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AFAE Spring Theme
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"The Theme of Three"
Three seems a small number, but has quite a few extraordinary aspects and connections. Mathematically it is the first odd prime number, and the second smallest prime (after 2). The triangle, with it's three corners and sides, is the most durable shape possible. In terms of numerology, three denotes that which has been completed. It is also associated with the ability to enjoy life, 'three' people are often very outgoing and gregarious.
Three is also a recurring number in religion. In Christianity, the wise men give three gifts to the baby Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead after three days. Finally there is the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christianity isn't alone, in Muslim devotional rites some formulas are repeated three times, or thirty three. A devout Muslim makes a pilgrimage to three holy cities in Islam (Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem). In Judaism there are three patriachs, and three pilgrim festivals. The number three was also prevalent in pagan religions; the triple goddess, the concept of Maiden, Mother, Crone. Wicca has the threefold rule, that which you send out returns threefold.
Finally, and perhaps most relevant to fantasy art, the appearance of the number three in mythology. Three Greek Fates, and Three Roman Fates. There are three Roman Graces, and three Roman Furies. Medusa, the gorgon, had two sisters. In Norse mythology there are three hags who possess immense power. Poseidon and Neptune both carry three-pronged tridents. Cerberus is the three headed dog who guards the gate to Hades in Greek mythology. And that is just the beginning of the role of three in mythology!
By Shelley Walker