Three Realms, Three Worlds, Three Kindreds
Within and behind all apparent reality is the Otherworld, the Realms of Magic.
The Power Under the Earth is called the Chaos of Potential. The Underworld Realms are the place of the Ancestors, of the Daoine Sidhe, of the Underworld Gods and Goddesses. From their halls and lands issue bounty and new life, the wisdom of memory and the root of personal strength. The Underworld is associated with water, both the Sea and the Waters Under the Earth. This water is the rich nutrient soup into which all individual existence dissolves and from which it arises. So it is sometimes called, or symbolized by, the Cauldron of Rebirth.
The Midrealms are the Setting of the Great Tale. In the Middle Lands dwell all the Mortal Kins, and a variety of Spirits as well. The common world where human and nonhuman kindreds live, the Land, Sea and Sky, are reflected in the Middle Worlds, hung between Underworlds and Heavens. Some of the God/desses dwell there, near to their mortal children, and sometimes mighty Ancestors make a home in the Middle Lands to aid their descendants The Midrealm is associated with the surface of the Land, the Home of the Hosts, and with the many spirit tribes that share it with us. It is the spirit-matrix that underlies the common world in which we dwell, its twin and its mirror. Within it grows every individual manifestation of life, and so it is called the Cauldron of Bounty.
The Power of the Overworld is the Pattern of the World Order. The Heavenly Realms are the places of the Brightest Gods and Goddesses, the Shining Ones, and those mortal Heroes who have been welcomed into their palaces. From the Revolving Castle of the Sun, Moon and Stars comes the Pattern of Existence, the wisdom of perspective and the objective eye, and clarity of thought and will. The Heavens are associated with the Sky, and with the Sacred Fire the brings the Heavens’ Light into the Grove. This Light is the Catalyzing Quickener that calls individual forms and beings out of the Chaos of Potential. When it shines in the soul it brings the pearls of idea from the Sea of Mind, and so it is called the Cauldron of Wisdom.
The Middle Realm is divided in a pattern related to the Three Realms, another reflection of the Holy Triskel.
The common earth on which we dwell, our mortal home and support. It is the tilled field and the unseen mountain-top, swamp and desert, town and woodland. The Land is the convergence of Sea and sky, the Holy Island. It is connected to the Otherworlds through caverns and deep places, wells, pools and the tops of high places. The Land is the home of those animal kins that are closest to our human life, our allies and our predators.
Surrounding our island home on every side is the boundless expanse of the oceans. The Sea is the mystery, the portion of the human world most alien to humankind. Within its misty vastness may be found islands of wonder and fear, the isles of the Otherworlds is the home of the Cattle of Tethra, the uncounted fishes and their stranger cousins and kin. Some of those are friends to human folk, and some unfriends.
Arching above our common Land and Sea is the blue dome of the Sky, the realm of cloud and storm and calm breezes. It is the airy realm that is both all around us and far beyond our reach. In its floating worlds of clouds we see the playgrounds of the Gods, the seats from which they watch the world. From the Sky’s high distances descend the birds, so often the messengers of the Gods.
Within this cosmos of three and three dwell the Gods and the Non-Gods – the three Kindreds.
- The Shining Ones:
In the First Days the Mother of All bore children, the People of the Mother, who are our Gods and Goddesses. They are the First Family, the Eldest and Wisest, their youth continually renewed by their magical feasts. The Kings and Queens, the Magicians and the Poets, the Powers of Love and Delight, the Warriors, and the Cow Women, the Smiths and all the Powers of the Wild, in every culture the Gods and Goddesses guide their mortal children. Each Pagan culture has a family of Deities whose Wisdom, Love and Power sustain the worlds and humankind. Whether these cultural forms portray separate, individual entities; or whether they are names and titles of one great family of Gods and Goddesses, they are the object of our highest worship, and our greatest allies.
- The Ancestors:
Many tales tell us that humankind is descended from, and intermarried with, the Gods and Goddesses. The Fire of the Heavens and the Dark Waters of the Underworld flow in our human spirits, and death cannot extinguish us. So we remember and honor the Ancestors, the Mighty Dead. The Old Lore makes it clear that human spirits sometimes reincarnate in the mortal world, often in their own family bloodline. But it is equally clear that many of the Dead are ‘reborn’ in the Otherworld, in the Land of the Dead. There they live the lives their fate has woven for them, just as we do here. Pagan tradition teaches that the Ancestors hear the voice of the living, that they value our worship and offerings. It teaches that the Mighty Dead still have power in the Mortal World, to guide and protect, or to chastise. So we make our gifts to them, and listen closely for their voices.
- The Spirits:
Humankind and our Ancestors share the worlds with a myriad of other beings, other forms of life both physical and spiritual. The Other Kins share with us and the God/desses in the Weaving of the Web of Fate. They are as various as the species of our world, filled with magic and skill and cunning. Some of them are the Beast-Spirit Peoples. Many of these are close allies of Human folk, the hound and bull and pig and more. Others are of the deep wild, the wolf and deer and boar. The Spirits of Birds go freely between Earth and Sky. Other spirits are the Wonder Peoples, the magic races of the many cultures – fauns and dryads and Alfar and Daoine Sidhe. They roam in Midrealm countries sometimes very close to ours, sometimes very distant. We honor them and sometimes seek their aid in magic.
These Nine Things make up the core Druidic understanding of the Order of the Cosmos. They are wide, deep symbols, that will repay study and meditation. These simple statements are presented as a starting place on the journey to comprehend the Great Triskelion.