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Confers with lachu, the duck; liath, grey; the dates January 21 to February 17.
LA, Day personified, the day-god Aod or Lugh. The space of time from morning until evening, daylight, on a certain day, “Once upon a day...” “Once upon a time...” Lab, a day’s labour. LABRAID LOINSEACH. Labra the Mariner. See also Móen , sometimes given as Maon or Maen. “Dumb. He was later termed Labraid Loinseach, literally “The Mariner Who Speaks” after he regained his ability to talk. Móen was the grandson of Ugani Mor, himself the foster-son of Macha. Ugani Mor was an extremely successful Gaelic warrior-king and managed to subjugate the greater part of Britain and a portion of the continent as far south as Muir Torrian, the Mediterranean Sea. Ugani was the common ancestor of the royalty of all the provinces excepting Munster. Labraid’s father was killed in by his uncle Cobthachach and the throne usurped. Cobthachach forced the young boy to eat a portion of his father’s heart, and this fearful act struck him dumb. Because the lad was “blighted” he was regarded as no threat to the throne, but his father’s friends arranged for his transportation to Britain in case the uncle should change his mind. Labraid was reared in secret under the joint fosterage of Craftine, a celebrated harpist and Feirceirtine, a poet-philosopher. In Britain he received a blow to his head when playing caman (hurly) and suddenly regained his speech. When Cobthahach heard rumours that his nephew now had the credentials to
reclaim the crown of Ireland he sent men to assassinate him but the young man moved on to Gaul (or perhaps the land of Gioll, a western Atlantic “island”). There he spent time in the kingdom known as Fir Morc, the land belonging to the “Fisher-folk.” The ruler here was Sgurriath, the “giant of the sharp hill.” whose daughter was Muiriath. the “Sea-giantess.” Muiriath’s mother was the guardian of her daughter’s virginity, and it was said that she slept “with one eye always open.” The girl fell in love with Móen and persuaded Craftine to teach her boyfriend the sleep-tunes. Móen tried this magic on the household and the mother fell asleep so that the pair could make love. On waking the mother was immediately aware of a change in her daughter’s status, but she and her husband accepted Móen’s new position as son-in-law with good grace. Further, the king of the “Gauls” promised Moen an army so that he could make an attempt to overthrow his evil uncle. From this invasion by the Gauls, the name of the province became Leinster, because these men were armed with broad blue-headed iron spears which were called laighne (pronounced lyna). As they were later allotted lands, and settled there, the province became Laighin and the Norse called it Lein-star, “the Place of the Spearmen.” The spearmen attacked while Craftine played his slumber tunes, and thus the Gauls were able to take Dun Righ, the “Keep of the King.” It is said that Cobhthach retreated with thirty warriors into a hall,, where they were shut in and burned to death. Labra the Mariner now came to the throne, but after his succession it was noted that he invariably wore a golden helmet for all civic functions, and it was rumoured that he only had his hair cut once a year, and that immediately afterwards the barber was put to death. Once the hair cutting chore happened to fall upon the only son of a poor widow. The women pleaded that her son be spared, and the not uncaring king willed that it would be so if the individual
swore himself to strict secrecy. The young man, aware of his king’s dreadful secret fell into an lingering illness that was scarcely better than death. He consulted a druid who advised him to travel to the nearest cross road and tell all he knew to the nearest tree, making the tree promise it would tell no one. He did this, and his mind eased, returned to his trade. It was a willow tree that thus gained knowledge of the kings strange secret, and when this tree was cut and made into a harp for Craftine. At its first playing the harp sang out: “Labraid has the ears of a horse!” Over and over it repeated this espionage before the dumb-founded court. Knowing this to be the curse of his Fomorian heritage, Labraid removed his helmet and revealed his “dreadful” debility. Because this “blight” had not measurably affected the justice and harmony of his kingship Labraid was not required to step down, and thus a mark for racial tolerance and an understanding of those with physical defects was made. This tale is reminiscent of that of King Mark of Cornwall, the husband of the ill-fated Iseult , who had the ears of a horse, and thus was nicknamed M’arch, the “Son of the Horse.” LABRAID LUATHLAM AT CLEDEB, Labra” with the Swift Hand on the Sword.” The one-time ruler of Magh Mell and husband to Li Ban. Li Ban was sent to Cúchulainn with a promise that the sea-people would mate him with the goddess Fand if he agreed to fight against three troublesome Fomorian warriors. Cúchullain agreed and the promise was kept but her husband Manann mac Ler later separated the lovers. LABDHDAIDH, LOUDIE, the latter being the better phonetic representation. Scot. Lothian, Scotland. The Lowlands in general, but more particularly Fife and the farming areas around Glasgow and Edinburgh (sometimes called Easter Ross). In days past, Highland men and women went there for seasonal employment on the farms at harvest time. Often they walked all the distance there and back, sometimes travelling part way by steamer. Each reaper carried a sickle.
It is said that passengers on MacBrayne’s steamers could travel at a cut rate, so sickles were commonly seen on those ferries. LABHRUINN, ultimately from the Latin laurus, a laurel. Lawrence O’Toole (1128) the last saint canonized in Ireland. The son of a chieftain he was taken hostage at the age of ten by his life-long nemesis, Diarmuid ard-righ. When Lawrence became bishop of Dublin he banished this old reprobate to England, and restored “order and piety” to Dublin. Diarmuid convinced the English king to support his cause and enlisted the Earl of Pembroke in an invasion of Ireland. The Irish rallied under King Rory O’Connor but were defeated by King Henry II, thus introducing the English “presence” in Ireland. Lawrence attempted to work for peace and the freedom of the Irish but died in France. LACHLANN, Lachlan, dial. Lachlainn, Lachunn, MG. Lochlinn, Ir. Lochlainn. ON in origin, possibly commencing as “a Lochlander,” a Norwegian, a Scotlander. Mac-Lochlainne, Maclaughlin. LADRA. The pilot to Lady Cassair’s expedition which fled the Mediterranean based World Flood. When the division of lands and women was made on landing in Ireland, Ladra got only sixteen of the ladies, while his compatriots received seventeen each. Distraught, he nevertheless accepted his lot, and went off to form a kingdom. In the end he died “of an excess of women.” LAEG, “Ragged,” the “king of charioteers.” He became a driver to Cúchullain who instructed him to go to the Otherworld to report on the nature of Fand’s kingdom. Convinced there were things worth seeing in the western world,Cuchullain afterwards journeyed there. During the final battle against their enemies Laeg threw himself in front of a spear meant for Cúchullain. LAG, a curvature, a hollow, small bowls, Scot. laggie. Used in Samhain divination: Three of these small lugged or
handled bowls were placed in line; one filled with fresh water, one empty; one with soot-blackened or foul water. The blindfolded participant in the rites was expected to marry a virgin if he chanced to dip his left hand into the clear water; he or she would become attached to a widow or a “busy” woman; if in the foul. Dipping in an empty dish prognosticated bachelorhood or widowhood. Sometimes the choice was made using a wooden wand. This ceremony could only be repeated three times, the bowls being shuffled about between trials. LAIGHEAN, laigh, lazy, lay-about. The quarter-province now called Leinster. Locally it is said that the name comes from Laigne Lethan-glas , the weak-chinned grey one, a Nemedian settler. A second explanation has it that it was named after the laighean, “law-maker,” a broad-tipped sword carried by the Gaullish mercenaries who came to Ireland in aid of King Labraid Loinseach. The province was anciently called Galian, the place of foreigners. The modern form Lein-ster has a Norse termination. Although the word has connotations in lag, hollow, pliant or weak, it is better seen in lagh, lawful, and laghach, pretty. LAIGLINNI. A son of Partholan. LAIR GLAS. The male counterpart of the Cailleach is the sidh creature known as the fachan, who seems to be physically related to the ancient Fomors, or undersea giants of Irish lore. Katherine Scherman says that the Fomors were first seen by the Partholons (the ancestors of Clan Macfarland), who identified them as having, "one foot, one hand and one eye." Like, Morrigan-Badb-Macha, the Winter Hag was a shape-changer, which may explain why Skadi (her Norse equivalent) appeared before the Norse gods as a very beautiful woman, dressed in a short white hunting dress with white fur-leggings. She is represented in northern mythology as a skilful bow-hunter, and goddess of the chase, which is exactly the position of the Cailleach. Both were invoked by hunters and winter travellers when they were endangered and each was considered the warder of
wild animals. Like Macha, the Hag often appeared as a giant mare, being known in this form as the Lair Glas, or Grey Mare. It was rumoured that this winter game-keeper had complete charge of weather-magic from Samhainn through Beltainn, and carried a staff that spread snow upon the ground wherever she travelled. The staff generated both thunder and lightning and was coveted by men, but those who attempted to steal it were reduced to a pile of ash. This characteristic ties her to the Irish god Eochaid, "The Horseman of Heaven", who is himself a male manifestation of the Belgic goddess Bolg, or Bolt. She gave rise to the Firbolgs, or People of the Bolg. This winter-hag, who is surely related to the Germanic god Donar and his Scandinavian counterpart Thor, was periodically reincarnated in Conor Mor (of whom we have spoken) and Erc, King of Dal Riada (Northern Antrim, Ireland). His people moved to Alba in the fifth century and created the Kingdom of Scots, his descendants being largely the clans of the highlands. The relationship of the Cailleach to Thor is explicitly suggested in myths that substitute a hammer for the magic-staff. In many places, including the Maritime Provinces, it used to be said that winter was at an end when the Cailleach Bheur "threw her hammer beneath the mistletoe."
LAIR DEARG, the “Dark Mare,” the “Red Mare,” a horsewoman, a shape-changer. Note also Etain Echraide, the “Horse-riding One,” and the mate of Midir a god of the Underworld. These Gaelic goddesses are connected with the Gaullish Epona and the Welsh Rhiannon. LA-TRAISG, LA-TROSGAIDH (in Lewis), any fast-day. the rising of the sun.” “At
LABHRAN-SIDH, "a noisy little man," a fay-individual, the wireless radio; labhair, to speak; labhran, a speaker.
LAMHRAG, a slut, an awkward person, dowdy, a silly female, lamhragan, awkward to handle, from lamh, “underhanded,” LÀNAIN, a married couple, from the root log or leg, to lie together. The word has been divided as lán-shamain, “summer bed-fellows,” those that conjugate at the Samhain (Oct. 31- Nov.1) thus becoming a couple. See draoi, druidh, druidheachd. LAOIDH, a lay, a sacred song, exciting, animating; confers with druis, druidos, the druids, Latin druidae. OIr. loid, a poem or song, the perpetuators of such. LÀR NATHAIR, lar, the centre, the ground, the earth, the Earth-Father. A cairn also known as the Nether Largie, at the north edge of the Great Moss in Argyllshire, Scotland. The location of several cairns, the South Cairn being the largest in Britain. This structure is 134 feet in diameter. It contains a chamber 19 feet long, roofed over with great stone slabs and reached by a tunnel at one side. The floor is clean gravel. This chamber and two smaller cists were discovered by local people who carried away stones to build walls. This structure is dated at 3000-2000 B.C. and once contained burial items and burnt corpses. Not far from here is Templewood cromleag, dating from the Bronze Age, 1600 B.C. This circle of standing stones has a central monolith ringed by eight standing-stones. Many of the stones are marked with concentric circles, known as “cup-and-ring “ marks, whose utility and meaning are not exactly known. LATHA BOICIONN, Eng. Buck-skin Day. Boggle Day. March 17 Old Style. Celebrated in the Orkneys and Shetlands where the folk worked small gardens and sowed the ground with grain. This patch was carefully watched for its fate was thought reflect on the success or failure of crops in general. Ripe grain shorn from this rigg was preserved and ground into winter meal and on Buggle Day was made into bugglecakes, symbolizing the fruitful sun. see boc. LATHA CAILLEACH-TEINNIDH, obs., day of the combustible
woman, to day an impetuous or fiery-tempered woman. This was a moveable feast originally called Fastern's (fasting) Tuesday, but now Shrove Tuesday. In Scotland this was the day of the Fastyn, Feisty or Fitless Cock. This holiday, following Ash Wednesday by one week, usually came in March. In the eighteenth century, cock-fights were held in the parish schools and the day was sometimes called Fastyn Cock, the Feisty Cock, or Fitless Cock Day. An antique dish, bearing the same name, used to be put together using onions, suet, oatmeal, and seasoning, bound with egg and moulded in the form of a fowl, and was eaten during this day. In its earliest form, the Feisty Cock, which was called the Dry Goose in the south, was composed of a handful of meal, close pressed, dipped in water and roasted in the ashes at the edge of the sacrificial fire. We suspect that the use of the day as the commencement for Lent was an attempt to suppress pagan rites, notably that having to do with carrying off winter or sacrificing death. In Scotland, the daft days were said to belong to the Winter Hag and it was her spirit which was burned, either figuratively or in a human representative, at the Night of the Bane. Elsewhere in Europe, this "carnival" occupied the Lenten season, the fourth Sunday in Lent having once been called the Dead Sunday. The British activities, which centred on Fastern, probably came with the Anglo-Saxons from southern Germany. In one province, two men impersonating summer and winter used to travel from house-to-house on this day. Summer was clad in white and carried a sickle, while his companion had a fur cap on his head, arms and legs swathed in straw, and carried a flail. At every house, these visitors sang alternate verses of an old ballad. Elsewhere this was called Ruprecht's Day, which terminated with the burning of a straw man dressed after the fashion of Father Winter or Father Christmas. In this ceremony, called "the burying of Death", villagers snatched blazing fragments of the straw-man which they fastened to the highest tree in their garden believing this would make the crops grow more effectively. At Coben, this effigy was put on trial for all thefts committed during the year.
Invariably found guilty and sentenced to be burned, he was danced about by the maidens of the village. The last bride married during the year was forced to leap over the embers of the bone-fire. In Tyrol, a figure called the Old Woman was at the centre of ceremonies, which concluded with the "burning of the Old Hag", a designation suggestive of the Cailleach Bheur.
LATHA CAIRTEAL, Quarter-Day. The latter word cairteal is said to derive from the Late Latin quartellus, resembling the ON kvartill as well as the Latin quartus, a fourth. LATHA CEATHAR, The Day of the Corn or “Harvest Home.” The gathering and bringing home of the harvest usually took place in October in Scotland. The name is given to a process and a feast held at the end of the harvest, as well as to certain rites practised by those who cut the grain-crops. The celebration was never restricted to Scotland and Ireland, but was common practice in all the agricultural districts of Europe, the rites being regarded as religious and magical rather than propitiatory. Characteristics of these rural happenings include the preparation of a dollimage, decorated with grains and flowers, or one made entirely from the last sheaf cut in the district. This image was variously called the Harvest Queen, the Harvest Doll, the Cernu (which is very pointed in meaning), the Kern Baby, the Kern Maiden, the Witch, the Hag, the Winter Witch, or the Cailleach, or Cailleach Bheur. Regardless of the name used, this image was known to contain the corn-spirit. Often one of the harvesters was decked out as a living scare-crow bedecked with ribbons, a walking personification of the god-spirit. Dancing, feasting, and drinking was another feature of the feast which, in cattleraising parts of Scotland, used to be called the Hockey. In crop growing parts of the nation the day of the corn might simply be labelled Kern or Mell. The harvest home was preliminary to the oldest and most formidable fire-festival of the Celtic year, the Samhainn eve.
The term corn is used universally to indicate the dominant grain grown in a region and in most of Scotland that is now oats. In England "corn" meant wheat, while North Americans use the word to describe maize, and apply "grain" to all other cereal crops. In speaking of the New Year or Hogamanay, we have mentioned the customs relating to the creation of the Auld Hag, Cailleach Doll or Wrack, the name given the last sheaf if it were, unhappily, cut after Samhainn Eve. In parts of Scotland, the last sheaf was termed the "Maidhdean buain (the shorn virgin) if it could be taken before midnight, October 31st. While people made every effort to avoid having to board the winter hag, they vied for the honour of taking the Maiden, since the single person who obtained it was certain to be married before the next harvest. To secure it, the reapers were often subtle, leaving a sheath uncut and covering it with earth to fool the others. This was a dangerous procedure since the last cutting had to be complete before the opening hours of November 1st. Once removed from the field, the Maiden of the Kern was made into a be-ribboned doll and fixed to the farmhouse wall. In the north, she was preserved until Yule morning and then divided among the cattle to make them thrive. Elsewhere, the sheaf was reserved to be cut down by the youngest female reaper, and then made into a rude female doll clad in a paper dress. This figure was kept over the winter in the chimney corner until a new Maiden took her place in the next year. The harvest supper at the end of the cutting was itself called the Maiden in Balquidder. Details of the rite were extremely varied. In Dumbartonshire, the girl who cut the Maiden was thought to be lucky and certain to be wed within the year. Here, the Maiden was hung in the kitchen, where she might be kept for several years with a date tag affixed. In some households numerous Maidens from various years were left hanging from kitchen hooks. In these regions, the supper which followed the cutting was called the Kern. At Garlock, the last corn was graphically referred to as the Head or the
Maidenhead, pointing out fertility rites which unquestionably preceded the customs. In Aberdeenshire, the Maiden was presented to the Mistress of the house, who cared for it until the first foal was born in the new year. It was then fed to this animal with its first solid food, and neglect of this duty was considered to presage a calamity for the farm. A more advanced age attaches to the corn-spirit entitled the Bride or the Oat-bride, who is obviously a form of the old corn-goddess called Bridd, or Brigit. Near Roslin and Stonehaven in Scotland, the last handful of oats was the Bride, and she was placed over the bress, or chimney place, with a ribbon tied beneath her numerous "ears", and another tied at the waist. Although most districts cut either a Winter Hag or a Maiden, sometimes both were cut at the harvest. In this case, the rule seems to have been that the Maiden was fashioned from the last sheath left standing, and had to be kept by the farmer on whose land it was cut; while the OLd Crone, or Old Wife, was cut from the first sheath of the harvest and passed from hand to hand, ending for the winter with the farmer who was most delinquent at harvesting his crops. This individual was generally held to be doomed to poverty and any mishap within the community was his fault. THe Maiden was usually received with extravagant joy as representing the promise of the return of the Samh at the beginning of a fruitful season; the hag, on the other hand, was hastily passed on as an agent of pestilence and bad weather. Without question, these rites were those of a primitive religion since no special priests supervised them and they took place in the out-of-doors. These rituals recognized but did not propitiate god-spirits, treating them in a decidedly off-hand manner. There are suggestions that the earliest traditions relating to the corn-spirits made him a scapegoat of the
usual sort. The person unfortunate enough to cut a Cailleach was sometimes called by this name and treated very roughly by his or her fellow reapers. Some were actually bound within the last sheaf and dragged about, beaten, drenched with water, thrown upon the dung heap (hence the expression: horse play) or thrown into a brook. In less humane times he was burned, and in a better season he was merely the subject of ridicule, a person thought destined for misfortune. The corn-spirit was, of course, considered to have been cut down with the reaping so that he might be reincarnated, and in the past the reapers literally cut down his representative. In a pinch the victim might be an actual member of the community but it was considered bettermannered to embody the corn-spirit in some passing stranger who was not familiar with the custom. Where human victims were scarce, a substitute might be found in a fox, dog, wolf, cock, hare, or some farm animal. This explains such expressions as "cutting the gander's neck" or "cutting the tail of the fox" as they once applied to Harvest Home. LATHA CHOINNLE, The Day of Candles, Candlemas Day (February 2), marking the end of the Old Norse month of Yule, and the rule of the Cailleach Bheurr or Winter Hag. This day was often referred to as Latha Mairi to distinguish it from the pagan Latha Bridd or Bride’s Day (February 1). Nevertheless, the rites are disconcertingly similar. On the eve, candles were lighted in parish churches, and these tapers were blessed and taken home as relics to be relighted against the dangers of lightning and witchcraft. They clearly symbolize Lugh, the reborn sun, who was seen as ascendant at this time. On Candlemas Day the selection of a king and queen and the presentation of gifts to the druids fell into the hands of children and the local school-masters. In the oldest form of the rites male children brought their gamecocks to school and the animals were pitted against one
another to the death. The boy who owned the winning cock was named the Coileach buadha, or Victor Cock and was allowed to select a queen or Hen. All defeated animals went to the larder of the schoolmaster, who in the latter days took the guise of the high druid. After a time this rudimentary selection process was abandoned for outright patronage. On this day every male student appeared at the roll call with an offering in hand. As his name was called he came forward and placed this sum on the school-master’s desk. If the sum was less than expected the oblation was recognized with a nod, but if it was a real addition to his usual pittance, the teacher responded with “Vivat!; “Floreat bis!”; “Floreat ter!” or “Gloriat!” according to the amount offered. In the end, the largest donor was declared Candlemas King. It was the right of this “lucky” individual to be carried on the shoulders of his peers, but it was always noted “the kilt gave tempting opportunities for pinching.” This “preference by munificence,” could be hazardous, and in 1598, the town council at Edinburgh forbade the practise, limiting the quarterly payment to no more than “four penneis at ane tyme.” In a forerunner of Palm Sunday, the boys were afterwards given a half-holiday to collect rushes which were strewn upon the earth floors of the school as a prelude to a clean-up. In the less common “mixed schools” of the time, a king and a queen were appointed. They were sometimes enthroned upon a dias and paperboard crowns placed on their heads; “whereafter various (public or private) presentations were made.” The health of the pair was toasted in non-alcoholic beverage, and the scholars were dismissed on half-day, at which they marched through the streets, carrying their royalty on crossed hands. In a few places a golden orb was carried on a pole before the procession, making it clear that the royalty were no less than the sun-god and his bride. In some parishes the “king” was given a football by the Rector
and masters of the school. With this prize in hand, the afternoon was frequently given over to the ball games descendant from shinty. The Men’s Ba’ is the older form of the Callant’s (lads) Ba’ which is still played in a few places on Candlemas. The king ruled for six weeks during which he had the right to demand an afternoon’s release from school each week, and “also enjoyed privileges in the remission of punishments.” In the universities, a holiday fell at this time, allowing poorer students to tramp back to their native glens to replenish their oatmeal. Although oatmeal no longer has great status Mealie Monday, the first Monday of the Candlemas term, is still observed as a holiday within the faculty of Arts. For adults, the day known as Candle Day ended with a communal supper and ball. For children it concluded with the Candle Blaze, the lighting of tapers after dark in the schoolhouse. In some places the practise was closer pagan models, the fire of whin and brushwood being set in the yard. “Round the burning bush the children danced and made merry first in honour of Bride, the spirit of Spring, then in honour of the saint who bore her name, and latterly just for the fun of it.” See Bridd, Samh, Lugh. LATHA RUADH, the Red Day, the third day of the eight days of Beltane (May 3); the eve being termed Reed or Red E’en. Known as the Avoiding Day in the highlands of Scotland, an unlucky time for starting a journey or beginning an enterprise. It is probable that the name, and connotations, originally had to do with the selection of a Beltane karl. In Christian times it was renamed Rood Day or Reed Day, or even Roodmas, supposedly after the finding of a “rod” from the true cross by the Empress Helena, the mother of King Constantine. After the reformation any correspondence between the Roodmas and Beltane was expunged. In folk custom, it was thought necessary for a member of each household to arise before sun-up on this
morning, coming back to the home with a pailful of water and an armful of grass. The water was poured into a “brownie bole” at the right of the hearthstone, and the grass placed in a corresponding bowl on the left. Here they remained undisturbed until the first Sunday after Beltane to insure that the household would have ample water and food in the coming year. See Bil, Beltene, Bealltuinn. LATHA SITHECH. day of the wolf, or the sidh. O f t h e "complaining days", February fourteenth. fifteenth and sixteenth were considered the worst, and in Scotland were termed the "Shark-Toothed Days". The second of these was the "Day of the Sidh", which once ended the ancient "Month of the Wolf" and which the Romans called Lupercal. T h e Roman festival of Lupercalia was never celebrated under that name in Britain, but February fifteenth was remembered, until recently as a special day. Luperus, the Lycean Pan, takes his name from the latin "lupus", or wolf, because his presence was thought to repel them. Adherents of the god Faunus, worshipped both Lupercus and his wife Luperca, a deified form of the Roman she-wolf, who supposedly suckled the founders of Rome. At the festival, representatives of the god, clad only in goat skin made a circuit of the Palatine Hill, striking with goat-skin thongs all the women he encountered, a rite supposed to promise them fertility and easy childbirth. As this was a fertility cult,in which men and women were partnered by lot, the Christian church attempted, with some success, to direct the less objectionable features of this celebration to Saint Valentine after he was martyred in two seventy A.D. Henry de Valbourg, visiting England in seventeen hundred commented: "On the eve of 14th February, St. Valentine's Day, a time when all living nature inclines to couple, the young folk in England and Scotland too, by a very ancient custom, celebrate a little Festival that tends to the same end. An equal number of Maids and Bachelors get together, each writes then true, or some feigned name upon separate billets, which they roll up, and draw by way of lots, the Maids taking the Men's billets, and
the Men the Maid's so that each of the young Men lights upon a girl, and each of the Girls upon a young man... each having two Valentines; but the man strikes faster to the Valentine to whom he has fallen"These traditions came to America, although the conservative Puritans of New England objected, saying: "No lad shall attend a mark on the fourteenth of February." After a three year sea-voyage, Captain James Kemble kissed his wife in a public place (February 14, 1764) and was sentenced to two hours in the stocks for setting a bad example. LATHEAN ARAIDH, the special days; araidh, traditional, old, superannuated, old-fashioned, antique, ancient. Related to ard, high, lofty. The quarter-days of Liughnasad, Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. While most Europeans celebrated Midsummer Eve or Midsummer Day with a great fire, the Celtic people took little notice of the sun when it was highest in the sky, saving their energies until the night of October 31. They recognized two seasons: summer and winter, demarcated by May Eve and Samhainn Eve. These dates are unrelated to astronomical events. There are a few places in central Europe where the year is bisected as was is in ancient northern Scotland. In this cattle-herding places, May Day was celebrated along with Samhainn. Beltane, or May Eve was much like Samhainn its essentials. Both holidays saw mummers making the rounds, extorting cash, or kind, for a day-long feast to take place during the daylight hours There was "first-footing" and a dampening of hearth fires so that they might be rekindled from "new-fire". Of the two feasts, that held on Samhainn Eve was the more important since the Celts dated their year from it rather than from Beltane. On the Isle of Man, where Celtic lore had a long battle against Saxon tales and myths, the first day of November was regarded as New Year's Day through the last century and the first quarter of the current
one. The Manx mummers, dressed in animal skins, used to make the "rounds" on that evening (calculated from the Old Style calendar) shouting, "Tonight is New Year's Eve, Hogunnaa!" The style of divination practised at this time also suggests that they sought new beginnings. Finally, the Celts wherever they were found throughout Europe agreed that the following day marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. "When autumn to pale winter resigns the year", it was thought natural that the "nach maireann", those no longer alive, might wish to assemble at the bonfires of men to seek a little comfort and the good cheer provided by former neighbours. In the parish of Callender the fires blazed down through time until the late eighteenth century, leaving us with some notion of the rites which accompanied them. When the fire was almost extinguished, the ashes used to be raked into a circle and stones were placed near the circumference by the families who had established the flame. Next morning, the stones were carefully examined to see if any had been heat crazed or displaced over-night. If this was the case it was presumed that an individual represented by the stone must be considered fay and incapable of survival for more than twelve months. In certain villages children begged peat from each householder with the exhortation, "G'e us peat t' burn the witches!" When they had collected enough, they added straw, furze and whatever other burnable matter they could find and played the game of jumping the smoke and flames. When the mass was reduced to ashes they scattered them as widely as possible becoming completely unrecognizable in the process. In most places it was considered ill mannered to leave the fire until the last ash was extinguished of its own accord. As the last ember flickered out the master of the fire would shout out, "May the cropped black sow take the hindmost" or more recently "The De'il take the hindmost". It can be suspected that some of these survivals point out former ways of selecting victims for the bone-fire, which
once protected the community from the baneful influence of the sidh and the baobh.
LEABA DHIARMUDA, Diarmuid’s Book. The megalithic tombs number over 1000 examples in Ireland alone, and at that many have been destroyed and others lay unlocated. Most archaeologists relate these burial chambers, on the basis of structure, to others found on the continent, and consider them the product of a cult “which arose in the Mediterranean and came to this country by way of the Iberian peninsula and Brittany.” In the different districts of Ireland they are referred to as “the giant’s grave, Leaba Dhiarmuda-Gráinne,” or the “cloghogle.” As with the standing stones, there is a suggestion that the Celtic folk did not identify themselves as builders of these structures. There was always stories that Fomors had erected these and other antiquities, but the circles of stones were more often identified as unfortunate giants who had shapechanged by the Tuathan magicians. In some of the graves there are bits of pottery which have been identified as “beaker-type,” suggesting that the Tuatha daoine might have been present when these passage graves were built. On the other hand there are gallery gaves both in Ireland and Scotland which have been found to contain pottery “of a heavy type” with crude decorations and these are thought to be of the Neolithic period. LEABHAR, a book, OIr. lebar, from Lat. liber. The oldest surviving books in Gaelic are the Leabhar na hUidre , the Book of the Dun Cow and Leabhar Laignech, the Book of Leinster, and a third book known only as the “Rawlinson Manuscript B502. The first of these was transcribed in 1106 A.D. at Clonmacnoise and the second at Terryglass in Tipperary. The third work also originated at Clonmacnoise. Aside from these there are about five hundred and fifty tales in manuscript form and perhaps one hundred and fifty tales yet to be discovered. Surprisingly the bulk of this Gaelic material has not even been reformatted in modern Gaelic let alone translated into English. Apparently earlier
volumes survived at the time of John Knox for he railed against the “pented bard,” or “painted board,” evidently some portion of an old druidic block-book.
LEABHAR GABHÅLA. The Book of Invasions. The prime source of information about prehistoric Ireland. The book survives in various ancient versions, one being the Leabhar Laignech from the twelfth century. The historian Michael O’ Cleirigh, the compiler of the first Irish dictionary (1643) assembled a version from several sources now lost, and this is the text usually referred to. No oral accounts survive of the earliest incursions into Britain but the Leabhar Gabhala, or Book of Invasions, purportedly takes up the story at the point where flood waters overrode the continental shelf forming the British Isles from former European peninsular lands. This book was an academic production with the mission of legitamizing the dynastic peoples of Ireland while linking Irish with world history. Nevertheless, it is believed to contain "some genuinely traditional items". According to this account the first arrivals in the far west were an unnamed people lead by "Bith's venturesome daughter", the Lady Cassir, sometimes given as Caesar. She was accompanied by fifty woen and three men: her father Bith, Ladhra and a third nicknamed Tul-tunna, the Floodbarrel, whose true name seems to have been Finntann. Ladhra had sixteen wives so it is understandable that he died of "an excess of women", the first to succumb in this manner within the boundaries of Ireland. He was interred at the top of a mountain on the eastern coast. The remainder of that race were caught in the water-wall of the "World Flood" with the exception of the forsighted Finntann, the grandson of Bith. He anchored a water-tight barrel to the summit of the mountain still known as Tul-tunna and slept away the forty days and nights that intervenes before the flood waters receded. He afterwards took up residence at Dun Tulcha in southwestern Kerry.
It is a tenant of magical practise that those who escape their fate are afterwards ignored by the pagan gods, who don't like being reminded of their oversights. Finntann thus became an immortal by ommision. He reappeared some thousands of years later during the reign of Diarmuid MacCarroll to give testimonyconcerning the boundaries of the Royal Demesne. He came to Tara heralded by nine companies of descendants, and was followed by another nine families. LEAMHAN-SITH, LEANAN-SITH, leamhan, The Elm, belonging to trees, one of the folk, “fairy sweetheart,” a female sith, the protectress of individual elm trees. MIr. lem, the English elm. A bainsith. See Cathair aoine, Aoine, Mhorrigan. From this the family name Leaman. “The power of bringing the spirit of a dead person into one’s presence, or witchcraft.” LEAR, the sea (poetical), after Ler, god of the sea. Li, flow; lighe. flood. Lear longa, an oceangoing craft resembling the Norse longship. Leirist, a foolish senseless person, a slut. Leirg, a plain, as “the Great Plain of the Sea,” the Ocean. The Gaelic House of Don had two branches, the oldest derived from Lear, the god of the sea, who is sometimes represented as immortal and the equivalent of the Allfather. His people are remembered as the Learys, O’Learys and Macclures and his name is retained in the Gaelic lear, a poetic name for the sea. The root here may be li, to flow, as in lighe, flood. He was said to have pursued and impregnated Aoibh, the “Pleasant-Faced,” a metaphor for the sun. By Aoibh he had three sons and a daughter, all changed into swans and banished by her sister who became Ler’s second wife. By this woman, who was named Aoife (literally, “One Deemed to Die”), Ler begat Mannan mac Ler a mortal seadeity. Notwithstanding his mortality, Mannan
was the most prominent god of the past, ruling the seaworld on the arm of Fand, the Pearl of the Ocean. His home was in the western Atlantic, a place known as Tir Tairnigri, the Land of the Daughter of Thunder. The continental Celtic god of thunder was Tar, who is the equivalent of Thor, thus we see that Norse and Celtic myth are not mutually exclusive. Manann’s keep in the west was Emain Albach, The Rocky Bound Residence, and from here he drove the waves in a chariot behind the sea “horse” named Anobarr (his shapechanged wife Fand) or took sea-serpent or fish form to travel to the shores of men. While most of his followers in the undersea kingdom were bestial, Manan had the looks of a handsome land-hero, which explains how he was able to sire many illegitimate children among the “gods” of Britain. Mannan mac Ler’s chief land-holdings in the eastern realm were found upon the Isle of Man, although he also possessed Castle Manan in northeastern Ireland. In Welsh myth Llyr is said to have mated with Penardun, the daughter of Doon, the Gaelic Domnu. Her father was Beli, the Gaelic Bil, the god of death, whose holiday is still Beultuinn, or “Beltane,” the first day of May. In the Cymric tales their son Manawyddan is said to have allied himself with Rhiannon, who is Mhorrigan in the Irish tales. This makes sense when one considers that Fand is a version of the Gaelic word feannag, a pileated or hooded crow. There is a further association with the word feann, to flay. Mhorrigan, sometimes Mhorrigu, has a name which translates as, “born of the sea,” but she ultimately mated with the Dagda and defected to the land where she became, a triune deity known as the Bas-finnd, or Befind, the deathmaidens, who also appear in Norse myth as the nornr or valkyra. Elsewhere these three ladies are referred to as the Fates. LEICE, an oval charm crystal, leigh, a physician, leigheas, a cure, leac, side-hill; hence the Clan Lathagan and MacLagan. As illustrated. A healing stone.
LEIGH (llay), medicine, a physician, OIr. legib, cf. leech. From their habit of using leeches to bleed patients, thereby eliminating "evil spirits" from the blood. LEN. The goldsmith to Bobd Dearg. His name persists in Loch Lena, the G. Lough Leane, Kilkenny. LEIR (hleer), clear-sighted. Leirg, a plain, leir, altogether, torment, pain, Lat. lacero, leirist, a slut, a foolish senseless person, a Quarter-Day fool. Named after Ler and his son Manann, the Fomorian sea-gods, whose people were noted for this ability. The third of three supernatural senses, the others being fore-sightedness and hindsightedness. It was thought that some men could project their primary soul into their invisible secondary soul or bafinn. This instantaneous traveller could journey into the future, the past, or the present, as required. In the present, a "gifted" individual could peer through the eyes of his hidden double and "overlook" events of personal interest. Sometimes referred to as "telescopic sight," and often combined with other sensory abilities. “Long-sight” was one of the principal abilities of the god Aod, or Kay. See Lear. LEUG, a precious stonehaving healing virtues, a beautiful woman, meteor, beloved person; Ir. liag, a stone, MIr. leg, OIr. lia, see next entry, gen. liace, Germ. lei, rock. The god Lugh in resting-form. A cromlech. Stones which differed markedly from their kind were considered possessed and were thus given magical properties and used as talismen. LIA, Stone. The Lord of Luachtar, treasurer to Clan Morna, father of Conan Maol. He became treasurer to the Féinn when Goll mac Morna became its leader after deposing Cumhail, the father of Fionn. The treasure bag of this group was made from the skin of the goddess Aoife, who had been killed while shape-changed into a crane. In it were jewels and magical weapons. Lia was slain by Fionn mac Cumhail, thus his further troubles with Clan Morna.
LIA FAIL, lia, great stone; vali, cover, encircling. The coronation stone of the people of Ireland. A stone which "roared with joy under the feet of a rightful king." It also sobbed when a legitimate king was in danger. Common folk were judged by changes in their appearance when they stood upon this "centre stone": the innocent blanched white, but those guilty of a crime turned beet red. A woman approaching the stone knew she was destined not to give birth if the Lia Fail oozed blood. If it exuded milk the supplicant was known to be pregnant. Supposedly brought out of the "dark isles of the north" by the warrior-wizards known as the Tuatha daoine, it may have been removed to Scotland or even to England. It was said that the stone was first noticed during the reign of Conn of the Hundred Battles. It was claimed that this highking feared a return of the sidhe and consequently visited the Rath of the Kings near Tara each morning at sunrise. On one particular day he chanced to stand upon a stone that was “in the rath” and it screamed under his feet. He asked the three druids who were with him what this meant, but the chief druid announced that he would not be able to answer this question for fifty-three days. At the end of that time he told the king that his arcane research revelled that the stone was the “Stone of Destiny”an antique that came out of Falias with the Daoine sidh. “In Teamhair (Tara) it was first set up and as long as it remains there will be a king in this place, and a gathering place for games. If there is no high-king at a time for such a gathering then there will be hardness in that year. You should have listened well for the number of screams it made, for these are the foretelling of the number of kings of your race that will come after.” While they were in this place a mist and darkness encircled them and they were confronted by an unseen rider from the Otherworld. Lost in that far country they emerged in his company on a vast plain where they saw a king’s rath, with a golden tree at its portal. Inside the house was seen
to have a bronze roof. Within they found the rider to be the king of that place, “and there was never seen a man like him in Teamhair for comeliness or for beauty, or for the wonder of his face.” This king identified himself as Lugh of the Long Arm, and foretold that Conn would live through a hundred battles and named the kings of his lineage. The party afterwards toasted Art mac Conn, who was not yet born, and when Conn was returned to his own plane he found himself still in possession of the outland drinking vessel. LIAGÁN, “born of stone,” the standing stone, the simplest type of monument known to archaeology.The word is also represented as gallán or dallán. Elsewhere in Europe the standing-stone is known as a monolith or menhir. Some of these are grave markers, others boundary stones and some “stones invested with a sacred character.” These latter are the fear bréagach, the “powerful men.” See cromleac, i.e. “Crom’s standing-stone.”
LIAGÁN TRIONAD, any grouping of three monoliths, often found supporting a cap-stone; the so-called tripod or table dolmens. Examples may be seen at Legananny, County Down and at Haroldstown, County, Carlow, Ireland. In North America these liagánean are referred to as pedestal rocks. At least two examples of these peculiar structures have been unearthed in Nova Scotia according to a short article published in magazine called “The Forest Times.” They were said to consist of covering stones each “weighing about 25 tons and mounted on three legs.” The “Times” wanted Provincial Foresters to report finding any other specimens of this type. If the “legs” are mere boulders then the North American structures may be counted as accidental glacial debris, but if they are true pillars, as the name suggests, they are likely man-made. We have seen it suggested that the stones were put in place “before the English and the French began to contest N.S.,” and noted that they could have been primitive stamping mills to separate gold from rock debris. That is a somewhat remote
possibility although the two groupings already found are located on granite foundation stones in regions which were historically gold-fields. LIATH. liath, gray. The son of Laigne Lertham-glas, a Nemedian. He cut down the tangled copse at Tara so that corn was able to grow. The site was once named Druimm Leith but was renamed Temuir (Tara) in later times. Some say that Leinster is named for him. LIATH-CHEARC, liath, gray; cearc, hen, from Indo-European root qerqo, to sound off, a “noise maker.” The “heath-hen’ a bird of ill-omen. It is still said Am facta to an liath-chearc an raoir? of one who seems pale and worried. LIATH MACHA, the Grey of Macha; one of the two steed of Cuchullain, the other being Dub Sanglainn. The hero of Ulster tamed these sithe-creatures while a lad by riding them bareback for a full day "round the limits of Ireland." The Bafinn seems to have been allied with the south against Ulster, but the fates demanded a balance of their favours. Thus, these valuable war animals were "given to Cúchullain by Mhorrigan", while her two sisters opposed him as Mebd and Macha. LI BAN, the “coloured woman,” a wife to Labraid Luathlam, ruler of Magh Mell. Her sister was Fand. She served as messenger to Cúchullain inviting him to visit her in her western home of Tir Tairnigri. In some versions of the tale she and Fand, the goddess of the deep sea, approached Ireland as a pair of birds chained to one another. This condition was Otherworldly and Cúchullain was tabooed from injuring such birds. Nevertheless, he had promised he would capture a pair for her so that she could follow the fashion of bearing a live bird on each shoulder. With a javelin he injured the wing of Li Ban and this caused the birds to plunge into the water. He was unable to retrieve them but later they reappeared before the hero and put aside their bird forms. This name was also given to the mermaid resident in Lough Neagh. According to the Annals of the Four
Masters she was captured and removed from the waters in 558 A.D. LIGHE, a flood, the overflow of liquids (as blood).Eir. lia, Cy. lli, a flood, a stream; root li, to flow. Linn, a pool. an age, offspring, numerous (referring to the paths taken by water). In times past the Gaels saw significance in the rivulets feeding a pool. A child dipped in water where there were nine feeders was thought destined to grow up strong and beautifu;, as beautiful as the nine rays of the sun or the “ninth wave of healing.” Seven partings indicated the child would be a wanderer and an adventurer capable of seeing through the seven elements of weather on any of the seven seas. Three tricklets? This was the mystic symbol of godhood, the triunes, the three kingdoms. Earth, Sky and Sea. These numbers were, however, related to the seasons and events in the heavens and most children were seen as destined to the common-place. LIGHICHE, a leech, a physician. One who creates lighean, floods (of blood). LIOS NAM BAN RUADH, "Bower of the Red-headed woman; a place of iniquity, transgression and/or evil. Red was the colour of blood and it was thought that the emotions were centred in the heart. The dominance of emotion over the spirit of reason, thought to reside in the head, was seen as the cause of diverse human problems. By extension any person with red-hair was thought governed by emotions and a danger to society. Most of the sun-gods were red-haired and were thought extremely quixotic. See Mhorrigan. LIONN, LEANN, OIr. lind; ale, melancholy. The effects of alcohol were considered god-given. See luisdair, Oolathair. LIR. The ocean god. See Ler and Manann mac Ler. LITRICH, to spell, from Latin litera. The ability to embed sounds on paper or wood for later retrieval was regarded as highly magical, especially in an illiterate world.
LIUSDAIR. a chemist. "Lius is the ways and means by which the people of old knew the properties in matter and compounds of matter. "Dalbh", that is anything that can be seen and handled, "suudag", any mixture compound or alloy." Lius + dara, herb + mire. Unlike the "liusdair", or herbalist, the chemist was required to have a broad knowledge of all things in our universe, "the soft and the hard, the human world and the sidh land, as nothing comes from nothing." The chemists were especially acquainted with the means of producing alcoholic drinks for ceremonial and other occasions. They also compounded herbal remedies and "discovered how to make dyes." "Indeed, our people of old were competent to produce everything necessary for survival - if they had not been, they would have been in sore straits." (The Hebridean Connection, p. 69). LIUNISAD. LUNASAD, Lammas, the month of August, liun, obs. slothful, lazy, rest-inducing. LOBAIRCIN (loo-barkin), LOBARCAN, a human covered with mire, dwarf, diminutive person, lob, to wither, to waste; airc, distress; in, a diminishment; the mythic Leprachaun. The Ulster name is locarman, loch, a lake, a pit; lochran, a torch or light. The English variant on this is logheryman. In Cork this is the claurican (which, see); the Kerry luricaun; the Tipperary laurigadaun. All remind one of the Gaelic god Lugh (pronounced loo-kah), thought related to the English spirit Lob-Lie-By-Fire who is their Lubbercin. He may be traced from there to the Germanic Luchreman and Lojemand, “Lokki playman,” the eddaic name for the god of underground fire. Although associated with the Daoine sidh, or “little people,” the Leprachaun has more obvious connections in Old Norse mythology. Lobhach, rotten, putrid. LOCH BòRLUM, Scotland, a “fortress on a strip of arable land,” mensal land, especially royal holdings in the Highlands. Fishermen have spotted a water-horse in this vicinity and one group vanished leaving no trace excepting their fishing rods, the fish they had caught and horse-prints
on the river bank. LOCH CAILLEACH BHEURR, Scotland, now called Loch Awe. In ancient times this was a populated glen, but the Cailleach bheurr , or Winter Hag, stubbed her foot on a rock and when it moved the valley flooded with water. In another version, the Cailleach confers with Beara, a character from Ossianic folklore, who was said to have been bequeathed all this former farmland by her father. It was a condition of the bequest that the woman had to ascend the summit of a neighbouring mountain named Ben Cruachan, each evening at sundown, to set the magic stone that controlled the rate of water-flow from a stream feeding the valley. One afternoon Beara fell asleep and missed her appointment and did not awaken for three days. By that time Loch Awe was completely in place. The famed red berries of eternal life were once located on an island within this lake. LOCH CEND, the “Loch of Heads,” Ireland. Here a battle was waged and after Cairbre gained the victory he had a thousand heads thrown in the water. Afterwards the water turned blood red and never reverted to its natural state. LOCH CIMME, supposedly named for the four-headed son of Umor. This character may hark back to an earlier god-hero, and he was reputedly overcome by Conal Cernach. Conal’s father slew the three-headed beast known as Ellen. LOCH NA CLEIRE, Loch of the Poets. A company of poets camped upon a farmer in Lochbroom, Ross-shire and after living at expense for some time demanded their pay in mucagan (wild rose hips). This would have been an easy request to fill except that the season was Christmas-tide. Fortunately the farmer knew that this was a frequent request from bards and had covered a rose bush back in autumn with a heavy coat/ Thus, he was able to meet their demand and they were forced to leave. Stumbling outr into a snow storm they became lost and fell into the loch, where they were drowned.
LOCH DEARG, the Red Lake, Ireland; home to a famous monster slain by Conan. LOCH DAIAE. “The loch of the black goddess.” This is the goddess Uisge De. In Latin she is mentioned as Nigra Dea. Note that where the name is used it is understood that “the river is the goddess.” Identified with Loch Lochaidh, from which flows the Riiver Lochaidh, near Fort William, Scotland. There is, of course, a remarkable number of “Black Goddess” streams. Variats include Dubag, the “little black one.” LOCH DUAICH, Gloomy Lake, Scotland. The seal-folk are residents, and they share the loch with a sea-serpent seen by Dr. Farquahar Matheson and his wife in 1893: “ It was of the saurian type I should think. It was brown in colour, shining and with a sort of ruffle at the neck...” LOCH GRÁINNE, Ireland. home surfaced once in seven years. to a water-monster that
LOCH GURR, Lump Lake, Ireland. Home of an underwaterbeast left stranded by drought one summer in seven. LOCHLANN, the “Land of Lakes.” Properly loch, the “darkened” lands, lakes enclosed by land on all but the ocean-side; “never visited by the sun.” Cognate lonn, strong and with the Cy. llychlyn. Lochlannach, lochlander, a seafaring man. “Anciently included Germany and all northern lands known to the Kelts; but this name was restricted tro Norway and Denmark subsequent to the invasions of Scotland and Ireland by the Scandinavians.” The country of the Old Norse sometimes considered a synonym for the Otherworld and occasionally used to identify ancient Alba, now called Scotland. In distinction to Sorcha thir, oirthir and erin. While Macha is a part of Irish myth, her counterpart, the Cailleach Bheur, has some Norse blood. Thomas M. Murchison says she was "a supernatural hag of Gaelic
popular belief, supposed to have come from Lochlann (Norway) carrying a creel full of earth and rocks to make Alba (Scotland). Some of the contents of her creel, accidentally falling out, formed the Western Isles. She had only one eye, set in the middle of her forehead, and she herded her deer, sheep, and goats between Ben Cruachan in Lorn and Ben Nevis in Lochaber, and also out in the Western Sea." We suspect this character may have attachment with Skadi, the daughter of the giant named Thiassi, who was inadvertently killed when the gods rescued Idun from Jottunheim. She came to Asgard looking for the traditional fine for her loss. As part of the compensation package she was married to Niord, a god of the sea, but they were incompatible. She returned to the north, but left her realm briefly to mate with Odin-Uller, to whom she bore a son named Saeming (note the confluence with Samh). He was the first king of Norway, and the founder of a dynasty whose people were the first to go viking against Scotland, England and Ireland.
LOCH NAN DUBHRACHAN, “Loch of the Black, Stretched-out One,” a sea-serpent? A lake in Skye located between Knock and Isle Oronsay, in the region known as the Sleat of Skye. A “beast” residing here was accused of waylaying strangers and in 1870 the Loch was sealed off and dragged with nets but the creature evaded capture. During dragging operations one net became snagged on the bottom and exhibited signs of being tangled with a living creature. This so terrified teams of workers on either side of the lake they fled, convinced they had proved the existence of a watermonster. This dragging recalls a similar attempt to rid waters in Tomintoul, Banff of a similar beast believed responsible for the loss of innumerable men and women during the hours of darkness. LOCH NESS, Scotland. Home to the world’s most famous sea-serpent. This beast was first mentioned by Adamnan,
Abbot of Iona in his Life of Saint Columba, (ca. 700 A.D.) The loch, which fills a submerged valley 24 miles long is traditionally the site of a land-based magic well. A mother taking water at this place was distracted by her crying infant and left the cover ajar. That night the well overflowed and drowned the valley. LOCH REE, Moon Lake, Ireland. Home to a water-monster and the site of an underwater city. LOCH SIAN, Lake of the Scream, Loch Shin. A golden waterhorse is said to live in these waters. In the early days of Christianity this beast agreed to help a local priest build his church, by fetching stones from a nearby side-hill where the wee-folk lived. The “fairies” were displeased at this plunder of their ancient dun and afterwards the kelpie was out of favour with them. LODAN MAC LER. A son of the sea-god by the goddess Sinend. LOG-ENECH, logh, pardon, to ask amends, Eir. locaim, bearing on the god Lugh. Enech, pertaining to the face. The “price of face.” To the ancient Gaels the head was the seat of an important soul, that governing feelings of honour and shame. The face was observed to pale or redden under insults and a settlement in kind, or cash, might be demanded for insults. LOINNEAS (llohyn-as), art, skill, lionn, in good condition. Any ability beyond the normal was considered as evidence of an unusual degree of god-spirit. LOIREAG, water-nymph, also a beautiful hairy cow, a pancake, a plump girl, cf. lurach, lovely and lur, delightful, Ler, the god of the ocean, cf. lur + eag, lovely + cleft, notched, wanton. A river mermaid, similar to the ocean-going ceasg. See Daoine mara, Mhorrigan. LOIRIDH, supernatural power, physical and mental vigour. The effects of the settlement of god-spirit on mortals. Thus men said, "There may be a power source, perhaps
within your bone-marrow?" LOISNEACH, cunning, “foxy,” Ir. loise, a fox, OHG. luhs, AS, lox, Eng. lynx. LON, a demon, a blackbird, .lon-chraois, gluttony (of a demon). Lonach, greedy, The root is leuq, light, and has reference to the Gaelic sun-god Lugh and to the Norse Lokki. Note also lon, prattle, forwardness, the Ir. lonaigh, a jest. One of this species came to Fionn and Caoilte: He was obviously a famhair since he was described as “a young man, very big and very ugly, having but one eye and one hand, and wearing a cloak of black skins over his shoulder. In his hand was a blunt ploughshare and it was red (like Thor’s hammer). And he told them he was one of the three smiths of the King of Lochlann (the Otherworld). And whether he hoped to lead these men, or run from them, he started away, and they followed across all Ireland to Slieve-na-Righ and to Luimneach and to Ath Luain and on past Cruachan to Ess Ruadh and Beinn Edair and so to the sea. And there (presumably within the ocean) they found a smithy, and went into it, and found four giants at work, and each of them had seven heads. Fionn and Caoilte had them fashion swords, and made good use of them afterwards. And here two was fashioned Mac an Luin and Fionn’s shield which he called Sgiath Gailbhinn, the Storm Shield, and when it called out for his danger it could be heard all over Ireland.” LON-CHRAOIS, gluttony, MIr, lon-crais, sometimes given as lon, water + craos, the wide opened mouth, a water-demon. Note also crosean,m a buffoon or quarter-day fool, the Lat. crapula, the source of the Eng. Crap and Crapper. Additionally lon may be interpreted as prattle or foolishness and relates to luach, ashes. Note lon-aighear, boisterous mirth. LONG, an ocean-going ship, Cym. llong, ON. lung; cf. Lat. lagena, a long-stemmed flagon. Sometimes supposed borrowed from Lat. longa, the name given their war-ship,
Eng. fly. The festival known as the “Building of the Ship” was once traditional in parts of Ireland and still continuing in Lerwick, Scotland. “It was believed to be some form of fertility ceremonial and was eventually suppressed on account of its unduly frank character.” Festival ships were unusual creations, fitted with wheels or skids so that they could pass over land or water following the model of the death-ship owned by Manann mac Ler. At the end of frolics of the Quarter-Days, this embodiment of royal godhood was either sunk in a swamp or burned. These happenings also took place in Scandinavia where the close connection between the “dragon-ships” and fertility rights is shown in their ancient rock-carvings. Here the crowds show surrounding the long-boats are seen prostrating themselves, dancing and performing acrobatics. The maritime history of the Celts is almost unknown but we know that the Desi, residents in the south of Ireland, made extensive seaborne sallies against Cornwall and Wales in the year 232 A.D. In this same decade the Picts of Scotland were so successful at their trade they were able to challenge Roman war ships that wandered into the British main. They visited Iceland from very early times and were still going there when the climate turned down in the fourth century A.D. During the following century, when the ice-packs began to recede, the Britons, the Picts and the Gaels began a routine trade with northern Europe and even made occasional contact with Mediterranean ports. There is a tendency to think of skin-covered coracles when speaking of the early residents of Britain. These two-man lake-vessels should not be confused with the heftier curraghs favoured by the Gaelic-speakers of Scotland and Ireland. Created of ox-hides, they have been shown to be as seaworthy as any planked craft, and were big, sturdy, broad-beamed vessels capable of carrying a crew of twenty in addition to a massive cargo.
Following the Roman example the Picts and the Britons came to favour carvel-constructed wooden ships, an example of which was recently recovered from the Thames River. A planked craft, she was 60 feet long, had a 16 foot beam, and a mast 10 inches in diameter at the seat. Her lines were that of an easy sea-going craft, not much inferior to the schooners of Atlantic Canada which sailed to the Grand Banks in this century. Both types of vessel were square-masted, powered by oars in calm weather or where it was necessary to get through a narrow passage. By the sixth and seventh centuries Celtic and Pictish mariners became even more common in the trade with Norway and France, and it is during this time that the voyages of St, Brendan were written down. That story seems a collation of numerous individual voyages coloured by folk-memory, nevertheless it is clear that there are some underlying Atlantic trips remembered in it. By this time the Picts were getting into the Baltic, and were firmly established as residents on the islands north of Scotland. In the last quarter of the sixth century the Picts of the Orkneys became Christianized following their Irish and Scottish cousins. All these peoples had semi-permanent fishing stations and monasteries in Iceland, and all the while the climate situation was improving. The fishing in western waters was phenomenal but the Celts were never lacking in natural resources at home, and they were not subject to populations pressures great enough to cause them to think of wide-spread resettlement. In all this time the Scandinavian peoples were content to trade across their inland seas and had no true ocean-going ships. By the seventh century the still warming climate encouraged agriculture, created a baby-boom and allowed people the time to lust after luxuries. The sight of British trade ships helped to increase the appetite for things, so the northern men built craft based on Celtic models, and made their first “expeditions” to Scotland, Ireland and the
Outer Isles, eventually they followed Manann mac Ler’s route all the way to southern Ireland and the Dun Sciath. Meanwhile internal bickering weakened the Celtic realms and their fleets all but vanished from the high seas. While the Celtic lands had become nominally Christian, the Norse were unconverted and, in fact, contemptuous of the Christian religion. Unfortunately the Christians had a tendency to lavish their resources on gold and silver decorations, and thus created unhealthy havens for individuals seeking the quiet life. LONGES, an involuntary trip on the Atlantic Ocean, usually following banishment or exile. Voluntary trips were termed imrama. See above note. LORG, a staff, wand, club, the wand of the goddess Bridd. Also tracks or footsteps. Her footprints were sought in the hearth embers on Samhain morning as a favourable omen. LOT, “Wound.” The Fomorian wife of Goll. She had bloated lips in her breast and four eyes in her back. She fought against Partholan and it was said that her strength was greater than that of all the warriors she led. LUACH, wages, worth or value, OIr. lóg, root lou, gain. Macbain traces this word to the Roman Laverna, the goddess of thieves, but Lugh and Lokki are more likely. The latter had a notorious interest in accumulating wealth. The Eng. lucky, ON. lykk, as in Lykk-Anders, “the lucky brother who sailed to fairyland at Sandflesa, off Trænen in Hegeland.” “The epithet of Lucky is only known in Norway in connection with fairyland.” In Norway it is the nisse god-dreng that was thought to bring luck to men he favoured. In Sweden this creature was known as Lykke-nisse, or “Lucky Niss.” The one who had luck was Lycko-Pär. This mythological creature corresponds with the Gaelic bodach or bruineadh, the latter being the Eng, “brownie.” All of these terms are sometimes applied to friendly little children. Adjacent to this is abhaich or “happiness,” a somewhat different concept, again a gift from the deities.
Eric Maple says that the external power of the universe is summed up in the word “luck.” “Luck is the unknown goddess, perhaps the first deity ever to have been conceieved by primitive man, and possibly, when the last pantheon of the gods has crumbled to dust, she will remain the single survivor of the ages of faith.” Possibly so, but “she” is nothing more than the hermaphroditic aspect of Loki. Loki is recordered as a shape-changer who often appeared in female form, in fact, he/she was once impregnatedby Oidin’s stallion while in the body of a mare. LUACHAIR, rushes, EIr. luchair, “light-maker,” as they were used as torches, from louk, light, the Lat. lux. Ultimately traceable to Lugh, the sun-god. LUACH-TUATHA, LUCHRAIGE, luch, a mouse. But see Lugh. These folk were called the Lugi by the Romans, and are believed to have occupied Sutherland proper or at least the south-eastern part of that shire. Notice the G. luach, having worth or value. Possibly related to the Gaull. Lougos, a raven, a black complexioned folk who were once their neighbours. Interestingly, the people of Lochcarron in Rossshire were formerly called Fithich dubha Loch Carrann, the “Black Ravens of Loch Carron,” a supposed reference to their swarthy complexions. See next. LUAIN, LUAN, DI-,(je looin), Monday, moon-day. Lat. lux, luna. The Gaelic may be borrowed from Latin. Note the Ir. phrase go la an Luain, “until Doomsday” which suggests that the word once personified the moon-goddess Samh. Obs. champion, hero, a lamb. Notice that the Samh was associated with death at the Samhain. Possibly derived from the Latin luna. The day-name is similar to the Old Irish luan, the moon” and the French word lundi, or Monday. "Monday is a good day for changing one's residence, provided it be from north to south." (Celtic Monthly, p. 162). The moon goddess was sometimes personified as an lair bahn, the “white mare of the heavens”. In druidic tradition the sun was often represented as a bull and moon as a cow.
LUAIREAGAN, a grovelling person, one fond of the fire from Lugh, the sun god. LUANT UILE CHUDTHROM, stage-effects. The Gaels realized that some of the effects of magic were illusion; but it was generally held that men who could manage illusions were "gifted" with extra god-spirit. Otherwise, it was reasoned, they could not be convincing. This was a necessary adjunct to the repertoire of priests and kings, whose real magic was probably limited by their interest and energy levels. LUASD, the force of reason, a spirit located in the head which kept the emotions of the heart under constraint. Confers with lugh, a small thing and the god Lugh. LUATH, ashes, swift, nimble, transient. Allied to Germ. lodern, flamed and thus to the god Lokki and Lugh. Until the last century it was suspected that the “germs” of plants and animals resided in their ashes from which they might be reincarnated after an effort of will or through black magic. LUATH DUBH, AN, "the black fast," one of the legal "distresses” of ancient Ireland and Scotland. Under a former law of Gaeldom men who felt they were wronged had the right to encampment on the door-stoop of the wrongdoer until they managed some form of redress or encountered death by ritual starvation. The luath dubh was considered potent magic and was only abolished after one last unrequited petitioner did himself in the year 1538. "If he who was fasted against, felt that he had not been unjust, that he was wrongly accused, he would adopt a fast against his accuser. Naturally, he who could longest hold out in suffering...won out.” In the ancient tale of the sons of O'Corra there is an account of how Conal Dearg O'Connor and his wife fasted against the devil, that he might bless them with children and succeeded. In the Book of Lismore three young clerics pledged themselves to say a certain number of prayers. One
of them died, leaving a heavier task on the other two; then a second died, and the survivor began fasting against God for His injustice in taking away the other two, and leaving their burdens to him. Also, one of the Irish legends tells of how Adam, in the Jordon, after he had been expelled from Paradise, and Eve, in the Tigris, fasted against God to compel forgiveness." Notice that this extreme measure was only attempted where the social rank of the offender was greater than the person claiming damages. In short, this was an ancient "hunger-strike" intended to compel the attention of, if not justice from, a powerful individual. LUB, bend, curvature, loop, noose, meandering, a maze, a snare, deceit, guile, a young man or woamn, plait, fold, cunning craft, bow, thong; MIr. lubaim, EIr. lupaim, , rooted in the Gaelic god Lub or Lugh. Eng. loop, MEng. loupe, a noose, related to lag, weak, the Eng. lag, laggard, slack and languid. Also interpreted as “a hollow place, the Ir. log. a pit, lug, to bend, luige, to take an oath, Germ. lucke, a gap or blank. LUBAIR. LUBHAIR, One who bends to every purpose which is suggested, a crafty individual. Cunning, a “Bender.” One with a cringing personality. Also a leper. Possibly having reference to the discredited pagan creator-god named Lugh. LUB-CHLEASACHD, sleight-of-hand, legedemain. LUBH, a Christian archangel. LUBHA, LUBHAN, obs, fame, praise, a lamb, a body, a corpse. LUDB, , a spirit, a ghost, ludasach, powerful.ludar, a hind, a lobworm. obs. Strong,
LUCH, a mouse, the “grey one,” the “Old Grey Spectre.” Confers with Luchtigern, the “Lord of Mice.” (the cat-god). This bocan is the guardian of remote mountainous regions and corresponds exactly with Lugh. Confers with the English
hearth-spirit known as the hob or hobgoblin. LUCHAIR NA LUBHAIR, Loughter of the Lepers. Lag, weak. This disease was well known in antiquity and is mentioned in several tales as clam, samthrusc or trosc. When Ron Cerr wished to enter an enemy camp unchallenged he disguised himself as a leper. Lùgan, a deformed person, referring to adherents of the old god Lugh. LUCHARAN, LUCH ARMUNN, luchar, light, lucharan, a pigmy, dwarf, leprachaun. Luch-shith, fairy-mouse, the shrew. LUCHD, people, OIr. lucht, Cy. llwyth, a tribe, the Eng. folk, Germ. volk, possibly based on the name of the god Lugh, see next. This is the use preferrerd to fir, when the company consists of both men and women. LUCHD-CREAIRDE, a craftsman, luchd, people; ceard, craftsman, artisan; plural fear-ceairde. This guild included the ceard-mor, or chief smith who instructed the ceardairgid (silversmith); ceard-umha (silversmith) and the ceard-or (goldsmith). Note also the ealain-ceirdre (the mechanic) and the iarunn-ceairdre (iron-worker or blacksmith). These men were considered inferior, in rank and craftsmanship, to the musicians, the bards and the nobility, but were counted as more important than ordinary freemen. Notice that Lugh was declared “the master of all crafts.” LUCHDI, luchd, literally folk, people collectively. People of the god Lugh. The pagan folk-plays associated with mummering of the medieval period. The only ludus surviving into this century is the Galoshan which was performed by guisers at the Hogmanay. These plays had as their theme the interplay of summer and winter spirits but incorporated pseudoChristian personalities. The Nathair or calluin-man of rural areas was finally replaced by the urban Abbot of Narent (no rent), the Lord of Indolence, the Abbot of Bon Accord, the
Abbott of Unrest, or the Abbott of Unreason. The position was no sinecure, but required the appointee to organize “dancis, playis, and farcis,” for both the summer and the winter festival. The principal Christian feasts of Candlemas, Corpus Christi, St. John’s and St. Nicholas were supposed to have supplanted pagan holidays but the in each festival there was a mock king representing the sun god Lugh, and a contending figure representing “powers of darkness and ill.” At some point, the representative of Lugh was killed and then made reincarnate guaranteeing the return of a new growing season. In 1555, the “Abbott” and the disguisers were made illegal by an act of the Scottish parliament, but the hostility of the Church hardly diminished until very severe measures were taken against participants in the 1580s. The word luchd is used as a plural substitute for fear in compounds, e.g. luchd-ceairde, craftsmen; luchdmara, mariners; and luchd-siubhail, tourists. See Cromm, Lugh and luis an crais riut.
LUCHOR PAN, LUCHRUPAN, the leprachaun, a little man. Same
as lobarcain and luch, a mouse, Cy. llygoden, Br. logodenn, cf. lukot, "the grey one." The Gaelic root loch, blotchy, dark, from which perhaps the Norse dochalfar, the "dark elfs." Keightley notes that the "correct designation is "svartalfar" for the Scandinavian species. Note also the earlier G. luko, dark, whence the EIr. lóch, perhaps related to the IndoEuropean leug, to shine, the Latin lux, etc. Cy llwg, livid, blotched. From the obsolete lóch we have the names of numerous British rivers such as Lòchaidh and Loch dae teined. May confer with the Gaelic god Lugh who is the old Norse elemental Lokki. See lobaircin (above) and Lugh (below). Pan, one of this species, is derived from pannal, a band. In the Imraam Brenaind mention is made of Saint Brendan’s run-in with luchrupáne who filled a beach of one island they visited and took a particular interest in a crospan, a physically deformed individual in their crew. Nansen has interpreted luchrupán as “monkeys” but that is not the most direct translation, more accurately it is luch+rá+bann, the “bullying crowd of mice (i.e. “little men).” LUCHTAR MAC LUCHAD, god of carpentry to the Tuatha daoine. His brothers were Goibhniu, god of the smiths and Creidne, their best goldsmith and mechanic. LUDAG, the little finger, hinge, joint, Ir. lughadog, OIr. luta, the root lud, from the god Lugh. AS. lytel, Eng. little, Eng. loss. All resembling the Gaelic. ludan or ludnan, a hinge and ludair, a slovenly person, lugh, a joint and lugha, less. Note also lugach, a person with bowed legs, a deformed individual and luigean, a pliant or weak-willed person. LUGAID MAC AILILL. At the bequest of his father Ailill mac Mata, this hero impaled Ferghas mac Roth while he was swimming in a lake with Ailill’s wife, the notorious Queen Mebd. LUGAID MAC CU ROI. the son of the Munster king who fought against Art who was killed by Cuchullain, Before he was dispatched he fatally wounded Cuchullian’s chariot-driver
LUGH, (Look-ah, Loo), the sun-god, patron of poetry and song, one of the sons of the Dagda and his wife Danu. The survivor of triplets all bearing this name. Note the corruption of his name since Christian times, viz. lugach, having crooked legs. bow-legged; and lugh, to swear or blaspheme (presumably using the names of pagan gods). Originally the word was Ir. luige, a binding oath; luighe, a vent or chimney, similar to the Gothic luigin, wed. Perhaps similar to the spirit known as the lubracain, or "leprachaun" (Old Lugh), and to the English lobby, and the German god Lubbermann, whose shrine was at Mansfield. He in turn confers with Lucremann, who is Lokki, the Norse god of underground fire. It may be remembered that Lokki was originally an elemental sun-god, banished to the hearth and then to Nifhelheim by Odin's Aesir. Fourteen British towns are named for Lugh including Lughdunum, better known as London. In Gaul he was Lugos corresponding with the Lat. lux, light. His diminished form is found in the English hob and hobgoblin.
He was nicknamed Lugh Lamfada, “Lugh of the LongArm,” because of his ever-present sharp-edged weapons. He was also, Lonnbemnach, the man "of the mighty blows" because of his prowess on the battlefield. Lugh was the supposed father of Cúchullain by the human maiden named Dechtra and his place of refuge was a side-hill known as Rodruban. When Cúchullain faltered in his battle against Connaught, Lugh appeared to relieve him. When Lugh died he was replaced on the throne by his father Dagda, who reigned for eighty years, but hopefully did not survive to see the degradation of the “gods.” His three grandsons ruled, in turn, after him, and it was in the term of the last of these that the Milesians came. Lugh survived best in Gaelic lands where he was identified as the son of a Tauathan and a Fomorian, fosterfathered to Manann mac Ler, a Fomorian god of the sea. trained as an athlete by this sea-giant and his wife Taillte. Summoned by the king of the Tuathans to aid them against the Fomorians he was loaned the "horse of the sea" (the shape-changed goddess Fand) and a invincible sword. Lugh emerged as the hero of the war between the warrior-gods and the giants. In that fray, he killed his own grandfather, Balor of the Evil Eye, and became a king of the Tuatha daoine. He died and was succeeded by the Dagda, who was on the throne when the Milesian Celts invaded Ireland. He was reborn in later times and became the protector of those who became known as the Daoine sidh, or "little people." During his life-time Lugh set up the Tailltean Games at the place now known as Telltown, in northern Ireland. Those were the Olympic Games for Celtic nations, as well as a point of assembly for government and judicial functions and a noteworthy marriage market. The first day of August was originally named the Lugnasad, and this is still frequently the date for mid-summer Celtic "Games". The Christian priests were able to disguise the true nature of this summer Quarter-Day of the Daoine sidh by
renaming it Lammas Day, the day of the "Bread Mass." This time was traditionally celebrated as the enjoyment of the first fruits of harvest. The ritual events of the surrounding week were somewhat like Samhain and Beltane and the midwinter fire-feast called Imolc. Lugh served, for a time, as high king at Tara, but at his death it sometimes was said that he "went to earth" with others of the defeated Daoine sidh. Although it was claimed that he was killed in battle against the Milesian invaders of Hibernia, he was afterwards equated with Aonghas Og, who had charge of the Brugh na Boyne, from which emerged the yearly crop of virgins, ritually given to the king at Tara to signify his continuing overlordship of the land. Lugh corresponds with the Welsh deity Llwch, sometimes identified as Llew, one of the knights of King Arthur's round-table. He is referred to as Llew Llaw Gyffes, “The Lion of the Sure Hand.” Gyffes originally meant “long” making it certain that this is Lugh Lamh Fada. In later Irish mythology, Lugh and his "castle" was summoned by Conn ard-righ through druidic magic. Lugh obligingly foretold the names of the future Kings of Ireland and gave a synopsis of each reign. Afterwards, he and his brugh were swallowed up by a mystic fog. His name confers with Ugh and Aod, which, see. See also Lia Fail. Dudair, Uile loc Uiseach. LUGHA, less, least, more or most diagreeable, used as a positive degree in a few places. OIr. lugu, based on the root lu, little, after the discredited god Lugh, the Eng. light (in weight). LUGH-CROMAIN. LUGH-CHROMAIN, “Lugh of the Crooked Hand.” Ellis says that Lugh was remembered as “Lughchromain,” which identifies him with his alter-ego Cromm, or “Crum” the “Crooked.” He is alternately described by Ellis as “little stooping Lugh.” He notes that this word is anglicized as leprachaun, “all that survives of the once potent patron of arts and crafts whose name is remembered in many place names - Lyons, Léon, Loudon and Laon, in
France; Leiden in Holland; Liegnitz in Silisia and Luguvalum (Carlisle) in Roman England as well as the capital itself, which like Lyons was once the “fortress of Lugh,” Lugdunum, hence the Latin Londinium and London.” In the guise of Cromm the Crooked, Beul (or Lugh) is often spoken of as “The Day God,” and it is clear that many of the Beltane altars were once seen as sun-altars. On Mount Callan, near Ellis, Ireland, the Beltane was celebrated on midsummer’s day down to the year 1895. Near Macroom there is a standing stone very clearly designated as “the stone of the sun.” The antiquarian Sethrun Ceitinn (c. 157--1650) said that almost all the cromlechs could be associated with the goddess Grainne, whose name may be taken as grain, and translated as the “sun.” Elsewhere it is said that Éire (Ireland) was first married to mac Greine (the son of the sun) and one of her daughters was Giolla Greine, “whose mother was a sunbeam.” The relationship of daylight and darkness, life and death, summer and winter, may not be easy to see, but remember that many of the Irish watched the sun-god sink each evening into his domain with in the western sea, and he invariably rose by morning from the eastern sea. To subjugate Lugh, the Church circulated the rumour that his fiery sword had been passed for “safe-keeping” to Saint Michael. All over Europe in improbably remote corners, the phallic symbols of power, the “belly-buttons of the world,” were incorporated into innumerable Christian parishes: In Spain at Cangas de Onis a small church was built directly over standing-stones on a pagan mound in the eleventh century, the complex becoming a burial crypt. Another instance is found at Arrichinaga at the Hermitage of Saint Michael, where a huge standing-stone is seen immediately left of the main altar. Some of the churches built to honour this saint are on uncomfortably
high ground. At St Michel-en-Grêve, in Brittany, the church is a half hour walk from civilization, standing next to a lichen-encrusted menhir. Mont St. Michel, a huge monolith in the Atlantic is almost matched by the precipitous St,. Michael’s Mount, at Land’s End in the west of England. The Priory of St. Michael is built on a pagan circle of stones. These are only a few of the places that Lugh surrendered to the new God. In order to explain the siting of churches in places that were ultimately strange and inconvenient, medieval parsons suggested that the stones had been placed by angels, or some other approved power. In earlier Christian mythology, Saint Michael was second to God in power, a warrior-prince who carried a flaming sunsword. Lugh’s clash with the Fomors is nicely paralleled in Biblical lore. In the book of Revelations, Michael is pictured as the head of a host of angels warring with the forces of darkness: “And the great dragon was cast down, the deceiver of the whole world, he that is called the great serpent, Devil and Satan.” Notice that Saint George, patron of England, is also pictured as the dragon-killer. LUGHAID MAC DAIRE. When it was foretold that one of his sons named Lughaid would be high king of Ireland, he gave the name to all five of his offspring. While the sons were hunting an old crone begged a kiss from each in turn but only the youngest was sympathetic. At the kiss the Winter Hag was converted into Summer, the sovereign bride, and he was proclaimed the chosen one. A similar story is told of Niall of the Nine Hostages. LUGH LAMFADA, Lugh of the Long-arm. The parentage of King Nuada, now sometimes sometimes entitled Nuada of the Silver Hand, is not mentioned but it is probable that he was the "befind" or home-shadow of Lugh of the Long Arm. These sometimes disembodied spirits were provided to all creatures of human kind as help-mates, assisting at the birth of great personalities and latter serving as protectors of these individuals. If Lugh is conceived as a sun god Nuada, his doppelganger, or double, is a god of the moon.
Lugh's creative spear is not described, but it was probably of the usual Tuathan construction: "flesh seeking spears with ribs of gold and silver and red bronze in their sides (symbolizing the sun); and with collars (or rings) of silver upon their necks." This spear was considered more than equipment being regarded as an extension of Lugh's arm which could be used to direct a "gisreag" or blast of physical energy as the god directed. Nuada's silver hand attachs him psychically to the moon, and his loss and recovery of a hand reminds us of the phases of the moon. It is noteworthy that Nuada's recovery of his hand and kingship was arranged through the good offices of Kian, who is cited as the human parent of Lugh.
LUGHNAS, LUGHNASAD, festival of Lugh, nas, obs. anniversary, assembly, band, a tie of relationship, Death, ad, ob. thou, thine; ada, obs. victory; see above and Lunnad. “The feast of 1 August especially sacred to the god Lugh and known as the Lugnasad was reputedly founded by the god in honour of the goddess Tailtu, his foster-mother. She was traditionally the wife of Eochaid Garb, and in her honour her husband caused the wood of Cuan to be cut down... In the month they cut down the wood, and the plain is now known as Oenach Tailten.” The (triad) Machas were likewise associated with this feast.” LUGI, LOUGOI, a primitive tribe located in south-eastern Sutherlandshire, Scotland. Said connected with luach, Oir. log, worth, value, thus with the above. Luachd, people. Watson considers the name to be associated with the Gaullish lougos, a raven but we think they were, moe obviously, the folk of the god Lugh, whose totem was the raven. “The Lougoi may have been a dark pre-Celtic people, like the Silures. The people of Lochcarron, in Ross-shire, are still called Fithich dhubha Loch Carrann, “the Black Ravens of Lochcarron.” LUIBH, herb, OIr. luib, lubgort, an herb-garden, Cy. lluarth, garden, Bry. liorz, ON. lyf, an herb, Goth. lubja-leisei,
witchcraft or “herb-lore.” OHG. luppi, poison, magic, AS lyb, same meaning, based on the Gaelic god Lugh, the ON. Lokki. LÚIN. “Anger,” the enchanted spear of Celtchair which was a treasure of the Tuatha daoine but was discarded in the second battle at Magh Tuireadh. It became the property of this Red Branch hero, who found that it thirsted for blood and once unsheathed had to taste this liquid or be thrust into a vessel containing venom. If this was not done it would turn upon its holder, and could kill a man without actually scratching him. LUNNAD, lu, little, after Lugh, the sun-god + n’ adag, harvest, the “first harvest.” Lammas, the first day of August, also the month of August, Ir. Lunasa, the Quarter- or Scottish Rent-paying Day for the peasant class and the "little people" of the "hollow hills." It was also their traditional "moving-day." After their defeat by the Milesians they were proscribed from appearing above ground at any but the Quarter-Days (the others being Nov. 1, Feb. 2 and May 1). The original form was Lugnasad, "the festival of the god Lugh." Stokes agrees that this name connects with the Ger. locken, allure, the Norse looka, locked, and Lokki, who was bound or "locked" in Nifhelheim (Hell's home). The EIr. nassad, translates as "festival" and has the same source as the Latin nexus. See Lughnasad, Lunasdail. LUNASDAL, LUNASD, Lu, small, referring to the sun-god; nasadh, fair, assembly; possibly conferring with asdail, binding, dail, a dell; “Lugh’s fair in the dale.” In An Etymological Dictionary Of The Gaelic Language Alexander Macbain notes that the word lunasd is the equivalent of the English holiday named Lammas, which still takes place on the first day of August. He says the Gaelic word is derived from the early Irish lugnasad, "the festival of Lug... the sun god of the Gael, whose name Stokes connects with the German "locken", allure, the Norse "lokka", to do and also Loki (?)..."
H.A. Guerber says that, "In the beginning Loki was merely the personification of the hearth fire and of the spirit of life." He was also an abstraction of "wildfire", field or forest fires, and of lightning, his name being related to the Old Norse verb "lokker", to twist or bend. Long ago he was given charge of the desultory southern winds of summer. In the most distant times he may have been considered the god of the sun, but with the arrival of the mortal gods in the northlands, this honour was given to Odin's son, Baldur. Loki was entitled "Lokki loojemand", or Loki playfellow. in the Anglo-Saxon tongue. His red hair, beautiful appearance, and convivial character were attractive to Odin and his Aesir, who welcomed him to their fellowship in spite of the fact that he belonged to the old order of deities. In the confusion of making early records some authorities said that Loki was the brother of Odin, but others were sure that he was merely a blood-brother, one who had undergone a ceremony of affiliation common in the northlands. In the new situation, the lightning god took up with Thor, the god of thunder, who became a nearly inseparable companion. Guerber thinks that Thor was the god of industry and hard work while Loki represented indolence and the playboy attitude: "Thor was ever busy and ever in earnest, but Loki makes fun of everything, until at last his love of mischief leads him entirely astray, and he loses all love for goodness and becomes utterly selfish and malevolent."1 While Loki provided men with the blood of their being it contained the fire of passion and mischief which had the capacity to ignite and detroy them, as it did Loki. In the latter days, Loki puirloined Thor's hammer to Ymir's people, stole Freya's necklace, chemically removed Sif's hair and betrayed Idun into the power of Thiassi, one of race of giants. He mated first with the goddess called Glut, but later bedded the giantess named Angurboda who bore him Hel, goddess of death, the fearsome Mid-Earth snake
Ioormungandr and the Fenris wolf. These three god-giants gave the Aesir great trouble until Odin banished Hel to Nifhelheim, threw the water snake into the deepest waters of the ocean and chained the wolf in the netherworld. All this was overlooked by the patient gods, but his unceasing hatred for Baldur caused him to plot his death. Baldur had been made invincible by the fact that all of earth's plants and animals were pledged not to harm him from birth. Knowing of this "geis", the gods used to amuse themselves by throwing spears and knives made of various materials at Baldur watching as they turned away at the last minutye. Loki discovered that the mistletoe had been overlooked in the promising and fashioned a dart of this wood. He then guided the hand of ther blind god Hodur, the brother of Odin, in throwing this missile. The mistletoe proved fatal to Baldur, who was lost to the land of Hel since he was not a victim of death in battle. The gods later arranged for the sun gods half yearly repatriation to earth during the summer season, but before that they pursued and bound Loki within the deepest caverns of Nifhelheim. Being an immortal god he remains there awaiting liberation at the end of time, when it has been promised that his fires will detroy the physical creations of Odin's mortal gods. It is hear noted that the day now called Saturday was formerly called Laugardag, or Loki's day, his promised day of return, that "lokk" corresponds with the English word "lock", and that Loki was laterally thought of as the the god of locked. bound, or underground fire. "As Loki was the embodiment of evil in the minds if the Northern races, they entertained nothing but fear of him, built no temples to his honour, offered no sacrifices to him, and designated the most noxious weeds by his name. The quivewring, overheated atmosphere od summer was supposed to betoken his presence, for the people were often wont to remark that Loki was sowing his wild oats, and when the sun appeared to be drawing water they said Loki was drinking." 2
This former god of the sun was not restricted to Scandinavia. In Germany he was Luchre, Laugar, Lothar or Lubber, "to whom the bones of animals used to be offered in Mansefield." Thomas Keightley thought the lubber-fiend might have some connexion with the French fay-creature known as the Lubin or Lutin, a mischievous little man who braided the manes of men's horses while they slept. The Anglo-Saxons brought memory of Loki to Britain in their lug, lob, loby, lubbard, lubber, or lubberkin, a similar invisible creature with tendancies toward sloth on one hand and practical jokes on the other. The English lob of the spirits was recalled in the writing of Shakespeare and Milton and the phrase "being in, or getting in Lob's pound" is still understood in some places as being "between a rock and a hard place." The travels of Loki have been extensive. Keightley notes, almost sadly that the Leprachaun, "peculiar to Ireland, seems indebted to England for his name. In Irish...he is called Lobaircin, and it would not be easy to write the English Lubberkin more accurately with Irish letters and sounds. Leprachaun is evidently a corruption of that word." 3 Keightley further notes that the Ulster name for the southern Irish lubarkin is, in Gaelic, lugharman, sometimes represented as logheryman. He says "we should be tempted to derive it from the Anglo-Saxon "lacan, loecan, to play." (Remember that) Loki Loojemand, Loki Playman, is a name of the Eddaic deity Loki." In the Norse myth of the creation of life, the firegiant named Svrtr (The Dark One) approached the abysss and sheds sparks from his firey sword upon the ice thus creating the first humanoid. Svrtr is a guise for Loki, for like him, he is promised the leading role in bringing an end to the worlds of men and the gods. Lugh is a similar swordsman at the dawn of time, his entitlements being Lugh Sab Ildanach, Lugh The Supreme Craftsman, and Lugh Lamfada, Lugh of the Long Arm. The latter does not imply that the god was overbalanced, but refers to the fact that
he carried the spear called Fragarach, the Answerer. This weapon was invincible in battle and had the ability to cut through protective leathern armour. Lugh has his Cymric counterpart in Llew Law Gyffes, Lew of the Long Hand. His "arm" of power had an important role in Celtic cosmology. LUNASTAIN, LUNASDAINN, Lugh’s garland, n’ astain, a wreath of greenery or flowers, the first day of August, renamed the Lammas-day during the Christian era. Ir. lughnas (see above entry), EIr. Lughnasad, "the festival of Lugh" after Lugh, the sun-god. LUSADAIR, a herbalist, one with a knowledge of the chemistry of plants. Contrast with "luisdair," a chemist. The root is lugh, a little, or insignificant, thing, after the creator-god Lugh. LUS AN CRAIS RIUT, "the hunger herb." "the piercing pain, the sharp pain as they term it in Ireland." Lus from lùb, to bend, able to be bent, Enng. loop and ME. loupe, a noose. English is regarded as the borrower. OIr. luib, an herb-garden, ON. lyf, herb, Germ. lubja-leiser, herb-craft or witchcraft, “herblore,” OHGerm. luppi, poison, AS. lyb, same meaning. A condition thought produced by the “Old Grey Spectre"(see luch), a spirit of the mountains, one who does not like trespassers on his bailiwick. "I never go to the hills without eating plenty before going, and I carry a bit in my bag to cope with the hunger herb. Many a strong man has been seized by the hunger herb, but the Old Grey Spectre (see Dudair), that is another question." (The Hebridean Connection, p. 432). This phenomena may correspond with that of the “hungry grass.” LUS ANN TALADH, the enticing, hushing or caressing herb, from the Norse tal, allurement, bait, trap; the AS tal, calumny. Similar to the Latin dolus, hurt, guile. “The purple orchis that grows in soft spots among the heather. “Adam and Eve,” is a popular name. It has two roots, the larger considered to be the male element and the smaller the female. “The plant is to be pulled before sunrise with
the face of the flower facing south. Whichever root is to be used is to be immediately placed in spring water, care being taken that this is done at night. If it sinks, the person whose love is sought will become husband or wife. If the charm is made for no one in particular then its powder put just below the pillow will cause dreams of the person to be married.” It was also held that feeding the appropriate part to one of the opposite sex had aphrodisiac effect. It was warned, however, that loved gained in this manner faded immediately after marriage. LUS CHOLUMCILLE, Also Achlasan Challum, St. Columba's plant, St. John's Wort. "Unsearched for and unsought; For luck of sheep I pluck thee." Very efficacious against spells of the Daoine side and baobhean. The flower of this plant is daisy-like but yellow in colour and thus a significant sunsymbol, representing the spirit of the god Lugh. Note also the similar dithein buide Bealltainn which typically bloomed at the Beltane. LUSPARDAN, a pygmy, sprite, a castrated animal, bisexual, a homosexual, impotent. More exactly, a leprachaun, from lugha + spiorad, little spirit, or spirit of Lugh: in modern theology a devil of the Devil, a demon. All from the sun-god Lugh. Apparently, a post-Christian descriptive for this elder-day god and his kin. LUSTAIR, physicist. Particularly an individual interested in ealain-ceairdre, or mechanics. Much of the druidic trickery was enabled by an understanding of the effects of levers, pulleys, wheels and axles and forces as they acted upon inclined planes. Physics itself was suspect as late as the year 1598 when a discredited priest in Limousin, France was executed as "a caster of spells and practitioner of magic" after it was revealed that a notorious sorcerer had taught him "the secret of using levers and of staunching and stopping the flow of blood." LUTHAIL, physics, natural physics, luth, physical strength; OIr. velocity, motion. See above notation.
1.Guerber, H.A. The Norsemen (London) 1985, pp. 116-117. 2.Guerber, H.A., The Norsemen (London) 1985, p. 218. 3.Guerber, H.A., The Norsemen (London) 1985, p. 372.