The god Lugh was worshipped in Ireland as a deity of the sun. This connection with the sun may explain his name (it means “shining one”), and it also may account for the attributes that he displayed: he was handsome, perpetually youthful, and had a tremendous energy and vitality. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he had, according to legend, mastered. In fact, there was a tale that related Lugh’s myriad abilities at arts and crafts.
As told in the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, the god travelled to Tara, and arrived during a tremendous feast for the royal court. Lugh was greeted at the door by the keeper of the gate, and was immediately asked what talent he had – for it was a tradition there that only those who had a special or unique ability could enter the palace. The god offered his reply: “I am a wright”. In response, the gate keeper said: “We already have a wright. Your services are not needed here”. Still, Lugh, not to be so easily dismissed, continued: “I am a smith”. Again, the guard retorted that the court had a smith that was quite adequate; but the god was not to be dissuaded. In short order, he noted that he was also a champion, a harper, a hero, a poet, an historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman. To this list, the gate keeper merely nodded his head, and stated matter of factly that all of these various trades were represented in the court by other members of the Tuatha de Danaan. “Ah, but you do have an individual who possesses all of these skills simultaneously?”, was Lugh’s clever and inspired reply. The guard was forced to admit his defeat, and so Lugh was allowed to enter and join the festivities.
According to Celtic mythology, Lugh was the son of Cian and Ethlinn. After the god Nuada was killed in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, Lugh became the leader of the Tuatha De Danaan (the term for the gods and goddesses who descended from the goddess Danu).
The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and fertility. Her name translates as ‘Phantom Queen,’ which is entirely appropriate for Her. The Morrígan appears as both a single goddess and a trio of goddesses, which includes the Badb ‘Vulture’ and Nemain ‘Frenzy’. The Morrígan frequently appears in the ornithological guise of a hooded crow. She is one of the Tuatha De Danann (People of the Goddess Danu) and She helped defeat the Firbolgs at the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh and the Fomorii at the Second Battle of Mag Tured.
By some accounts, She is the consort of the Dagda, while the Badb and Nemain are sometimes listed as consorts of Néit, an obscure war god who is possibly Nuada the Sky Father in His warrior aspect. It is interesting to note that another battle goddess, Macha, is also associated with Nuada.
Danu is one of the oldest deities in Irish Celtic Mythology. She is the Mother of the Gods and of the Tuatha de Dannan, the first tribe that lived in Ireland, she is also their Protectress. Little is know about her, most of her myths and stories are forgotten, just a few things are know for sure about her. The oldest record about the Goddess, was found in the Irish Lebor Gabala, from 1,000 C.E. Her name means wisdom or teacher.
This Goddess is also know as Ana, Anu, Anann, linked to the Goddess Dan, in Wales. She is the Goddess of Fertility and abundance, associated with Agriculture and Cultivation. She is consider to be an Earth Goddess, Wisdom and Wind, also wields the magic of Divine Flow.
Some historians believe that she is close to the rivers (this is the reason why the rivers Danube, Dniestr, Don and Dniper are named after her). Also she has a connection with the Fairy Hills, in some writings, she is renowned for suckling Godlets.
In some Celtic Myths, the Goddess is featured as Mother and Daughter of Dagda, in other myths, Bhe was her consort. Another sources say that Dagda and Danu were the parents of Ogma, while other think that Dian Cecht was their son.
Manannan mac Lir
In many Celtic stories, we are told of Manannan’s wife, the Fairy Queen Fand, also known as The Pearl of Beauty, his sons Ilbhreac (Fairy King), Fiachna and Gaidiar, and daughters Áine, Aoife and Griane. Manannan also had a foster son named Lugh; the Great Warrior, on whom he bestowed his magical belongings.
Manannan’s magical possessions consisted of a steed named Enbarr of the Flowing Mane (Irish), sometimes refered to as Finbar, which could travel over land and sea; the Ocean Sweeper/Wave Sweeper, a magical boat which obeyed the thoughts of those who sailed in it, and could travel without oar or sail; the Cloak of Mists, which was capable of changing to every kind of colour, and when Manannan was angry would make a thunderous sound when the cloak flapped; a sword called The Answerer (Irish – Fragarach) that could cut through any armour; a spear called Ctann Buide (Yellow Tree); and a breastplate which no weapon could pierce.
The Isle of Man was the throne of Manannan, his stronghold was on the top of Barrule, and he held his court from Manannan’s Chair at Cronk y Voddy. The Isle of Man takes its name from Manannan.
In Irish mythology, Manannan was killed in battle by Uillenn Faebarderg in the battle of Magh Cuilenn and is said to be buried in the Tonn Banks, off the coast of Donegall. Many shipwrecks have occured there and the spirit of Manannan is supposed to ride on the storm. The Tonns form one part of a triad known as “The Three Waves of Erin”.
This ancient Celtic Goddess known as Brighid, (Brigit, Brid, Bride, etc…) is beloved to Ireland and the British Isles, as the keeper of the home’s hearth, patroness of healing, smith craft, fertility, poetry, and midwifery.
Legend says that when she was born at sunrise, a tower of flame reached from the top of her head to the heavens. Her birth is said to have given the family house the appearance of being on fire.
The household fire is sacred to Brighid, and each evening the woman of the house would smoor the fire, (cover it over to keep the fire overnight)` asking for the protection of Brighid on all its occupants.
Brighid’s festival is Imbolc, and falls on February 2, and is the in between time after the winter solstice and before the spring equinox. It is the time the very first signs of impending spring become apparent, as the ewes and cows come into milk and prepare to give birth. This festival is usually celebrated by keeping a flame burning in the home, either in the fireplace or with candles to honor this fire Goddess, and invite her to bestow blessings upon the home.
Traditional foods served during this time include dairy items such as milk and cheese. Many Irish households proudly display a Brighid’s Cross, an ornament made of rushes and hung in the home for protection, and to honor Brighid. She is one of the best historic examples of the survival of a Goddess in Christian records.
Aengus Mac Og
God of love and beauty. Son of Dagda and Boann. Brother of Broadh. Father of Freabhlann. Foster-father of Dermot. He was born when the Dagda seduced Boann (or in some accounts, Ethne) having sent her husband Elcmar (or Nuada) away for nine months. He was raised by Midir and when he reached manhood he lived in the palace of Bruigh after displacing his nominal father, Elcmar, or, some say, the Dagda as king of the Danaans. He carried off Etain, wife of Midir, and intervened to save Dermot and Grania when they were pursued by Finn. It was said that four swans always hovered round his head. He owned a huge horse, which he loaned to Eochaid mac Maireadha when he eloped with Eibhliu, and a dun cow given to him by Manannan. He helped Dermot in battle by making each enemy soldier appear in the likeness of Dermot, so that they were all killed by their fellow soldiers. When Dermot was killed by the boar, Angus kept his body in his palace and by breathing life into the corpse, could talk to Dermot whenever he wanted. Another story says that he pined for the love of a girl until his parents discovered that she was Caer Ibormeith, daughter of the king of Connaught, who lived as a swan on a lake with 150 other swans. He was able to identify her and she went to live with him in his palace. In some versions, Angus changed himself into a swan.
Aine was both a Celtic Goddess and a Faery Queen. She has been known by other names, such as the Lady of the Lake, the Goddess of the Earth and Nature, and the Goddess of Luck and Magick. As well, there are some people who actually believe that she might be an aspect of The Morrigan.
Aine was the daughter of Eogabail, a member of the Tuatha da Danaan and the foster son of the Sea God Manannan Mac Lir, while other versions of this legend claim that she was actually married to Manannan Mac Lir himself.
Aine has been viewed, at various times, as both a Sun Goddess and a Moon Goddess. While she was in her original role as a Sun Goddess, Aine was nicknamed “bright,” and it was when she was in that role that she was able to shape-shift into becoming “Lair Derg,” the ”Red Mare,” or the horse that never could be outrun. Traditionally, Sun Goddesses have been known as Goddesses of Love and Fertility, and Aine followed in that tradition with great enthusiasm. It was during a much later period in time that Aine developed the characteristics of a more maternal Moon Goddess, and was believed to guard her followers’ livestock and crops. There are farmers, even today, who perform the exact same rituals that their ancestors performed thousands of years ago. At midsummer, they walk through their fields and wave their torches, in the hope that Aine and her sacred fire might grant them an abundant harvest. Farmers also continue to burn flowers and straw, as another way of honoring Aine, in the hope that she might grant them freedom from illness and evil throughout another turn of the Wheel of the Year.
In her role as a Moon Goddess, Aine was known as a Goddess of Agriculture and a Patroness of Crops and Cattle. An ancient myth exists which describes how Aine sat in her birthing chair on August 1st, and gave birth to a sheave of grain. It is believed that by performing that act, Aine gave the gift of grain to the people of Ireland.