When I saw these three chairs sitting outside a house in the area where I live, they made me think of the line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “when shall we three meet again?” Three witches appear in the first act to deliver a prophesy to Macbeth, telling him that he will be the King of Scotland. This event is crucial in sending him off on his tragic way (for a full summary of the plot this website does a good job).
Mother, Maiden, Crone
The archetype of three women, often witches, with supernatural abilities (sometimes referred to as the Triple Goddess) has appeared in mythology throughout history, and across many different cultures. While they may mean slightly different things in different cultures, it is thought that these figures were meant to symbolically represent three different phases of life for women:
- Youth and innocence in the Maiden
- Fertility and care in the Mother
- Wisdom and experience in the Crone
Often the appearance of the women in mythology was linked to aspects of nature such as the turning of the seasons or the phases of the moon(for more information on this wikipedia has a longer and more detailed entry here).
I’ve personally been a fan of books in which the figures of three witches take a more central role than they did in Macbeth, like the subversion of those stereotypes in Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters (this is an affiliate link – if you buy this book using this link I’ll be sent a few pence as a referral fee), or the warmth of Mark Stay’s Witches of Woodville Series (full disclosure, I know Mark a little bit, but I think I would have found these books warm and lovely if I didn’t, also an affiliate link).
Back to my three chairs on the street
I actually walked past the chairs a couple of times before I had a quiet moment in which to take a photograph, and was lucky that they remained in place for so long. Perhaps they were waiting for me as two of them disappeared the next day. There is a sense of mystery around the arrangment of the chairs, as if only moments ago three people sat to discuss an urgent matter, before leaving to follow different paths.
What do you think they may have been discussing?
Where did those paths lead them?
I’m not a huge fan of creative exercises, so it’s not my habit to tell people what to do with these prompts. There are lots of options – a scene, some flash fiction, a short story, an idea for a short film or a physical piece of art. If you do have a go with this one and would like to drop the result in the comments please do so. I would be very interested to see what people make of these so please do link to blog posts or comment below.
If you like the photos featured in these creative prompt posts you may be interested in my latest collection of prints and other things on Redbubble which feature a small selection of my best shots.
Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. You can read my short fantasy stories here on Simily. If you like these prompts and want to get a copy of a free short book of them I wrote, and to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page.
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