The Three Realms

How to explain the World? One number holds the answer.

Cosmologies remind us — and as they remind us, they feed on — the true order of the world. And from the perspective of various cultures around the world, particularly the Indo-European ones, describing our reality is rather simple:

- How to explain the world?
- Three.

Three, like the levels of existence, or Realms if our fantasy chimes in the metaphor. As if we lived in a big house with three floors: the sky above us, the sea around us, the earth under our feet. Or, respectively, Nwyfre, Gwyar and Calas, according to this great scholar/prophet/swindler (please choose one… or not) named Iolo Morganwg. Besides guaranteeing the structure of the outer world, these three Realms permeate all beings, inhabit us and (trans)form us at every moment: in the air we breathe, in the blood that flows in our veins, in the bones that sustain us. Because they are such an elementary truth — forgive me the pun —, Heaven, Sea and Earth were the pledges of many oaths among the ancient Celts. If someone were to break the truth, all of Nature’s forces were called upon to precipitate him into the abyss.

Three, like the portals which the ancients would have used repeatedly to travel between the worlds: the fire in flames, the waters of the well, the tree which extends between Heaven and Earth. All gathered in the centre of the altar, the forest, the communities, the Universe itself. All present in constant flux in us who are alternately fire and mire, ever seeking a place where to take root while the foliage perishes under the command of Time.

Three, like the classes of beings: those who were, those who are and those who will always be. With the particularity that those who once were are still present in the stories of those who remain, in the history of the place that remains. The one we think will always be.

The thing about Time is that it does not work linearly. All phenomena take place in cycles, from birth to death, followed by new birth. That’s how the seasons proceed, and more than that, even simultaneously. Summer in the north, winter in the south; food for some, slaughter for others; right in one context, wrong in another. The cosmic order, as we have already seen, works in triads, interdependent as in the triskelion sign. How could there be truth, in that same order, if all possibilities were merely dualistic? Beyond the thesis and the antithesis, there is the synthesis, more radical, profound and comprehensive than the sum of its parts. Beyond the foot of the letter and its spaces, there is life, which is everything and nothing.

- How to explain the World?
- Three.