Dione, water goddess of fertility and divination, is a shadowy figure in Greek mythology: she’s Zeus’ first wife. Dione and Zeus presided over the Oracle of Dodona in northwestern Greece, described by Herodotus as the oldest Hellenic oracle. Scholars now believe it to be pre-Hellenic and prehistoric. Although Zeus and Dione were venerated there together as a couple, some theorize that Dione was there first, only later joined by Zeus.
Dione is the wife left behind. It’s theorized that the Hellenic people first emerged in the Dodona region. Zeus then led them through Greece, from Thessaly on to Athens and Crete. Dione stayed behind in Dodona while Zeus married other goddesses, most notably Hera.
Dione is a water spirit. She presided over the freshwater springs at Dodona while Zeus delivered oracles from its oak groves. Although Dodona is now almost universally described solely as Zeus’ oracle, Dione delivered prophesies, too.
There are different versions of her parentage:
• Hesiod describes Dione as a daughter of Oceanus.
• Followers of Orpheus said Dione was a daughter of Uranus.
Although the most famous myth regarding Aphrodite’s origins describes her as a dramatically conceived daughter of Uranus, other myths describe her as the daughter of Zeus and Dione. In Homer’s Iliad, when Aphrodite is wounded on the battlefield, she runs to Dione for comfort, sinking onto her lap. Aphrodite was sometimes called Dione, and it’s possible that Dione herself may lurk beneath some aspects of Aphrodite.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.