Our Tribal Father

After having lunch with my own personal father today, I thought I’d write about my other father, our Grove’s tribal father god, Lugh.  Then it occurred to me that the perfect article about Lugh was already on our Web site, and that I couldn’t improve upon it, so I’ll include it here.  While it may not be an original gift to give to Lugh on this day, I hope he’ll appreciate a clever regifting.  >8)  Remember that our three-day Lughnasadh celebration is coming up on August 1st through 3rd, and if you would like to give a workshop or class, let me know!

Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF


(pronounced LOO)

Our Celtic ancestors believed that all things descended from the divine as we do today. As such each tribe had a special relationship with a certain god whom they identified as their divine ancestor or tribal father. This patron represented the heritage of the people and was the very embodiment of their spiritual identity.

As the tribes migrated from place to place this tribal god, among many other deities, would travel with them. When they settled in a new place they conducted a special ceremony of sacred marriage wherein the father god was wed to the goddess of the land, the sovereignty goddess. Through this new relationship the folk of the tribe became the adopted children of the mother goddess of their new land and could settle in peace.

The concept of an ancestral god was a challenge to An Bruane. Traditionally this was not information that had to be sought, it was simply passed from generation to generation. Not only have we lost that continuity with the past but, as a newly formed tribe of diverse racial, social, and geographic backgrounds, we didn’t even have a common ancestral link to the past.

The search for a deity to represent the heritage and spiritual character of this new tribe began. It was clear to us that some divine power had seen fit to draw together such diverse people into one group, we just had to find some way to ask him to reveal himself more clearly.

We constructed a pair of effigies to help in this effort. The first made from terra-cotta colored clay moistened with water from the Huron River and fashioned into the form of a woman as a representation of Ana. A second, masculine form was made from a grayish colored clay. We collected hair and nail trimmings from as many grove members as we could and placed these within the clay at the effigy’s heart.

This male statue was left nameless and indefinite. On the eve of the Summer Solstice we brought out these statues and gathered in the forest by the light of our sacred fire. Throughout the night we used trance and divination to gather hints and observations as to the identity of this mysterious god. At last, a strikingly coherent portrait of the grove’s tribal god emerged, a being much like the Irish god Lugh and content to be known by that name.

Our Lugh, as with some of our other deities, differs in some characteristics from the god that appears in the textbooks. We explain this by our belief that, like all other beings, the deities change over time. While we accept that those entities that appear in ancient mythology are the same beings whom we are directly experiencing today, we see these accounts as snapshots of the deities at one point in time.

Lugh is a sky god who is strongly connected with fire, the sun, and the weather. He bears a torc and a brilliantly shining spear that is sometimes seen in the form of lightning. He is the god of all skills and arts, of excellence in every imaginable endeavor. He lives at the top of our tribal tree in the traditional seat of kingship and acts as the protector and guide of his people.. Especially sacred to him are eagles, which can be seen nesting near the river mouth, crows, which keep watch over all that happens in the land, and the ash tree.

The day after his identity was revealed the sacred marriage of sovereignty was enacted and celebrated by the grove. During this rite Ana accepted Lugh, and by extension us, in a sacred bond. From that point on we adopted the title “Tuatha de Anann”, the people of the goddess Ana. It is by this relationship that we may live in peace with the spirits of this place and gather the harvest of the land for our own survival. This relationship comes with an obligation as well, to live in honor and responsibility to our new-found mother and our wild kin in this place.

An appropriate offering to Lugh would be any work of skill such as art, music or poetry.

Related reading:
Our Grove’s Deities: http://www.shininglakes.bravehost.com/deities/


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