4/28/2008

Goddess of the week - Tanfana

Name: Tanfana/Tamfana/Tan
Location: Western Germany or The Netherlands
Sphere of influence: The moon/motherhood
Famous statues/portraits: None

Tan is probably the Germanic name of the goddess and Tanfana/Tamfana is the Latinized version of the same.

The historical sources for the veneration of this goddess is rather scarce, like many other cases from this time and place. She is mentioned very briefly indeed by Tacitus in his Annales (Book 1). She was the main-goddess for the Marsi tribe and they had a temple erected to her honour between the rivers of Ems and Lippe. When the Romans attacked the tribe, and did what they could to annihilate it, they burnt the temple down.

This means that we do not know much about her, but according to later folklore (which can be a dangerous things and therefore should be used with caution) she was at the beginning a goddess of the moon who married and then became a mother goddess.

Her main feast was in the autumn, either on September 27 or October 28, when huts made of leaves were erected and it was forbidden to draw arms. It was either connected with the Celtic celebration of Samhain, or the autumnal equinox.

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