November 29, 2012

Goddesses of Childbirth: Jana/Diana


Most religions have a god or goddess that presides over childbirth.  Childbirth was, and sometimes, still is a dangerous endeavor so having the gods' favor and protection is always a good thing.  Today we're going to feature Jana or Diana (Roman/Greek), the goddess of doors, thresholds, the Moon and childbirth. 

Diana goddess of childbirth

Diana is a complicated goddess as she is associated with both virginity and childbirth.  I prefer to think it is her connection with doors and thresholds that lends her protection to childbirth.  Childbirth can easily be seen as a doorway from the spiritual to the physical plane of existence.  There is a wonderful poem that I read often as I prepared for birth and afterwards felt the truth of it:

Giving birth is priestess work; it requires a woman to pass through a painful and dangerous initiation in which she journeys to the threshold between worlds and risks her own life to help another soul cross over. - Jalaja Bonheim

Diana talisman
If you are pregnant, consider asking for Diana's protection and assistance during your birth.  Wearing one of her symbols may also give you a meditative focus during labor.  The key and the metal silver are two of her symbols as mentioned by William Thomas and Kate Pavit in their work "The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems":

The Key Talisman was a very important one with both Greeks and Romans. It is the joint symbol of Janus (or Apollo) and Jana, his wife (Diana, or the Moon) ... Diana, or Jana, his wife, presided over doors and thresholds and was the special protectress of childbirth, and as keeper of the Gate of Heaven held the key of light and life.  Some of these ancient key Amulets were made in silver (Diana's own metal) 

Do you have a patron goddess for your birth?  How do you honor her?

Text: The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems, by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, [1922]


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