Discovering The Goddess Diana
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Discovering The Goddess Diana

A scholarly look into the worship by the early Italians of the goddess Diana.

There have been many books written in recent years attempting to reconnect the feminine side of women to their powerful ancestresses who were worshipped as goddesses. Most of these local figures were worshipped in the forest or in the dark of the day as their rituals were for the most part highly sexually motivated. The worship of these minor goddesses was aimed at increasing the fertility factor in the feminine by generating a connection of the divine femine with the divine masculine. Was the goddess worshipped Diana or one of her many female counterparts?

The actual worship of Diana was in Rome and was held in a Roman Temple dedicated to Diana even before Rome was founded as a city. The towns women that handled the affairs of the temple were highly respected and even feared. For that reason, her temple was known as a place of refuge. For even slaves who had run away from their owners could claim sanctuary at the Temple of Diana and no one dared to cross the goddess who offered sanctuary to a slave. Sanctuary was immediately bestowed on a runaway slave at the moment of entrance to the Temple of the Goddess. It was commonly understood that she must have called him and brought him to her temple to act as her physical embodiment. The concept of seeking sanctuary from a religious location began at the Temple of the Goddess Diana.

Later, when Rome was founded, her followers began to Hellenize the goddess and she was confused with the attributes of the Greek goddess Artemis who was supposedly the virgin, moon worshipping sister of Apollo who was often confused as being the sun god Helios. Actually, Artemis and Apollo were children of Zeus and led very civilized and intellectual groups in Greece. Apollo was the founder of the many arts for which Greece is now famous including all of the ancient and modern physical and psychological sciences, from poetry to physics.

The fact that Diana was not a virgin goddess but a fertility goddess did not impress the builders of Rome and her image was considerably tarnished as it were as she became a temple of virgin prostitutes which led to the deterioration of her following.

The similarity between the Italic Diana, the fertility goddess and the Greek Artemis, the virgin sister of Apollo and the secret enchantress, was in their presiding over the hunt and nature. Our Diana was a goddess of the forest, wild and untamed and capable of regenerating into the male body of a slave to bear children with her priestess. Our Artemis was a staid, polished, highly civilized enchantress who followed the cycles of the moon and despised all men which thankfully kept her chaste or virgin.

Is Artemis or Diana the goddess worshipped by the New Age femininists? I am voting on Diana who was often portrayed as a three faced Goddess, The three faces of Diana are Juno or Iuno, Diana, and Hecate. In whatever shape of form the goddess is worshipped, her following has supposedly gone underground in recent years. May the Goddess Bless me if I have mispoken because For some reason I do not hope to offend the Lady or her wild followers.

An interesting anecdote related to the secret followers of Diana is the following. At my daughter's first birthday, I place a fine Lennox candy dish filled with almonds at the table that held the elaborately decorated bakery made birthday cake. I did it automatically without thinking that it had some magical connection to the Goddess. One of the guests named Maria asked me, "What's that dish for?" and pointed to the almonds.

I said, "I don't know something just made me do it."

Years later while reading about practices of the Goddess, I came across some interesting information. The Goddess is honored by placing find dishes filled with almonds on a green tablecloth during her followers festivities or worshipping of the goddess. Some might see here a historical connection of the color green with Christmas as a symbol of the forest and fertility and not as evergreen trees and winter. Discovering secret followers of the goddess Diana can be as simple as adding a bowl of almonds on a dining room buffet board.


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