Diana Goddess of the Hunt
Parents: Jupiter and Latona
Diana is normally associated with the Greek Goddess Artemis, in fact in some depictions, they are identified as the same goddess. There is evidence that the Goddess Diana existed separately but eventually her mythology was blended with Artemis so much so that a lot of their stories are pretty much the same with one or two minor differences.
The Goddess was believed to talk to wild animals and maybe even control their actions. It's interesting that Diana was goddess of the hunt but she also respected and protected wild animals. In many ancient cultures hunters were mindful of the preciousness of life.
According to legends, Diana swore that she would not marry. She was wildly independent and refused to be attached.
Associated Aspects: Wild Animals, The woods,Hunting, Fertility, Chastity,The Moon,
Appearance: Diana is depicted as a tall, beautiful woman between the ages of 12-19. She is equipped with a bow and quiver and accompanied by either hounds or deer. She is usually wearing a short tunic and either barefoot or wearing simple foot coverings. Her hair is usually in a swept up style and out of her way. Her outfit is very practical.
Personality: Quick tempered, Free Spirited, Athletic, Protective
Animal Associations: Guinea Fowl, Bees, Doves, Horses, Dogs, Deer,
Plant Associations: Hazel, Laurel, Oak, Almonds, Fir
Symbols: Crescent moon, Blue sky, High mountains, Deer, 3 Pillars, Oak Groves
Acteon the Stag: It was said that a hunter called Acteon had invaded Diana’s privacy as she was bathing in a stream. As a result, it is said that she turned the hunter into a Stag and then Acteon’s own hunting dogs turned on him.
The Myth of Orion: This story varies a bit, but all of them start with Diana falling in love with a hunter called Orion. There is a version where Diana’s brother Apollo disproves of this relationship and tricks Diana into an archery contest in which the target was Orion. In another version Diana chose to shoot Orion with her bow and arrow after he angered her. In most versions what is clear is that Diana killed Orion then regretted it, so she turned Orion into a constellation so that he would live forever in the stars.
In ancient Rome, the Goddess Diana was the protector of the lower class and slaves. In fact slaves would take sanctuary in her temples. Her high priests were said to be runaway slaves.
There was a festival dedicated to Diana called the ‘Festival of Torches’. This was a day of rest for women, slaves and hounds; all the areas she was said to be associated with. On this day hounds were dressed with flowers and it was forbidden to hunt. Those dedicated to Diana would wash their hair and decorate it with flowers then they would carry torches to lake Nemi also referred to as “Diana’s mirror”.
This is just a short summary of the mythology behind the Goddess, below are some resources for further reading.