Friday, April 4, 2014

A to Z of Witches. D

D is for Diana

Diana or the goddess of the hunt has an interesting connection to witches.
Like I mentioned yesterday I grew up reading Greek myths. I knew of Diana/Artemis as the virgin goddess of the hunt and twin sister to Apollo. I never gave it much thought after that.

But to the Romans, Diana also meant "Divine". She was also the goddess of the moon and childbirth and then later the female principle.  Diana's cult had a long history in the city of Rome and then throughout the Roman Empire.  She became mixed in with other local Goddesses/personalities (such as Luna and Scáthach) and her influence grew.

It was Diana that Margaret Murray claimed the witches in early Europe worshipped in an unbroken line to the modern times.  While we know this is not the case a number of modern day Wicca Traditions still use her work and belong to a "Dianaic Tradition".  

While Murray's research is suspect there are plenty of good reasons to tie the mythical Diana to witches.   In many respects she represents the Maiden aspect of the Witch's Goddess.  There is also the connection to the moon, the female wild hunt and childbirth.

For my games Diana is one of the Goddesses of Witchcraft, but not necessarily of magic. She is also the Goddess of the Moon and in many of my games the Patron of the Amazon Witches.
While she is typically seen as a virginal Goddess, this is changed in the Aradia story that has her as the mother of Aradia by Lucifer.  Other traditions see the father as The Horned God.

Here she is for the Pathfinder RPG.


Titles: The Goddess of Witches, Goddess of the Hunt
Alignment:  Neutral
Portfolio: Moon, Witches, Women
Worshipers: Witches, pagans, nymphs, Amazons
Cleric Alignments
Domains: Moon, Knowledge, Protection
Favored Weapon: Bow

Diana is the goddess of witches, witchcraft, the moon and the hunt.  She is revered by witches, clerics that meet in secret in woodland groves and druids.

Diana is an old Goddess. She has been worshiped by many different peoples and has been a member of a number of different Pantheons.

Diana is often considered an outsider god in the pantheons she is in.  While some may claim that she was born into the family of gods of the pantheon, she will make her own way. Indeed, her creed is one of personal freedom.

Appearance and Emissaries
Diana appears as a young woman in simple hunting garb. She always appears as a beautiful young woman.  She will appear more athletic and physically strong than a human girl of the same apparent age.  In any guise she will appear with a crescent moon on her brow or as part of a crown.


Egeria - The Goddess of nymphs and childbirth.  She is Diana's most trusted advisor and sage.

Virbius - the God of Chastity till Marriage.  He protects maiden girls until they are married.

Church of Diana
Diana's church, known more properly as the Cult of Diana, is spread far and wide.

Worshipers and Clergy
Diana is worshiped primarily by witches but also by like minded clerics and drudis.  A number of folk magic practitioners also also count themselves among her worshipers.

Temples and Shrines
Temples of Diana are usually on the outskirts of populated areas.  Shrines can be set up in any natural setting.

Holy Texts
As witches the worshipers of Diana hold their own Books of Shadows as their holy texts.

Diana's traditional holiday is held on August 13. Temples to Diana are normally dedicated on this day.

Supernatural AtoZ


Sophie Duncan said...

I use the moon as a deity in some of my fics, but I've never personified her as Diana. Diana is an inspirational figure as a powerful woman and goddess of the hunt.
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

Most interesting, I had not connected Diana with witches in my head, but I have no idea why because I knew at least a little of what you're talking about. Great post, thanks.
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)

Cifar said...

Informative article on Greek goddess Diana,Great post
I am participating in A to Z challenge at The Other Side

DLGardner said...

I think its the witches that made Diana a witch. All that I remember studying Roman mythology is that she was the goddess of hunt, birth and the moon, prime elements for witches to worship I suppose. She's an interesting character, one easy for a woman to relate to. Nice post!

Unknown said...

This series is quite interesting. I don't know much about witches, so it's quite educational.

L.G. Keltner said...

This is another great post! I learned a lot here!

Unknown said...

Great post. I absolutely love Greek & Roman mythology. I think your blog is my new favorite encyclopedia for witches :)

Jocelyn Rish said...

I always loved Greek myths, and Diana was one of my favorites because kick butt woman kick butt!

Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,

faoladh said...

Yeah, Murray's research is suspect to the point of rejection, but that portion, at least, has been largely rehabilitated by Ginzburg (notably in Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath).

TLC said...

Fascinating, I enjoyed reading

Laura Clipson said...

I knew her from Greek mythology, but I had no idea she had so much to do with witchcraft too.

Anonymous said...

Artemis is my favorite Greek goddess. Good post!!

Unknown said...

I recall Diana from Greek and Roman literature, but never knew she was tied to witches. That's actually pretty cool!

I'm participating in AtoZ, too.
See you around!