Lugh in Celtic Mythology

The god Lugh was worshiped in Ireland as a deity of the sun. This connection with the sun may explain his name (it means “shining one”), and it also may account for the attributes that he displayed: he was handsome, perpetually youthful, and had a tremendous energy and vitality. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he had, according to legend, mastered. In fact, there was a tale that related Lugh’s myriad abilities at arts and crafts.

As told in the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, the god traveled to Tara, and arrived during a tremendous feast for the royal court. Lugh was greeted at the door by the keeper of the gate, and was immediately asked what talent he had - for it was a tradition there that only those who had a special or unique ability could enter the palace. The god offered his reply: “I am a wright”. In response, the gate keeper said: “We already have a wright. Your services are not needed here”. Still, Lugh, not to be so easily dismissed, continued: “I am a smith”. Again, the guard retorted that the court had a smith that was quite adequate; but the god was not to be dissuaded. In short order, he noted that he was also a champion, a harper, a hero, a poet, an historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman. To this list, the gate keeper merely nodded his head, and stated matter of factly that all of these various trades were represented in the court by other members of the Tuatha de Danaan. “Ah, but you do have an individual who possesses all of these skills simultaneously?”, was Lugh’s clever and inspired reply. The guard was forced to admit his defeat, and so Lugh was allowed to enter and join the festivities.

According to Celtic mythology, Lugh was the son of Cian and Ethlinn. After the god Nuada was killed in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, Lugh became the leader of the Tuatha De Danaan (the term for the gods and goddesses who descended from the goddess Danu).

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