In nearly every Ancient Culture that I can think of, we have a strong belief of some sort of, “Sacred Grove”or “Garden”. which belonged to or was heavily linked to the Goddess.
Even in Christianity, we have the same belief showing it’s reflection through the, “Garden of Eden” and “the Apple”. in which Eve ate. That bit of fruit which symbolically enlightened all of humanity.
Although in Christianity, that enlightenment was a Curse, that all of Women would suffer till the ends of time. Being naked, ignorant and helpless seems to be what the early Church Fathers wanted to make of the world—and so became the Dark Ages. This isn’t a rant or an attack but rather a desire to show you the link of this Garden and often, Apple through various Cultures. It’s a repeated bit of information that survives time and civilizations, changing only a bit through Goddess name and shadow of details, until it’s unhinged completely by a very dominate and calculated religion of catastrophic, organized means. I say catastrophic because nothing quite diminished the Goddess Faith quite like organized Religion did.
The reason I bring this up now, we see a hint of the Garden in today’s Ancient Calendar through the eyes of Rome, who once placed a lot of emphasis on Lake Nemi, which was known to be the Sacred Grove of Diana.
Diana had quite a few names. Diana of the Wild Wood, Goddess of the Moon, the Hunt, and even Childbirth. The Lake was considered or actually, called, her Mirror. Her Cult was mainly based here and depending on how you slice it, or your opinion that is, sometimes considered to be a bloody one.
You see, to be High Priest of Diana’s followers, was a temporary position and only those who were of good health could hold it. Inside Diana’s sacred grove stood a very large oak. No one was allowed to harm this tree except, a slave. If a slave managed to make it to the tree, they could break off a branch and if they managed to do that, they had the right to challenge the High Priest—who, had to then defend his position of High Priest. If the slave managed to kill him, then that slave became High Priest.
Many Myths are told of Lake Nemi and many are steeped in blood, however, it should be noted that no archeological evidence has been found—that I know of or the sources I am reading—making them true.
Today, Rome had an observance for her.
Today also checks off the End of Dog Days, which brings a creeping end, officially, to the hottest days of the year.
And in Welsh lore, we see a festival for Arianrhod. This Goddess and her past does not reflect the silver spoon variety.
The King Math ap Marthonwy actually kicks this tale off with his need of a “foot holder”. This custom said the King had to have one that was a Virgin, who actually had to sit wherever he went and “hold” his feet while he wasn’t at War.
Arianrhod was the daughter of the Great Mother Goddess Don and sister to Gifaethwy. While at Court, Gifaethwy and his brother devised a plan to rid of Math so that Gifaethy could quench his uncontrollable lust concerning King Math’s current foot holder. One Math was gone, he raped the King’s foot holder brining an end to her virginal title. I can’t imagine that this went over well with the King, who suddenly had need for another one. Legend has it that if he didn’t keep his feet up while not at war, he would die.
The King turned his two nephews into a pair of mated animals as punishment and then marries his raped foot holder to help ease and make right her shame.
This, however, presents a new problem? Who could be the new foot holder? The old one suggests, Arianrhod, who willingly stepped up to the plate, proclaiming she was a Virgin and would make up for what her brother was accused of by assuming the position of “foot holder” herself. But saying one was a Virgin was not enough and having a so-called Physician confirm it obviously wasn;t either.
Magic came into play as Arianrhod was forced to step over a special wand belonging to the King, which would tell whether she was a true Virgin or not.
Unfortunately, that backfired. When Arianrhod stepped over the magic wand, she gave birth to two sons. This creates a whole nother chapter to our Welsh Soap Opera, which we may save for another time.