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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Creativity ~ Part V: Maiden/Mother/Crone

Creativity: An 8-Part Series

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don't miss:
Part I ~ Imagination
Part III ~ Shape-Shifting
Part IV ~ Forbearance

The Maiden-Mother-Crone cycle, while an obvious physical manifestation in a woman's lifetime, is also a recurring sequence within the psyche. If the maiden is innocence personified, then it is the good mothering aspect that forces her into the world and into the wild, to toughen and breed stamina. And it is the crone who not only imparts higher wisdom, showing a broader and more spiritual picture, but also a state that the psyche must reach for maturation.

Photo copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey
This cycle is reflected in creativity—the blossoming forth of fresh and untried ideas (maiden), the acquiring of discipline to bring forth the concept into the material plane (mother), and the wisdom to place the work in its proper context (crone).

Photo copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey
In the maiden state, women frequently make a most terrible bargain—we settle. We choose a path that promises riches and fulfillment, only to find that we sacrificed our deepest knowing in the process. We suppress our wilder selves to appease our parents, our teachers, our religion and society at large. We don't make the art that calls to us because it's too crazy, too edgy, too sexual, too anything that offends those that have also made the same bargain, and resent that you would dare step outside these boundaries. Art done in this way is flat, unshaped, and lacking in vitality and life.

Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light. ~ Author Madeleine L'Engle

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To right this wrong, it is necessary to activate the mother. In its positive form, a mother is the protector of life. It becomes necessary for a woman to nurture her intuitive self, to listen to herself above all others, to love oneself when it's so much easier to condemn. For most women, their own physical mother fills this space within their psyche, and if the mother had a preponderance of positive attributes then this isn't as much a problem than if she displayed shadow aspects. If those are present—the devouring mother, who consumes her children psychologically and emotionally, or the abusive mother, who violates natural law by harming her offspring—then every effort must be made to excise this influence. A woman must learn to mother herself, and in so doing, excavate the terrain of the soul and bring forth the most pressing gifts and talents. Through this loving guidance can instincts and intuition be re-activated.


Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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The crone is a symbol of endurance, of survivorship. To move through the other two stages is to have lost an innocence—more often than not, a painful initiation—but it's also a sign, at least in the inner life, that one never gave up. Amongst those also in the know, this is revered. At this point, the creative life is given the credit it deserves, as necessary to life as air and water. The crone doesn't squander her time, doesn't play in the shallow areas frequented by those who've given away their dreams. She creates, letting that which has always resided deep in her bones bubble up and out. And it screams of authenticity. It is art that pulsates with life, that triggers the same in others, that speaks directly to the heart and makes it sing.

Image copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey
Works Cited
Estés, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run With The Wolves. Ballantine Books, 1992.

Myss, Carolyn. Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. Harmony Books, 2001.

Photo copyright 2014 Kristy McCaffrey
Don’t miss Part VI in the Creativity series: The Virgin and the Sacred Prostitute

Until next time…

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