In all the ancient mythologies there were triads, which consisted of a mysterious union of three deities. Each triad was generally explained as consisting of a creator, a preserver, and a destroyer. The principal heathen triads were as follows: The Egyptian, Osiris, Isis, and Horus; the Orphic, Phanes Uranus, and Kronos; the Zoroastric, Ormuzd, Mithras, and Ahriman; the Indian, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; the Cabirie, Axereos, Axiokersa, and Axiokersos; the Phenician, Ashtaroth, Mileom, and Chemosh; the Tyrian, Behls, Venus, and Thammuz; the Grecian, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades; the Roman, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; the Eleusinian, Iacchus, Persephone, and Demeter; the Platonie, Tagathon, Nous, and Psyche; the Celtic, Hu, Ceridwen, and Creirwy; the Teutonic, Fenris, Midgard, and Hela; the Gothic, Woden, Friga, and Thor; and the Seandinavians, Odin, Vile, and Ve. Even the Mexicans had their triads, which were Vitzliputzli, Kaloc, and Tescalipuca.
This system of triads has, indeed, been so predominant in all the old religions, as to be invested with a mystical idea; and hence it has become the type in Freemasonry of the triad of three governing officers, who are to be found in almost every Degree. The Master and the two Wardens in the Lodge give rise to the Priest, the King, and the Seribe in the Royal Arch; to the Commander, the Generalissimo, and the Captain-General in Templarism; and in most of the higher Degrees to a triad which presides under various names. We must, perhaps, look for the origin of the triads in mythology, as we certainly must in Freemasonry, to the three positions and functions of the sun. The rising sun or creator of light, the meridian sun or its preserver, and the setting sun or its destroyer (see Three).
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