The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

Author:   Dharma Chai 

The Maiden

There was once a time in your life that everything was filled with wonder and hope. Everything was brand new, colorful and the world immense and full of beauty. We were young and innocent. Life was the priceless pearl we discovered by opening the shell. There were Fairy Tales with happy endings where everyone lived happily ever after, and we believed in this possibility. Dandelions were just as lovely as roses and we gathered them as offerings of love to our mothers. We were imaginative; our creative spark took us anywhere we wished to be. Strangers were exciting and mysterious, but were not to be feared. Instead they were heroes with make believe talents and abilities. Clouds became a never-ending parade of circus animals. Unicorns danced in our dreams. We were open to possibilities. We could be anything we wanted to be. We knew without a doubt that some day we would meet our prince charming. We would live happily ever after.

Over time, we were taught to be strong and capable. We were taught that dreams were okay, but we needed to keep our feet on the ground. Our heads were filled with ideals that weren’t our own. We learned to be afraid. The world wasn’t what we imagined, but a place where danger lurked at each corner.

Childlike and innocent is the Maiden. Her hopes and dreams are as certain as truth. Loving and gentle, her world is very fragile as her trust rules over fears. She dreams of a loving relationship that will outshine any tale. Yet she blushes easily when admired. She has not experienced the ways of the world. She is the eternal optimist. Her spirit cannot be crushed and hope reigns eternal. The world is enchanting and magickal. She resides within each of us as the innocent one. She dances with us in a field of wildflowers and tumbles to ground next to us in ecstasy. She whispers her secret desires to the winds and they tickle our ears as the find their place in our heart. We are the oysters and she is the pearl contained within. She is the beauty emanating from within our being for the world to see. She is pure, untouched by the harsh reality of the mundane world.

I can see her as if standing before me, her long hair flowing about her as she dances with the Fae in a circle beneath the crescent moon. Her graceful, lithe body moves gently in the rhythm of lunar energies. Her spirit glows, the radiant light emanating from her heart. Her long flowing gown cannot hide the young woman’s frame beneath. Her laughter is like chimes in my ears. Her smile lights the universe.

Growing in strength and brightness each night, the Maiden, known as Diana and Artemis in the Mediterranean area, is usually depicted carrying a bow and quiver. She is the first aspect of the triple Goddess. Sometimes called the virgin or huntress, she represents the spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction. She shows the way through the inner labyrinth to the divine center where the greatest of spiritual mysteries lie. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. She is a shape shifting Goddess who drives a chariot pulled by silver stags. She helps women who are threatened or harassed by men.

She rules over animals, singing, enchantment, psychic power, fertility, purification, magic, sports, mental healing, dance, forests, and healing. She carries the seeds of all potential: anything is possible and all possibilities are within her. She does not limit herself by the needs or beliefs of others. She is in love with the mystery of life. The Maiden represents expansion, the female principle, and promise of new beginnings, youth, and excitement. The Maiden is associated with the colors white, light pink and light yellow. She symbolizes youth and anticipation of life. Associated with purity and nature, She is usually seen in the company of animals. In the aspect of the Maiden we see the world with child-like wonder, and also huntress and warrior, as Athena and Artemis are known to be.

The Mother
There is nothing like being pregnant. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was happier than I had ever been in my life. Knowing that a life was growing inside me was amazing. I felt more alive than ever before. I could not wait to hold this little miracle of love.

Okay, there are times where you are so sick you want to die. When the baby decides to try to use your rib cage to score a touchdown it doesn’t feel great. You have weird cravings for food.
You are swollen and can’t see your toes and feel like a blimp that swallowed a blimp.

When a child is born, we always want to count fingers and toes and to know once and for all, girl or boy. We have such great expectations for this tiny bundle of joy. Perhaps he will be president. Perhaps she will be a ballerina. We cannot wait to dress them, to show them off and to take pictures of everything from their first diaper change to the first smile.

Fear sets in once you get home. You call the doctor often. Is this the best formula? Are these the best diapers? She/He spit up, is she sick? Do I need to bring the baby to the hospital! The baby gets colicky and cries all the time. You can’t sleep because you worry excessively. You can’t sleep because the baby is crying. Is she hungry or sick? You have to go check and make sure she is breathing! Our maternal, protective instinct has kicked into high gear.

Now, imagine for a moment, we may have a few children; some families have 13 or more, think how many the Goddess has! We are all children of the Goddess, no matter our age. Our child learns to speak and says Mama so many times we want to pull our heads off! Imagine all of the voices and prayers going out at any given time to our Mother, the Goddess.

Our Goddess Mother has our best interest at heart. She wants for us to be happy and healthy. She never turns away because she is tired and wants some peace and quit. She loves us unconditionally. She understands our hopes and desires and dreams. She lives within our hearts. You can lean on her when you need strength and patience with your little one. You can place your child and yourself within the love and light of the Great Mother and trust that she will always be there for you.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother, the archetype involved in active creation. She represents the summer, blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and the high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and of life itself. She is the great teacher of the Mysteries. The Romans named her Ceres and the Greeks named her Demeter. A virgin of the oldest sense, independent and unmarried, this Goddess gives birth to a son. Called the Grain Mother, the Eternal Mother, and the Sorrowing Mother, she is the mother of Persephone, who wed the lord of the Underworld. Her power extends over protection of women, crops, initiation, renewal, fertility, civilization, law, motherhood, marriage, and higher magic.

The mother devotes herself to “other”: people and things outside of herself. Though the archetype of the mother often makes one think of a woman giving birth to or devoting herself to her children and family, here we are speaking of all of the possibilities of creation. She is a selfless soul whose devotion and love are unconditional. It is here that responsibility and commitment is established.

Some of the symbols of the goddess in the Mother aspect include the serpent, the poppy, and the symbol of Underworld Goddesses, the torch. The Mother also represents fulfillment, stability, and power. The color associated with the Mother is red, the color of blood and the life force, and green, a fertile color. In ancient societies, the pregnant Mother was a metaphor for the fertile fields that sustained the people of the land. The menstrual blood of the Mother has been associated with magick and ritual since Paleolithic times and was thought to have power for healing and fertility.

The Mother is a pillar of grace under pressure. She is capable, strong, and loving. She smiles as the young child plays, joy flooding her heart as her offspring giggles in delight at some new discovery. She keeps the fear and panic hidden when we are sick, be it in body or in spirit. She continually prays for us. She wipes the tears from our eyes, chases us down to give us medicine, and helps to build a pretend fort with blankets. She watches you while you are sleeping and love fills her heart. She is like a tree in that she is able to bend, but is has a strong foundation supporting her.

Climb into the Mothers arms and be nurtured. Within her embrace we are ever safe and loved. Share your dreams with her. She will do all things possible to help you to achieve them and more.

The Crone

We have all seen the little old woman, her hair thin and sparse, her skin aged with wrinkles, her smile crooked as her false teeth lay in a glass to the side. Many associate this image with the Crone. Her hands tremble as she brings food to her mouth. She looks like a baby with food dripping down her chin. Time isn’t always kind to us in that our bodies betray us. But if you were to take some time with this woman, you would find a font of wisdom, a history of love, of sorrow, of experience.

Her spirit still shines. Her face is soft and compassion flows from her heart. Though she appears weak, her essence is strong and sure. She understands your dreams and desires. She has shared them and she has experienced them. She knows what is important in life. She no longer rushes about headstrong seeking. She delights in the memories of all she has seen and known. Some think she has endured. The truth is, she has lived. That is what is important, the living and loving.

Pain causes a momentary tremor in her voice. She will tell you truths. Will you be willing to listen, to hear her words? Can you sit and hold her hand and experience the journey she is willing to share with you? Can you look at her with respect? Can you look beyond the fears of your body aging?

I see my grandmother, gentle and soft spoken, holding me close in her lap. Beside her lays some yarn and knitting needles. She always has time for me and my questions. She receives great joy in watching the young ones at play and reminiscing about her life as the children begin their lives. There is depth to her heart and eyes that show the years of learning the importance of compassion. There is understanding well beyond that of the dreamer’s hopes.

She moves a little slower now and can no longer bare children. In this day and time, people tend to cast the elderly aside. This is heartbreaking. There is so much love and wisdom they have to share. It may be a time of rest, but it isn’t a time to be tossed away. They should not have to live through memories, as they are still able to give so much to this world!

Most cultures cherished their grandmothers and counted them as wise ones once upon a time. They had seen things and done things to survive in new worlds. Once upon a time they were maidens. Once upon a time they were mothers. They know the mysteries of womanhood.

As I entered into the stage of the Crone, I realized that all I have seen and done helped me to become whom I am today. I am a little slower, but I have more patience, more love, and more compassion. I know there are times to sit quietly and say nothing. I know there are times I should offer my wisdom. What others think of me isn’t important, as I know self-love. I know how precious life and time are. I have found that worry does not save me from sorrow or pain. I have found that life isn’t about satisfying the ego. Life is about acknowledging the blessings we have received from joy and from pain, from fear and from faith. I realize that I cannot change the past but that what I have learned from it provides comfort. She is a fount of wisdom, untapped by a modern world. Not because she isn’t willing to share her wisdom, but because we are so self-involved. I cry for the Crone because so many have forgotten her value.

The Crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the hag, represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death, reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. She is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her traditional color is black and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the initiator into the Mysteries. This aspect symbolizes death and dissolution. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. The souls of humans are recycled by the Crone and her cauldron, into a new incarnation.

The embodiment of the Crone, Hecate, Queen of the world of spirits, Patron of Priestesses, and the Goddess of Witchcraft, has keys and cauldrons as her symbols. She has power over enchantments, averting evil, dark magic, riches, wisdom, transformation, purification, limits, incantations, and renewal. She is not detached from the world; just not involved in the ways she was before. She can be completely honest because she has nothing to lose. She holds the wisdom, teaches and shares stories with those who will listen.

The crone was once revered as an old woman embodying wisdom and for her knowledge of the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were known as healers, teachers, way-showers, and bearers of sacred power. They knew the mysteries, were mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom held healing power. The crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Our appearance may show a lot about our lives. Weathered hands showing our hard work. Our skin weathered like tanned hides show we spent a lot of time outdoors. These outward appearances don’t begin to show the person beneath the surface. They don’t show the entire journey. Look beyond the obvious and you will discover the treasures of life, the joy, the sorrow, all blessings, to the Crone. Don’t sorrow for her because her time draws nigh upon this plane. Rejoice with her. Embrace what will come, accept what has been, and dare to experience all.

From my manuscript – From My Pagan Heart by Lady Kiya

Your Daily Zen Meditation for February 6th

New Age Comments & Graphics

Your Daily Zen Meditation for February 6th

The realm of enlightenment of all the Buddhas and

patriarchs is the same as that of you monks.  If you

have a head full of Buddhas and patriarchs, how will

you ever get to see what is your own?

But if you see what is your own, at that time there

cannot be any Buddhas, patriarchs, other people or

dharma established…The patriarch is not another

person separate from yourself, and the Buddha is

miraculous, pure awakening.

– Hongzhi

No Matter How You Spend Your Tuesday, Make It A Good One!

Tuesday Images, Pics, Comments, Graphics
Today’s Affirmation for March 3rd

I have everything I need for a full, rich, happy life. My inner resources are abundant. I have plenty of support, to which I offer thanks.


Today’s Thought for April 3rd

If family minds love one another, the home will be a beautiful flower garden.

The Buddha (c. 563 – c. 460BCE.)


Today’s Meditation for April 3rd

Eat Meditatively

Instead of eating on the run, give yourself time to relax and enjoy your food. Relish the taste of each mouthful. As you do so offer gratitude for the food that you are eating –  it is a gift from the earth. Respect all those involved in bringing the good to the table – from the farmer through to the cook. Give thanks to the presence of those who share the food with you. By engaging fully in the act of eat, the meal becomes a sacred ritual to which we renew ourselves.

The Daily Zen Journal for the Month of November

On The Way

Guidelines for Studying the Way

Dogen (1200-1253)


What you should know for practicing Zen

Practicing Zen, studying the way, is the great matter of a lifetime. You should not belittle it or be hasty with it. A master of old cut off his arm and another cut off his fingers. These are excellent models from China. Long ago Shakyamuni Buddha abandoned his home and left his country. This is an excellent precedent for practicing the way.

People of the present say you should practice what is easy to practice. These words are quite mistaken. They are not at all in accord with the buddha way. If this alone is what you regard as practice, then even lying down will be wearisome. If you find one thing wearisome, you will find everything wearisome. It is obvious that people who are fond of easy practice are not capable of the way.

In fact, the dharma spread and is present in the world because our great teacher Shakyamuni practiced with difficulty and pain for immeasurable eons and finally attained this dharma. If the original source is like this, how could the later streams be easy?

Students who would like to study the way must not wish for easy practice. If you seek easy practice, you will for certain never reach the ground of truth or dig down to the place of treasure. Even teachers of old who had great capacity said that practice is difficult. You should know that the buddha way is vast and profound.

If the buddha way were originally easy to practice, then teachers of great capacity from olden times would not have said that practice is difficult and understanding is difficult. Compared with the people of old, those of today do not amount to even one hair from nine cows. With their small capacity and shallow knowledge, even if people of today strive diligently and regard this as difficult and excellent practice, still it does not amount to even the easiest practice and easiest understanding of the teachers of old.

What is this teaching of easy understanding and easy practice, which people nowadays like? It is neither a secular teaching nor Buddha’s teaching. It does not come up to the practice of Papiyas, the Demon King, nor does it come up to the practice of those outside the way or of the Two Lesser Vehicles. We should regard it as the product of ordinary people’s extreme delusion. Even though they try to attain liberation, they find nothing but endless rounds of suffering.

On the other hand, we can see that breaking bones or crushing marrow is not difficult, but to harmonize the mind is most difficult. Again, the practice of prolonged austerities is not difficult, but to harmonize bodily activities is most difficult.

Do you think crushing bones is of value? Although many endured such practice, few of them attained dharma. Do you think people practicing austerities are to be respected? Although there have been many, few of them have realized the way, for they still have difficulty harmonizing the mind.

Brilliance is not primary, understanding is not primary, conscious endeavor is not primary, introspection is not primary. Without using any of these, harmonize body-and-mind and enter the buddha way.

Old man Shakyamuni said, “Avalokiteshavara turns the stream inward and disregards knowing objects.”

That is the meaning. Separation between the two aspects of activity and stillness simply does not arise. This is harmonizing.

If anyone could enter the buddha way by means of brilliance or broad knowledge, then the senior monk Shenxiu would have been the one. If anyone of ordinary appearance or humble position were excluded from the buddha way, how could Huineng become the Sixth Ancestor? It is clear that the buddha way’s transmission lies outside brilliance and broad knowledge. Search and find out. Reflect and practice.

Being old or decrepit does not exclude you. Being quite young or in your prime does not exclude you. Although Zhaozhou first studied when he was over sixty, he became a man of excellence in the ancestral lineage. Zheng’s daughter had already studied long by the time she was thirteen, and she was outstanding in the monastery. The power of buddha-dharma is revealed depending on whether or not there is effort, and is distinguished depending on whether or not it is practiced.

Those who have studied sutras a long time and those who are accomplished in secular texts, all should study at a Zen monastery. There have been many examples of this. Huisi of Nanyue was a very learned man, but still he practiced with Bodhidharma. Xuanjue of Yongjia was an excellent scholar, and still he practiced with Dajian.

When you practice with a teacher and inquire about dharma, clear body and mind, still the eyes and ears, and just listen and accept the teaching without mixing in any other thoughts. Your body and mind will be one, a receptacle ready to be filled with water. Then you will certainly receive the teaching.

Nowadays, there are foolish people who memorize words of texts or accumulate sayings and try to match these words with the teacher’s explanation. In this case they have only their own views and old words, and have not yet merged with the teacher’s words.

For some people their own views are primary; they open a sutra, memorize a word or two, and consider this to be buddha-dharma. Later when they visit with an awakened teacher or a skilled master and hear the teachings, if it agrees with their own view they consider the teaching right, and if it does not agree with their old fixed standards they consider his words wrong. They do not know how to abandon their mistaken tendencies, so how could they ascend and return to the true way? For ages numberless as particles of dust and sand, they will remain deluded. It is most pitiable. Is it not sad?

Students should know that the buddha way lies outside thinking, analysis, prophecy, introspection, knowledge, and wise explanation. If the buddha way were in these activities, why would you not have realized the buddha way by now, since from birth you have perpetually been in the midst of these activities?

Students of the way should not employ thinking, analysis, or any such thing. Though thinking and other activities perpetually beset you, if you examine them as you go, your clarity will be like a mirror.

Practice throughout the way

To practice throughout the way is to actualize the limitless realm of the buddha way and to illuminate all aspects of the buddha way. The buddha way is under everyone’s heel. Immersed in enlightenment, you are complete. Therefore, even though you arrive at full understanding, still this is only a part of enlightenment. This is how it is with practice throughout the way.

People nowadays who study the way do not understand where the way leads or ends, so they strongly desire to gain visible results. Who would not make this mistake? It is like someone who runs away from his father, leaving a treasure behind and wandering about. Though he is the only child of a wealthy family, he endlessly wanders as a menial in foreign lands. Indeed it is just like this.

Those who study the way seek to be immersed in the way. For those who are immersed in the way, all traces of enlightenment perish. Those who practice the buddha way should first of all trust in the buddha way. Those who trust in the buddha way should trust that they are in essence within the buddha way, where there is no delusion, no false thinking, no increase or decrease, and no mistake. To arouse such trust and illuminate the way in this manner, and to practice accordingly, are fundamental to studying the way.

You do this sitting, which severs the root of thinking and blocks access to the road of intellectual understanding. This is an excellent means to arouse true beginner’s mind. Then you let body and mind drop away and let go of delusion and enlightenment. This is the second aspect of studying the way.

Generally speaking, those who trust that they are within the buddha way are most rare. If you have correct trust that you are within the buddha way, you understand where the great way leads or ends, and you know the original source of delusion and enlightenment. If once, in sitting, you sever the root of thinking, in eight or nine cases out of ten you will immediately attain understanding of the way.

Immediately hitting the mark

There are two ways to penetrate body and mind: studying with a master to hear the teaching, and devotedly sitting zazen. Listening to the teaching opens up your conscious mind, while sitting zazen is concerned with practice-enlightenment.

Everyone has a body-mind. In activity and appearance its function is either leading or following, courageous or cowardly. To realize buddha immediately with this body-mind is to hit the mark. Without changing your usual body-mind, just to follow buddha’s realization is called “immediate,” is called “hitting the mark.”

To follow buddha completely means you do not have your old views. To hit the mark completely means you have no new nest in which to settle.


Excerpted from Moon in a Dewdrop – Writings of Zen Master Dogen, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi


I often marvel at how contemporary the ancient writings sound. You can see how students of all ages fell into the same pitfalls of practice we do. Teachers always seem to talk about students of “today” not having the same intensity or commitment to difficult practice. There must have always been people talking about an easy path, a short cut, a revolutionary 3 Steps to Enlightenment method; hence the need to step back and ask ourselves, if it were all really that easy, then why aren’t more people living an enlightened life?

Then there is also the admonishment given that to really study one needs to find an awakened teacher to transmit the teachings. Let’s remember the Buddha’s story. He had no awakened master to go study with; he sat under the Bodhi tree in meditation and struggled with Mara and his own mental distractions until he broke through. The greatest function of a teacher or a spiritual friend is to honestly point out when we stray off track, when we are fooling ourselves, an extremely difficult task to do for oneself.

However, reality is that many people have not found an awakened master to trust their spiritual training to. So in this real world, where for many people, there are not the funds nor time to go hunting all over the world to find this person, what do we do? Even though the purist may take issue with our approach, we are left with studying as best we can with these masters of old, tried and true, to guide us. The difference is there is no one going around correcting our posture in meditation or striking us if we fall asleep on the mat; there is no Master to have a spiritual encounter with to challenge us, and that IS the crux of our situation. We can so easily fool ourselves in complacency.

Who will wake us up? Zen Master Zuigon had his own unique approach:

Every day Zuigan used to call out to himself, “Master!” and would answer, “Yes!”

Then he would tell himself, “Wake up!” and he would answer himself, “Yes! Yes!” Then he would say to himself, “Don’t be deceived by others, any day or any time!” and he would again answer himself, “Yes, yes!”

What creative approach will we find to wake ourselves up?

Waking up once again,


Daily Zen Meditation for Tuesday, October 18th

New Age Comments & Graphics

Rather than break my vow to plum blossoms
I have settled here in this disheveled hut
Grey sleet seeps through briars at my window
Plumes of snow dance around its papered panes

Steep scarps loom above frozen woods
Deep clouds conceal the pool’s icy stones
Such weather; I stoke up a few charcoal twigs
Wish for a way south, to Chiang-nan’s shore.

– Shih-shu (17th c-early 18th)

 ~Magickal Graphics~