The Power of Three

Welcome to Tursan Tuesdays where I take you on a journey through the Celtic world.

In earlier posts we’ve chatted about the triple aspects of The Great Mother, The Green Man, The Mórrígan, and Macha. Thus far, we’ve gotten a glimpse of how significant the triple aspect is in the Celtic traditions.

As you know by now, the Great Mother is the Goddess of all goddesses…and gods for that matter. She is The Lady, the female aspect of all creation. And, of course, she has three facets to her which we’ve gone over previously: The Maiden, The Mother, The Crone.

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In each of her guises, the Great Mother represents a specific part of life. The Maiden represents beginnings, births, new cycles. She is the springtime of life, the glorious and precious creation in the natural world. The Mother represents the ever-changing, ever-growing part of life. She is the summer of life, the grower of all creation in the natural world. The Crone represents the ending of a cycle. Note I do not say, “life” here as life does not truly end in the Celtic tradition. Life is ever-changing, everlasting in new forms. The Crone is the winter of life, when all things prepare for winter’s sleep and for the new cycles The Maiden, or springtime, will bring.

Similarly, the Great Father is the god of all creation, including the gods and goddesses. While he is born from the Great Mother, he is no less important a deity. He is, in fact, consort to the Great Mother. As discussed previously, he not only has triple aspects, he also has many names! “The Great Father,” “The Green Man,” “The Horned God,” “Cernunnos (as some infer),” to name a few.

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By the way, “The Horned God” is never to be confused with the Christian devil or Satan. They are not based on this Celtic creator, nor do they share any similarities. The Horned God is a benevolent deity, one who is full of love, compassion and tenderness for all of creation. Interestingly, I have not found any god, goddess, or deity thus far who is in any way similar to the Christian devil/Satan. It is my understanding there is no such being in the Celtic tradition.

Like the Great Mother, the Great Father represents a specific part of life in each of his three guises, which also compliment each of the Great Mother’s. In the springtime, he is the Divine Child, representing new beginnings and cycles. In the summertime, he is the Son or Lover, representing the maturity of the cycles, balancing sexual desire and need with companionship and tenderness. In the wintertime, he is the Sacrificed Savior or Lord of Death. In this guise he guides souls to their next phase in the cycle. He is renewal and reincarnation. He is wisdom and enlightenment.

In many of the Celtic traditions, the various goddesses have many of the same characteristics of the Great Mother, which makes sense considering she is responsible for all life ~ even the goddesses themselves. Some say goddesses such as The Mórrígan and Macha are separate aspects of one whole deity, others claim they are whole deities unto themselves with their own triple aspects. So, too, do the Celtic gods have similar aspects as the Great Father.

Interestingly, this belief in the power of three is not restricted to Celtic traditions. All over the world we see other traditions and religions which have similar symbolisms.

Christianity ~ The Cross, representing The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit

Germanic Paganism ~ The Valknut, consisting of three triangles interlocked

Germany ~ yet another triple symbol here, the Trefot, consisting of three spiral arms which represent the Germanic god Woden

Europe (mostly France) ~ The Fleur De Lis, consisting of three flowers

Sicily ~ It’s flag consists of two separate triple symbols: the Trinacria (three bent legs) and three ears of corn, both adorning Medusa’s winged head

Denmark ~ Odin’s Horn, from Norse tradition

So talk to me. What do you think of the power of three? Some say there are magical powers associated with this mystical number, do you agree? Do you disagree? What other religions or traditions support…or refute!…the power of three?

*Swing by on Thursday for my interview with the wonderful and talented Nancy Lee Badger. We’ll be chatting about her new release DRAGON IN THE MIST, and there’ll be a fun giveaway! See you then 🙂

8 thoughts on “The Power of Three

  1. Kate,

    What a great post. I’ve always thought things come in threes, especially bad news. And, of course there is a type of mysticism involved the Holy Trinity. I did not know so many other religious orders used a type of holy three as well.

    1. I didn’t realize it either, until I started the research for this post. There are other areas in this topic I’d like to explore…another post for another day! Thanks for stopping by, Ella 🙂

  2. I enjoyed this post and have noticed that groups of three are very popular even in gardening they say to always plant in threes.
    I love Mythology and find it fasinating.
    Thanks for the great post/

    PS found this blog through the loop FF&P

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