The Symbolic Power of Three

May 31, 2022

Author Alison Davies shares the ancient symbolism of the number three, plus how you can harness its mystical energy, extracted from Kindred Spirit issue 181

The number three is universal. It’s a number rooted in magic and mystery, and the Pythagoreans believed it to be the one true number. Its divine energy is called upon in rites and rituals around the world. To cement an intention, you might perform an action three times or call to be three times lucky in your endeavours. The Celts believed that three was a sacred number, and many of their symbols were composed of three elements, such as the Triskelion, Triquetra and the Three Rays. Each aspect represented a layer of the human soul or a state of existence, such as the body, mind and spirit or
the past, present and future.

These groupings of three were significant and embodied ideas and principles associated with the cycles of life. Three is the underworld, the earth and the afterlife; it is the beginning, the middle and the end. It also represents religious beliefs – the holy trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is a good example. Being so many things to so many people, it’s no wonder that the number three holds such an important place in our hearts and was used as the basis for so many popular symbols. The pattern and form is easily recognisable. Consider the triangle, a simple shape created by three positioned points which can mark out equal sides. It relies on the power of three working together to symbolise balance and union.

 

THE TRIPLE GODDESS
The concept of triples is primal – a deeply rooted part of our psyche. We see life in stages, and this plays out at a divine level too. We understand that we are much more than one single notion or being. We
have other sides and aspects to who we are. Our ancestors recognised this, and used the power of three to create a sense of balance in one of their most divine creations: the Triple Goddess. A representation of the three aspects of womanhood, this deity could shift from ‘maiden’ to ‘mother’ and then ‘crone’, and had the ability to tap into the divine elements of each one at any time. Sometimes appearing as a wizened old hag, and then transforming into a beautiful young maiden, she had the nurturing, life-giving energy of the mother and the wisdom of the crone. Being all things made her a triple threat, and a powerful deity to call upon.

From ancient Celtic stone tablets to Greek statues of the goddess Hecate
(also known as Queen of the witches and one of the most potent triple deities), she appears in mythology from around the world. In some cultures the triple nature of the goddess was shown by combining the power of three different deities to form a magical triad, or, as in the case of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it came from the triple aspects of life she governed. As a smith, a poetess and a healer, Brigid was the sum
of all three and could shift between roles.

 

MAIDEN, MOTHER, CRONE
Try the following exercise to channel the different elements of the Triple Goddess and tap into the power of three.

1.  Take each aspect of the Triple Goddess and consider the connected themes, then identify qualities in
yourself which resonate with each one. For example the maiden can represent youthful exuberance, a fresh perspective and spontaneity, the mother can be associated with nurturing qualities and creativity, and the crone can represent wisdom, freedom and personal power.

2. Become aware of how you move between aspects in your daily life. Some days you may become crone-like in your knowledge, wisdom and sensitivity when dealing with others, while at other times your maiden aspect might come to the fore as you bring a sense of fun and spontaneity to the table.

3. Finally, consider practical ways in which you can embrace each particular aspect of the Triple Goddess. When you want to tune into the mother, you might turn your hand to gardening and growing your own herbs or vegetables, while a regular meditation session might bring you into your crone power. Write a list for each aspect, then make a point of taking one thing from each list that you can try on a daily or weekly basis.

 

Continue reading Alison Davies’ article in issue 181 of Kindred Spirit. Grab your copy here.


Posted by: Gwen Jones