Lughnasadh Magic

Aug 19th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

Lugh found himself and his troops pinned down behind a rock by the disintegrating ray shooting from the single eye of the Fomorian king, Balor. Every time the giant opened his eye, his gaze would crumble great chunks of the stone barricade that Lugh and his men hid behind. He had to act fast; or die. How on earth did he allow himself to get into this situation?


It all began with a prophecy that foretold the death of Balor from the hand of a grandson, so to prevent that from happening the king locked his daughter Ethlinn away from admiring eyes in a crystal tower on Tory island off the north coast of Ireland. Unfortunately for Balor he underestimated the guile of his enemies and an enterprising son of a medicine god, Cian from the Tuatha De Danaan, or ‘the people of the god whose mother is Dana[i]’. The Danaans, we are told, arrived in Ireland in a thick mist that drifted down from heaven. Cian tricked his way into the tower disguised as a woman to introduce himself to the very pretty princess. In a very short time they became lovers which led to the birth of Lugh, the god of light. When Balor found out about the birth of a grandson he had the baby thrown into the sea to drown. Being of Danaan blood Lugh was rescued and raised by the sea god Manannan in the otherworld of the fairy and taught diplomacy and tact alongside sword and spear skills to prepare him for adult life. On reaching manhood Lugh presented himself and was accepted into the army of the people of Dana and moved very quickly up the ranks to become a general under King Nuada.

During the second battle on the ‘Plain of Pillars’, Nuada’s arm is melted away by the deadly gaze from Balor’s eye making him unfit to rule so the kingship was passed to Lugh while Nuada waited for a silver arm to be made and fitted before he could regain his throne, by which time the war was practically won which brings me to the predicament Lugh found himself in at the start of the blog.

Finding himself pinned down behind a rock that was slowly being blasted to pieces, Lugh had to think fast before he and his men were killed. He had noticed that after each blast of ‘gaze’ the Fomorian king would always blink and his giant eyelid was raised and lowered by four servants; Lugh could pick his moment to attack his grandfather. He loaded his trusty slingshot with what we are told was a magic stone and waited for the servants to move to open the giant eyelid. At the precise moment Lugh stepped from behind the rock and fired his shot into Balor’s eyelid just as it began to open and before its evil gaze could see. The bullet penetrated Balor’s eyeball and into his brain killing him instantly and fulfilling the ancient prophecy. The Fomorian army fled in disarray back to Tory Island with the Danaan army in hot pursuit putting paid to the threat of the Fomorians once and for all.

For his heroism Lugh was awarded a feast day of his own that was held midway between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox which we call Lughnasadh which means ‘Celebration of Light’ on the 1st of August.

Lughnasadh was a time for tribal gatherings where business deals were made, marriages arranged and new ideas discussed. Tournaments were held and games played; after the serious matters were taken care of it was a time for entertainment and pleasure.

The first harvests of the year were celebrated when Lugh arrived from the otherworld and the first bread is baked and offered to the goddess in thanksgiving. At hand to welcome the god of light to the celebration is Aine, pronounced ‘on-yah’ which means ‘radiance’. She is an incarnation of Brigit and is the consort to Lugh throughout the feast. Aine is known as the goddess of harmony whose spirit encourages human love and often took human lovers to satisfy her sensuality.  She is the sister of Grainne and a protector of all women. Aine provides the power for Lugh to shape in the physical reality. Aine is the goddess of the land where Lugh is the god of the tribe.

Aine is probably better known as her dark side, Morrigan the war goddess whose form took on that of a crow during battles. Morrigan is the Goddess of Death and conflict. She is connected to the shadowy realms of the underworld and is a reflection of the original dark queen Ereshkigal, the sister of Inanna and Ishtar. Ishtar became Astarte, Ashtoreth, Ashera, Athena and Aine as the power of the goddess began to fragment and weaken in favour of the gods and man.

[i] Dana is also known as Brigit.

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