Robert Graves (The White Goddess) and the neo-pagans have a lot to answer for with their triple Goddess. We seem to have imbibed that whole “maiden-mother-crone” schema. It brings us all those stereotypes that I believe are best avoided – the girl who must be beautiful, the woman who must be a mother and, after a certain age, all that is left to us is our wisdom! These are gender roles that have existed for thousands of years!
I tell you now, I don’t intend to be a crone – even one honoured for her wisdom! In reality, the most famous of the ancient Celtic triple Goddesses is Brigit, the daughter of the Dagda (Father God), often called “the poetess.” The story goes that there were three of Brigits, all sisters–Brigit the Poetess, Brigit the Smith and Brigit the Doctor–patrons of their respective skills. But they are all the same age. Brigit’s multiplicity implies that she is a master of many arts – all valuable.
Having said that, I am getting very tired of having to live with baby boomer stereotypes of the older woman! I don’t want to live in a world where I am constantly reassured that there is ‘life after fifty’ or ‘life after sixty’ (are we now to live in fear of seventy?). I have lived through fifty and have passed sixty – so I know there is life beyond! I don’t want be praised for looking good any more than I want to be praised for being able to complete a full day’s work! It makes me feel like a performing seal and I don’t need your fish! Will I be a failure when strength fails and I can’t keep up the ‘standard’ anymore? If I want to dye my hair there is nothing noble about it! Nor is there anything noble or ignoble about going grey. It just happens, it is a personal choice and it is part of life! If you don’t like it that is your problem, not mine!