I read recently that Gerald Gardner introduced the concept of the threefold moon cycle-based Goddess, but I can’t find any sources to confirm that. I did turn up a couple of references that he and/or Raymond Buckland created or expounded upon the Threefold Law (whatever you send out into the universe returns to you three times over.)
Threefold or triple goddesses are as ancient as the first myths. This Wikipedia page concentrates almost entirely on Greek and Roman goddess triads. It mentions the Irish Brigid but doesn’t include her in the list. It does include The Morrigan. Hecate is mentioned multiple times as an aspect of the triple moon goddess. Since Hecate was the only god to help Demeter when she was searching for Persephone, I think of them as a triad: Maiden, Mother, Wise Woman. That combination is not listed on the Wikipedia page.
Being pagan is a lifelong learning process. There is a reason it’s called the craft. When I was 15, maybe a little younger, I became enamored with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone represented in the cycles of the moon. Having recently, (about two and a half years ago) returned to exclusively studying and practicing Wicca, I’ve realized that I feel more attuned to the cycles of the earth than that of the moon.
I have this poster, Les Saisons, by Mucha, hanging over my dresser/altar. (Please note that I am no longer recommending products from Amazon.com because they refuse to address their business relationship with NRA-supporting Fedex.) On my poster, Winter is in the last panel.
I’m drawn to the idea of a fourfold Goddess: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. I’m a Capricorn, an earth sign, and my favorite plants are trees. I’m also fascinated with fungi, and trees and fungi go together like clown fish and anemones. Mushrooms grow in the rich earth of the forest floor, beneath and on trees, especially oaks. They also grow on dead trees and help the process of decay.
The moon controls the tides and thus life on Earth. I understand why our ancient ancestors assigned such importance to lunar and solar deities. I want a four-fold earth goddess representing each season because She would speak to me more powerfully than a lunar goddess. I feel that a four-fold Goddess also more accurately represents the stages of a woman’s life in the 21st century. We need a representation of women my age, women in middle age. I’m trying to create this Goddess on my altar with figurines. I’m a visual, tactile person. That’s one reason that, as a child, I found the visual ceremony of the Catholic church so fascinating. I guess that’s why it’s so easy for me to picture a scene in a book in my mind and why I’m drawn to descriptive language. Unfortunately, I can’t quite translate what’s in my head to paper the way that visual artists can.
“That’s just a made-up religion” is something that pagans, heathens, witches, and Wiccans hear all the time. All religions are made up in the sense that human beings played a part in bringing them to life. One day, I’ll create my 4-in-1 goddess for myself, and maybe people with the same yearning will seek Her and venerate Her.