Tag Archive: egeria


Goddess Diana

“Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt” by violscraper

“Diana’s themes are fertility, children, providence, abundance and harvest. Her symbols are the moon, water, forest items and the sun.  This Roman Goddess embodies the moon’s fertility and watery aspects along with the sun’s protective and nurtuirng power over the forests and its creatures. On this day she was celebrated in Rome and She will be remembered in our hearts as the huntress who helps us capture the spiritual ‘food’ we need.

Starting on August 13, the Romans had a weeklong festival for Diana, praying to Her for the harvest’s bounty and to turn damaging storms away. The traditional place to leave an offering of fruit or vines for Her is in the forest, or at a crossroads. As you do, if any stone or leaf catches your eye, pick it up and carry it as a charm that will keep Diana’s power with you that entire day. Come night, release the gift to flowing water or back to the earth with a prayer of thanks and a wish for one of Diana’s atttributes that you wish to develop in your life.

It is also customary to light some fire source to honor Her on August 15 or anytime during the festivities. Afterward, to generate this Goddess’s physical or figurative fertility within you, follow Roman convention and wash your hair with specially prepared water (water to which a little milk is added so that it looks white, like the moon). If you have children, doing this for them incurs Diana’s protection over their lives.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Artemis” by Howard David Johnson

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “today we confuse Diana with the Greek Artemis, seeing both in the familiar picture of the lightly clad, bow-bearing Goddess who rides the moon or strides through the forest with Her nymphs.  And in later Roman times, Diana was indeed so pictured, but only after the original Italian Goddess was assimilated into the powerful figure of Artemis, the Goddess of the conquered Greeks.

“Moon Goddess” by Josephine Wall

Diana was originally queen of the open sky, worshiped only outdoors, where Her domain stretched overhead.  Possibly She was ruler of the sun as well as the moon, for the early Italians had no sun god and had to adopt Apollo for that role.  Diana’s name comes from the word for ‘light’; probably She was the original Italian ruler of the sun.

She ruled on earth as well, as bestower of sovereignty and granter of conception; thus She was sometimes called the threefold Diana Trivia.  With two other deities She made up another trinity: Egeria the water nymph [one of the Camenae], Her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the mysterious woodland god.  The three lived together in the famous Wood of Nemi near Aricia, where runaway slaves competed for mistletoe – the Golden Bough that would give them a fighting chance for the position of Diana’s priest.  Not a job a modern man would covet, the priesthood meant continual vigilance against the next contender for the post, and ultimately death at a successful rival’s hand.

“Diana” by Lotta-Lotos

This fatal kingship was one of the few roles men could play in worship of Diana.  Otherwise, the sky queen was entirely a woman’s Goddess.  On Her feast day, August 15 – today the Catholic feast day of Mary’s assumption into heaven – processions of women would journey to Aricia to offer thanks in Diana’s grove for Her help that year and to implore Her continuing aid.  The hunting dogs who accompanied them were crowned but kept leased so as not to disturb the wild creatures who lived under Diana’s sky.  Eventually Diana worship moved closer to the population center, to the Aventine Hill in Rome itself, where women continued to flock to Her shrine for ritual hair-washing and invocations for aid in childbed” (p. 103 – 104).

Thalia Took tells us that “the Romans recognized three aspects of Her–as the Moon-Goddess, they called Her Luna; as an underworld deity of magic, Hekate; and as the huntress-Goddess, Diana.”

“Mother Nature” by Rozairo

Interestingly enough, Thalia Took also tells us that “in Gaul, She was identified with Nemetona, ‘Goddess of the Sacred Grove’, and considered the consort of Mars“.  This makes sense, as Diana Nemorensis (“of the Grove”) had Her temple in a forest on the Lake Nemi‘s shores and was the Goddess of wild places who loved forests. [1]

“Diana” by Maltshakes

 

ASSOCIATIONS: (Goddess symbols of Artemis, but I would think would be appropriate for Diana as well)

General: Crescent moon (new moon), bow and arrow, sandals, clouds, three pillars, and blue sky.

Animals: Dogs, guinea fowl, elephant, horses, bear, dove, deer, and bee.

Plants: Anemones, flowering almond, hazel, ranunculus, honeysuckle, thistle, laurel, and fir tree.

Perfumes/Scents: Jasmine, aloe, ginseng, lemon verbena, and camphor.

Gems and Minerals: Moonstone, pearl, quartz, crystal, silver, turquoise, iron, aluminum, and diamonds.

Colors: Silver, white, red, green, and turquoise.              [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Symbols of Artemis”.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Diana”.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Diana“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Covenofthegoddess.com, “Goddess Diana“.

Encyclopedia.com, “Diana“.

Fischer-Hansen & Birte Poulsen. From Artemis to Diana: The Goddess of Man and Beast (Acta Hyperborea).

Goddess-guide.com, “The Roman Goddess Diana“.

GrayWolf, Danu. Order of the White Moon, “Diana“.

Greek-gods-and-goddesses.com, “The Roman Goddess Diana“.

Grimassi, Raven. Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft, “Lady of the Lake” & “Lake Nemi

Journal of a Poet, “Artemis/Diana, Goddess of the Moon“.

Leland, Charles Godfrey. Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches.

Monaghan, Patricia. Matrifocus.com, “Trivia: Goddess of the Crossroads“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Artemis: out with the old – peaceful warrior“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Diana: go wild!“.

Roman-colosseum.info, “Myths about the Roman Goddess Diana“.

Richardson, Adele & Laurel Bowman. Diana.

Tate, Karen. Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations.

Thewhitegoddess.co.uk, Diana – Goddess of the Hunt“.

Wikipedia, “Diana (mythology)“.

Wikipedia, “Diana Nemorensis“.

Wikipedia, “Rex Nemorensis“.

V. Goddessschool.com, “Diana ‘Queen of Heaven’“.

The Camenae

"The Four Nymphs" by Eichenelf

“The Camenae’s themes are divination, protection, victory, children, birth and communication.  Their symbols are written word, any divination tool and fertility symbols.  This group of Goddesses correspond to the Muses of Greek tradition: they know our past, see what’s in store in the future, foretell children’s fates, and teach us the effective use of ‘letters’ (the alphabet), the arts, and how to tell fortunes. They also oversee midwives.

The festival of Megalesia celebrates the accuracy of the Sibylline oracles, who predicted the way for the Roman victory in the Punic Wars. Romans traditionally honored the Great Mother of the Gods, Cybele, today with music and song, so put on some magical tunes! The Camenae will saturate the music and uplift your spirit.

Ask the Camenae to help you write personalized invocations or spells today. Put pen to pad and let these Goddesses inspire sacred words suited to your path and needs. Keep these in a magic journal for the future.

The Roman oracles often drew lots to determine a querent’s answer. If you have a question weighing heavily on your heart today, follow this custom and take out some variegated beans. Hold them. Concentrate on the question, then pick out one bean. A black one means ‘no’; white means ‘yes’. Red means that anger is driving action, brown means things are muddled, and green indicates growth potential. If you don’t have beans, colored buttons are a suitable alternative.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

In Roman mythology, the Camenae (also Casmenae, Camoenae) were originally Goddesses of childbirth, wells and fountains, and also prophetic deities.

There were four Camenae: Carmenta, Egeria, Antevorta (also Porrima) and Postverta (also Postvorta or Prorsa).

The last two were sometimes specifically referred to as the Carmentae, and in ancient times might have been two aspects of Carmenta rather than separate figures; in later times, however, they are distinct beings believed to protect women in labor.

“Carmenta or Carmentis was the chief among the nymphs.  Not only was She a Goddess of childbirth and prophecy, but She was also associated with technological innovation. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet. The name Carmenta is derived from Latin carmen, meaning a magic spell, oracle or song, and also the root of the English word charm. Though She is an ancient Italian Goddess, in later times Carmenta was said to have come from Greece: in that story She is said to have originally been a prophetess of Arcadia called Nicostrate, but it was changed later to honor Her renown for giving oracles. She was the mother of Evander and along with other followers they founded the town of Pallantium, which later was one of the sites of the start of Rome. Gaius Julius Hyginus (Fab. 277) mentions the legend that it was She who altered fifteen letters of the Greek alphabet to become the Latin alphabet, which Her son Evander introduced into Latium.

It was forbidden to wear leather or other forms of dead skin in her temple, which was next to the Porta Carmentalis in Rome.  On Her festival day, the Carmentalia, which fell on January the 11 and 15, Vestal Virgins drew water from that spring for the rites.” [1] [2]

 

Egeria was a nymph or minor Goddess attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, to whom She imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female advisor or counselor.  Her origin is unclear; She is consistently, though not in a very clear way, associated with another figure of the Diana type; their cult is known to have been celebrated at sacred groves, such as the site of Nemi at Aricia, and another one close to Rome, expedient for Her presumed regular meetings with King Numa; both Goddesses are also associated with water; gifted with wondrous, religious or medical properties (the source in that grove at Rome was dedicated to the exclusive use of the Vestal Virigns); their cult was associated with other, male figures of even more obscure meaning, such as one named Virbius, or a Manius Egerius, presumably a youthful male, that anyway in later years was identified with figures like Atys or Hippolyte, because of the Diana reference.

After the death of Numa the nymph pined away and was changed into a fountain.  The spring and grove outside the Porta Capena was dedicated to Egeria.

Described sometime as a ‘mountain nymph’ (by Plutarch), She is usually regarded as a water nymph and somehow Her cult also involved some link with childbirth, like the Greek Goddess Ilithyia.” [2]

 

“Antevorta and Postvorta were probably at first two aspects of Carmenta who in time became important enough on Their own to be considered seperate Goddesses, though They were still generally believed to be sisters or attendents of Carmenta. Their names refer to Their prophetic powers that come into play at the birth of a child: both come from the root vertere, meaning ‘to change, turn, or alter’; so Antevorta then means, ‘Before Change’ and Postvorta ‘After Change’.  At the Carmentalia these two aspects were especially celebrated; and given that the festival was held on the 11th and the 15th of January (not the 11th through the 15th of January), perhaps They were each given one day, Antevorta turning towards the past on the 11th, and Postvorta to the future on the 15th. Alternatively, Postvorta is sometimes spelled Postverta, glossed as ‘feet first’, referring to the breech position of birth, while Antevorta was called Prorsa (‘straight forwards’) or Porrima, both taken to mean ‘head first’, the more usual position of a baby at birth.” [3]

The Camenae were later identified with the Greek Muses; in his translation of Homer’s OdysseyLivius Andronicus rendered the Greek word Mousa as Camena.

 

 

Sources:

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Camenae“.

Took, Thalia.  The Obscure Goddess Online Dictionary, “Ægeria“.

Wikipedia, “Camenae“.

Wikipedia, “Carmenta“.

Wikipedia, “Egeria (mythology)“.

 

Suggested Links:

Myth Index, “Camenae“.

Mythology Guide, “Camenae“.

Goddess Carmenta

"Premières Caresses" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

In ancient roman religion and myth, Carmenta was a goddess of childbirth and prophecy, associated with technological innovation as well as the protection of mothers and children, and a patron of midwives. She was also said to have invented the Latin alphabet.

“Carmenta’s themes are children, fertility, foresight and birth. Her symbols are music and babies.
Carmenta, the Roman Goddess of prophecy and birth, joins in our new year festivities by teaching us the value of preparedness and productivity. The only offerings acceptable to Carmenta are vegetable matter – as a birth Goddess, taking life is abhorrent to her. Her magical, prophetic nature can be seen in Carmenta’s name, specifically the root word carmen, meaning a spell or charm in the form of a song.
Put on some uplifting music while you get dressed this morning. Let it motivate the resourceful aspect of Carmenta within you for the entire day.

In ancient Rome, today was the second to last day of a five-day-long festival honoring Carmenta. Pregnant women offered her rice for a safe delivery, while those wishing to have children ate raspberries to internalize her fertility. Try either of these to prompt the successful completion of a project or to improve your physical, emotional or spiritual fertility.

Romans considered this an excellent day to make predictions for a child. If you know someone who’s expecting, take a ring on a long string and hold it still over the mother’s belly. If the ring swings back and forth it indicates a boy; circular movements indicate a girl.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Carmenta was the leader of the Camenae, a group of prophetic water goddesses or nymphs of ancient Rome, considered goddesses of Poetry as well as Birth-Goddesses who presided over springs, wells and fountains and who were invoked for healing.  The other three Camenae were Egeria (who was a divine consort and counselor of the Sabine second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius), Porrima (a baby is born head first when she is present), and Postverta (present at feet first births).

There is a grove outside the Porta Capena that is sacred to Carmenta.  Romans celebrated Carmenta’s festival January 11 and 15, during the first month of the  year, a symbol, perhaps of the beginning of life. The focus of this primarily female festival was on divination and reflection on the past.  Pregnant women made offerings to Her of prayers and rice in the hopes of an easy delivery.  The festivities began by making cream-filled pastries which were shaped as male and female genitalia which were eaten in honor of this Goddess of birth.  The wearing of leather or other dead animal skins were forbidden in their sacred places.

Alternate names for Carmenta: Carmentis, Themis, Timandra (Greek, “She who honors the male”?), Tiburtis (linking Her with the town of Tibur/Tivoli and Albunea, the White Sybil?)

For more information on the Camenae, click here.

 

 

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