On 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, 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, Mithra, and Ahriman; the Indian, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; the Cabiric, Axercos, Axiokersa, and Axiokersos; the Phoenician, Ashtaroth, Milcom, and Chemosh; the Tyrian, Belus, Venus, and Thammuz; the Grecian, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades; the Roman, Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; the Eeusinian, Iacchus, Persephone, and Demeter; the Platonic, Tagathon, Nous, and Psyche; the Celtic, Hu, Ceridwen, and Creirwy; the teutonic, Fenris, Midgard, and Hela; the Gothic, Woden, Friga, and Thor; and the Scandinavians, Odins 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 Masonry 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 Scribe in the Royal Arch; to the Commander, the Generalissimo, and the Captain General in Templarism; and in most of the high degrees to a triad of three who preside under various names.
We must, perhaps, looks for the origin of the triads in mythology, as we certainly must in Masonry, 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.
An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry: By Albert Mackey, M.D. 1894 (pg. 827-828)