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Lugh Lámfhota The Chariot Irish/Welsh/Celtic Mythology

Lugh Lámfhota was a hero and a formidable warrior from Irish Myth. He is also known as Lleu in Welsh mythology and Lugus in Celtic myth. He had horses and a chariot, that had the magical ability to be able to run on land and water alike and Lugh acquired them by setting the killers of his father to retrieve them. Lugh Lámfhota was a hero in Celtic, Welsh and Irish Myths.

(Lugh and his bloodthirsty magical spear, as described in Charles Squire's popular book (1905).illustration by H. R. Millar)

At the side of Lugh Lámfhota is the GaeAssail or the magical spear. This spear was a harbinger of Death and was known to never miss its target once thrown with intent. Once having completed its task, the GaeAssail returned to the hand that threw it. Lugh Lámfhota was born in a tower. It was prophesied that Lugh would be the one who would bring about his grandfather's death which eventually proved true. 

The grandfather of Lugh Lámfhota was the monstrous Balor of the Evil Eye, the king of the Fomorians, and a huge one-eyed giant, who ruled from a bastion on Tory Island off Co.Donegal. Balor had stolen a magical cow from a smith who lived on the mainland called Druin naTeine. The cow named Glaswas guarded by a youth known as Cian also known as Fin, son of Ceanfaelighor MacInally. Threatened by the smith with dire consequences, Cian travelled to Balor’s stronghold to win back the cow and spied on Balor’s lovely daughter Eithne who was trapped in a high tower since it was prophesied that her offspring would be the cause of Balor’s death.

Cian disguised as a woman and seduced Eithne, which resulted in the birth of triplets. The unfortunate infants were thrown into the sea by their enraged grandfather. While two of them drowned, Cian was able to rescue Lugh, with the help of Biroga female Druid. The chariot refers to an individual’s self-dictated journey, as opposed to the path dictated by society or family or propriety. The birth of Lugh Lámfhota results as a result of Eithne following her own heart. Thus the Tower where Lugh was conceived and the Card numbered 16 which adds up to a 7, bring to mind the importance of clarity.

The Chariot is in some ways a complicated card since it mirrors the cards that have gone before it.   The Charioteer has the sensitivity of the Empress, which is evident in Lugh's talent for playing the harp, and his skill for poetry. The Charioteer also holds some of the commanding qualities and the heroism of the Emperor as is mirrored by Lugh commanding the armies of the Tuatha DéDanann. He also has the power of will of the Magician, and that is shown in his determination to fulfil his life path and crush his father’s criminals. 

The birth of Lugh Lámfhota and the quest of his life was to bring about the downfall of King Balor. So the Charioteer is dressed for war. This card does at the most basic level talk about conflict, about keeping abreast of situations. However, the hero also has to prove himself and does not get the benefit of parentage, or in this case prophesy. When Lugh wanted to join the Tuatha DéDanann, he was ridiculed and stopped at the gates of the city of Tara. He enlisted all the advantages he brought to the Tuatha DéDanann, but they claimed that he brought nothing new to the table.

Lugh laid claim to being the greatest smith, but the Tuatha Dé Danann had Goibniu. His skills at woodwork were offered at Tara by Luchta, Metalwork was rivalled by Credne. However since no other man could offer the varying skills of being a smith, a wright, working and shaping metal, while composing eloquent poetry and playing the harp to perfection, in addition to balancing the warrior skills with musician, physician and magician, the guards informed their king Nuadu, who put Lugh to the test with a game of Fidchell which was a form of chess, and which unknown to king Nuadu, not surprisingly had been invented by Lugh himself. Of course, Lugh beat him at the game.

Lugh Lámfhota however had still to prove that he was going to be an asset and had honestly put his versatile and almost opposing qualities on the table. Therefore he was challenged by Credne, Goibniu, and Luchta. Lugh's skill in the arts of poetry, prophecy, music, magic and healing balanced by his being an arduous and daunting warrior are reflected by the black and white horses. King Nuadu was so taken in by Lugh that he abdicated the throne in his favour and decided that Lugh would be the King to lead them into battle against King Balinor. 

Lugh was a handsome warrior and the god of Light, in Celtic myth. He was destined to kill King Balor of the Evil eye. King Balor of the Fomorians was called so since his eye unleashed death and destruction. Lugh led the gods into the battle against the Fomorians, and Nuadu lost his life at the hands of Balor. It was here that Lugh killed Balor by using a sling to hit a rock and smashing Balor's eye into his head so that it unleashed its deathly blow on the Fomorians. He, therefore, killed King Balor and brought peace to the land.

The feast of Lugh is celebrated in his honour on the 1st of August to mark the harvest.  He also brought the killers of his father, namely the sons of Tuireann named Brian and his brothers to justice by invoking the right toéric, or the price of honour of the person. He thus acquired magical apples that had the ability to assuage any form of bodily ailment; a sorceress pigskin with healing attributes; the pigs of Assal, which provided food over and over again as they could be slaughtered repeatedly; the horses and chariot of Lugh; the hound Failinis, and a magical Cauldron. 

Dignified: The Chariot is a complicated card. At one level it can mean exactly what it portrays, a journey, as symbolized by the Charioteer. Thus it could mean a journey is on the cards. It is also at a subtle level, a search for the self, or a card that talks about proving one's self as Lugh does at the gates of Tara. Thus it would mean reigning in emotions or excessive logic and giving it one's all so that it is the individual in control of a situation instead of being blown away by it.

The Chariot talks about being motivated to work towards a goal. It is a card of focus and concentration and working towards one goal.  It also talks about battles, both internal and external. The Horses on The Chariot card represent the polarities in life. They symbolize forces, and skills that one needs to master to achieve one's goals. Thus the horses and the chariot represent his prior achievements since he acquired them through the sons of Tuireann. However, the horses also represent opposing skills or situations harnessed by a person.

Life has a way of dealing with opposites and of pulling us in different directions. Yet it is possible to have and harness opposing emotions, people, and situations, and work towards one goal.  It is also very telling that the horses of Lugh Lámfhota can run on land and water alike. The Charioteer harnesses in him polarities like the horses he reigns in. He shifts from the conscious state of mind to the unconscious. His concerns are both physical or earthy and spiritual. 

Reversed or Weakly Aspected: The querent may have allowed to let the horses to run their own path. He may feel as though he has relinquished control and is being swept away. There could be a lack of or loss of motivation. However, since the Chariot symbolizes a single-minded desire for victory, reversed or ill aspected it could imply an immoral or relentlessly ruthless ferocity to achieve one's goals.  

Works Cited:

MacKillop, J. (June 1, 2006). Myths and Legends of the Celts. Penguin UK.

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Images Used on The Site. Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc

Harold Robert Millar, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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