Three Candles & Darkness

…there are many darknesses in our time, yet darkness is also a nurturing place where the vitality of seeds is expressed, where bones decompose into vital nutrients for those future plants, and for the those that will eat them. Our flesh is dark, as is most of our future. I think we do well to remember that.


It still surprises me how often pagans subscribe to a light vs. dark narrative that comes from the Abrahamic religions. And predominates in powerful pop culture narratives.  May ‘we’ remember to honor the chthonic powers.


I always wish I could really hibernate during this time of year, but I can at least turn inward.



But if we, as visually oriented animals, need light this Irish triad can guide us: Three candles that illuminate every darkness: Truth, Nature, and Knowledge.

Traditional Celtic {Irish} Triad (Imbas)

But the darkness is there first.

Happy 2016!


10 thoughts on “Three Candles & Darkness

  1. sapphosgarden

    One of the most vivid and soothing dreams I ever had was one where my body was decomposing into the earth. Ever since then I’ve had a profound respect for the chthonic powers.

  2. Yes, indeed, and in truth, to all of this…

    One small note: that is an Irish Triad. It is not found in any of the various Welsh Triad collections (including the Iolo ones), and none of the other Celtic cultures had collections of Triads of which we are aware.

    1. Yes, I know, but I’ve quoted from Imbas website, which attributed it as such. But it’s still Celtic.

      I do, however, suspect the continental Celts would have had their oral triads, as triadic thought can be seen there through classical reports.

      1. While I’m sure you’re right about the Continental Celtic peoples also having Triads, none survive collected, this one among them, so even well-founded conjecture is not demonstrated existence.

        It’s a really important matter to recognize that just because something is found in one Celtic culture doesn’t mean it’s “Celtic.” If it is only found in Irish culture (as this example is), then it’s dishonest to say it is anything other than Irish. If something is found in pan-Celtic cultures, then it is Celtic. Thus, you can say that Triads are Celtic; but this particular Irish triad isn’t.

        Even if a source you’re citing says something in error, then you either indicate that you recognize it’s an error but you’re still quoting with “[sic.],” or you edit it to the correct thing and make a note about why.

        As a fili, this is important. You’re better-informed than this. If this had been Sable Aradia writing, I’d not be as worried (though I’d probably still say something); but because it is you and you are a fili, it’s very important to get this right. It was Irish fili who preserved and collected these Triads in particular, and as a result, they should have the credit, not some amorphous “Celtic oral tradition.”

        For a link to the text, it is #210, found here (alas, Meyer’s edition/translation is still the only one available…but it isn’t bad for the most part).

    2. That is a good point: the Irish filidh who gave it to us, and best get the credit. Call it simply Celtic, while I don’t thing it altogether wrong (and warranting a sic), is imprecise, vague, and unnecessarily so, and admittedly sloppy. So there you go, and thanks for the Meyer’s link (I’m sure, readers will appreciate it too.)

      1. Thank you for all the GREAT work you do, and your grace in upholding this important tradition and this esteemed lineage. If I have not said so before, I appreciate greatly the times you’ve corrected me in the past–though this present is not a “correction” so much as a “suggested nuancing.” 😉

        It would be really interesting, at some point, to do a study group on the Irish and Welsh Triads. So much could come out of that, not only in getting the material known better, but also gathering people around to see what can be discerned in some of the more unusual or less-known ones. It’s a thought for the future, perhaps…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s