A Level II final project
By Hecate Oliva,
Initiate of the Order of the White Moon
for Sisters Beneath Whispering Willows
She has woven Her way through the mists of time revealing Her omnipresence in many an era from the far reaching of the human mind for remembering its spiritual history. She reveals Herself through nature, animals, the moon and light. She speaks in the wind, the stories told by rocks and stones for they all have long memories of Her and Her ways. She was largely known in Roman Religion, Italian witchcraft and now in modern Wicca. But if you look She seems to even be similar to Isis in Egypt and many others. Also Her magnetism has always drawn Her many followers, and this and indeed caused a bit of concern for some.
Diana has many paths to prayer, magic, magical powers and deeds. Some of Her many magical abilities are: transformation, natural law, judgement, instinct, prophecy, healing, magic, psychic abilities, purification, weather changing, death bringer, light bringing, and maker of time and all methods of measurement. Although known for choosing to be a Virgin Goddess, She did give us an earthly daughter, supposed to have been born in the 1300's named Aradia who plays a significant role in Her mother's role of magic, involvement with witches, and bestowing of magical abilities. (DOB for Aradia c Aug 13, 1313)
Diana is the Roman Goddess of the Moon and the Hunt. She is the protector of children, and charity. She was worshipped on August 13th called Nemoralia, the festival of Torches. "To celebrate the festival of Nemoralia worshippers would form a procession of torches and candles around the dark waters of the sacred Lake Nemi referred to as Diana's Mirror. The lights of their candles and torches joined the light of the moon reflecting upon the surface of the water. Hunting or killing any animal was forbidden on Nemoralia." (http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-gods/diana.htm)
She is a fertility Goddess, who helps women conceive and give birth to children. As Goddess of childbirth, nursing, and healing, Diana holds an honored place among women. As Goddess of light, She also represents the moon. However, Diana is also identified with Hecate, the Greek Goddess of darkness and witchcraft, and serves as Goddess of the Kingdom of the Dead. (There is also a completely separate Roman version of Hecate as well.)
"The worship of Diana was widespread in the ancient world. Indeed, early Christians considered the pagan Goddess their main rival. Diana's cult continued to attract followers for centuries, despite Christian opposition.
In the middle Ages, Diana was denounced as "queen of the witches. Nevertheless, the cult of Diana still had some followers in England as late as the 1700s." ("Diana." Myths and Legends of the World. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 15 Jun. 2014 http://www.encyclopedia.com)
As the cult of Diana formed before the advent of Christianity, She became associated with witchcraft and the witch Goddess Hecate. It is through this transformation of association from mainstream Roman religion that She and Hecate are both called Queen of the Witches. However Diana is seen as the creator and mother of all including fairies, spirits animating plants and animals, and all matter of life.
In the 1890's, Charles Leland, went through Europe sampling and gathering histories of various pagan religions. He made a book of his findings. They do not completely reflect traditional Italian Old Religion or Stregheria exactly. I feel it is his interpretation, and as well no true traditional witch would give inner circle oral tradition info to an outsider. As is well known over time witches have had tp be quite secretive and do not look kindly to the best things being written. Mostly a left over fear from centuries of prosecution and wanting to preserve their point of view as does each belief have their ways. One witch or sorceress he met was called simply Magdalena. She apparently imparted the story according to Stregheria how Diana created all things. It is called Il Vangello Della Streghe" or Gospel of the Witches. It is the myth of creation itself and of how the Fae decided on Her as their queen. For further reading please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aradia,_or_the_Gospel_of_the_Witches
There is also a Modern form of Strega, the Aridian or Arician Tradition that gives Diana Credit for having a female human Goddess daughter named Aradia. She was born in c 1313, bringing the Gospel of Diana to the witches by living among the people. She was known as the beautiful Pilgrim and the Holy Strega. She is like a female Christ figure if you will. Bringing the stories of creation, gifts of powers to those who follow Her and Her ways of Her mother, as well as bringing comfort to those about everything from birth to death.
"In 1508 C. E. the Italian Inquisitor Bernardo Rategno (having studied witch trial records preserved in the archives of the Inquisition at Como) wrote a text called the Tractatus de Strigibus. In this text he states that the "witches sect" had begun to expand 150 years earlier. This would place the "expansion" about 1350 (14th Century Italy). What caused this to happen? Well, the answer may be found in the old legend called The Legend of the Beautiful Pilgrim. This legend can be found in author Charles Leland's notes for his book: Aradia, Gospel of the witches."
According to this story, there was a young woman from Volterra who travelled across Europe, teaching the religion of old times, of Diana, the Queen of the Fairies and of the Moon, Goddess of the poor and the oppressed. She gave hope to peasants whose lives were made miserable, in service to the upper class. She taught them personal power, in an Age when the Church taught shame and sin, and servitude. Aradia returned their beautiful Pagan heritage to them, a heritage which was preserved in secret Priests and Priestesses of The Old Religion. Aradia taught harmony with Nature, and directed Her followers to merge with Nature through seasonal rites, and ritual observation of the Full Moon (times of planetary power).
In the 14th Century, Aradia taught that certain powers could be obtained through following The Old Religion. Aradia called them "gifts" because she stressed that these powers were side benefits of adhering to the Old Ways, and not the reason for becoming a witch. These gifts are commonly referred to, today, as the traditional powers of Witchcraft.
Aradia taught that a witch must observe the Seasonal Rites and the time of the Full Moon, in order to keep these powers. So upon every full moon one must do something special for Diana as well as celebrate the Sabbats. Doing these things shall entitle you to the gifts of Aradia.
For my original artwork I am presenting a few things that symbolize Diana to me as well as a witch's ladder I made in her honor. First I will review the objects and then I will reveal the ladder and its spells and different uses. The following photos are all taken by myself.
The first photo shows an onyx black cat, Diana's first earthly form. I chose an onyx cat because of its properties to shield and absorb evil, deflects negative energies. It is believed to have healing properties as well. It is said to protect the owner from black magic. For these reasons worldwide from Native Americans to ancient Greeks. And since Diana is the creator of all things, this seemed fitting that it is protective as She is to Her followers for their love.
Also in this photo is a black obsidian skull. The skull is a representative of the ancestors and a symbol to me, that I honor, remember and venerate them. I chose black Obsidian again for its properties. Obsidian is truth-enhancing. It is a protective stone that helps shield its owner from negative energies, absorbing it from the environment. It helps block psychic attacks and helps some people with depression. It encourages you to nourish your mind and learn and try new things with an open mind. I also use it as an anchor during astral travel. It promotes strength and optimism, and is a powerful stone to help you rid yourself of negative emotions. It keeps you in the glorious light by protecting and warning you protecting of bad energies, spirits and magic.
I named the cat Diana, and the Skull is called HerStory like a woman's history because for me that is what it stands for.
The second picture is of a "Walking Liberty" coin made in 2013. And while I realize Lady Liberty may not literally be Diana but they are very similar. Diana and the statue carry torches. They also are in very similar outfits for Diana's time period. Most of all it is the quote at the bottom statue about the huddled masses and Diana as being the patroness of the poor. Also I love this coin because it is round and silver also celebrating Diana as a lunar Goddess. I also chose the 2013 version as Aradia was said to have been born on August 13, 1313 so this would have been the seven hundredth anniversary of Her birth.
I know that traditional witch's ladders are used for specific prayers or meditations, and are historically made with rope or string, knots and feathers. Naturally since the advent of the rosary they take many forms. For this one I have come up with several ways I use it personally. It features an art nouveau charm of Diana, thirteen sterling silver beads for each full moon of the year, and ended with a traditional pentagram.
You are the Queen of Heaven, Queen of my life.
I dedicate myself to you, your ways and that of the Holy Strega.
As a Strega, I am yours and you are mine, you who are so divine.
You are times three, with Hecate and Persephone.
Witches three, make just one,
covers all life many and one.
Hail Moon, Silvery Mother
I love you like no other.
Grant me the Gifts of Aradia
In your silvery light.
Come and bless me with them this night!
Goddess of Light and Fairies bright.
Hear my love for you this night.
When the moon is full, I shall always be out
This fact you need never doubt.
Do my powers on me bestow.
You are at one with Hecate and Persephone.
Together you triform,
Together and perform all that your children need
For this thank you indeed!
Powers high and powers low
The loving Earth I doth know.
The Elements, the Winds, the Seasons,
Are the very reasons
I do this homage to you tonight, oh Lady of Light.
The Spring is here, your maiden She comes
Lightly Her steps are the first leaf's bud.
Gentle breeze, life doth come
Forward with its gentle might
Feel the power, the power of night.
Summer is in its bloom
The Goddess in Her fertility reigns,
Life and light have their days.
The majestic house of nature abounds,
Its bounty is so profound.
All of nature is now bestowed.
Mother Diana in all your glory
to us through Aradia revealed the story.
Witches male and female alike, we are your children
Basking in your light.
Almost time for the harvest to be done.
Your light, this world, all its might
It's your magick that let us shine bright.
Let the first harvest be brought in by your light.
wondrous and steady with your loving light
Thank you for this most wonderful gift called life.
Full Moon on which I depend
I shall be true to sister moon until the end.
Mother, sister, grandma too.
Always know I'm true to you.
Something special is coming soon.
The witch New Year is finally here.
The turn of the wheel of life, the final harvest has come.
Samhain is about, Spirits all around
Life and death look each other in the eye.
A New Year has come the last harvest of the season is nigh.
Gather round, sing and dance
The New Year is hear enjoy the ambiance.
The Ancestors speak, listen to their wisdom,
All this in the God and Goddesses' Kingdom
Full over the lands tonight.
The veil she's still thin, the trees their color have lost.
Be careful walking not to be in fright.
Winter is coming the air is crisp and thin.
Ghosts still abound, they haunt all around.
Time to lay the year to rest, we know it's for the best.
Prepare you all for Yule,
Be thankful that's the rule.
Candles and holly on the evergreens we place.
We are all in awe with the God and Goddess' beauty and grace.
We each hold candles to light up this place.
Together it should be, Nature, Animals, Plants, Earth and the whole human race.
Remember we are fortunate to live in a place of great grace.
Remember those with sadness and illness on their face.
Give kindness and love
From up above. Send the rest of the world some of your love.
Share with those who cannot have
Doing this is the greatest gift YOU will ever have.
The last is very special.
I kneel underneath her in the cold and snow.
Kept warm by my candle's glow.
I say my thanks for all you have done
It is because of you, my spark,
I feel I have won
Earth, Air, Fire and Water and me the spirit your forever daughter.
All encircled in a silver ring, surrounding everything.
We are for all eternity
For this time I shall always be
A daughter of Diana, Hecate and Persephone.
Always a Stregha, I will be born
From your love I never will be torn.
You gave me my spirit, with it I'll never quit.
Earth Air Fire and water I am the spirit your forever daughter!
There are also other uses for this bead set, such as meditation, your own personal prayers, or a bead to remind you to observe each Full Moon.
Wikipedia.org, author's unknown information on Diana http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aradia,_or_the_Gospel_of_the_Witches
http://thorns-meadow.com/bos/documents/1425.html, Site Credit name only given as Thorn.
"Diana." Myths and Legends of the World. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 15 Jun. 2014 http://www.encyclopedia.com
The Book of Ways (Volumes 1 & 2) 1981 & 1982
The Book of the Holy Strega 1981
The Teachings of the Holy Strega (1991 reprint, new Intro)
Whispers, teachings of the Old Religion of Italy 1991
The Aridian System, an introduction to Italian Witchcraft.
Return to The Goddess Gallery