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Loucetios
alias Lleu Llaw Gyffes

Celtic God of Light

Loucetios is known from across the Celtic World. Dedications occur at Maintz, Altripp and elsewhere; where he is equated with the Roman God of War, Mars, probably through his storm and lightning attributions. In Britain, an altar discovered in the Roman town of Aquae Sulis (Bath) proclaims his worship. He appears as part of a divine couple with his wife, Nemetona, Goddess of the Sacred Grove. He was also highly reverred in the North, where the town of Luguvalium (Carlisle) was named after him. Loucetios means 'Bright' or 'Shining-One' and the name may be the original form of Lleu and Lugh, the popular Welsh & Irish Gods of Light.

Lleu Llaw Gyffes (of the Skilful Hand) appears as a 'Divine Warrior' and Master Craftsman in the 'Story of Math' in the Mabinogion. He was the son of Arianrhod, daughter of the Sun-God, Belenos; born with his brother, Dylan, when his mother's virginity was put to the test by Math. In order to become his foot-bearer, Arianrhod had to step over Math's magic wound, at which point her pregnancy was revealed.

Arianrhod places three taboos on her son. He was not to have a name until she chose to give him one; he was not to bear arms until she gave them to him; and he was never to marry a human wife. However, Math's magician nephew, Gwidion, tricks Arianrhod into naming her son Lleu and giving him arms. With Math's help, he then conjures up a woman out of flowers, named Blodeuwedd, who Lleu is thus able to marry. She may be identified as Nemetona.

Unfortunately, Blodeuwedd acquires a lover named Gronw and together they plot Lleu's downfall. Lleu can only be killed if he stands with one foot on a goat's back and the other on the edge of a vat of water. The treacherous Blodeuwedd therefore persuaded him to demonstrate this position which Gronw promptly targeted with a spear. Lleu gave out a great cry and transformed into an eagle. He flew off to an oak tree where he was later rescued by Gwidion and turned back into human form. Gronw was subsequently killed and Blodeuwedd turned into an owl.

In Ireland, Lugh Lamhfhada (the Long-Armed) was particularly skilled with the spear and the swing-shot. His uncle, Nodens (Nuadu) stepped down as the chief Celtic god in order that Lugh could organise the required military campaigns against the Formorians. He engaged the metalworking gods, including Gofannon (Goibhniu) to provide his armies with magical weapons and killed the leader of the enemy himself.

Lughnasad, his festival of Light was held on 1st August.

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