Lugh is a fairly famous fellow, as Irish Gods go. He features pretty prominently in the old Irish sagas, from leading the Tuatha Dé Danann in the Battle of Moytura to being Cúchulainn’s father.
According to Ye Olde Wikipedia, “Lugh is portrayed as a warrior, a king, a master craftsman and a savior. He is associated with skill and mastery in multiple disciplines, including the arts. He is also associated with oaths, truth and the law, and therefore with rightful kingship. Lugh is linked with the harvest festival of Lughnasadh, which bears his name. His most common epithets are Lámfada ([ˈlaːwad̪ˠə], “of the long arm,” possibly for his skill with a spear or his ability as a ruler) and Samildánach (“equally skilled in many arts”).”
Lugh The Multi-Talented
My favorite story of Lugh has him showing up late for a war council meeting among the Gods at Tara. Because I would so do something like that. Not on purpose of course.
He is stopped at the door and asked what skill he possesses that would be useful to the war planning inside. But everything he lists, he’s told “we’ve already got someone who does that. What else ya got?”
Finally Lugh retorts, “Well have you got anyone who can do ALL those things?”
The gatekeeper has to admit that they do not, and Lugh gets in.
Creative, this guy. Bit of a quick thinker.
I’ve spent a few Lughnasadh rituals focusing on His many-talented aspect. I’d pick a few things I’m good at and inside my circle by the fire meditate on how they shape me and how I use them to benefit others.
But a couple years ago that changed.
Lughnasadh 2018 snuck right up on me. I was in a pretty bad place dealing with my CPTSD – I’d gone to Ireland that spring and not only did I have a post-travel emotional crash, but the spiritual results of that trip were forcing me to face more of my trauma. I was in growth-mode, and well we all know how much fun that is.
When the day dawned it was pouring rain (so no bonfire possible), I had nothing planned and not a single first fruit yet from my garden. As I struggled with all the negative thoughts about my failures as a Pagan, I had an idea. Looking back, I think Lugh himself may have even had a little word with me, because this idea sprung up out of nowhere:
Why not focus on a different story about Lugh?
Lugh the Demon-Slayer
As the Tuatha Dé Dannan head to war against the Fomorians (who have been oppressing them) one of the chief obstacles was Balor. A giant, Balor had an eye in the center of his forehead that functioned like a neolithic flame thrower. He also happened to be Lugh’s maternal grandfather.
So already we have family conflict, and a dangerous older relative. Sounds familiar.
Long story short, war is raging, blood everywhere, and Balor is preparing to open his fire-eye and kill everyone. (He keeps it closed to avoid “friendly fire” incidents, and has 2 normal sized people living on his shoulders to open the lid and aim for him)
Lugh sees what’s happening and gets an XXL sized slingshot, hitting Balor right in his big eye. Hits it so hard, in fact, that he knocks it right out the back of Balor’s head where it rolls around uncovered, setting fire to the enemy ranks and causing all kinds of death, destruction and Mayhem.
Nice shot, Lugh! Tuatha Dé for the win!
It’s amazing what happens when you have support, and stand up to the dangerous older relative, huh? Take out the bully and you take out a lot of his supporters at the same time.
That night I sat in my (indoor) circle with my candle and reflected on this. On how Lugh overcame demons from his family’s past. Balor had tried to kill Lugh as an infant because of a prophecy that Balor would die at his hand. My parents hate me because I didn’t fix their marriage when they adopted me. I was also sickly and needy, and what narcissist and his starry-eyed supporter want to deal with that?
Yet Lugh survived, and fulfilled his destiny. He destroyed what had wanted to destroy him.
If he can do that, maybe I can too. And so can you.