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 andLugus 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.

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 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 of 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 to 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 rivaled 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 him 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, 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, 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 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.

Further Reading: Mythology & Tarot Through Myth

Kamal Bhogal Bhatia

Urban Soul Tarot

Greek Myth: The Evolution of Classical Mythology

Perhaps some of the world’s known Mythological stories come from Roman and Greek Myth. Mythology is the rick tapestry through which we take a glimpse of the universal subconscious.

Tarot & Mythology weave a rich tapestry to open the doors to the universal collective unconscious.
The word Mythology has come down to us from antiquity. Muthos are what the Greeks called their myths. Muthos in Greek was meant to mean anything spoken. It then came to encompass anything that was a story or a tale with a clear beginning, middle, and ending. The word then evolved to mean a tall or exaggerated tale.

Ancient Greece was a well-developed sophisticated society and it produced a lot of thinkers and philosophers. A lot of those intellectuals had a lot to say about the tales of their gods, pretty much as we have an option in today’s day on our own theologies. Xenophanes (570-475BC) believed that the Greeks had anthropomorphized their gods attributing them with human looks and characteristics and values that were specific to Greek Culture. He, therefore, had the opinion that it is a culture that forms a framework for myth. It is a culture that decides what is heroic and then shapes the myths based on what’s appropriate and what is a transgression. It is interesting to note that Christian Myth also views man as the supreme form since in our mind we cannot conceive of a better form. In Greek myth, it was the monsters that were hybrids between men and animals since they were not like us.

Metrodorus of Lampsacus who died in 464 BC, thought that Myths were representations of deep truths which are manifestations of Nature. His view of the world was that everything that the mythical stories mentioned were allegory. Allegories are stories that have hidden meanings and one has to scratch the surface to get to the core of what the myth wants to address. The use of Allegory was the base of religion in the Medieval ages in Christian Europe.

Plato 429 to 337 BCE was next and he was of the opinion that it isn’t Culture that makes Myth as Xenophanes had mentioned, instead, Myths were meant to instruct and they played a very important role in shaping the culture of a people since they helped build values into the young generation.
Euhemerus in the third and fourth BC was of the opinion that Myths were actually retelling a tale from a past so far back that with every exaggeration that was built into the historical figures they had become Demigods. This idea can be seen in the retelling of the Trojan War where Achilles and Hector are demigods of sorts. This idea of myth being a highly hyperbolic retelling of history carried well into the Middle Ages, and it has been conjectured that Malory’s Mort d Arthur which is a telling of the exploits of King Arthur was actually based on a historical figure.

Aristarchus of Samothrace 216 to 144 BCE believed that the Myths were just tales told with a poetic license, and are not allegorical. Myths in the middle ages were known to be tall tales or Fabulae.

Bernard de Fontenelle 1657 to 1757 believed that Myths were created to explain natural phenomena and therefore in his mind myth was an endeavor for man to be scientific. In the following centuries especially the Age of Enlightenment, myths were thought to be a waste of time.

Christian Gottlob Heyne 1729 to 1812 is in many ways the father of Modern Classical studies which encompasses Roman and Greek Myth. He tried to get all the geographical data from antiquity, learn more about how the society functioned, and also sought out linguistic data. He did not analyze the myths in a vacuum and his theory was that the Myths were created by man because he was in awe of the world around him. He also connected the Myths to the geographical landscape and thereby revived the name of myths from Fabulae to Muthos. The Greek Myth which recounts the tale of Orestes emphasizes the importance of the son avenging the father’s death, in Greek Society.

Johann Gottfried Herder 1744 to 1803 a precursor to Romanticism, mentioned that myth was a natural reaction propelled by awe and wonder to explain natural phenomena, and that myths were synonymous with language, religion and were an independent self-sufficient response to the natural world.

Carl Gustav Jung 1875 – 1961 the father of modern Analytical Psychology was a student of the Tarot. He believed that the human psyche needed Myth and that myth was an essential aspect that helped the psyche to find order and meaning in the world. For Jung, the myth gave human beings something bigger than themselves to rely on and that gave them a sense of security.

Joseph John Campbell 1904–1987, one of the modern authorities on mythology mentions that different cultures and civilizations all have similar themes, and narrative progressions, the characters are similar to each other, and the reason for this is that Myth helps find and teach meaning, thereby explaining a natural phenomenon. Myths take on the task of providing security by having a benevolent universe watching over and thereby giving a person a sense of comfort and safety. He categorized them as Etiological Myths. This explains the personification of Zeus the god of the Thunderbolt and Poseidon the god of earthquakes and oceans in Greek Myth and Varuna the wind god, Indra the god of thunder, and Agni the god of Fire in Indian Myth. Myths try and explain the natural world and why things are the way they are.

Campbell said that there were also Historical Myths. This means that these myths tell of a historical event that took place and the retelling elevated it to a higher level than that of the actual event itself. The Trojan war was one such historical event that has been immortalized for all eternity by both Homer and Virgil. The Battle of Kurukshetra immortalized in the Mahabharata also is a great example.

The Psychological myths trace the journey of the hero from the known realm, past the unknown to self-realization. The hero attempts to balance the external world with his own consciousness of it and goes through various stages and experiences growth in the process. This Journey of the Hero is also seen in the Fools Journey which is cataloged in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Some Greek Myths used to illustrate the Tarot:
• Dionysus – The Fool Greco-Roman Mythology
• Atlantis The Lost Civilization & The Tower
Further Reading: Mythology & Tarot Through Myth

Works Cited:
Brunel, Pierre editor Companion to Literary Myths, Heroes and Archetypes  Routledge, 2015. Campbell, Joseph, with Bill Moyers. The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1988.

-Kamal Bhogal Bhatia