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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Otherwise known as the Dark Goddess in Wicca. The (triple) Goddess corresponds to the three phases of the Moon: waxing, full, and waning. In her waxing phase, the Goddess is the Virgin, Maiden, and Warrior, in her full phase she is the Mother, and in the waning phase she is the Crone.

The Triple Goddess theme is found in many cultures. At Stymphalus, Greece, there was a temple dedicated to the three aspects of Hera, as maiden, mother and widow. The Roman goddess Carmenta formed three aspects with her younger sister Antevorta and her older sister Postvorta. The Morrigan of Ireland and Bhavani of the Hindu pantheon are other examples.

The Crone is often associated with Hecate of the Three Faces, and also with Kali the destroyer, Morgan Queen of the Ghostworld, and Kerridwen. Barbara Walker suggests that "crone" may have derived from Rhea Kronia, the Mother of Time.

The Crone also represents the third, post-menopausal, phase of a woman's life. According to Walker, "Because it was believed that women became very wise when they no longer shed the lunar `wise blood' but kept it within, the crone was usually a Goddess of Wisdom." Examples are Athene, Minerva and Medusa.

(See also Hag)