The Circle of Nine includes three Queens, three Mothers and three Ladies.
It is thus a ‘triple triple’ a three times three, which is an ancient magical invocation and is associated with feminine mythology.
Each is named individually, however: Queen of the Earth, Queen of Beauty, Queen of the Night Lady of the Dance, Lady of the Hearth, Lady of Light The Weaving Mother, the Just Mother, the Great Mother
The Queens are confident, reign over their domain, and embody its powers The Ladies are fluid, gracious and compassionate The Mothers are fruitful, protective and embracing.
You can find thumbnail portraits of them below and, of course, read much more about them in the book.
While each archetype has its own character, yet each one is part of the Circle of Nine. Together, they make up the feminine psyche. Each woman has each of the nine within her. She may emphasise or draw upon the individual archetypes, but all are within her scope.
We call these figures ‘archetypes’ because they have presence, potency, universality. They are symbolic representations of aspects of womanhood, but they are more than psychological terms. They have the power of the mythic, and they may manifest as real women or as ‘supernatural’ epiphanies in our lives. They are aspects of the divine spirit of the feminine.
In this book, and in Circle of Nine groups, the emphasis is on recognising them both in our everyday lives and in the deeper mysteries of the universe. Women have a special gift to bridge this divide, and to integrate the mundane and the divine.
Here are some ways in which I describe the nine in the book:
The Queen of the Earth - Innocence, passion, and wisdom co-exist as attributes of the Queen of the Earth. She must understand the barren phases as well as the fertile ones. She must pay due tribute to the underworld – to the silence and darkness that reign there – as well as to the flourishing of new life brought forth through her desires. With the art and skill that comes from her understanding, she can shape her magic garden after her own heart. (p43)
The Weaving Mother is the organizing feminine principle who ties the bonds of love, weaves the pattern of daily life, and foresees the time when the last threads must be snipped. Through her craft, she turns simplicity into complexity, and complexity back to a single unity. She is not just the web that is woven, but the one who selects and spins the strands, designing the form the web will take. She works with skill and care, glimpsing the future as it takes shape before her. (p47)
The Lady of the Dance is a dance that can be controlled or tamed, but never completely suppressed. She is the one who delights to know the world through movement, to infect others with the joy of dancing, and to capture the changing colors of life and light in mood and gesture. She is provocative, graceful, exuberant, and free; she poses a threat only to those who advocate a rigid, fixed order, and she may be cast into captivity by them. Can you set her free? (p71)
The Queen of the Night is one of the most compelling of the nine feminine archetypes. She personifies forces that dwell outside the clear, rational light of day, and is unrestricted by convention. This queen rules over the life that stirs in the landscape of the night, and she harnesses the tides of darkness to awaken, attract, and love. She may take different forms: ugly, with leathern wings and a shriek that tears the air, or fleetingly beautiful, as a rare moth fluttering by on the night air. Her force is primitive and magical, but remarkably skilled as well. (p91)
The Just Mother - In the heart of the Just Mother there is courage—courage to look at what comes before her, recognize its nature, and stand firm upon the judgments that she makes. To fulfill her role, the Just Mother must thus be objective and possess fighting skills. There is danger in her work - she is also exposed to the force of her own strongest emotions, which arise from her essential values of what is right and wrong. Her awareness of both fairness and injustice can pull at her heartstrings. (p113)
The Lady of the Hearth - Tending the fire of the home can mean looking after a physical hearth, or sustaining life and warmth in the home itself. This Lady represents the different qualities that are needed —solemnity, joy, creativity, and thoughtfulness. She tempers them according to what will make the fire burn most brightly. We must learn to rest our minds by sitting with just a candle flame or a fire for company. (pps 132, 152)
The Queen of Beauty has many faces. It is a gemstone that has been cut and faceted, so that each turn of the stone reveals the different faces catching the light in a multitude of ways. Does beauty spring from the inner self, or from the outward physical form? The link between outer and inner beauty is not rigid. It is a changing balance, a flow between the two. The image we create of ourselves should allow us room to breathe, and to reveal more than one facet of our own gem-like selves. (pps 157, 160)
The Great Mother- A mother gives birth to time itself, through the child that she bears, and thus partakes of the timeless quality of the Great Mother herself. The Great Mother is like a priestess sitting in a dark temple—an old, old woman who has seen many seekers come and go, all with their own problems and joys. She gives advice compassionately, well aware that it will not always be heeded. Life passes through her domain, but she is not of it; she is beyond it. (pps 181,194)
The Lady of Light has the power to transform, and we can use this light to make changes in our own lives. Women who are sufficiently strong and developed can allow this light to permeate the whole of their presence, refining and changing their very substance—just as light can make an apparently opaque glass lampshade appear translucent. The light of the Lady, used with conscious intent, can be a catalyst for change. (p217)
The Lady of Light - The Great Mother - The Queen of Beauty - The Lady of the Hearth - The Just Mother - The Queen of the Night - The Lady of the Dance - The Weaving Mother - The Queen of the Earth