The three phases of womanhood are called the Triple Goddess: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. These are archetypal energies of the Goddess that also show up as stages in a woman’s life. How about a Triple God? Remember, in the Streghe tradition there are male Stregone as well.
In Italian Witchcraft, Raven Grimassi explains how in the old religion of Italy there are 3 aspects to the God as well. According to Grimassi, the three components of the male god are: The Hooded One, The Horned One and The Old One.
The Hooded One also appears as The Green Man. He is hooded in green, associated with spring crops. The Horned One is the Stag God and the Lord of the Trees and the God of the Forests or of the Wild. The Old One is the Sage or Elder.
The Hooded One is the son of the Stag God. He embodies the trickster and raven energy. We can equate this with the maiden form of the female. He is the young, immature male. The Green man or Hooded One matures into the Stag God or The Horned One.
The Stag God is the former hunter-gatherer man. Grimassi states that the domesticated Stag God became the Slain God of agriculture in the mythology of later times. Perhaps this is indication of a dis-empowerment of the healthy masculine.
It seems that the Green Man and the Elder are still present in our culture. But with the advent of a more settled agricultural lifestyle, the Stag God or God of the Wild was disappeared. Because he is associated with wildness and male virility which people mistake for “horniness” and wanton sexuality, he is often feared and unwelcome.
The Horned God as Enlightened One
The Horned God was demonized into a satanic creature, a lusty male hiding in the forest to attack unsuspecting females and a murdering or violent male.
As Barbara Walker points out in The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, “The horn was a sign of achievement of a spiritual state. “…Connected to the oldest tantric belief concerning male vitality: that by suppression of ejaculation, mystic energy mounts up the spine to the head and flowers forth in wisdom and magic power made visible by the horns.” (Pg. 409)
The deeper meaning of the Horned God is that the sexual energy is controlled and has been raised consciously into the head, or higher chakras. The true meaning of the Stag God is an enlightened one.
The Stag God, Horned God, God of the Wild is the mature adult male, the healthy father. This part of the healthy male needs to be integrated back in to the culture at large and individual men.