Romanian is a Romance language, closely related to Latin. After Roman authorities withdrew from what is now modern Romania, the Romanized people speaking that Romance language were besieged by waves of Slavs and Magyars. Their response was to head for the hills, ascending ever higher into the Transylvanian mountains where they could preserve their culture in isolation. The goddess Diana traveled with them.
Diana, the Forest Goddess, was the presiding spirit of Transylvania, the land beyond the forest. Gana is the Transylvanian manifestation of Diana, the regional pronunciation of her name. After Transylvania converted to Christianity, Gana became reclassified as a Queen of Witches. She is often now described with fear and dread, as if she were a Demon, but this is a Christian perspective. If you are afraid of her, however, allegedly carrying a piece of linden wood serves to counteract and keep her away although it’s unclear why a forest goddess would fear a piece of wood.
Gana is attended by an entourage of Fairies and witches. Modern witches should feel welcome to join them. Gana is at the peak of her power in springtime.
A Transylvanian legend retold by author and folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland in his book, Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling, says that anyone who drank mead from Gana’s wild ox drinking horn would die. This legend may be propaganda intended to discourage Walpurgis Night revels, but it may also indicate vestigial memories of human sacrifice or of Gana’s role as a psychopomp.
She’s described as fierce and beautiful.
May Eve (Walpurgis Eve), the night of April 30
- Diana: Ielle;
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.