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.