Family Values

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Illustration by Vanessa Reyes
The women in the Addams family reflect every stage of the Divine Feminine including the maiden, the mother, and the crone.

If there was a family that embodied the many aspects of the Goddess, it would be the Addams Family. In 1938, American cartoonist Charles Addams created the Addams Family as a one panel cartoon series. It wasn’t until the television series, however, that the characters got names and we were introduced to Gomez and his wife Morticia, their children Wednesday and Pugsley, Gomez’s mother Grandmama Frump, and his brother, Fester, among others.

From comics to cartoons on television to smash movies — most notably The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values — the Addams’ have had many incarnations. With their grim tendencies and dark exterior, they have always been a clan of contradictions. Although they may seem menacing and different, the family is not only loving and open, but also non-judgmental towards others who don’t share their natural disposition to all that’s dark. The stories follow the family’s adventures, whether it’s navigating a crazy nanny and new baby or thinking Fester is an imposter. There’s always something going on in the Addams mansion. With their macabre aesthetic, unusual perspective, and overall tender demeanors, the Addams’ are true dichotomies. If there were a fictional family that personified the Triple Goddess in her many facets, it would be the women of this clan.

Wednesday is the epitome of pubescent angst. If she had a slogan it would probably be “I don’t give a fuck.” Wednesday is at that age where, yes, she’s thinking about homicide, but she does not care what you think about at all. And although Wednesday dances along the apathetic side of the maiden, in her duality this is also expressed as extreme sensitivity. The early stages of maidenhood may be riddled not only by self-doubt but also by the need to please others. But in the transition to motherhood, whatever one’s personal definition of that may be, the more fully realized form of Goddess is allowed to show herself—one that is complete and assertive in what she wants.

The maiden and mother faces of the Triple Goddess are represented by the Greek Goddesses Persephone, or Kora meaning “maiden,” and her mother Demeter, Goddess of the harvest and fertility. Wednesday would probably be excited about the prospect of being kidnapped by Hades, king of the underworld, to become his queen. But Morticia wouldn’t share in the excitement. In the Greek tale, Demeter is so taken aback by her daughter’s kidnapping that the harvest fails and the earth starts to die. Since Persephone ate six pomegranate seeds during her stay in the underworld, she is condemned to spend half the year with Hades in hell. It is during these months that we have winter. Although Persephone may be content as queen of the underworld, Wednesday is not quite ready for that transition. When she finds herself in the throes of a new universe-love at Camp Chippewa in The Addams Family Values, she finally starts the slow but meaningful transition to one day embody the mother. Even the small events we deem insignificant can carry weight on how we relate to others and ourselves.

Through each stage of the Goddess, we witness her energy and essence transformed in different, but related, ways. Where Wednesday is apathetic, Mrs. Addams is assertive and unapologetic. By honoring her own needs, Morticia is also connecting with her own Goddess. Instead of shying away from who she is, she fully personifies it, and this is especially obvious in her love life. Although she may be the mother of three children, Morticia is vocal with her desires. Does she want Gomez to make love to her like a passionate demon? Does she expect him to frighten her? Absolutely. Living in alignment with the Goddess means recognizing your right to pleasure. As Morticia embraces being a mother, so she embraces her sacred sexuality, and recognizes how these things are connected with creation in her many forms. Even after having Pubert, her youngest, Morticia still surrenders to the ebb and flow of life. In this way she embodies the warrior aspect of the Goddess as well, not resisting life’s phases, instead facing them with charisma and the classic Addams charm head on.

The perpetual purveyor of wisdom, Grandmama is the perfect embodiment of the crone. The one to turn to when things get rough or confusing, she has a lesson and anecdote for everything. Whether it’s clearing up common misconceptions, (like that when a new baby comes into the family another child does not have to die…anymore), leading a séance, casting a curse, or realizing the infant is possessed, Grandmama is quite literally the doorway to the other side. And this is why she is so powerful. She is the dark mother, the most threatening of the faces of the Goddess, the one who really takes no shit, who knows when to fuel her rage or accept defeat. Often associated with the Greek Goddess Hecate, the crone looms over time. Hecate, herself a Triple Goddess, rules over magick, Witchcraft, and necromancy. Hecate is Goddess of the crossroads and, for the crone, those crossroads are very close. As the veil thins for the crone, what lies beyond becomes clearer. Both Hecate and the crone remind us that although the end may be nigh, death is just transformation. Grandmama possesses the immense strength and wisdom that comes with accepting things as they are, death included. But like the dual aspect of the Goddess herself, Grandmama still faces the day with a giant grin and a playful attitude. Why take the end of life so seriously?

A mindset of unadulterated authenticity is what connects the Addams women. The Goddess doesn’t play, she doesn’t have time to be anything but exactly what she is. And the Addams women, in all their stages, share the same sentiment.

Gabriela Herstik is a Los Angeles-based writer and witch who spends her time dissecting the intersection between magick, beauty, and glamour. She’s Latinx Culture Writer at HelloGiggles, has a monthly column called “Ask a Witch” on Nylon, and is excited to release her first book on witchcraft with Ebury Press next year. Her social handle is @gabyherstik. Reprinted from Sabat (The Crone Issue), a magazine that fuses Witchcraft and feminism, ancient archetypes and instant art.

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