Earth – The Middle Realm
This is where we start. We humans are born here between the Upper and and Underworlds. As a Druid in training of Northern NY, I am surrounded by trees, boulders, fields, rivers, lakes, and some mountains. It is a dynamic territory. We share the middle realm with the Nature Spirits. We must learn to work together and live in better harmony. It is difficult, but we must keep trying. The Middle Realm is teeming with life and possibility. Although usually associated with the Nature Kin, there are also Land Gods. Pan. Cernunnos. Flidais. Land Goddesses. We must also remember the ancestors who come out to wander in this realm, especially when the veil that separates the worlds is thin. From the Middle Realm grows the sacred tree – the bíle– which connects the Upper and Lower Worlds.
Sky – The Upperworld
Some Irish lore says that the Tuatha de Dannan came from the sky, possibly on a ship made (or obscured by) mist. It makes them sound a bit extraterrestrial, doesn’t it? Symbolically, this sky has always had a strong connection to the spirit realm. It is full of mist (clouds) and, for much of human history, incomprehensible orbs of light. The stars have aided humans in navigation spiritually and physically. To the modern Druid, the sky is still a sacred realm. It is the home of the life giving sun – the fire. The fire is a source of inspiration and transformation. Through it, civilizations can form, plants can grow, and animals can feed. The sky is one source of life for those of us in the Middle Realm. Though commonly associated with the Gods of many pantheons, we must not forget the Nature Spirits who have access to it – the hawks, eagles, seagulls, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, locusts, etc…
Sea – The Underworld
Bodies of water – the sea, wells, bogs, rivers – have traditionally been associated with the Underworld; the land of the dead – our ancestors. It is dark and full of unknowns. In many ways, it is similar to our human perception of death. Bodies of water, especially seas, large lakes, and rivers, can also symbolize emotion. One moment, they are a writhing mess of mist, spray, and bone crushing waves. The next, they are serene sanctuaries of life. Like the orbs of light in the sky, the sea can be a source of civilization and life or a source of destruction. Though connected to the Ancestors, there are plenty of Gods associated with this realm. Manannan Mac Lir, Neptune, Poseidon, The Lady of the Lake, Boann, even Venus – they all have some connection to the Waters of Life. Nature spirits also live in this realm – whales, dolphins, sharks, urchins, coral, algae…
The sacred tree branches out and connects us to the Upperworld. The sacred tree spreads its roots and connects us to the Underworld. We are all connected through these realms and there are many grey areas as to who has dominion over what. All I know is that we must work together to live in balance. You cannot have too much sea, or sky, or earth. Each depends on the other to create life.