Triads are a distinctive cultural form of artistic or literary composition that is a distinctive of the biblical Hebrews and the early Celts of Europe. It is defined as “a Welsh or Celtic form of literary composition with an arrangement of subjects or statements in groups of three.” The Celtic or Druidic Triads are famous in historical annals. The idea of “threeness” also influenced Celtic art and culture in the well-known interlaced “triquetra” such as the trefoil knot. The triquetra (treye-KWEH-truh; from the Latin adjective triquetrus “three-cornered”) is a triangular figure composed of three interlaced arcs, or (equivalently) three overlapping lens shapes. A triquetra design is popularly recognized today as Celtic, but is found on early runestones in Northern Europe, such as the Funbo Runestones, and on early Germanic coins. According to Wikipedia, it can be traced back to ancient Anatolia, the biblical Padan-Aram, an early homeland of the Israelites. (Genesis chapters 25 to 28).
Other lands where early Israelites migrated express this same “threeness.” The early Norse cosmogony included Asgard, Midgard, and Utgard. In early Greek poetry, an ode (from Ancient Greek: ᾠδή, romanized : ōdḗ) is a type of lyrical stanza found in early Greek literature. It is “an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event or individual, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally. A classic ode is structured in three major parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode.” The Psalter of Cashel says, “The Tuatha de Danaan ruled in Ireland for about two centuries and were highly skilled in architecture and other arts from their long residence in Greece.”
The Hebrew Bible has many examples of triadic composition. A striking example is these well-known verses of Psalm 24: “Verse 7: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Verse 8: Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.Verse 9: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.Verse 10: Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts; he is the King of glory.”
The Book of Psalms has other examples, such as this ode: “But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.” (Psa. 63:11)
The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Wherefore it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.” (Isa. 10:12)
The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Say unto the king and to the queen: Humble yourselves and sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. (Jer. 13:18)
In the New Testament, we read in Luke 19:38, “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”
The short letter of St. Jude, who was the brother of our Lord, is full of Triads. Dr. Plummer, the writer of the section of the “Expositor’s Bible” dealing with “St. James and St. Jude,” has this to say: “St. Jude, as will be shown presently, groups nearly everything into threes. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that wherever he can make a threefold arrangement he does so. Is this artificial grouping a mark of originality or not? About the existence of the Triplets in Jude…there can be no question, whatever view we may hold as to their significance. They begin in the very first verse of our Epistle, and continue to the last verse, although those at the close of the letter are lost in the Authorised Version owing to the fact that the translators used a faulty Greek text.” It will be worthwhile to run through them:
- Judas, servant and brother (v. 1)
- To them that are called, beloved, kept. (v. 1)
- Mercy unto you, and peace, and love. (v. 2)
- Ungodly men, turning…and denying. (v. 4)
- Israelites, angels, cities of the plain. (v. 5-7)
- Defile…set at naught…and rail. (v. 7)
- Cain, Balaam, Korah. (v. 11)
- These are…These are…These are. (v. 16)
- They who make separations, sensual, not having the Spirit. (v. 19)
- Building up yourselves…praying…looking for the mercy. (v. 20-21)
- On some have mercy…and some save…and on some have mercy with fear. (v. 22-23)
- Before all time, and now, and for evermore. (v. 25)
Historian Isabel Hill Elder, in her wonderful book, “Celt, Druid, and Culdee,” (pp. 72, 87-88) shows that the Celtic culture was infused with triads. The Druidic bards were divided into three orders or degrees, namely, chronologies, heralds and poets. Mrs. Elder wrote, “The spiritual character of Druidical teaching is illustrated in the following Triads: ‘The three foundations of Druidism: Peace. Love, Justice. The three things God alone can do: endure the eternities of infinity; participate of all being without changing; renew everything without annihilating it.
There are three Primeval Unities and more than one of each cannot exist: one God, one Truth and one Point of Liberty where all opposites preponderate. Three things proceed from the three Primeval Unities: all of Life; all that is Good; and all that is Power.
The three primary principles of Wisdom: wisdom to the laws of God; concern for the welfare of mankind; suffering with fortitude all the accidents of life.
The three primary ornments of Wisdom: love, truth, courage.
Three things that make a man equal to an angel: the love of every good; the love of exercising charity; the love of pleasing God.
The Drudical teaching concerning a man’s spiritual nature is comprised in the following Triad: ‘In every person there is a soul, in every soul there is intelligence, in every intelligence there iis thought.
In every thought there is either good or evil, in every evil there is death, in every good there is life.
Historian Edward Davies wrote, “I must confess that I have not been the first in representing the Druidical as having had some connection with the patriarchal religion.” Historian William Stukely affirmed, “I plainly discerned the religion professed by the ancient Britons was the simple patriarchal religion.” Sir Norman Lockyear stated, “I confess I am amazed at the similarities we have come across.” (ibid. p. 67)
The Hebrew-Celtic Triads are just one of many cultural evidence that show a definite corporeal connection between these peoples.