Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

January/February 2017 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

The Realms

This article was written by Tadhg MacCrossan on May 14, 2002
posted under Druidism

According to ancient Celtic beliefs, three main realms co-exist: an Underworld associated with the past, an earthly realm of the middle world associated with manifested reality, and an Upperworld associated with potential reality and all possible futures where abstract concepts dwell with the divine.

The plains of the realms are divided into quarters by a vertical axis that interconnects and links them all together. This axis (Bilios) is one version of the world-tree, similar to the Germanic Yggdrasil or the Greek conception of an Omphalos. At the center all realms converge. Time flows like the waters of a river from the upper to the lower, and from east toward west. The southern realms are associated with the heat, energy and warmth of the summer half of the year, while the northern realms are associated with the static and cold of the winter half. The south and east are of the Deuoi, or Tuatha Dé Danann, while the north and west are realms of the Fomors.

This is why the myths depicted the gods arriving on the southeast coast of Ireland and the giants dwelling on Tory Island off the northwest coast. The divinities of Lír (ocean), the benevolent sea gods, dwelt in the southwest beyond the waves. The Tuatha Dé Danann were also associated with four realms; Falias (fail), "understone"; Gorias (gor), "warmth"; Findias (find), "white"; and Muirias (muir), "sea." Lia Fáil (lee-uh foyl or lee-uh faw-yil) means "the rock of the understone"; it is a divine analogue of the stone of truth—a flat rock with footprints carved into it, which is stood upon when swearing oaths or delivering testimony.

This must stand for the manifested realm. Findias and Gorias may stand for the realms of atmosphere and fire, or the light of the sky. Muirias is certainly the waters surrounding the earth in the manifested world. The sea and other bodies of water were considered openings to the Underworld, a watery abode beneath this earth.

The three main realms:
The Upperworld called Nemos or Uindomagos (in Welsh, nef, or gwynfa; Irish, neamh or Magh Find/Magh Findargat)
The Middleworld, called Mediomagos (in Irish, Magh Mide)
The Lowerworld, called Andumnos or Antumnos (in Welsh, Annwn, or Annwfn; in Irish, Andomhain)

Even the geography of the countryside reflected Celtic conceptions of the magic of time and space. Ireland was divided into fifths, called coícit in Old Irish, now translated to mean "province." Four of these are still represented on maps of Ireland today:
Leinster (or Laigin) in the east
Munster (or Mumu) in the south
Connaught (or Connacht) in the west
Ulster (or Ulaid) in the north


Mide ("middle") was the central fifth, now remembered in County Meath and West Meath, which are now Leinster. The province of Mide or Meath was the ritual center where the tuathas/toutas of Ireland gathered annually and held festivals.

Name one religion or type of spiritual system that doesn't incorporate music into its worship services in some way. It's not easy, is it? From singing hymns to beating drums, and from the rhythmic chanting of prayers to the soaring organ fugues of Bach, music is a spiritual tool that connects mind and body to the divine spirit. While country... read this article
How Money Flows at the Sacral and Heart Chakras
The Rose Phoenix
10 Things You Might Not Know About The Exorcist
Magical Tree Oracle: What Do the Trees Have to Tell You?
A Checklist to Discern Your Empathic Abilities

Most recent posts:
The Art of Shadowscapes
Art of Shadowscapes Tarot So many people absolutely love Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s gorgeous Shadowscapes Tarot. One of the only complaints we...

Chakra Insight Oracle is One of Ezvid Wiki's 2017 Best Chakra Cards!
The Chakra Insight Oracle is one of Ezvid Wiki's Top Chakra Cards of 2017, coming in at #2! Founded in 2011, Ezvid Wiki was the world's first...

Making the Tarot Your Own
Instead of telling you the one way to read tarot, Your Tarot Your Way embraces the reality that tarot has evolved continuously since its creation...




Pressed to Death Pressed to Death
By: Kirsten Weiss
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Blood's Echo Blood's Echo
By: Isabella Maldonado
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Reservations Reservations
By: Gwen Florio
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Dreamworking Dreamworking
How to Listen to the Inner Guidance of Your Dreams

By: Christopher Sowton
Price: $19.99 US,  $22.95 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN