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androgino
August 5th, 2009, 12:39 AM
In CR are the three realms of Sky, Land, and Sea in correspondence with an Upperworld, Middleworld, and Underworld?

What is the relationship of the World Tree with the Well?

Thank you in advance. =)

Seren_
August 6th, 2009, 05:01 AM
I think it depends on who you ask, really. I don't see the L/S/S and U/M/U connection myself, but I've seen it mentioned in some places - generally older and not necessarily reconstructionist sources on the internet.

I do think that each realm has its Otherworldly associations, but I don't see it fitting so neatly as upperworld, middleworld and underworld...My understanding of the concept is that the upperworld would be where the gods live, which would logically be the sky realm seeing as the middleworld, where humans live, would have to be land (the sea being associated with the dead, as the underworld, could fit, though) - but the gods are very much a part of the land as far as the Celts as a whole seem to have been concerned, as well as sky and sea.

The idea of a World Tree implies that the three realms or the U/M/U are inherent within it. I'm not sure that's entirely applicable in a reconstructionist perspective, either, because surviving lore doesn't really emphasise the idea. There are hints, but it's not explicit and it's not clear whether these hints are the result of a Christian gloss or surviving pre-Christian belief.

I see the sacred tree - the bile - as being more of a sacred centre. It was representative of the wellbeing of the tuath and the sovereignty of the king, and many rites appear to have been associated with it. Wells were often associated with the bile, and generally seem to have been seen as a source of Otherworldly wisdom - another aspect that was integral to the idea of a good king, and therefore the wellbeing of the tuath. They too have a wealth of ritual associations connected to them - in surviving lore they're often associated with healing.

skilly-nilly
August 6th, 2009, 11:26 AM
The Gods are a part of the land, I agree, but to me the Gods appear here from Elsewhere. So we are living in 'Land' (or 'Cultivated Land' if you use the Forest-Cultivated Land- Sky) and the Gods appear to us. But the Non-Godly Other-Beings who live in Sea visit here as well (gods between us and harm) so it would seem that land is open in both directions.

I perceive their being 5 directions, the cardinal ones and centre/mide/here and I see the Bile as that direction. The center-pole of the house as well as the defining tree of the lived-in area. The natural combination of well and tree is inherently powerful (imo) and so recognized when occurring-- ADF ritual creates a well and a tree in association for this reason.

Wells (and rivers and lakes and ponds) connect to Elsewhere and so are natural and obvious places for offerings (I see offering pits as 'dry wells'). I would make a distinction between fresh and salt water, myself-- I don't see wells as a part of Sea at all.

I agree with Seren-- the land of the Dead is in the Sea.

So I see Land-Sea-Sky and Well-Tree as connected but distinct imagery, and like-but-unlike the Norse configuration. I think there are distinct cultural differences---

Ot1h, there's the World Tree very clearly delineated with the well at the base and the Norns hangin' about and the eagle at the top and the squirrel; all very 'this and no other'.

Otoh, there's Irish cosmology..... it's like the center-pole..... it's like the four fifths.... of course there's seals/ dead fishermen... well, when you're under the hill it looks different....

On the gripping hand, Norse world-view can be explicated and Irish world-view must be (imo) felt.

zombi
August 6th, 2009, 03:41 PM
I do think that each realm has its Otherworldly associations, but I don't see it fitting so neatly as upperworld, middleworld and underworld...My understanding of the concept is that the upperworld would be where the gods live, which would logically be the sky realm seeing as the middleworld, where humans live, would have to be land (the sea being associated with the dead, as the underworld, could fit, though) - but the gods are very much a part of the land as far as the Celts as a whole seem to have been concerned, as well as sky and sea.

I agree with both skilly-nilly and Seren; the land of the Dead is in the sea.

I don't honestly know if I ever connected U/M/U with L/S/S before, at least not in saying one = the other. I have trouble with that because I agree that the Upperworld is where the Gods live, but to me the Upper/Middle/Underworlds are more like layers than realms, if that makes sense? After all, the Gods are in all parts of L/S/S.

To me realms implies a different sort of separation than layers does; U/M/U can exist in every part of the Three Realms, as layers within them. I am sorry, I don't know if I am making sense.

androgino
August 6th, 2009, 07:46 PM
Thank you so much for these replies.

Lately I have been interested in Reconstructionism and what I have been looking into are the Irish, Hellenistic, and Kemetic paths. I have read the CR FAQ website and it has been helpful.

As for the connection of S/L/S with U/M/U, I have seen it in a Neopagan book a few years ago and so I knew I had to ask someone who is CR about it.