The Celtic beliefs placed a large amount of significance on the numbers three and nine. Both numbers appear in many different myths and symbols within Celtic culture! The number three is the triple goddess, maiden mother and crone, that is utilized in some variation by most ancient cultures. The number nine is the number of sisters on the Isle of Avalon. Three is also the number of cycles, birth death rebirth, and the number of the Celtic triads.
The triads are lists of threes that occur in important Celtic tales. In some forms there are even three Guineveres, with the third being the wife of Arthur (he had two previous wives also named Guinevere). There were also three fair princes, and frivolous bards. The Welsh Triads listed occurrences of threes across many aspects of Celtic culture. The noble triads are where the above examples are contained, but there are more than just those!
Nines occur in the nine magical sisters on the Isle of Avalon. This included Morgan Le Fay, who in several versions of the legends also became the Lady of the Lake. Nine also occurs in the nine flowers used to make Blodeuwedd as a flower bride for Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Interestingly in some versions of Blodeuwedd’s tale she is made from three flowers instead. That fact alone shows the power of both the number three and number nine in Celtic culture!
Celtic culture is also entwined with Norse culture, given that vikings invaded many places that had a Celtic culture. We can see this in the fact that the Celtic god Woden being in fact another name for the Norse god Odin! It is not surprising that the Celtic belief in the Wild Hunt, or the Ghost Riders in the Sky, is often said to be led by Odin (although he is a Norse god). This applies to the significance of the number nine because in Norse myth there were nine worlds connected by the world tree Yggdrasill.
I hope that you have learned a bit about numerology in Celtic culture! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a Thistle and Celtic Triad by oscarmwhite. I found the image on depositphotos.com.
- Flower Face: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Blodeuwedd edited by Lori Feldmann
- The Mabinogion translated by Sioned Davies
- The Vulgate Cycle (of Arthurian Legends) by various medieval authors
- Northern Magick and Mysteries by Freya Aswynn
- A Modern Guide to Heathenry by Galina Krasskova