Diana the Huntress

Diana the Huntress

The Roman Diana, similar in many ways to the Greek Artemis, was
definitely a Moon Goddess, ruler of the wildwood and lady of beasts.
She allowed no liberties with her person or favors. As the twin sister
to Apollo {The Sun}, she was a feminine balance to her brother. The
twins were born on Mount Cynthus, on the island of Delot, to Latona and

Her ancient names in Crete and other surrounding countries were
Britomaritis and Dictynna. The herb dittany of Crete was sacred to her
and was derived from the name Dictynna. Other names under which she was
known were Dione, Nemorensis, and Nemetona {Goddess of the Moon-grove}.
Before Zeus took over the oracle-shrine at Dodona, it belonged to Diana.
At the woodland lake of Nemi in Italy there was a beatuiful remote
temple and sanctuary that were hers.

She was often pictured with a Cresent Moon on her forehead, clad in a
short white tunic, armed with a bow, and surrounded by dogs and stags.
The nymphs who ran at her side symbolized the carefree, eternally
youthful part of the human mind and psyche.

When Diana showed her softer side by indulging in dancing and music,
singing and playing the flute and lyre, she was accompanied by the Muses
and Graces. At this time the goddess was a gentle healer and willing to
aid those she considered deserving of her favors.

Diana, known as Artemis amoung the Greeks, was said to protect the pure
and innocent when they called upon her. If she could not protect them
because of the interference of other deities, she at least established
their innocence.

When Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, was to be
sacrificed at the altar of the goddess, the girl called upon Artemis and
was answered. Such a sacrifice would have been abhorrent to the
Goddess, as she did not accept human sacrifice. In a Temple full of
men, with the priest’s hand raised to strike her dead, Iphigenia
disappeared. A slain deer lay in her place.

In another legend, the Greek hero-king Theseus brought his Cretan wife
Phaedra to his palace. His grown son Hippolytus, son of Theseus and an
Amazon, lived there also. Phaedra developed a consuming, unhealthy lust
for Hippolytus, causing him no end of embarrassment and unhappiness. At
last, in disgust the young man left the palace, rather than let his
father know what was going on. Afraid that someone would betray her
lust of Theseus, Phaedra wrote a condeming letter and killed herself.
He believed the lies, cursing his son and banishing him. As Hipploytus
drove off in his chariot along the sea-road, a monster came out of the
water and fatally wounded the young man. Artemis appeared to Theseus
and told him the truth, then disappeared, taking the soul of Hippolytus
with her.



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