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To: soc.religion.paganism
From: ("Daniel Cohen")
Subject: Re: Maiden, Mother, Crone and Other Recent Inventions
Date: 8 Nov 1996 14:50:24 -0600

In message , said:
  > I believe Robert Graves is the originator of the following ideas, and
  > that they have little historical merit:
  > 1. the Celtic tree-alphabet,
  > 2. the 'Maiden, Mother, Crone' triad,
  > 3. the primitive matriarchy.

2. Ron Hutton mentioned (I've not checked for myself) that this concept
first comes in the writings of the classicist Jane Harrison in the early
years of this century. I think Graves can certainly be claimed as the
poulariser of the idea, very few people look back past him.

There are some specific classical references which connect to the MMC
triplicity (e.g. Hera has aspects including Hera Parthenos), but the
connection is a bit forced.

3. This comes from Victorian (and other) anthropologists, Bachofen,
Briffault, Morgan, etc. Again one could say that that the idea reached
modern consciousness via Graves, though here people do look back to the
older works.

The concept of the Great Mother Goddess was common among archaeologists

in the 1920s and 30s and beyond, though after the critique in the 60s most
archaeologists are more sceptical.

Daniel Cohen
e-mail: or

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