Maiden, Mother, and Crone

Archetypes of the Menstrual Cycle

Our 21st-century understanding of periods largely boils down to standing in the pharmacy trying to pick the least sickeningly pink and floral box of tampons from the shelf. That is, of course, if we are privileged enough to afford such products. What we are much less connected to is the entirety of our monthly cycles — the ways our bodies wax and wane. In neo-pagan traditions, this “fertility cycle” was organized into three parts, or blood mysteries: menarche (the first monthly flow of blood), childbirth, and menopause when a woman’s “wise blood” was said to remain inside of to give her wisdom. The cycles that occurred inside women’s bodies were thought to reflect those cycles experiences in nature, the seasons and the phases of the moon, and. the realms of earth, the underworld, and the heavens.

The Maiden

During the Follicular Phase, your body is undergoing a process of development and growth. This part of your cycle is likely to feel imbued with the same energy of springtime — a sense of expansion and new beginnings, or birth. This phase of your cycle is embodied by the Maiden archetype — playful and childlike, delighted in the wonder of pleasure and sexual exploration. This enchanting archetype reminds us to focus on our relationship with our intuition and bodily wisdom. With the natural source of curiosity and sensuality, the Maiden longs for connection and love.

The Mother

The archetype of the Mother coincides with the part of your cycle that represents ripeness, fertility, sexuality,` and power — ovulation. With the same energy as the full moon, the Mother is the time of the journeying woman, called to accept responsibility and stability. This sense of responsibility is not simply born of her ability to bear a child, but through the ability to surrender to her sexual desire from a place of power. Ovulation is a time of embodiment and of full expression that comes from the Mother’s ability to be compassionate and unconditionally accepting of herself and her body.

The Crone

The ultimate task of the Crone is to share wisdom. She has been called to release, to repose, and know death. She is, more than anything, a woman unto herself. During parts of our life when we embody the Crone, either the Luteal Phase or during menopause, we can take this as a time to chart a course inward and begin our soul work.

Crone energy is not to be discounted, you are not washed up. Quite the contrary, the Crone archetype is a second youth, one in which you have the inherent wisdom that comes from experience. The Crone has moved beyond sensuality or sexuality into full connectedness with the spiritual nature of sexual energy. This is the phase of sexual mastery. During this phase, you are called to own your power without shame and fear. This is a time to generate healing power and attune yourself to your natural intuition and observations of the world around you.

Pastimes include playing with words, using my passport, and eating croissants. A writer of all things gender, culture, and travel.

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