We can see this ‘euhemerization’ clearly in the case of the god Lugh, who gives his name to the Irish summer festival of Lughnasadh. In the earliest Irish myths he is clearly a deity. As such, he offers himself as the saviour of the Tuatha dé Danann, the predecessors of the Milesians or Gaels. Seeking entry at the palace of King Nuada of the Silver Hand, at Tara, he announces each of his skills in turn – ‘Blacksmith, warrior, musician, poet, scholar …’. Each time he is refused entry, until he points out that no one else combines all these skills in one person, as he does.
In the Mabinogion, the main source of British myths, Lugh has become the much more human Lleu Llaw Gyfes, nephew (and possibly son) of the magician Gwydion. He is skilled, and protected by charms, but he is not obviously a god: in fact at one point he appears to be mortal.
Lugh in Myth
The god Lugh was worshipped in Ireland as a deity of the sun. This connection with the sun may explain his name (it means "shining one"), and it also may account for the attributes that he displayed: he was handsome, perpetually youthful, and had a tremendous energy and vitality. This energy manifests itself especially in the number of skills he had, according to legend, mastered. In fact, there was a tale that related Lugh's myriad abilities at arts and crafts.
As told in the Battle of Magh Tuiredh, the god travelled to Tara, and arrived during a tremendous feast for the royal court. Lugh was greeted at the door by the keeper of the gate, and was immediately asked what talent he had - for it was a tradition there that only those who had a special or unique ability could enter the palace. The god offered his reply: "I am a wright". In response, the gate keeper said: "We already have a wright. Your services are not needed here". Still, Lugh, not to be so easily dismissed, continued: "I am a smith". Again, the guard retorted that the court had a smith that was quite adequate; but the god was not to be dissuaded. In short order, he noted that he was also a champion, a harper, a hero, a poet, an historian, a sorcerer, and a craftsman. To this list, the gate keeper merely nodded his head, and stated matter of factly that all of these various trades were represented in the court by other members of the Tuatha de Danaan. "Ah, but you do have an individual who possesses all of these skills simultaneously?", was Lugh's clever and inspired reply. The guard was forced to admit his defeat, and so Lugh was allowed to enter and join the festivities.
According to Celtic mythology, Lugh was the son of Cian and Ethlinn. After the god Nuada was killed in the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh, Lugh became the leader of the Tuatha De Danaan (the term for the gods and goddesses who descended from the goddess Danu).
Cerridwen is one of the Old Ones, one of the great megalithic pre-Christian Goddesses of the Celtic World. Although, in her story, she embodies all three lunar aspects of the Goddess, Maiden, Mother and Crone, she is primarily worshipped in her Crone aspect, by and through her Cauldron of Wisdom, Inspiration, Rebirth and Transformation. The cauldron has an intimate association with femininity, together with the cave, the cup and the chalice, and the association of femininity with justice, wisdom and intelligence goes back to very ancient times.
Cerridwen was originally worshipped by the people of Wales. It is told that she lived on an island, in the middle of Lake Tegid, named after her husband, with her two children, a beautiful daughter, Creidwy, and a very ugly son, Afagdu. To compensate her son for his unfortunate appearance, Cerridwen brewed a magical formula, known as "greal", (is this where the word Grail came from, I wonder?) which would make Afagdu the most brilliant and inspired of men. For a year and a day, she kept six herbs simmering in her magical cauldron, known as "Amen", under the constant care of a boy named Gwion.
One day, while Gwion was stirring the cauldron, a few drops of the bubbling liquid spattered on his hand. Unthinkingly, and in pain, Gwion, sucked his burned hand, and, suddenly, he could hear everything in the world, and understood all the secrets of the past and future. With his newly enchanted foresight, Gwion knew how angry Cerridwen would be when she found he had acquired the inspiration meant for her son.
He ran away, but Cerridwen pursued him. Gwion changed into a hare, and Cerridwen chased him as a greyhound; he changed into a fish, and Cerridwen pursued him as an otter; he became a bird, and she flew after him as a hawk; finally, he changed into a grain of corn, and Cerridwen, triumphant, changed into a hen, and ate him.
When Cerridwen resumed her human form, she conceived Gwion in her womb, and, nine months later, gave birth to an infant son, whom she, in disgust, threw into the water of a rushing stream. He was rescued by a Prince, and grew into the great Celtic bard, Taliesin.
Rebirth and Transformation.
Cerridwen's cauldron is an ancient feminine symbol of renewal, rebirth, transformation and inexhaustible plenty. It is the primary female symbol of the pre-Christian world, and represents the womb of the Great Goddess from which all things are born and reborn again. Like the Greek Goddess, Demeter, and the Egyptian Goddess, Isis, Cerridwen was the great Celtic Goddess of inspiration, intelligence and knowledge, and was invoked as a law-giver and sage dispenser of righteous wisdom, counsel and justice.