Diana was the perpetual virgin goddess of the hunt, associated with wild animals and forests. She was also a moon goddess, and an emblem of chastity. Oak groves were especially sacred to her. She was praised for her strength, athletic grace, beauty and her hunting skills. With two other Roman deities she made up a trinity: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.
Diana was worshipped in a temple on the Aventine Hill and at the city of Ephesus where stood the Temple of Artemis. Diana was regarded with great reverence by lower-class citizens and slaves. Slaves could receive asylum in her temples. She was worshipped at a festival on August 13.
Diana remains an important figure in some modern mythologies. In Freemasonry, she is considered a symbol of imagination, sensibility, and the creative insanity of poets and artists. Those who believe that prehistoric peoples lived in matriarchal societies consider Diana to have originated in a mother goddess worshipped at that time, and she is still worshiped today by women practicing the religion known as Dianic Wicca.
Foliate Head images were central to the ancient Celtic cultures of pre-Christian Europe and symbolized fertility, prophecy, inspiration and regeneration. By 400 BCE such heads were being carved in stone, showing leaf foliage sprouting from the mouth. This art form spread into the Romanesque and Gothic chapels and cathedrals, and is viewed by scholars as the resurfacing of Druidic tree worship and Dionysiac mystery themes originally suppressed by the church. Green Man is the husbandman/caretaker of nature, the male counterpart of the Great Mother Goddess venerated since neolithic times. (Also see: Aulnay)
Lord of Grain, Leaf and Vine. Partaking of his symbolic flesh and blood (bread and wine) was central to the Eleusinian mystery cult. His annual worship is far more ancient, however, and probably involved actual human blood sacrifice to insure crop fertility. He carries the thyrsus or phallic wand, is escorted by maenad priestesses (often in wine-induced frenzy) and rides upon the beast associated with Pan , the panther, or wears a panther skin. Many of his facets (son of Zeus, virgin-born, died then resurrected, etc.) predate and were subsumed by Christianity. Reverenced especially in Crete, Greece and Jerusalem, he is the primal archetype of self-sacrificing masculine divinity. Here he is depicted as standing kouros, or Divine Youth. As Dionysos triumphant he rides upon a lion, libation cup held aloft and accompanied by frolicking satyr. Bacchus was the Roman name for the Greek god Dionysos.
Durga Jagadhatri is the Great Mother Goddess for Hindus. She is identical with the western Juno, Queen of Mothers. This most powerful ancient goddess archetype, inheritor of the attributes of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, has been portrayed in mid-east iconography riding upon her lion (or tiger: both are symbols of queenly power) since prehistoric times. She is the personification of Shakti, the creative force. She offers the blessing mudra (sacred gesture) of protection to all mothers and children as she defeats the destructive elephant demon Mahisa.