The Seven Archetypes of the Gods

At some point on your exploration of Pagan and Wiccan traditions, you are sure to come across the Seven Archetypes, or┬áSeven Great Powers. Three of these are commonly referred to as Maiden, Mother, Crone – the triple aspects of the Goddess. In addition to being aspects of the Goddess, they also represent the life of a woman, from her impassioned youth to her wise old age.

The Maiden

This aspect represents the youth, vitality, innocence and passion of young womanhood. Unfettered by the caution that comes with age, the Maiden is eternally hopeful and charged with a desire to do great things, and to change the world for the better.

The Mother

The Mother represents the nurturing nature of motherhood. It is fertility. Knowledge and experience combine to bring youthful passions under control, and to encourage more planning and forethought in one’s actions.

The Crone

Freed from the drive to reproduce or to change the world, The Crone represents wisdom, completion, rebirth and the occult. The Crone can look back on her life and see her deeds. She can watch her children and grandchildren become their own people and see that without her they would not have existed. In this realization she understands that she has indeed accomplished great things, even if they were not the works her passionate youth had anticipated.

Everyone completes these periods of life at different times, based on their environment and personal attitude, but as a rule of thumb you can use thirty-year segments and not be too wide of the mark.

The Male also traverses these three ages, however his aspects are often ignored in the more Goddess-centric traditions. Those that do incorporate the male aspects refer to them in differing terms. You may see the Male described as Hero, Lover, King or Son, Father, Sage or some other variation. Whatever they are called however, they do represent the three stages of man:

The Hero

Full of the impetuosity and arrogance of youth, this one seeks to strike out upon their path and nothing will stand in their way. They are unstoppable. Life will open up before them and bow down in their wake. They are the soldiers of destiny that will hold the previous generations accountable for their misdeeds.

The Father

With middle age come responsibility and with responsibility comes duty. Now the man understands many things the youth did not. He still desires to change it for the better, but will work from his own house, his own family – making things better for the ones he loves and cares for.

The Sage

The wisdom and understanding that is garnered from a lifetime of experience helps him understand that things always change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Life is a cycle, and what he has changed for the better will remain but a short while. Likewise the mistakes he has made will be swallowed up by the past. The youthful exuberance which may frustrate the father, encourages the Sage, for in seeing this arrogance and passion in the young, he knows that the wheel continues to turn as it should. Life, death and renewal.

The final aspect is referred to either as the Source, or the Sorcerer, the Mage or the Godhead. It is neither male nor female, but is also both. It is only after physical death that we can completely connect with this aspect.

In each of the major pantheons, you will find these archetypes represented in some way. Use the Deity reference tool here to help you: Gods & Goddesses

It is important to bear in mind, when using these correspondences, that the deities themselves may have specific colors, planets, days or elements that they are associated with in addition to those listed above. You can however use these in conjunction with or instead of their specific correspondences if you are unable to locate them.

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