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- Midlife Monkey Girls by Caren Monkey
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- Ruin and Beauty by Deena Metzger, CA
- Seeds for Sanctuary by Dr. Susan Corso
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- Starhawk’s Personal Blog
- Tales From the Velvet Chamber by Lillian Slugocki
- The Sustainable Soul: Natural Spirituality by Rebecca Hecking
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A life-long lover of the moon, I live in a constant state of lunar awareness and I attend to the process of my life and living in conscious accordance with the cycle of its four phases. It has long troubled me that so many Triple Goddess models leave out one element, direction, season, or moon phase entirely, and I yearned for the full range of inspiration that can only be offered by an all-encompassing Goddess of Four Quarters.
I searched and researched for Four-Fold Goddess and found that though not common, even fairly rare, there have been a few Goddesses over time who have embodied four phases of being.
Anat or Anata, was the Great Goddess of the ancient Levant, the area now occupied by Israel, Transjordan and Syria. She had four separate aspects: Warrior, Mother, Virgin and Wanton.
Terrible as a war deity, she was regarded as a just and benevolent goddess of beauty, sexuality, and of the fertility of crops, animals, and men. Her grace and beauty were considered epitome of perfection. Although she is regarded as the mother of gods, she is most commonly referred to as Virgin or Maiden. She is sometimes called Wanton, in reference to her putative lust for sexual intercourse and the bloodshed of war. Her other names include Mother of all Nations, Virgin Mistress of the Gods, Wet Nurse, Lady, Strength of Life, Anat the Destroyer and Lady of the Mountain.
Isis, the Egyptian Mistress of the Four Elements, stands at the center of all existence where Her quadruple energies project through space and time to intersect at that precise point where life is created. Robert Graves’s Triple Goddess is associated only with the three elements of earth, air, and water, the three seasons of spring, summer, and winter, and just three phases of the moon — waxing, full, and dark. But Isis ruled all of the forces of nature, including fire, fall, and the waning moon. The Four-Fold Goddess of Eternal Return is the turning of the wheel of life, and She is also the road beneath the wheel.
I am all that
Is, was or
Ever will be.
-Words of Isis inscribed on the Temple at Sais, Egypt
The Old Religion of tribal Italy also featured an all-encompassing four-aspected lunar goddess called Tana. As the new moon, She was Diana, the virginal Maiden Goddess, adventurous and daring. As the full moon, She was the Great Round Mother Losna. As the waning moon, She was Manea, the Goddess of the Night Spirits and the departing souls. And as the dark moon She was Umbrea, Goddess of the Underworld, keeper of shadows and secrets and all things hidden.
The Aztecs worshipped a four-part moon goddess as well, called Tlazolteotl, also known as Ixcuina. When the moon was new and waxing, She appeared as a young, brilliant, enticing maiden who was perhaps a bit cruel. When the moon was full, She became a sensuous young woman who loved excitement and lusty pleasures. The waning moon brought Her priestess aspect to the fore. This was Her time to forgive transgressions and bestow blessings of fertility and bounty. As the old dark moon, She was a monster who stole fortunes and ruined lovers.
Hecate, honored as the Greek Triple Goddess, was also called Hecate of the Crossroads, for Her role as the divine crossing guard, leading the newly departed souls across the boundary that separates life from death. A crossroad indicates two intersecting paths creating four corners, four quarters. Although Hecate, who is associated with the moon, is usually depicted as three-faced: one face looking straight ahead, full front, flanked by two faces in profile, each facing outward. But we can easily imagine Her fourth face looking backward, and thus rendered invisible by the other three — just like the dark fourth phase of the moon when it hides its face from us.
We know the moon has four phases. They are called quarters, after all. So it stands to reason that any self-respecting Moon Goddess must represent the moon in the completeness of its cycle, just as She must stand for us in ours.
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.