Lugh, whose name means “shining one”, was born to Cian of the Tuatha De Danaan and Ethniu, daughter of Balor of the Fomorians, whose union created an alliance between the two. Though not specifically a war god, he was known as a skilled warrior; this comes from his skill with a spear and a sling, which earned him the name Lamhfada meaning “long hand”. He is often depicted as eternally youthful, strong, brave, handsome and brimming with energy. In modern times he is honored as the champion of artistry and skills. He is father to Cu Chulainn and became leader of the Tuatha De Danaan after the god Nuada lost an arm in the 2nd Battle of Magh Tuiredh and was forced to abdicate his kingship.
One of the most popular stories of Lugh is how he came to be part of the Tuatha. As he approached the great hall of The Tuatha De Danaan at the Hill of Tara, legendary seat of the high kings of Ireland, the Tuatha were suffering under the oppression of their greatest enemies, the Fomorians. When he arrived, King Nuada was presiding over a great feast, and the doorkeeper refused to admit Lugh, saying “No one without an art enters Tara”. Lugh declared he was a master carpenter and thus had a skill to offer to which the doorkeeper curtly replied that an accomplished carpenter was already in service to the king. Unabashed, Lugh then said that he was a blacksmith, then a warrior, then a harper, poet, magician, physician, and so on, only to be told each time that there was already one at Tara. Finally, Lugh asked if there was any individual in Tara skilled in all of those arts. Here, the doorkeeper consulted with King Nuada who decided to let him enter. The king then arranged for three tests of Lugh’s prowess involving brute strength, a game of strategy and the artistry of the bard. Once Lugh proved himself better at each of these challenges than anyone else in Tara, Nuada realized the scope of Lugh’s talent and not only gave him the name samilddnach, meaning “skilled in all the crafts” but surrendered his throne to him as well.
Lugh is also credited as the creator of one of the four great holidays of ancient Gael: Lughnasad, which literally means “Lugh’s assembly”. He created this in honor of his foster mother, Tailtiu. Magickally speaking, Lugh functions as well as the goddess Brighid as a figure of protection. He is particularly useful for invoking protection when facing forces that are beyond us, representing the “big guns” we must occasionally bring out to destroy the terrifying powers of despair.
To honor Lugh in your life begin by developing your skills and call upon him to implement that skill and work it through; Lugh is the harvest god and harvest means completion (no matter what time of year). Also hone your sense of law, justice, fair play and right.