As I came to understand the character of Lugh through the sacred myths, and recognized him watching over the temple, I saw someone who had the strength to be a teacher.

Lugh is a hard god. He himself apprenticed under Mannanán, the old man of the Irish gods and the only one who lived across the sea in the magic land even before the deities left Ireland. His grandfather, Dian Cecht, is the physician-god who killed his own son for performing unauthorized treatments. Lugh knows something about strictness.

Add this to the fact that he's a military commander and you get a picture of a hard-nosed deity.

So I was reluctant to jump in with him. I performed a series of short-term devotions over the course of nearly two years. I received sparing guidance from my new patron god, but it was unerring and straightforward. Lugh doesn't speak in riddles and mysteries; he gives orders, and you do them or you quit.

It was this direct, clear style that made me love him.

Some people want their gods soft like pandas. I respect that. I spent years worshiping Danu and still offer routinely to her and Brighid. You can't get much more of a "huggable divinity" vibe than those.

But I'm at a place where I'm willing to take on a project and work relentlessly till it's done. I'm ready for clear, definite instructions, saying: Do this, you'll be glad you did.

So, some unmarked day several years back, I pledged myself to Lugh as his dalta (apprentice). And it's been unlike any other relationship I've had with a deity.

I rarely hear from Lugh. Maybe two to three times a year I will feel him speak to me during my devotion. Usually it's just after I've completed some task or challenge. I'll know before I even make offerings that today is different. And then there is Lugh, floating on the edge of my perception, ready to give me a new assignment.

The tasks Lugh has given me are varied. They range from the simple charge of creating his banner for the altar, to the momentous challenge of becoming physically fit to pursue heroism. That latter challenge has meant losing, so far, over 70 pounds. Lugh made clear that if I wish to follow the path that inspires me I will be held to the same standard as the warriors I look up to. This prospect scares me, but it is deeply fair.

Ultimately, I think that fairness is Lugh's greatest trait. The rules of heaven are firm. He offers no exceptions or extra chances. But if you're sincere and dependable he'll never let you down. He will remain a faithful and caring mentor, the watchful foster-father of the brave.

At least, that's my experience.

Does anyone else follow Lugh?