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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Thrice This and That
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0604  Friday, 1 March 2002

[1]     From:   Helen Vella-Bonavita <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 16:25:20 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0591 Re: Thrice This and That

[2]     From:   Ellen Steiber <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 11:12:57 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0591 Re: Thrice This and That


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Helen Vella-Bonavita <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 16:25:20 +0000
Subject: 13.0591 Re: Thrice This and That
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0591 Re: Thrice This and That

Karen Peterson wrote -

'I have absolutely no sources or hard evidence for this -- just
speculation -- but: isn't it also possible that it's related to "the
Trinity", the triune person of God?  Especially if someone is
"thrice-blessed" (or equivalent), could it not refer to blessings
received from Father, Son and Holy Ghost (which would also fit in with
Cliff's remarks about thrice-repeated prayers, etc.).'

I can't remember the context, but isn't there a Lewis Carroll poem with
the line:

'What I tell you three times must be true.'

That might be coming from the same angle. Or triangle.

Helen Vella Bonavita

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ellen Steiber <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 11:12:57 -0700
Subject: 13.0591 Re: Thrice This and That
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0591 Re: Thrice This and That

Larry Weiss, Clifford Stetner, and Karen Peterson all seem to be correct
according to J.C. Cooper's *An Illustrated Encyclopedia of  Traditional
Symbols* (Thames and Hudson, 1978, p. 114) which says about the number
three:

"....'The Triad is the number of the whole, inasmuch as it contains a
beginning, a middle, and an end' (Aristotle).  The 'power of three' is
universal and is the tripartite nature of the world as heaven, earth and
waters; it is man as body, soul and spirit; birth, life and death;
beginning, middle, end; past, present, future; the three phases of the
moon, etc. ... Three introduces the all-embracing Godhead--Father,
Mother, Son, which is also reflected in the human family.  Three also
carries the authority of accumulated effect, once or twice being
possible coincidence, but three times carries certainty and power, e.g.
Thrice Greatest Hermes; Thrice Noble Lord; Thrice Happy Isles, etc.
Folklore has three wishes, three tries, three princes or princesses,
witches, weird sisters, fairies (often two good, one bad).  Three, being
equivalent to the many, can symbolize a large number of a crowd, 'three
cheers,' and also signifies fulfillment.  There are innumerable
trinities of gods and powers, and triune lunar deities and threefold
goddesses are prominent in Semitic, Greek, Celtic, and Teutonic
religions; they are often different aspects, or potencies, of one
deity..."

The entry then goes on to give specific examples from cultures,
religions, and philosophies that include  African,  Alchemic, Buddhist,
Chinese, Egyptian,  Graeco-Roman,  Hebrew, Hermetic, Hindu, Maori,
Pythagorean, Scandanavian, Slav, and Taoist.

And for what it's worth, in working with fairy tales, I've found that
the patterns of three in a story often highlight turning points or
moments of  power in the story-- on the third occurrence the character
must make a critical choice that advances him or her to the next part of
the adventure.

Cheers,
Ellen

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