From the Temple at Ephesus
In this depiction, the hands of the
Goddess form the gesture for bestowing worldly and spiritual blessings. This
many-breasted Diana is symbolic of a mother's nurturing bosom and some modern
day scholars say these orbs are fruit or eggs, denoting a fertile harvest.
Romans knew her as Diana, the Greeks as Artemis,
she is the twin sister of Apollo and daughter of Zeus and Leto. Forever an
eternally youthful virgin, Artemis the untamed girl was a nature spirit of wild
places and wild things. In this depiction from her temple at Ephesus, Diana is
multi-breasted as a sign of a nurturing Goddess.
Statues show her gently touching animals. She is crowned with the Goddess’s
sacred vessel, and the lunar disk makes a halo around her head.
Diana can be seen as a metaphor for the Earth herself, whose breasted mountains
and secret, sacred places in which all living creatures dwell.
Even in the patriarchal era, her worship was so strong that her temple at
Ephesus was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Her temple was
one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Ancient worship focused on the
By Roman times she was called Diana; yet at Ephesus in Anatolia, her worship was
most often under the names Mother of Animals, Many-Breasted Artemis. Columnar
and wearing a unique ritual garment adorned with animals, her crown and staring
gaze incorporates Astarte,
while her moon disc and horned beasts evoke Diana.
Her temple, which was built by Amazons (undoubtedly matrilineal priestesses),
was one of the wonders of the ancient world and a goal of devout pilgrimage.
In AD 380 her shrine was rededicated to Mary, whose old age and death was placed
at Ephesus by Church legend. Note the similarity of posture, palms bestowing
blessing, with countless images of Mary, Kwan Yin, Tara and other Goddesses.
More Diana here