The Elder Scrolls – Dibella

“…And the Caress of warm blooded Dibella
Coaxed the Blossoms to wanton Display
So that Aelfendor became a Garden
Of all the Senses.”
– Song of Hrormir

Dibella, called Queen of Heaven, Goddess of Beauty, and Lady of Love, is one of the Nine (Eight) Divines, and is worshiped throughout the Empire; although her worship is most concentrated in Cyrodiil and Skyrim, there are temples dedicated to Dibella found in the other provinces, and even where she is not held in high regard, there are those who practice her arts in secret.

Dibella has a number of cults across Tamriel, and within Cyrodiil alone there are almost a dozen that focus on different aspects – some are dedicated to women, while others cater to artists and aesthetics, and still others to erotic instruction. One follower of Dibella explained her worship as follows:

At the House of Dibella, we seek truth through beauty and the worship of the embodiment of beauty, the Goddess Dibella. Dibella smiles on those who give generously to our House. She grants charm and grace to donors. In proportion to their generosity, of course. We are always interested in new initiates to the House of Dibella, though only those possessing skills in the promotion of harmony. To be honest, very few qualify.

The prudish see worshipers of Dibella as debauched, participating in acts called lewd or indecent, and her Houses are sometimes called cults of beauty and physical relations.  In addition, Dibella herself is sometimes called “too lusty” or described with the euphemism “warm-blooded”.  And yet, to limit Dibella’s associations to the physical is to miss the point entirely – sex, certainly, can be an act of love, but it is not the entirety of it, nor does recognizing that it falls within her bailiwick negate her other aspects.

Dibella’s decree to man and mer, as noted in Ten Commands of the Nine Divines is “Open your hearts to the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love.”  I believe these things have merit; what’s more precious and rewarding than true friendship?  And yet, even though I see the benefit of living according to Dibella’s teachings, and even though I am greatly fond of the physical aspects that are sometimes included, I am not one of her worshipers, nor have I considered becoming one – there are other deities in my life that inhabit, for lack of a better term, these pieces of life for me.

Despite not being one of Dibella’s faithful, I have thought about how she could be worshiped so far from Tamriel.  The building of connections with others and the strengthening of community are hers, as is the cherishing of those we care for.  Those who care for others might look on Dibella as a patron; examples of this include health care, philanthropic/humanitarian causes, and sex work.

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5 responses to “The Elder Scrolls – Dibella

  1. There is something wonderfully wild and terrifying about Dibellan worship of the Reachmen. I love the echoes of love and beauty and procreation, turned bloody and earthy. Ever since originally doing the quests in Markarth, I’ve always thought of Dibella too as a patron of the disenfranchised, especially native peoples. Whereas Mara opens her arms and offers comfort, Dibella plunges her hands into the hearts of her worshipers to transform them. Dibella is love with teeth.

    (I love all of the “heterodoxic” versions of the Eight/Nine Divines; Kyne “versus” Kynareth is a great example of this.)

    • I know! I didn’t get into the Reachmen and Dibella because I was going for more of an easily-accessed post on Dibella, but I think the relationship the Forsworn have with her is fascinating. It also gets me thinking about hagravens – they should be followers of Hircine, but I think Dibella plays a part there as well.

  2. It always bothers me when people make sex out to be something unclean and distasteful. I think there is a lot of beauty and joy to be found in acts of love between two people, and appreciate deities who include physical love as well as spiritual love.

    • It is frustrating. I try to make it a point to make my own opinion known and play the “whatever works for you” card as long as no one slut shames me.

      Trouble is, a lot of people don’t even realize they’re doing it, and get upset when it is pointed out.

  3. Pingback: The Elder Scrolls – Moth | Fluid Morality

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