it a while; I think that I'll be good at making that crossing, even as rooted as I am to this particular place.)

And, yet, like so many symbols, that trinity glosses over a lot of subtelties. And, especially as women live longer and fulfill more roles within the world, we're finding that there are a hundred different variations and subcategories between those three markers/archetypes. One of the most discussed, within the feminist Pagan community, is a fourth stage sometimes called: Queen. This is the woman whose family is raised (or who has mothered a creative project, social justice movement, business, work of art, or garden (hell, sometimes all of those) to fruition)and who is, in this day and age of modern medicine and preventive health measures, still sexual, active, vital, alive, able to create and grow quite a lot before she goes off (as I am beginning to long to do) to sit by the fire, dispense wisdom when asked, nap, and reflect. She's what I think that the Empress card was really meant to show and she's a combination of the Queens of Swords, Wands, Cups, and Pentacles. (We all wind up knowing at least something of all of them, by the time we get to be 50/60 something.)

Another, it occured to me today, is the Mature Mother. I was sitting in my garden and thinking about Ruby Sarah's recent post about Beltane being the holiday when the Kore laughs birds and flowers. And realizing that, for many, if not most, women in our society, Beltane sex, the kind that impregnates you (and any child or project born in late February/early March is counted lucky, as "Beltane got"), is often not quite the experience of a Kore, the young maiden just experimenting with sex. She's not Persephone, gathering flowers with her girlfriends and caught, all unawares, by Hades. She's more likely to have already gotten her education, learned to enjoy and use sex, started her career, traveled a bit (if my own acquaintances are any indication), sown some wild oats, had some fun, and then decided -- deliberately -- to have a child (birth a business, found a movement, etc.). Which is the great blessing that birth control allows to those of us living in the late 20th/early 21st Centuries. And, for that woman, that Mature Mother who is no longer a Kore, but not yet a Queen, sex -- and pregnancy and motherhood -- is likely to be quite different from those same experiences when had by a Kore, who can sometimes find herself (Goddess knows, I did) torn a bit unexpectedly and unprepared from her girlhood and into womanhood/motherhood, from nurturing herownself into nurturing a child, project, cause.

And, for me, gardening this year -- just after a once-every-several-centuries Winter and in the midst of both warming spells that have oak pollen falling two weeks before its normal Beltane fall and cooling trends that threaten with frost seedlings put out after our "normal" last frost date -- calls to this Mature Mother, this woman who has learned how to manage the changing weather of lovers (human, weather-got, Herne, or Greenman), my get (children, projects, briefs, art, businesses, etc.), myself. I'm not the Kore, rocked and challenged by pregnancy and parenting. I'm not yet the Queen, ready to rule based on all that I've learned. I'm still in the final stages of the Mature Mother, working now on giving birth to Myself, that person who may have gotten lost a bit, (primordial soup, the stuff of Hecate) but also created, in between Maiden and Mother.

May it be so for you. Blessed Beltane.

Picture found here.


donna said...

It's good to be the Queen. ;^)

Sometimes I'm still at Mature Mother stage too, though!

Makarios said...

Whatever, whenever, wherever--long may you wave.

CrowsFoxes said...

Lunaea Weatherstone has a wonderful post on a tarot spread about the Queenship of your life. Haven't pulled the cards yet, but it's something I'm planning on doing later.

Hail Regina!

Lee said...

I really resonate with the Mature Mother stage. I had not thought of it in those terms. Thanks for articulating that.

Teacats said...

Just reading "The Book of Witchery" by Ellen Dugan -- she outlines various magical ways and means for each day of the week. I just checked out her ideas for Saturday -- since Beltane falls on that day -- and guess what? Hecate (in her triple form -- Maiden, MOther, Crone OR Peresphone, Demeter and Hecate OR Warrior, Witch and Sage) rules on Saturday! Dugan calls the day a "day to clean house" since it is symbolized by Temperance, Knight of Swords and the Two of Swords. Fascinating!

Just some thoughts .....

Cheers! Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Teacats said...

And another wonderful Beltane video!

Hail to Queen of the May!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Mari said...

Working on becoming the Queen! Thank you for your blog.

Nance said...

I have been laboring to accept my status as Crone...let my gray grow in; accept that both my BMI and my body fat percentage are probably not going to decline again; accept that I've got as much wisdom as anyone my age and, probably, more for having worked so hard at it; embrace this insatiable desire for understanding, this boredom with fiction and fascination for nonfiction. I am no less thrilled and excited by life, but it is such a new definition of Life that I am unaccustomed to it. How old will I be when I stop feeling brand new at aging?

Love your blog...I will learn things here.