Merry and Blessed Lughnasadh to you all! May your harvests be bountiful and may Lugh bring blessings aplenty into your life.
Today, is Lughnasadh. As much as it is a festival of light and of the first harvest; of feasting and agriculture, it is a festival named after and in honour of Lugh, the Celtic God of craftmanship.
Let’s talk about Lugh.
Lugh Lámhfada (Lugh Long-arm) is a Celtic deity known by many names, such as: Ildánach (skilled in many arts) and Samhildánach (equally skilled in many arts).
He, like pretty much all of the Celtic (Gaelic) deities, is a member of Tuatha Dé Danann.
As a young man, Lugh journeys to Tara with the notion of joining the court of King Nuada of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The guardsman, or ‘doorkeeper’ denies Lugh access to the court unless he has or can demonstrate a skill that will serve the king.
Lugh details his services as a wright, a smith, a champion; a swordsman; a harpist; a hero; a poet and historian; a sorcerer and a craftsman, but despite his impressive resume the doorkeeper rejected him each time as the Tuatha Dé Dannan already had members with such skills. However, when Lugh Lámhfada asks if the clan has a member with all of those skills simultaneously, the doorkeeper hangs his head and admits defeat for there is no such being within the clan. Lugh is allowed to join the court and, upon doing so, is appointed Chief Ollam (Ollamh Érenn) of Ireland.
Lughnasadh, the sabbat(h) is a celebration of Lugh’s victory over spirits of the Otherworld who tried (and failed thanks to him) to keep Tuatha Dé Danann’s harvest for themselves after Lugh had bartered with Bres (the half-Fomorian former king of the clan), to teach the members of Tuatha Dé Danann when to plough, sow and reap in exchange for Bres‘ life. It was Lugh Lámhfada’s deftness with spear and sword, and his skill as Macnia (boy hero) that allowed him to defeat the spirits.
Lughnasadh has survived long into Christian times and is still celebrated under a variety of names, including Lammas and Lunasa.
Lúnasa is now the Irish name for the month of August.
*Ollamh Érenn/Chief Ollam, is a poet or bard of literature and/or history.