Folklore and Myth Gods and Goddesses Paranormal

Lugh Celtic God of Light: 7 Ways to Work With His Bright Energy

Most modern pagans and witches know about the sabbat Lughnasadh. Some even celebrate it on a yearly basis with feasting, blackberry picking, and mountainside hikes. But do you know whose name lends itself to this first harvest sabbat? In this post, we meet Lugh Celtic God of War, of Light, and of the Many Skills. And we learn how to work with him in our spiritual practice.

Who is Lugh Celtic God of Many Skills? His Origins and Rise to the Throne

Lugh might have come to Ireland in later years as compared to some of his Tuatha brothers and sisters. In the same breath, he might be just as old as the others…it’s just that he came to Ireland after he had already ruled Continental Europe for quite some time in the form of the gods Lugus and Mercury.

Interestingly, even though Lugh is one of the newer of the Irish Celtic pantheon, he is mentioned frequently in the myths and later folklore. In the Lebor Gabala, Lugh is mentioned numerous times, but plays a main role in the defeat against his grandfather of the Fomorians. His magical spear is mentioned and it’s said that no war fought against this spear would be won by its enemy. Lugh’s lineage is discussed briefly including his foster mother Tailtiu. And his father’s name Scal Balb (which means “silent being”). In addition, the myth credits Lugh with bringing certain sports to Ireland including chess, horse racing, and ball-playing. Here we see a glimpse into how Lugh attains his epithet “Many Skilled”.

Lugh Becomes King

Lugh is perhaps widely known for the way he obtained status among the Tuatha de Danann, the godly group of beings who ruled Ireland in ancient times according to myth. In fact, he would become the King of the Gods after proving his skill in many areas. This story is recounted in the Caith Maige Tuired. Lugh comes to the gate of the kingdom of the Tuatha and asks to be let him on account of his lineage.

Nuada, the current king of the Tuatha, tells Lugh that he must prove himself worthy with a skill. Lugh shows his many skills and Nuada sees how beneficial Lugh’s knowledge and power will be and literally gives up his throne to him. Lugh then leads the Tuatha into war against the Fomorians and against the Fomorian King Bres. Balor, Lugh’s Fomorian grandfather, wreaks much havoc against the Tuatha including the deaths of Nuada and the goddess Macha. But, in the end, Lugh Celtic God of War, beats Balor and the Fomorians and drives them out of Ireland for good. Interestingly, before exiling the Fomorians, the King Bres teaches Lugh the skill of agriculture. For this, Lugh spares Bres’ life.

The Triskelion is found in many places associated with Lugh.

Lugus of Continental Europe and Lleu Llaw Gyffes of Wales

Lugus, a three-headed god who lends his name to multiple sites across France and England, is believed to have been the original Lugh. His cult was prominent during the Gauls’ time in France through Gallo-Roman times. Lugh’s cult spread westward into the British Isles and Ireland at some point pre-Medieval. We don’t have a lot of information on Lugus, but we know he existed because his name is found in many sites across Europe. One of those sites is Lyon in modern France, of which the original city’s name was Lugdunum (Lugus’ fortress). Some scholars believe Paris’ original name Lutetia can be attributed to the pan-Celtic Lugus.

Aside from Lugus, the pan-Celtic god of Gaul, Lugh is also known in Wales as Lleu Llaw Gyffes. Of whose name translates to the “Bright One of the Skillful Hand”. Similar to Lugh’s prominence in Irish myths, Lleu’s presence in the Welsh myths is just as glorious. He is mentioned in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi in which his lineage is described, as well as his ascent to the throne of the Kingdom of Gwynnedd. Like his Irish counterpart, Lleu has many skills including being a skilled warior, magician, and physician.

Lugh’s Domains: What skills does the Many Skilled God possess?

What does the King of the Tuatha rule over? What areas does he aid us in, magically and mundanely? Well, we know he is “Many Skilled”, so there are many areas in which he can lend us his knowledge and power.

Lugh’s Domains include:

  • War and weaponry
  • The Sun, Summer, and Light
  • The Harvest and Agriculture
  • Artistry: craftsmanship, poetry, and song
  • Chess playing
  • Horse racing
  • Any sport that uses a ball
  • Medicine
  • Sorcery
  • Metallurgy
  • Harp playing
  • Construction and architecture

We said he’s the Many Skilled, didn’t we?

How does he manifest? What does Lugh look like?

Every deity manifests in certain ways, although they do have the ability to shapeshift and transform at will. At least in my experience. Lugh is no different. However, when I’ve seen him in visions and dreams, he typically shows up in all his splendid glory. As bright as the Summer sun with hair the color of fields of grain.

Lugh manifests as an attractive man in the prime of his life, sometimes a bit older, and is enveloped in sunlight. His attractiveness is attested to in the myths. Lugh Celtic God of Light’s hair is radiant yellow-blonde (in some myths but red in others) and he has a beard. If I had to compare him to a celebrity, I’d say he’s a solid Matthew McConaughey. He wears garments of gold, red, yellow, and green. And he will readily come to you if you enjoy meditating in the sun, sunbathing, and doing sun salutations.

Lugh Celtic God of the Light’s Magical Correspondences

EpithetsAnimalsOfferingsDomainSymbols
Long ArmRavenRed cornWarSpear
Many SkilledHorseBlackberriesHarvestHarp
Young WarriorLionMead / WineLightRaven

Signs Lugh Is Calling You

Often, when we are called to work with a god or goddess, there are certain recurrent signs sent to us. We have to be willing to pay attention and take note when they come our way. Lugh is no different than the other gods…he will send you signs to try to wake you up. To try to call you to working with him, following him, and even becoming his devotee. Here are some of the signs that Lugh is calling you to him:

  • You see his name pop up in random places: online, in books, on the TV, etc.
  • Someone gives you a book about him or featuring him
  • His animals, the Raven and Horse, are recurrently popping up in your daily life
  • You are initiated into a tradition on Lughnasadh or are particularly drawn to this sabbat
  • You are an artist, poet, musician, in the medical field
  • You are in need of someone to teach you how to advocate or fight for yourself
  • Your birthday is July 31st or August 1st (Lughnasadh)
  • You’ve always been interested in the Celtic tradition and/or have ancestors from Celtic lands
  • Lugh might come to you in a vision, meditation, during an astral journey, or in your dreams as an attractive, shining man with bright hair, beard, and a spear
  • You’re seeing his symbols everywhere: the spear and/or the harp
This map shows the Celtic Empire stretched over Europe. Lugh’s worship was prominent in many places.

Ways to Work with the Celtic God Lugh

Every path to the Divine is unique. How you incorporate Lugh into your daily spiritual practice will also be unique. We would like to offer you a few ideas on how to work with Lugh the Celtic God of Many Skills.

1. Study and Research Lugh

The best way to get to know a deity is to study their myths, origins, history, and the people from which they originate. As for Lugh, it’s wise to read the old Irish myth cycles to understand how the Irish people saw him. Look up the Ulster Cycle and Fenian Cycle, for example. Study the Celts in Ireland dating back to ancient times, as well as the myths and history surrounding the continental Celtic god Lugus. Since he is believed to have been the same deity as Lugh.

2. Set Up Altar Space

One of the easiest ways to establish a relationship with Lugh is by setting up an altar for him. This can be as simple as a small bookshelf or corner of a nightstand. Or as elaborate as a full buffet or credenza dedicated to him. It just depends on what you feel called to do. The altar space is where you can honor him, as well as meet him in ritual. It’s a liminal space between here and the spirit world. Lugh’s altar should include his colors, appropriate herbs, Celtic symbols, and the like.

3. Provide Offerings

Every deity, including Lugh, appreciates gifts. In the pagan world, we call these offerings. It’s a gift but it’s also an exchange of energy. If Lugh blesses you in any way, an offering in return is a nice way to give back of yourself. Offerings of food, beverage, candlelight, incense, and prayer are all appreciated and respectful. Lugh is particularly fond of mead, water, candlelight, poetry, song (harp, specifically), red corn cockles, wine, berries, and bread.

4. Sunrise and Sunset

Since Lugh is associated with the Summer and the Sun, waking up and speaking to him during the sunrise is a great way to connect. As is purposely going somewhere you can watch the sunset. I’ve had some of my most magical moments while sitting quietly, watching the sunset or rise, and listening to Lugh’s voice.

5. Celebrate Lughnasadh, Lugh’s Sabbat

Lughnasadh is named for the Celtic god Lugh and is celebrated annually from July 31st to August 1st. This sabbat is the first harvest sabbat in the Wheel of the Year, and so any custom you partake in on this day, do so in Lugh’s name to appease him. Or simply to show him you care. Some pagans enjoy baking bread for Lugh in the shape of a sun or braid. Others hike to the top of a hill, close to the Sun, to honor this god of light. Feasting, drinking wine, and picking berries are all modern traditions on this sacred day.

6. Art, Music, and Poetry

We’ve mentioned how Lugh is skilled in many areas, including in art, poetry, and music. So why not learn a new craft or art form in Lugh’s name? There are so many hobbies and things you can make with your hands that would be fun and teach YOU a new skill. Speaking of which, any new skill learned will be smiled upon by Lugh. Writing a poem (even if it’s “bad”) or singing a song is also appropriate when working with Lugh.

7. Visit Lugh’s Sacred Places

If you have the ability to travel, consider visiting some of the places named for Lugh Celtic God of War and Light. This might include the cities in France once named for him: Lyon and Paris. Carlisle, a city in England, was once named Lugubalium for Lugh. And, according to writer Judika Illes, many of the old churches in Europe dedicated to the archangel Michael were actually built over Lugh’s sacred sites. Do your research before going. And be sure to say a prayer to Lugh while there and perhaps even leave a biodegradable offering.

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