"Hunting dogs," Greek name for the Scythian tribes who worshipped Artemis as the Divine Huntress. The name Alan still carried the original Greek meaning of a hunting dog when it became popular among the Scots during the Middle Ages. Artemis was often called the Great Bitch, and her hunting priestesses were the "sacred bitches" who chased, killed, and consumed boar-gods and stag-gods like Phorcis or Actaeon. Thus, to Christians, "son of a bitch" meant a devil worshipper-that is, a pagan devotee of the Goddess.
Ever since the invention of the bow, whenever that might have been, arrows have been used as sacred symbols. Arrows carried by the Goddess Artemis represented her control of the hunt and of wild animals.
Amazonian Moon Goddess worshipped
at Ephesus under the Latin name of Diana or "Goddess Anna." She was
called Mother of Creatures. Her image at Ephesus had a whole torso
covered with breasts,
to show that she nurtured all living things. Yet she was also the Huntress, killer of the very creatures she brought forth. In Sparta her name was given as Artamis, "Cutter," or "Butcher."
Artemis's myths extend back to Neolithic sacrificial customs. At Taurus her holy women, under their high priestess Iphigeneia, sacrificed all men who landed on their shores, nailing the head of each victim to a cross. At Hierapolis, the Goddess's victims were hung on artificial trees in her temple. In Attica, Artemis was ritually propitiated with drops of blood drawn from a man's neck by a sword, a symbolic remnant of former beheadings. Human victims were later replaced by bulls, hence the Goddess's title Tauropolos, "bull slayer."
Her Huntress aspect was another form of the destroying Crone or waning moon. Like Hecate, she led the nocturnal hunt; her priestesses wore the masks of hunting dogs. Alani, "hunting dogs," was the Greek name for Scythians who revered Artemis. The mythological hunting dogs who tore the Horned God Actaeon to pieces were really Artemis's sacred bitches.
Classic mythographers pretended
that Actaeon committed the sin of seeing the chaste virgin Goddess in her
bath, and she condemned him out of offended modesty. Actually, the
bath, the nakedness, and the tearing to pieces of the sacred king were
all part of the drama. In barbarian Germany, the Goddess's
ritual bath could be witnessed only by "men doomed to die." Actaeon's
deerskin and antlers marked him as the pre-Hellenic stag king, reigning
over the sacred hunt for half a Great Year before he was torn to pieces
and replaced by his tanist (co-king). In the first century A.D. Artemis's
priestess still pursued and killed a man dressed as a stag on the Goddess's
mountain. Her groves became the "deer gardens" once the scene of