~By Janet Bristow & Victoria Galo, 1998
@ Copyright 2023
We’ve all heard people say that “things happen in 3’s.”
- In the Christian faith tradition, the number 3, symbolized by the Trinity (Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer), has come to mean wholeness. The 3 attributes of God are omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. It is said that the number 3 is used 523 times in Scripture!
- In the Kaballah: male/female/uniting intelligence
- Hindu: creation/destruction/preservation, unfolding/maintaining/concluding
- Taoist: Great Triad: Heaven/Human/Earth
- From the Buddhist tradition, comes “The Triple Gem” or “The Three Jewels,” which is the Buddha (the enlightened one), the Dhamma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community of followers).
Many phases of life happen in combinations of three:
- maiden/mother/crone (the 3 stages of a woman’s life)
- Some people believe in the combination of life/death/rebirth (meaning life after death).
- There are 3 acts of existence - birth/life/death.
We’ve heard of the concept of:
- Body/mind/ spirit, which encompasses the physical, mental, and spiritual makeup of a human being.
- We have been encouraged to live and act in faith/hope/charity.
- The combination of thought, word, and deed is the sum of the capability of humans.
- The 3 types of matter are animal, vegetable, and mineral.
The number 3 stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.
- According to the Chinese, 3 is a perfect number;
- To the Mayan, the sacred number of woman.
- Egyptians see it as the number of the cosmos.
- Japanese: 3 Treasures – truth/courage/compassion
- there are 3 primary colors with which it is possible to obtain all the colors;
- there are 3 keys of music Do, Fa, and Sol are the three most important notes in music
- the three divine principles: light, heat, and life;
- three types of universe: matter, astral (mental or soul) and spirit;
- three phases of the moon;
- the earth, sea, and sky of nature.
The 3-stitch seed pattern was selected as symbolic of planting peace, healing, love, comfort and hope into the shawls by the shawl maker for the receiver. May you be inspired by the significance of these symbolisms which are meant to enhance the creating and receiving process of the Prayer Shawl Ministry.
Back to Symbolism page