The Three Realms

In my observations of mythologies, I’ve realized that many divide their cosmologies into three spiritual realms. I’ve also noticed that various religions/traditions/spiritual philosophies connect to these realms. Those connected to a different realm seem to have common similarities in what they believe. Course, this is my own ideology.

Celestial Realm: This is the realm of the gods, their agents, and enlightened or chosen souls. This realm goes by names such as Heaven, Asgard, or Nirvana, and is the seat of cosmic authority. The beings within this realm exist to maintain order within the universe.

Most mainstream religions focus on worshiping this realm. The goal of these religions is Henosis, or becoming one with divinity or the cosmic whole. There’s a strong emphasis on conformity to divine/earthly law, traditionalism, and the classic notions of good and evil. We refer to these religions as the right hand path.

Sylvan Realm: This is the realm that houses fairy folk, animal guides, and gods related to nature. It goes by names such as Alfhiem, Tir na nog, or the Summer Lands, and is a realm where nature holds absolute power.

Modern day Paganism and Wicca tend to fall into worshiping this realm. These religions have an emphasis on nature. Still, nature is a very broad term. However, one thing I think they have in common is a focus on life in the here and now as opposed to the abstract focus of celestial religions and their obsession with the afterlife. These religions teach that divinity is not some transcended thing and we must dedicate our lives to joining it through asceticism. They teach that divinity is already here and we simply have to listen to it.

Infernal Realm: This is the mythological underworld, a realm of darkness, trickster spirits, souls of the dead, and dark gods like Hades. The infernal realm is not a place of evil but embodies the cycle of destruction and recreation, therefore being a place of change and transformation. Heroes were often sent to the underworld to either be challenged or learn a lesson.

Infernal worshiping religions differ greatly from the celestial religions. They focus on becoming divine through the expression and divine evolution of the self. With the concept of death and rebirth, these religions often involve challenging traditions and values, deconstructing concepts, and reconstructing them in a way that is more beneficial to the current age. We call these religions the left hand path.

If I were to right a book or develop a tradition, it would involve creating a base understanding of the three realms and balancing them. Neither one is evil, They all perform a function.


It’s the same in Slavic mythology the three realms are Prav, Yav, and Nav and they are connected by a world tree.

Prav is the top of the tree it is the realm of birds and bogs (Slavic gods). Yav is our world, the realm of men and bees. Nav is in the roots of the tree, the realm of the dead, insects and beavers.

These places are simultaneously parts of nature as well as separate dimensions. While Nav is below Yav, it is also across the ocean. That’s why we would bury our dead at dusk, because Yarilo, the Sun, goes to Nav at nighttime and the spirit would be able to follow its trail to Nav and be reborn. There was also the dangerous dragon Chudo-Yudo that lived in the waters between Yav and Nav, so it was a dangerous journey. If your spirit is eaten by him, you won’t be reborn.

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Beavers huh? Never thought I’d see Dagget and Norb in the same place I’d see Grandpa.

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Right? I wouldn’t imagine beavers to be underground, but maybe Ancient Slavs didn’t know they had homes in their dams. Maybe they thought that they lived in underwater caves or something.

Slava Bogum

I’m sorry. I cannot take beavers seriously. Snakes yes, but not beavers.

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Snakes are not considered to be from Nav. Because snakes are actually an auspicious sign, because they ate vermin. One of the oldest forms of the Domovoys in fact, are white snakes wearing crowns.

Slava Bogum

I don’t know. In many other myths, snakes were associated with the underworld.

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Not in Slavic mythology curiously enough. The only connection that one could make is one of Bog Veles’ is associated with snakes and he rules Nav. But that’s the only one.

Also, fun fact about snakes in Slavic folklore, if you leave them alone long enough they transform into a dragon.

Slava Bogum