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THE TRIPLE GODDESS IN CELTIC TRADITION

Celtic mythology is replete with tripled or triadic deities. In this article I address this phenomenon by first exploring the Celtic fascination with threes and triads as a way of alluding to the mysterious dimensions of the cosmos in which we find ourselves living. I then apply this to the question of why there are triple deities. The major part of the article is then an exploration of the mythos of two triple Goddesses: (1) ANU—DANU—TAILTIU (Goddess of Sources, Springs and the Earth) and (2) the Celtic Lunar Goddess – BOANN—BRIGHID—CERIDWEN, mentioning ways of encountering these Goddesses today, through chant, meditation and imaging.

“Did the Celts worship the Goddess?” This is a question that I often get asked by curious and sincere people looking into Celtic mysticism and spirituality. As it stands, the question implies a now popularized story concerning the distant past; i.e., when all of humankind – in the Neolithic (c. 10,000 – c. 6,000 BCE) – supposedly worshipped a single, unified, “Great Goddess,’ long before there were any gods to speak of and when life was a kind of earthly paradise. Whether or not this scenario turns out to be verifiable (in historic and archeological terms), it has already made a deep impact on contemporary religious consciousness. It often affects the kinds of ideas Neo-Pagans have about the distant past.

While there is a growing body of evidence for a Goddess-centered religion in what is now called “Old Europe” (see the work of Marija Gimbutas, et. al.), Celtic religion seems to have had its own unique mythic paradigm. The Celts worshipped a great many goddesses – as well as gods – and nowhere seem to have worshipped a single “Great Goddess.” There were very few paired gods & goddesses in Celtic mythology (the Daghda and the Boann in Irish mythology is an obvious exception). Nowhere do we find the gods killing off goddesses, as is supposed to have happened in other mythologies as the Great Goddess lost favor, being supplanted by warrior gods in the society’s pantheon of deities.

While they didn’t worship a Great Goddess, neither did the Celts worship a “Great God” (at least not until the rise of Celtic Christianity in the 4th century CE). In fact, if by ‘they’ we mean something like “the Celts as a whole, in all times and places,” ‘they’ didn’t worship any deity in common! Celtic religion is deeply and persistently polytheistic; it is regionally rooted. Celtic deities are almost always tied to particular tuatha (“tribes”) or perhaps to regional sacred sites; e.g., springs, wells, ancient trees.

Each Celtic tuath had its own deities, both gods & goddesses. These deities were manifestations or perhaps personifications of all of the various aspects of daily life. There were deities of the stable, the hearth, the field, the well, the cradle, the springs and wells from which people drew their daily supply of water, and of virtually every other dimension of life. There were gods of hunting and of sport. There were goddesses of healing, war-craft and magic. There were gods of time and space, and goddesses of the numinous and mysterious aspects of daily life. Each of these deities could be called upon when they were needed, while at other times people paid little or no attention to them.

There were also deities with a regional status; i.e., that were worshipped in a general area by more than one tuath. Danu – who had a Continental origin – may have originally been connected with the Danube River. She was later mentioned in other Celtic areas and may be implicated in the name of the Irish Tuatha Dé Danann (the People of ‘Danu’?). As such, Danu may have been the patron source goddess of one of the early Celtic groups to enter into Ireland and settle there. There are other goddesses who were known by one name on the Continent and by another name in Britain, Scotland and Ireland, such as the Irish goddess Brighid. She was known as Brigantia in Britain and as Bride in Scotland.

The Celts did not generally treat their deities as ‘parental’ figures; beings to ‘depend on’ or in relation to which they saw themselves as subservient. Rather, the deities suggested ways of referring to energies in the cosmos through which a person could become empowered or resourced. They often treated their gods & goddesses more or less as equals, yet always with the tip of the hat to their supernatural and immortal nature.

I sometimes think that the Celts were approaching a much more mature kind of relationship with the universe than was being expressed in many of the Mediterranean-based religions, where people had for a long time felt themselves to be the pawns of their gods (you only have to read the Odyssey to get a sense of this) and where others were giving up their autonomy and willingly becoming slaves to their God. The Celts seemed to realize that gods & goddesses were an important manifestation of the universe while at the same time acknowledging their own autonomy from their deities. If so, it would have been interesting to see where a Celtic religion would have gone without the interference of Christianity.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Celtic mythology is the existence of the so-called “Triple” or “Triadic” Goddesses. For some reason the Celts didn’t just worship single, individual deities, but linked some of them together in threes; never four, never two, but three. The Celts were fascinated by threes, tripled images and triadic ideas. Triple designs and three-part motifs – such as the triskelion; a three-fold spiral – appear in the very earliest examples of Celtic Art. When Celtic people wanted to encode their wisdom for posterity, they created “triads;” three-part sayings that could be memorized and passed down orally. The Celtic imagination was populated by a number of tripled or triadic deities – gods as well as goddesses – that were somehow more mysterious than the general deities and that functioned to express mystical rather than more mundane or practical truths. What is it about threes and triads and triple manifestations of things that so appealed to the Celtic Mind?

The longer I study Celtic mythology and practice Celtic spirituality the clearer it is to me that the Celts were deeply appreciative of the mysterious element in the reality we inhabit. Behind all that we as human beings ‘know’ and call ‘real’ is a deeper reality; a numinous realm just beyond our mind’s grasp. The everyday events that we so often take for granted reveal, if looked at from another angle, this other, more mysterious dimension. If you search long enough, study hard enough, worship gods & goddesses devoutly enough, Celtic mystics believed, what you would eventually come up against is ‘Mystery;’ everything opens out into the unknown. The cosmos is strange and mysterious. For the Celts, reality emerges from this Mysterious ‘beyond’ and returns to it again at time’s end. To say that something was ‘three’ or to present it with three names or three aspects was one way of alluding to this Mystery.

I tend to think that the number ‘3’ fascinated the Celts because, in one sense, it is the first number with enough complexity to symbolize the mystery inherent in the cosmos. ‘One’ may be seen as single, simple, unadorned. ‘Two’ is the number of opposition, contradiction, complementarity, and duality. ‘Three’ pushes beyond our usual habit of dividing the world up into ‘this’ and ‘that, ‘here’ and ‘there,’ ‘us’ and ‘them,’ ‘you’ and me.’ It introduces the mysterious ‘third;’ the tantalizing ‘other’ – into our neatly bifurcated worlds. ‘Four’ represents the cardinal points of the Earth and as such brings us back into the spatio-temporal realm. Three is the liberating number; the number of Mystery.

As such, the Celtic triple or triadic deities are just one more vehicle through which to express this mysterious otherness. Triadic gods & goddesses did not become such through a process of multiplication; i.e., different tuatha (i.e., “tribes”) didn’t just recognize the ‘same’ deities in each other’s ‘pantheons’ and then bring three of their names together for the sake of simplicity! Rather, I think there must have been triple gods & goddesses from the very emergence of Celtic consciousness; these deities are as archaic as the Celtic fascination with the number ‘3.’

Thinking in these terms, we might suppose that certain local deities were always thought of as in some way triadic. There was a need for a triple goddess or a triple god; it said something about the nature of reality that couldn’t be expressed through the myths of single deities. While there is a tendency among some students of Celtic mythology to see triads or triple-aspected deities as emerging only at the regional level and to imply that these triads were ‘more important’ than the ‘merely’ local deities, I think this draws too much on a Mediterranean bias with its tendency to value abstractions over the specific and hierarchy over egalitarian social arrangements. When you enter the Celtic Realm, you leave the world where these presuppositions work; you are in a different mythological cosmos.

According to a strictly Celtic logic, something may be given a triple-aspect in order to draw out its more mysterious element; not because it is ‘higher’ or ‘better’ than other things, but because it reveals the strangeness of Nature and human existence in an unusually powerful or poetic way. When something becomes triadic or is tripled, it has the power to awaken us to the Mystery inherent in the cosmos and our experience of it. Gods & goddesses that are presented as triadic or who have a triple-aspect are revelatory in a unique way.

I will here discuss two primary triple goddesses. The first of these is ANU—DANU—TAILTIU, a Goddess of Sources, Rivers and the Earth. The second triad – BOANN—BRIGHID—CERIDWEN – is one expression of the Celtic Lunar Goddess and Muse of Poets, Bards and Storytellers. Each of these triads represents practical experiences while alluding to a more noumenal dimension. In the pages that follow, we will explore their mythos and suggest ways of connecting with these mysterious triple deities.

A. ANU—DANU—TAILTIU (The Goddess of Origin and Destination)

All things have a beginning and an end. The Celts were well aware of this. They personified the temporal limits of existence and the mysteries these perimeters implied (Birth—Life—Death—Rebirth) in the character or function of various gods & goddesses. In Ireland, three goddesses seem to have played this role: ANU, the goddess of sustenance, nurture and abundance, DANU, the lady of movement, tides and process, and TAILTIU – the goddess of vigor, strength, and endurance. While separately quite influential in the Irish Celtic World, together they had the effect of alluding to realities concerning the limits of our existence. While we will deal with each of them in turn, keep in mind that they form a triad; a vehicle for the mysterious transcendence of the ordinary.

Each goddess in this triad has her role to play in our existence; with her we come to be and are sustained in the midst of life. With her we also pass out of existence. Anu is the goddess of sustenance, nurture and abundance. She is sometimes thought of as the mother of the gods, and as such she is an ancient manifestation of the divine feminine in Celtic mysticism, perhaps even pre-dating her first appearance in Ireland. She is the source of our existence; thought of in terms of our coming out of the darkness into the light at a spring, a cave, a lake, or from out of the sea itself.

Go to the sea in your imagination. Imagine standing on a beach, seeing all of the evidence of organic life being washed up out of the surf; dead jellyfish, seashells, strands of seaweed, and so forth. Go to a spring in your imagination and feel the holy power of her presence. Here the gods are born and go downstream. We path back up the stream to its source too late for an encounter, yet echoes of this event survive in the loric patterns of the place. Go to a cave in your imagination. Enter it. Feel the darkness encompass you and know that it is out of the dark that you have come and that, regardless of what one might believe about the Otherworld and an afterlife, to the darkness we will return. The cave is like the womb and the tomb. Such dark places can be both nurturing and frightening. It is the mystery behind and within all things that sustains us; Anu symbolizes this primal experience.

Once we emerge from the darkness, we must be sustained, and here Anu also comes into play, for she is associated with the cattle that have long been valued among Celtic people. She nurtures us with her milk; a symbol of sublime sustenance in life. Her role as nurturer may be deduced from the fact that in County Kerry, Ireland, there are two hills known widely as The Paps of Anu. We go to her when we need ‘fed;’ when we need to tap into the primal energies behind and within everything. Once we re-connect with her, we experience again the abundance of life and its inner vitality.

Danu is a goddess of movement, tides and process. Everything connected with water and everything that water symbolizes for human beings; their survival, refreshment and pleasure – is the domain of Danu. Not the sourcing nature of springs and the sea, but the flux and flow of existence, the movement of the blood within our veins and the movement of energy through synapses in our brains. She is goddess of rivers and streams. Her name is plausibly connected with the Danube River, along whose banks Celtic tuatha originally dwelt in central Europe. The Tuatha Dé Danann (“People of Danu”) may have been a court of gods & goddesses connected with Danu in earlier times.

Go to a moving body of water in your imagination. Feel its power; sense the rhythms of its current, manifold and intermingled like a Celtic rope design, moving downstream from some source in the hills or mountains. This movement is our life; it is our process – change, growth, transformation – from birth until death. We are constantly in flux; nothing stands still in life for very long. ‘Stillness’ is only an ultimate ideal in patriarchal, earth-hating religions that try to get us out of our bodies and flee the flux. For the Celts, however, the flux and flow is what life is all about. While we need places to rest and be still for a while, there is no virtue in ultimately stopping the movement that we are.

Walk down to the river or stream. Feel the vibrations in the stone and dirt beneath your feet, caused by the hum or clamor of the water flowing. This is your life; we are all a response to the movement of the cosmos – we are watery and fluid. Once we realize this we become better able to work and play, create, change and anticipate trouble. The flux and flow of the current of the river is the song of Danu. The fish in the water represent her gift to us, not just in terms of bodily sustenance but also in terms of spiritual insight. When we go catching the Fish of Wisdom, it is Danu who is runing us new perspectives and intuitions in the course of our flow; the pattern of our own inner currents. It is Danu who helps us to discern where we are going and how best to get there.

Tailtiu is the goddess of vigor, strength and endurance. She is a primary Earth Goddess in ancient Irish traditions. She is the mother of the god Lugh, after whom the festival of high summer – Lughnassadh – is named. Her story connects her with the land, revealing her to be benevolent and self-sacrificing, willing to be oned with her people; their interests, aspirations, trials and cares are hers as well.

The story of Tailtiu that we have from mediaeval Irish sources concerns the creation of County Meath; the ‘central’ county in Ireland where the High Kings presided at Tara. It is said that Tailtiu was eager for Tara to be built and that, in her enthusiasm, she joined her people in clearing trees and plowing the land. She tore out a great lot of trees herself. She then harnessed herself to the plow and pulled it across one field after another. At the end of nine days Meath had been cleared and plowed, but Tailtiu was weakened by her efforts and died from exhaustion on the third day after the work was finished.

Everyone mourned her, and in her honor her son declared that he would establish a festival. This festival, to be held on the 2nd of August would be convened each year at Telltown, where his mother had died. It would be a time of sporting events, vigorous games and the presentation of works of art in Tailtiu’s honor. All of the people who had worked by her side and seen her enthusiasm and endurance, vowed to establish this festival and celebrate it ‘until the sky falls into the sea and the mountains themselves collapse.’ The festival established by Lugh would become Lughnassadh in later Celtic spirituality. After this, Lugh set up the funeral pyre and cremated his mother’s body upon it. Thus the goddess was returned to the body of the Earth, of which she is the manifestation and protector.

If you want to think of the planet as a ‘living being,’ think of it as Tailtiu. She is connected with grain and certain kinds of fruit, especially grapes and apples. Eating a wild apple while sitting beneath the boughs of the tree from which it fell is said to invoke the aid of this Earth Goddess. If you ask her for a taste of Wisdom while eating the apple, she may appear to you as “Mistress of Cider” and grant your request. Tailtiu is sometimes connected with Cernunnos, the God of the Wildwood, who represents the fecundity, wildness and richness of Nature. As life is fecund and the Earth is fertile and wild, the Celts saw gods like Cernunnos populating the Wildwoods and Fields. He is known as the “Lord of Wild Animals” and as the consort of Tailtiu as well as the consort of the Moon Goddess.

Crabapple Thickets in the woods are enchanted places where the Faeryfolk oft come to meet with mortals and establish friendships with us across the sídhe (thin places between the worlds). It is said that epiphanies (moments of sudden poetic insight) sometimes occur in these thickets, especially when one of the ripe little fruits falls to the ground. Go to a Crabapple thicket (either in your imagination or else in the external world) and sit there, meditating on Tailtiu and her connection with apples. Hold a Crabapple in your hands and chant her name until you feel her presence and your own deepening awareness of connection with the Earth. As deer often frequent crab-apple thickets, you are also chancing an encounter with the Horned God by being there, especially at dawn or dusk.

B. BOANN—BRIGHID—CERIDWEN (Goddess of Creativity, Inspiration, Vision)

Whereas ANU—DANU—TAILTIU are goddesses of sources and destinations, BOANN—BRIGHID—CERIDWEN are goddesses of inspiration and creativity. They preside over the realm of the imagination and are primary manifestations of the Muse in Celtic spirituality. This Triple Goddess is concerned with enervation, innovation, intuition and all of the ways in which we experience inspiration in the midst of life’s spiral patterns, in its changes and challenges.

The Boann is Goddess of the Boyne and Mistress of the Well of Segais. She is the All-Mother of the Irish Celts and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann (“People of Danu”). Her story is intimately linked with the 70-mile long Boyne River in NE Ireland. The Well of Segais – located at the source of the Boyne – is a pool around which stand nine sacred Hazelnut trees. The Salmon of Wisdom swim in the waters of this sequestered sylvan pool. Long ago, in the Mists of Time it is said, the Boann started the waters flowing by touching the stones that became the source of the Boyne.

The Boann was married to Elcmar, a mortal man, and also the Daghda; the All-Father of the Irish Celts. She lived at Brug na Bóinne; the Faery Mound long identified with Newgrange along the banks of the Boyne. There she raised her son Angus Óg; the Irish God of Love. As Mistress of the Well of Segais, she is also associated with Nechtan – the God of the Well – who greets and attends to those who come to the source of the Boyne looking for inspiration and creative empowerment.

Brug na Bóinne is a mysterious fortress riddled with passageways and chambers, rooms where mortals might dwell as well as chambers that only the Sluagh-Sídhe (Faeryfolk) may occupy. Outside this fortress were three ancient trees – all magical in nature – that were always heavy with fruit so that visitors might be refreshed when they arrived, no matter in what season they came to the Brug. Some say these were Apple trees; others that they were Hazelnut trees, like those at the Well of Segais. Imagine them as one or the other, as you are led. Inside the Brug there was always a fire in the hearth, and always a spit over the fire on which meat or a stew was cooking for the benefit of guests.

Thus Brug na Bóinne was a touchstone of hospitality in the mythic landscape; countless pilgrims and questers have been hosted by the denizens there. Go to the Brug in your imagination. If you knock at the main gate, either Elcmar or Angus will come to greet you. If you ask for hospice, they will grant it. Imagine staying at the Brug overnight and then visiting the Well of Segais in the morning, seeking a Hazelnut of Inspiration or at least a taste of the clear, fresh waters of the pool. Necthan will greet you there. As you become familiar with this symbolic landscape, you will eventually encounter the goddess herself. To meet the Boann is to connect with the source of creativity.

Brighid is Mistress of Fire, Smithing and the Hearth. Domestic in her ministrations, she is the mistress of all those skills that have something to do with managing the homestead of the creative life; thus she is a goddess of cattle and crops as well as smithcraft. She is the Lady of Fertility, the source of the fecundity of the harvest as well as the vigor of the Poetic Mind. Like Angus Óg, she was a child of the Daghda. She domesticates the Fire of Inspiration and keeps it burning in the hearth; one of several symbolic focal points of Celtic creativity, art and healing.

Whereas the Boann links the creative person to the elemental powers of water, Brighid frees them from all unnecessary constraint. As goddess of fire, she inspires those who come to her for aid with the powers of light, warmth and the kind of consciousness that derives from being linked to primal energy. As goddess of smithing, she forges the tools of the creative vocation. As goddess of crops, she tends to the Fields of the Imagination, there chanting spells of fertility over the sproutlings and chasing away foxes, crows and any other animals symbolic of powers that would destroy an artist’s work if they could.

She it is who is invoked when a fire is kindled in the hearth. When the broom is used to sweep the house, Brighid is called upon. When an herbal poultice or elixir is being concocted, it is Brighid’s help that is invoked (for she is the household healer). Brighid is the weaver who mends broken hearts and tends to the soul-wounded. Her healing power in this regard is invoked by the use of a spell called a ciam; a protective charm that diverts trouble from the house and from the community.

Go to a hearth (either in your imagination or in the external world) and sit down by it. Feel the warmth and power of the fire and see the cauldron hanging over it; here the daily meals are cooked and the concoctions of magic (draíocht) and healing (corrguine) created. Inhale the steam and smell the smoke of the nine sacred woods (usually apple—hawthorne—willow, oak—ash—thorn, rowan—holly—hazel) burning below the cauldron. What is being made in that cauldron? It is a brew for you; it represents whatever you need at this moment to be inspired and sustained in your life’s ongoing work.

Go to a garden (either in your imagination or in the external world) and sit down. Imagine the various beds of vegetables, fruits and grains growing all around you. See the paths that Brighid has created in her garden and meditate on their meaning. The pattern that each of us discerns in this garden evinces something of the nature of our own life’s quest; it symbolizes the journey we are on and what we need to be inspired and creative enough to succeed at what we are doing. If you see a black cat with green eyes or perhaps a white cat with red or pink ear-linings, realize that you are in the presence of Brighid in one of her animal forms (like many Celtic deities, she is a shape-shifter).

Whenever you go to the hearth or to this enchanted garden in your imagination you are seeking a kind of sustenance; that which brings inspiration, deepens creative ability and intuition, and that ultimately helps one aspire toward the ‘best’ goals life has to offer at any given point. Brighid represents the domestic setting of the spiritual life whereas the Boann represents the watery source of our empowerment and resourcement in the Earth. Ceridwen – partnered as she is to each of these two goddesses – represents the wild and ecstatic source of inspiration in our lives. With Brighid’s blessing, it is Ceridwen who draws us toward the precipices of transformation and transfiguration that, if we are not careful, may destroy us or drive us mad; i.e., make us ‘loony.’

Ceridwen is the Celtic Mistress of Poets and Inspiration. As the Boann is a goddess of water and Brighid is a goddess of fire, Ceridwen personifies what you get when you boil ingredients in water in a cauldron over fire. As the Boann is a Mother figure and Brighid is a Virgin, Ceridwen is seen as an old ‘hag’ or ‘crone,’ (i.e., a Cailleach), a wise-woman and a Gwrach (female counterpart of a Druid). She tends one of the most powerful cauldrons in the Celtic tradition. She is a creator as well as one who initiates artists, storytellers and bards into the path of their chosen vocation.

The Cauldron of Ceridwen was often stirred for “a year and a day” (a symbolic period of time, indicating “completion”) before one could partake of its contents. Being very witchy, Ceridwen knew all manner of combinations of herbs and other substances that could be thrown into the cauldron and what effects they would bring about in the one who imbibed her concoctions. As Ceridwen’s son – Afagddu – was the ugliest boy ever known in the land, the goddess decided one day to concoct a brew that would bestow a high degree of wisdom on him, thinking that if he was ugly he could at least be wise.

However, as fate would have it, Ceridwen asked her young protégé Gwion to tend the cauldron while she went about other work for the year and a day during which the elixir was brewing. Just as the brew was getting done, three drops leapt out of the cauldron and onto Gwion’s fingers! As they were scalding hot, his immediate reaction was to stick his fingers in his mouth to soothe them! Thus he inherited all of the wisdom intended for Ceridwen’s son; he also knew that Ceridwen would not let him get away with this theft – and so he fled! He left Ceridwen’s home beneath the lake and ran, changing form as he went. The goddess, immediately knowing what had happened, took off after him! Gwion went through a number of changes, ultimately transforming himself into a grain of wheat, which Ceridwen – as the hen-mother – then ate! Nine months later she gave birth to him as the Poet Taliesin.

This whole story is a parable of the nature of creativity, the nature of the poet and the dangers of the aesthetic vocation. Inspiration originates in the wild; not in the domestic setting – it comes from ‘far, far away;’ perhaps even from ‘beneath a lake.’ The poet – representative of any artist – must seek this wild and invigorating inspiration at the Cauldron tended by Ceridwen and accept whatever opportunities arise for tasting the brew she is making. Upon getting a taste, the creative vocation is set in motion!

To experience Ceridwen you must venture out into the moonlight, especially when the Moon is full. She is most likely to be encountered (1) where the moonlight is reflected in the surface of water, (2) in a moonlit clearing in a wood or (3) by a fence along a field, along a lonesome country road, or perhaps at the gate leading into a field or wooded area. Go to one of these places (either in your imagination or else in the external world) and center yourself. Look up at the Moon. ‘Feel’ the moonlight bathing you. Then chant her names: Rhiannon—Ceridwen—Arduinna. (“Rhiannon” and “Arduinna” are two other Celtic goddesses connected with the Moon.)

If you want to partake even more fully of the Moon’s power, fill a chalice with fresh water (from either a rushing stream or a clear spring pool) and sit down with it in a position that enables you to see the Moon reflected in the surface of the water. Hold the chalice and meditate on the power of the Moon to induce inspiration and enhance the creative imagination. As you meditate, watch the reflection of the Moon. Feel her power flowing into you when you inhale. To lean over the chalice and inhale air from near the surface of the water is to ‘imbibe’ the Moon’s light symbolically. You can engage in a lunar divination by asking a question and then blowing lightly on the surface of the water in the chalice. A pattern in the water’s disturbed surface may then spark an intuition of an ‘answer’ as you gaze into it.

∆ ∆ ∆

By imaging these two Triple Goddesses and seeking an encounter with them, a person may connect with (1) all of the major phases of life, from its origin to its destination (ANU), (2) both in the domestic setting (BRIGHID) and in the wild (CERIDWEN), (3) its movement (DANU) as well as its earthen source and context (TAILTIU) and then (4) in the pathway between the source and flow of life and our expression of our gifts (BOANN). Many other Celtic goddesses embody more particular expressions of the ideas, desires and needs expressed in the mythos of these two Triple Goddesses. While all Celtic deities express something interesting about life, in these two Triads we have, in my experience, all of the basic parameters of existence and experience distilled for our edification and enlightenment. By meditating on their aspects we may some day learn the deeper secrets of life. By invoking them we aspire to an encounter with the ultimate Mystery of the cosmos within a Celtic symbolic framework.