Three Worlds

We reside at the juncture of three worlds.

Fooled by our senses, we typically believe ourselves to be living on but a single sphere, that same familiar blue ball we’ve seen in myriad satellite images, spinning it’s merry way through the cosmos.

Our ancestors may have seen things somewhat differently.

Imagine three great realms through which we travel…,

Below us, the Land: The solid and stable Earth upon which we build our homes, grow our crops and live our lives.

Above us, the Sky: A realm of both vapor and vacuum, which arches infinitely above us while still tousling our hair with every gentle puff of breeze.

Surrounding us, the Sea: Vast and deep, it is the dark and turbulent cradle from which life arose.

The symbolic expression of this worldview, among those who seek a connection to the old ways, is expressed as the triskelion, or triple spiral.


Our place is at the center point.  The Celts are thought to have believed that the place where the three great worlds came together was the axis upon which physical life and spirit revolved.  Humanity can only exist where all three worlds come together.  We are creatures of the Land, the Sky and the Sea, united.  Remove from us, our connection to any one of these worlds, these vital elements, and our lives are removed just as quickly.  The essence of the mortal animal is the balance between the three worlds.  We are the spectrum, focused down into a single point of white light.

Spiraling out from our comfortable resting point, the three worlds twist and coil about themselves, becoming increasingly foreign to our own blended nature in the process.  The beings that reside in those distant places (distant in constitution, although not necessarily in position) must themselves be very different than we who speculate about them.

Near to us, at the center of the great spiral, there are the Sidhe and the Gods, along with the spirits of wind, wave, field and forest.  They share our space within the three worlds, although they may be more or less connected to any one of the realms than we are.

Beyond those nearby and familiar spirits, there must be those who are more firmly rooted in but a single world.  These are the beings which the various world mythologies call giants or the Titans.  Often enough, our stories cast them as villains, evil creatures that must be banished or imprisoned.  However, many of us have come to believe that these beings are simply so foreign to ‘our’ nature that their mere presence is destructive to us.  Such creatures may not even consider us in their reckoning.

Whatever their motives, they are beings who belong to but a single world, Land, Sea or Sky, and when they seek our shores they tip the already precarious balance between the three worlds.

Last week, I wrote about Climate Change.  I pondered both the recent computer models that show drastically different shorelines in our (not so?) distant future, and the fate of the people of Doggerland, a long sunken realm which science tells us once connected the British Isles with the European continent.

I suggested, in that post, that change is a constant which we would do well to accept.  And while I believe that to be true, I do not think that the inevitability of change should be used as an excuse to sit back and let it all happen.  Indeed, if we ourselves are the agents of change (and there’s plenty of evidence that we are), then we are beholden to those who will follow us to do what we can to maintain the balance.

Now, of course, there are those who would very much prefer to think of these things in purely scientific terms.  The data tells us that the continuing release of greenhouse gasses will cause global temperatures to rise.   Rising temperatures will, in turn, cause long frozen permafrost to melt, releasing more greenhouse gasses and raising the sea levels along the way.

While I think it’s perfectly acceptable to see things in those terms, over time I have learned to see the spirit in the science.  I look at the scenes of ruin which are still pouring in from the Philippines, and it seems obvious to me that the Titans are loose upon the land.

People have this crazy idea that modern science and ancient mythology are naturally at odds, or that believing in one somehow negates the other.  This could be no further from the truth.  The ancient lore makes it clear that we must care for the world if we want to live in peace within it.  This means making proper sacrifice to the gods and spirits of the land, the sea, and the sky.  And if that sacrifice means giving up a few creature comforts to cut down on our carbon emissions; if we can endeavor to be less glutinous in our power usage while limiting our range of selection at the grocery store; then so be it!

Sacrifice means giving things up for our own good.  When did we forget that?

We reside at the juncture of three worlds, but in turning away from that reality, we have abused our position and threatened the sacred balance.  The giants are at the gates.  Already, some have broken from their ancient bonds, wandering about our sphere, bringing death and destruction in their wake.  Without a doubt, things are going to get worse before they get better.  If we hope to leave anything for our descendants except chaos and ruin, we need to renew our relationship with the worlds we inhabit, we need to remember what we have forgotten and take our place once again at the place where the worlds are joined.

The ancient Celts swore their oaths to the Land, to the Sea, and to the Sky.

To what will you swear your oaths?


Filed under Celtic Polytheism, Modern Life, Mythology, Nature, Philosophy, Religion, Science, The Gods, Traditions

6 responses to “Three Worlds

  1. Thank you for writing this.

  2. I wonder what bridge can be built to those who let logic dilute passion and take pride in living in a one dimensional world. However, I do enjoy reading an artful attempt to bridge that gap of understanding. Another excellent post.

    I swear by the Ones who manifested the three realms.

  3. Moo

    That’s a very interesting connection… It seems to be backed up by science even; without water to give us life, food from the land to nourish us, and air to give us breath we would cease to exist. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  4. We have forgotten that we too, are nature.

  5. Well said, I enjoyed this very much and am sharing with friends. 🙂

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