Deities | Lugh
Lugh is an ancient Irish deity. He gives his name to the Irish festival Lughnasadh. He is the savior and king of the Tuatha De Danann, the predecessors of the Milesians or Gaels. He wields a long spear called Assal, one of the four jewels of the Tuatha De Danann. which none can stand against. His spear sometimes takes the form of lightening.
Lugh's parents are Ethne, the daughter of Formorian King Balor, and a member of the Tuatha De Danann called Cian. Prior to his conception, the druids had prophesised that Ethne would bare a son who would slay his grandfather - so, King Balor had his daughter locked away in a tower so as to never meet a suitor. But, after stealing a great cow from a member of the Tuatha De Danann called Cian, Balor unwittingly invited Cian to his island in search of his stolen property. It was under these circumstances that Cian stumbled upon Ethne, who, recognizing him from her dreams, fell for him. Not long after, Ethne bore a son, whom she called Lugh. Paranoid that the druids' prophy would come true, King Balor had his grandson cast into the waves of the surrounding sea.
But, Lugh's conception was no accident. It had been willed by a woman druid called Birog, who wove spells to ensure his existence. And it was this same woman who saved Lugh by casting another spell, which spat him from the water and into the arms of his father. Lugh would go on to be raised by adoptive parents Tailtiu and Manannan mac Lir, the God of the Sea. During his upbringing, he was taught in many skills, and revealed a particular talent with the sword, earning him the name Lugh of the Long Arm.
Story & Morals
Lugh is characterized as being a god of many trades, with a brave and noble disposition. He is a great leader and warrior, proven by his role in the second battle of Moytura....
Once fully grown, Lugh desired to join the household of King Nuadhu, who had by this time been restored to his thrown. He approached the King's fort and was greeted by a doorman, to whom he declared his desire to join the King's household. The doorman told Lugh that the King required each of the members of his household to possess a special skill, and that Lugh could only join if he had a unique skill they did not already have. Lugh listed off all of his skills, which there were many, to which the doorman replied they already had someone of that skill. Having exhausted all his mastered skills, Lugh tried one last thing - he asked the doorman if the king had anyone who possessed all of his aforementioned skills at once. To this the doorman replied no, they did not have someone of so many mastered skills at once, and allowed Lugh to enter and join King Nuadhu's household.
The King Nuadhu gave Lugh charge over his army for the second battle of Moytura, in which Lugh would finally face his grandfather, King Balor. Lugh was skilled in detecting the special skills of each troop leader, giving them an edge over the enemy. King Balor, though, had lifted an evil eye with which he sought to poison everyone it looked at. Using a slingshot and excellent aim, Lugh took out his grandfather's evil eye, slaying him in the process. After winning the war, Lugh spared the life of Breas in exchange for agricultural advice, and Lunasa, the Irish word for August (considered to be the month of harvest), is named after Lugh. Lugh would go on the become the new king of the Tuatha De Danann.
Lugh had many wives, namely Buí, Buach, and Nás. His most famous son, Cúchulain, was the result of a relationship with a mortal woman called Deichtine. Cúchulain went on to be the great hero of the Ulster saga.
As a Deity
Lugh is one of the main deities in Celtic mythology, and evidence of his worship can be seen throughout history in Pre-Christianized Ireland and Wales. He was most commonly worshiped by warriors, or those going into battle, as they seeked is skill and protection. He is also known for his aid in mastery of crafts. If one wanted to connect with Lugh directly, he is known to have had two dwellings, both in Ireland:
As Lughnasa (August 1st) is Lugh's formal day of recognition, many choose to pay tribute to him on this day by holding their own day of blessing the harvest, traditional games (especially ones Lugh is credited with inventing, such as Fidchell, the Irish precursor to traditional chess), and hiking up hills or mountains.
Bard, A. (2019). Lugh. [online] Bardmythologies.com. Available at: https://bardmythologies.com/lugh/ [Accessed 9 Aug. 2019].
Wright, G., (2019). Lugh – Mythopedia. [online] Mythopedia. Available at: https://mythopedia.com/celtic-mythology/gods/lugh/ [Accessed 9 Aug. 2019].