Why the “Celtic Triads” are important

What are called the “Celtic Triads” are the basis for most Druidic thought according to what historical documents we have and yet very little is said about them in modern Druidry. They can be difficult to find which considering that every Druid had to memorize them, you would think more of them would have survived whole but they haven’t unless you go looking for them. Most that I have found are still in Gaelic.

The main thing about them is that all three pieces of the triad are equal. They never appear to be weighted in any way which makes the combinations interesting to study and a big window into the thought processes of the Druids.

Here are a few:

Three things that make a fool wise: Learning, application and patience. We in the West tend to emphasize Learning and not pay attention to the other two. How often is patience stressed in this age of fast food information and when you are teaching to a test, how do you learn to apply what you have learned to the real world?

Three paths to downfall: To allow one’s passions to rule, to be self indulgent and to refuse to learn by example. Having grown up in a house with people whose ancestry was primarily Scottish and my mom was half Swedish, we were always taught that our passions and our emotions should never be what rules us. Passions should be hidden from the world. It’s something I got in trouble for over and over again. It was just considered bad manners to emote all over because everyone had things to be passionate or emotional about but you shouldn’t impinge on another’s personal space. But it was equally important to not indulge yourself because someone might not have as much as you and you might make them feel less than and that was not okay. The hardest for me was to learn by example. I tend to like going my own way and making my own mistakes but I have learned a lot from watching and deciding what I didn’t want to be and the main thing I didn’t want to be was my mother.

There are three things from which one should never stray: Belief in one’s self, Belief in a higher self and belief in the truth. I find it interesting that truth and one’s self are not the same thing but they are equal in importance.

Know that there are three things that illumine every darkness: Truth, Nature and Knowledge. Too many times in today’s world everything is about pursuing “the truth” (“The Truth is out there”) or knowledge, and nature is something to ignore, drive past or exploit but to be a well-rounded interesting person one does have to be grounded in the natural world and I know I have to be to even be a little sane.

There are three things that are better than riches: Health, Freedom and Honour. Sometimes I think we forget that any of these three are important. We do damage to our health by polluting and using chemicals the companies that make them say are safe and then 20 years of use or more later it’s, “my bad, oops that stuff can kill your but oh well we’re filing for bankruptcy so you can’t hold us accountable, we made our money.”

We get less free every day with every piece of date we give up about ourselves and every time different governments tell us we can’t speak our truth or assemble with people who think like us. And who talks about their honour anymore. It’s gotten me called a nutjob at work more than once when I have failed to comply with an unethical request or demand.

So, if everything in a triad is of equal importance than other triads are also equal, goddesses like Brighid or the Morrigan or the Tres Madres that have three parts and all of those parts are equal so for Brighid, inspiration, healing and artisanship are equal faces of who she is and of equal importance.

Day and night and the liminal spaces in between are of equal importance as is being awake, sleeping and the times in between something a lot of us who short our sleep time should remember more often.

The Gaelic* peoples saw all life as a triad and all of it holy, something maybe we should remember more often in this modern world.

)O(

*I say Gaelic because the culture of the Celts was very far spread and not necessarily the same but the Gaels, and in particular the Scots and Irish and Welsh had very well defined cultures that still exist in their people today.

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