1. their worldy duties,
2. their conscience,
3. and the Laws of Nature.
One of a large collection of 'Triads' - words of wisdom, advice, and guidance always given in triplicates. Here the wisdom of the Filí (Poets) or Brehons (Judges) sums up the basic principles of personal morality.
First, remember your duty, to your kin, your superiors (e.g. the respect owed to the Rí (chieftain), family elders, or those with advanced skill or learning), to the wider society, to strangers, and to nature and the animals.
Second, trust your conscience.
At first glance a simple instruction but in context its significance is revealed. For one it affords a level of respect for an idividual's intelligence and ability to know right from wrong, and to trust this. It also reminds us that the ancient Irish were lovers of justice and suggests the belief that deep down everyone knew right from wrong.
Third, but most starkly and importantly, the Laws of Nature remind us that although we have wordly duties and a conscience to guide us in our affairs we are still bound to a higher immutable form of law, Natural Law. This is a law about balance and harmony amid chaos based on observable naturally occuring universal principles.
From the seasonal procession of time and the onset of ageing that it brings to the right of a creature to defend its dwelling against intruders, Natural Law could be considered to be the rules governing the order of the universe prior to being interpreted, transcribed, and in so doing sullied by man.
Learn more about
Ancient Ireland's Culture and Society
Save 20% Here