111: Lug as Triple God of Fire and Triple God of Air, especially the Violet Smith

(I am indebted to Dr. James MacKillop’s masterful Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, 1998, Oxford University Press, for most of the mythological minutia herein. Please see Solar Calendar for details of the Rorian Tradition’s archetypal dramas.)

Lug or Lugh enjoys so many attributes that we may be justified in considering him a form of Triple God, particularly as he was born one of triplets, with his two siblings either drowned at birth or turned into seals. (See Anne Ross’s amazingPagan Celtic Britain, 1996, Academy Chicago Publishers, p. 320, for the Triple Lugh.) Indeed, Lug may even be considered a Universal God, embodying both of the Male triplicities of Fire and Air. We examine here some arguments forseeing Lug as a conflation of the Rorian tradition’s Demiurges of the three Fire Signs: Red Hunter (Mars and Aries), Yellow Creator (Sun and Leo), and Blue Planter (Jupiter/Bacchus and Sagittarius), and of the Demiurges of the three Air Signs: Orange Mage (Mercury and Gemini), Green Priest (Venus and Libra), and especially the Violet Smith (Jupiter and Aquarius). To simplify, we will take these two triplicities in order around the wheel: Red Hunter (Aries), Orange Mage (Gemini),Yellow Creator (Leo), Green Priest (Libra), Blue Planter (Sagittarius), and Violet Smith (Aquarius).

Lug as the Red Hunter: Two of Lug’s many professions are the warrior and the champion, both aspects of the Rorian tradition’s Red Hunter. He is always portrayed as youthful, handsome, and athletic. He is a leader in battle, and inventorof fidchell, the chess-like war-game of kings, and may have invented horse-racing (in the Rorian tradition, only warriors or nobles would ride). One of Lug’s patronymics was Maicnia (“Lad-warrior”). Lug’s title Lamhfhada means “long-armed” or “long-handed,” and this is generally taken to refer to the Lug’s ability to hurl a spear a long distance, thus hinting at Lug’s identity with Mars in Aries, the Red Hunter/Warrior. However, we sometimes find warrior functions arising from magical ones, as Woden (originally god of poetry, magic, and ecstasy) became patron of warriors (especially the berserker’s ecstatic rage).

Lug as the Orange Mage: Lug’s most famous title is Samildanach, meaning “possessing many crafts or trades.” The specific arts claimed by Lug were: harper, poet, and magician (all aspects of Orange Mage); historian (possibly Orange Mage, possibly Orange-Yellow Scholar); warrior, and champion (both aspects of Red Hunter); wright or builder, smith, and brazier (all aspects of Violet Smith); cupbearer, and physician (both aspects of both Smith and Green Priest). But Julius Caesar specifically equated Lug with the Roman Mercury, the god of trade, commerce, and especially eloquence and magic; the planet Mercury is the planet of the Orange Mage. The Orange Mage celebrates his fatherhood at the start of Lammas-month, thus giving some support to the conventional identification of Lugnasad with Lammas. More importantly, Mercury was known as “the inventor of all the arts,” and this equates extremely well with Lug’s agnomen of Samildanach.

Lug as the Yellow Creator: The name Lug means “brightness” or “light,” and this taken with his attribute of the magic spear generally classifies him as a solar deity. In the Rorian tradition, the blade or weapon is sacred to Fire, wielded only by the Red Hunter (sword),the Yellow Creator (spear), and the Blue Planter (thunderbolt or arrow). Lug’s famous spearwould thus appear to be a solar attribute, linking him with the Yellow Creator. His spear is one of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann, and one of the Grail Hallows.

Lug as the Green Priest: Lug’s title Lamhfhada means “long-armed” or “long-handed,” and while this is generally taken to refer to the Lug’s ability to hurl a spear a long distance, thus hinting at Lug’s identity with Mars in Aries, the Red Hunter/Warrior (and also with Jupiter/Bacchus in Sagittarius, the Blue Planter: phallic lord of the thunderbolt and lightning), we might also say that as it singles out his arm or hand, it equates him with the Green Priest, who is the heart and right hand of the Divine human. “Long-handed” is a closecognate of the Vedic god Savitri’s agnomen, “of the wide hand;” and Savitri is the Aditya of the Green Priest. Lug’s profession as healer implies he is a Cleric or Priest. As cupbearer, Lug might alsobe seen as Priest or Cleric, offering the cup of the liturgy. Nuadu yields his throne to Lug, implying that (as Nuadu with his severed right hand is clearly a Green Priest) Lug is either an avatar of the Green Priest himself, or possibly the son of the Green Priest, i.e. the Red Hunter. Lug is also considered to be cognate with Lleu Llaw Gyffes (“Light with a steady hand”). Like the Green Priest, Lleu is wounded while balanced with one footon a Cauldron and one foot on a Goat, i.e. in Libra (the Balance; sign of the Priest), at the Fall Equinox, midway between Cancer (the Cauldron) and Capricorn (the Goat). After Lleu’s wounding he turns into an eagle and perches on an oak: the Fall Equinox is followed by T-E Scorpio’s Bird-Month, in which the dying Green Priest also turns into a bird, albeit a Dove.Lug is constantly accompanied by his lapdog, Failinis; the Dog is the animal attribute of the Green Priest.

Lug as the Blue Planter: Lug’s title Lamhfhada means “long-armed” or “long-handed,”and while this is generally taken to refer to the Lug’s ability to hurl a spear a long distance, it may equally refer to Lug’s use of an aboriginal spear-thrower, the prototype of the bow. This would link Lug to Jupiter/Bacchus in Sagittarius, the Archer, phallic lord of the thunderbolt and lightning. After Lleu’s wounding he turns into an eagle and perches on an oak: The eagle belongs to both Scorpio and Sagittarius; both eagle and oak are sacred to Jupiter, interregnal ruler of Sagittarius.

Lug as the Violet Smith: A case has been made for Lug’s being a solar deity; i.e.,the Yellow Creator (see above). However, unlike the solar deities, Lug is never blinded; on the contrary he blinds and decapitates his grandfather Balor of the Baleful Eye (cognate with Beli, Baldur, etc.), who is certainly the Yellow Creator or Demiurge of the sun. In the end, Lug is either killed by or kills Goll Mac Morna, who lost an eye like the Solar Creator, and whose original name was Aed (“fire”) — again, a solar attribute. By slaying (and being slain by) the Solar Creator, Lug identifies himself with the Creator’s son/father and opposite — the Violet Smith. Lug is connected to Goibniu (Gavida,Gofannon) the Celtic Smith-God in several ways: Lug is himself a smith, as well as a healer (i.e., alchemist/apothecary), like his Christian form, St. Luke. Lug is also a cupbearer, like Gavida/Goibniu the Smith, who brews the drink of immortality and pours it for the gods; the Smith is Ganymede and Aquarius, the Cupbearer of the Grail of Immortality. Also, Goibniu is one of Lug’s foster-fathers, and Goibniu crafted the famous magical spear with which Lug slew Balor. Celtic deity names do not always follow the mantric rules of name and form, but the mantric value of the velar or glottal “G” in Lug does place Lug in the base chakra with Gw/Gough/Gof/Goibniu as a Smith or artisan, while the labial “B” in Balor places Balor in the head chakra as the Yellow Creator. (See A Bard’s Primer: The Science of Mantra and Words of Power.) Lugh is aided by magical geese (or possibly cuckoos) in conceiving the hero Cuchulainn, whose name is usually translated as “hound of the Smith Culainn,” and both geese and cuckoos are birds of the Violet Smith. Like Lugh, Cuchulainn also slew a one-eyed (solar) giant named Goll (Goliath?), so Cuchulainn appears like his father Lugh to be another avatar of the Violet Smith. One of Lugh Lamhfhada’s four wives is Bui or Boi, a form of the Cailleach Bheur. The Cailleach is the Rorian tradition’s Indigo Mason, wife of the Violet Smith. Lugh is sometimes accompanied by ravens, the bird of his spouse the Indigo Mason. Finally, Lug’s cognate Lleu is son of the lunar Arianrhod, as the Rorian’s tradition’s Violet Smith is son of the Orange-Yellow lunar Sage. For all these reasons while we consider Lugh to be a triple god, embracing all three of the Rorian Air-Sign Demiurges (and to a degree the three Fire-Signs as well), Lugh appears to be primarily a form of the Violet Smith.

It would appear that Lugh might once have been solely the Violet Smith, gradually acquiring qualities of the other Archetypes to become more and more universal. As we now move into the Aquarian Age, sacred to the Violet Smith, it might be appropriate to see Lugh both as primarily Lugh-Goibniu or Gw-Lugh, Lugh the Smith, and as universal Archetype or “Messiah” for this New Age. The Christian mythos has preserved Lugh as John the Baptist: both are Waterbearers (Aquarius), purveyors of immortality; both are born on June 24-25, opposite their Son, the Solar Creator, born on December 25. Hence in the original Gnostic Christian Mysteries, John the Baptistis actually Jesus’ father, and the mysterious voice coming from the heavens at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased,” originally came from John himself. In the Rorian calendar this probably takes place ca. January 8-10, at the Solar Creator’s Epiphany, when Lugh/John is crowned as Grail King; Lugh/John then serves the alchemical waters of immortality (“baptising the crowd”), and he shows his young son to the world. However in the Rorian tradition it is the Solar Creator (“Jesus”) who is eventually beheaded, not his father “John the Baptist”, who is slain by a wound in the buttock or foot. As opposites, in the Rorian mysteries father and son slay each other: After his birth on December 25, and Epiphany on January 9, “Jesus” the Solar Creator slays his father “John” the Alchemist or the Baptist by wounding him inthe foot at Summer-Start (ca. May 22-24); and after his rebirth on June 24, “John” slays his father “Jesus” by blinding and beheading him at Winter-Start (ca. November 23-25), whereafter “Jesus” is again reborn on December 25, and the cycle continues. Please see A Rite of Alchemical Fusion of the Demiurgic Creator and Smith (Pentacles of East and West) for furtherdetails.


Violet Smith: In the Rorian tradition’s Solar Calendar,the Violet Smith is something of a shadow son/sun, growing as his father the solar Yellow Creator wanes, and vice versa. The Smith is born just after Summer Solstice, ca. June 24-26, and has his Epiphany a fortnight later at True Lugnasad, ca. July 9-11. At True Samhain or Winterstart (ca. November 23), the Smith betrothes his sister the Indigo Mason (the Cailleach), and slays their father, the Yellow Creator, by piercing his divine right eye with his “black rod” or violet mace. A fortnight later the Yellow Creator descends into the Underworld, and is reborn (as his owngrandson) to the Smith and the Mason just after Winter Solstice, ca. December 24-26. He hashis Epiphany a fortnight later, ca. January 8-10. The Yellow Creator eventually betrothes his sister the Orange-Yellow Lunar Sage (Arianrhod), piercing their father the Violet Smith’s divine foot or buttock and slaying him at True Beltaine or Summerstart, ca. May 22. A fortnight later the Smith ascends into the Overworld,to be reborn after Summer Solstice. The milestones of the Creator and his opposite son/father the Smith are thus precisely six months apart.

Cuchulainn‘s name may derive from or be cognate with Finnish kaukolainen or kukkalainen,epithets respectively for Lemminkainen and for Marjatta’s virgin-born and cuckoo-heralded son; see also Charles de Kay, “Early Heroes of Ireland,” in The Century Magazine, Vol. 16 [May-Oct. 1889], p. 198 ff).