Note to parents: the following article is an explanation of the Druidic Triple Hallows worded simply as an explanation to be read to or by children. Suggestions for further exploration of the topic are in brackets. See also my article for children about the Three Kindred and the Three Realms. After teaching your kids about the Triple Hallows, teach them The Portal Song.
The Triple Hallows
In ADF Druidry, there are three things we call “hallows”. We think of them as spiritual gates we use to make it easier to talk with the Kindreds. The Three Kindred are our Deities (gods and goddesses), Ancestors, and Nature Spirits. These three hallows (also called “Triple Hallows” or “Triple Center”), are the Well, the Fire, and the Tree.
Water is very important to all life. We need it everyday. Today we get water from a faucet, but our ancestors mostly got their water from wells. A hole would have to be dug very deep into the ground to find natural waterways streaming underground. In ancient times, some wells and springs were found to have amazing healing properties. People began having rituals around certain wells and tossed in offerings of silver. This is where the modern day custom of the wishing well comes from. Druids have a bowl or cauldron of water in rituals to symbolize, or stand for, those sacred wells of old. The Well Hallow is our connection to the Underworld and the Ancestors.
[Read Odin goes to Mimir’s Well by Padraic Colum and The Legend of Connla’s Well from Irish Literature, Vol. 8 by Justin McCarthy. With a grown-up, find your closest local waterway; clean it up (if it needs cleaning), spend time there and make offerings of silver beads (silver makes water pure).]
Just as we cannot live without water, neither can we live without trees. Trees make oxygen- the air we breathe. Their roots keep the soil from washing away in the rain. Tree limbs reach high into the sky where the gods and goddesses, the Shining Ones, live. Tree roots reach far into the ground connecting with the Earth Mother. Trees reach through to everywhere with their branches and limbs. Our stories tell us of a great tree, called The World Tree, or Yggdrasil, that is the center of everything. Druids honor a tree at the center of rituals to symbolize, or stand for, the great World Tree that connects us all. The Tree Hallow is our connection to the Midworld (Earth) and the Nature Spirits.
[Read “Yggdrasil, the World Tree” from D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths and Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Trees. Identify the trees that surround your home. Pagans have long known, and scientists are now confirming, that trees have the power to heal. Spend some time with trees every day!]
Fire cooks our food and keeps us warm in the winter. Fire is a dangerous thing that has the power to destroy, but also to change. Scientists tell us that nothing can be created or destroyed. But when we burn something in a fire, nothing is left of it but a little bit of ash. When Druids place offerings in a ritual fire, they seem to disappear. The spiritual part of the offering rises up through the smoke to the land of the gods and goddesses. Remember, though, never use fire without help from a grown-up. The Fire Hallow is our connection to the Upperworld (Heavens) and the Deities (gods and goddesses).
[Read “Prometheus” from D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. You may also like Fire, Fire Burning Bright– a book of scientific facts about fire for ages 4 through 8. Make candles with beeswax sheets, or make flameless candles; glue an led tealight candle inside the top of a cardboard tube and paint the tube with craft paint.]