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By Witchipedia, Deities

Who is Nuada: God-King of the Tuatha Dé Danann

Updated on:

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)

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Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Nuada Airgetlám of the Silver Hand (Also spelled Nuadu, Nuadha, Airgeadlámh) was the God-King of the Tuatha Dé Danann before they came to Ireland and for some time after.

Etymology

J.R.R Tolkein suggested that the name Nuada derived from the Celtic stem ”noudent” which is related to a Germanic root meaning “to acquire” or “to have use of”.

Julius Pokorny suggest that the word originated with a Proto-Indo-European root ”neu-d” meaning “to utilize” “to acquire” or “to go fishing”.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Nuada is a prominent figure in Celtic mythology, known as the God-King of the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernatural race in Irish folklore.

His leadership among the Tuatha Dé Danann is central to many mythological tales, where he is depicted as a symbol of kingship, sovereignty, and martial prowess.

Notably, Nuada’s silver arm, replacing his original one lost in battle, adds a distinctive aspect to his character.

He embodies the ideal ruler and leader among his people, and his legacy continues to influence Celtic mythology and later folklore.

Biography

Nuada Airgetlám (Nuada of the Silver Hand/Arm), also known as Nuadu or Nuadha was the first king of the Tuatha de Dannan. He lost his arm in the First Battle at Mag Tuirad in combat against the Fir Bolg champion Sreng rendering him ineligible for the throne as he was no longer physically perfect. He was replaced by Bres.

Later, his arm was replaced by a silver one by the physician Dian Cecht and the wright Creidne and later he received a real arm from Dian Cecht’s son Miach and his sister. After Bres had ruled for seven years, Nuada was restored as King.

Bres attempted to retake the throne by force, rallying the Fomorians against the Tuatha de Dannan and Nuada stepped down in favor of Lugh who he felt was far more skilled and able to handle the threat. Nuada was killed and beheaded in the Second Battle of Mag Tuired by the Fomorian champion Balor. Lugh, in turn, killed Balor and led the Tuatha de Dannan to victory.

Nuada’s sword was one of the Four Treasures of the Tuatha de Dannan.

The present-day town of Maynooth is named for him. (Maigh Nuada, or the Throne of Nuada).

Nuada God-King of the Tuatha De Danann by magickal spot
Copyright: Tina Caro

The Symbolism of the Silver Arm

The silver arm bestowed upon Nuada was deeply symbolic. After all, the loss of the god-king’s right hand meant that he had also lost the ancient right to rule. Nuada’s new silver arm represented his adaptability, resilience, and the powers that enabled him to continue his reign.

As well as being a strong physical attribute, Nuada’s silver arm became a powerful emblem of perseverance and strength.

Nuada’s Sword of Light

According to Celtic mythology, the Sword of Light wielded by Nuada was undefeatable once unsheathed – it was said to glow and be engraved with powerful spells. The sword originally came from Findias, a mystical island in the north whose exact location was unknown.

Depending on the needs of its wielder, the sword had the power to either deflect or dissolve. The only thing that the weapon was unable to guard against was balefire and its derivatives.

Associations

Nuada is associated with the Gaulish and British God Nodens and the Welsh God Nud or Lludd Llaw Eraint.

He rules over healing, the Sun, childbirth, youth, beauty, ocean, dogs, poetry, writing, sorcery, magic, weapons, and warfare.

Nuada and Celtic Spirituality – Past and Present

The god-king Nuada was and remains a highly influential figure in Celtic lore. His story, one of inner growth, courage, and strength, inspired our ancient forebears as well as modern practitioners of Celtic spirituality. 

Nuada is deeply connected with the natural world, and those wishing to honor or connect with his energy may wish to find a spot that speaks to them. Near a river, perhaps, or simply in the garden, while mindfully grounding themselves to the Earth. Contemplate Nuada’s tale of inner strength and resilience, allowing it to bring solace and courage, as needed. Nuada reminds us that resolve and the ability to do the right thing reside in all of us.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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