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Greek Gods and Goddess: Leto

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In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria, and the mother, by Zeus, of Apollo and Artemis (Letoides,) Leto conceives after Zeus sees by chance how beautiful she is, and seduces her. But this comes to the attention of the ever jealous and spiteful wife Hera, and as we all know there is no greater wrath than that of a woman spurned. So, Hera wishing to avert the birth instructs mother earth to deny her any place to give birth, whether on any landmass or island, but eventually Leto finds a floating island, and as it was not attached directly to mother earth it could not be denied her.

Further insights

It would seem that once Artemis and Apollo were born, Leto would play little, if any part in any myth. But there some interesting points to note.

It would seem that as Leto’s mother Phoebe, who was certainly a Moon goddess, that Leto was also, that Phoebe consort in Latin at least (as Polus) relates either to the Pole or Axis of the heavens, maybe even the Pole Star of that period, it would make some sense, especially as her Sister Asteria was a Star goddess, and her brother Lelantos seems to be either, the air, or wind, or even the dark matter of space, for his name relates to him being unseen, thus the invisible one supports the theory. But we can go much further in are enquiries. Apollo, who while being a renowned figure, in Greek mythology, somewhat baffles, those who try and explain him fully. So, we need to delve a little deeper into his being.


Apollo was credited as god of prophecy, poetry truth, medicine and healing, sunlight, music (Hermes made the first lyre for Apollo, which was like a small harp, the main difference being it was played with a plectrum like a guitar, rather than being plucked using the fingers,) as well as being a shepherd and defender of livestock. But he also had a darker side, being able to cause deadly pestilences or ill-health.

What’s in a name?

Apollo had a great many epithets, (words added to someone’s name to signify a particular knowledge, power etc.) but I will stick to those which will be of help sorting the present matter out.

Apollo Lycegenes. Born of a wolf, or later, born in Lycia, (as Lycia signifies Wolf). Leto Apollo’s mother was associated with the region, but whether this was because she was matched with a figure already known to them, or whether it was Apollo’s association with wolves, indeed whether the region had an abundance of wolves, or they were associated with them because they were considered, a sea fearing nation, of robbers and pirates (sea wolves) who knows, but I have more to relate on this matter.

Apollo Lycoctonus. A dual word signifying, wolf, and to kill.

In reality Apollo is a Greek version of the Egyptian god Horus, and as such a child of Gemini, just as Romulus and Remus and Castor and Polydeuces, the Roman Castor and Pollux, and the Biblical Benjamin, son of Jacob, and David. Romulus and Remus were suckled by a wolf, and Moses wrote under the guise of Jacob.

‘Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning he devours the prey,
in the evening he divides the plunder.

The sign of Gemini is the true birth sign of the messiah, and Moses says as himself of Benjamin.

‘let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves
rests between his shoulders,’

Thus, we have,

Apollo Aegletes. Light of the sun.

Apollo Maponus (Celtic). Son of, the Sun.

Apollo Phanaeus. Bringing or giving light, the shedding of light.

Apollo Vindonnus (Celtic). Healer, especially of the eyes.

Isaiah. 42-6.

‘I the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand, I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free the captives from prison and to release those who sit in darkness.’

And, Isaiah. 6-9. He said,

‘Go and tell this people:
“‘be ever hearing but never understanding;
be ever seeing,
but never perceiving.’

Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Apollo Acestor. Healer.

Apollo Virotutis (Celtic). Benefactor of mankind.

And Hermes made the Lyre for Apollo, and David (later king David) was the greatest Harp player in the Bible; he was also a shepherd and defender of flocks. Did he not say to Saul when he questioned David’s ability to take on Goliath?

But David said to Saul. “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by the hair, struck it and killed it.

And Caster and Polydeuces/ Pollux were seen as great Horseman, who rode White horses. Thus, we have,

Apollo Atepomarus (Celtic) ‘the great horseman, or possessor of a great horse.’

And Caster and Polydeuces we said to be born from an egg laid by Leda, after she was seduced by Zeus in the form of a Swan. And most accounts agree that Leto found the barren floating island of Delos, still bearing its archaic name of Asterios, which was neither mainland nor a real island, and gave birth there, promising the island wealth from the worshippers who would flock to the obscure birthplace of the splendid god who was to come. The island was surrounded by swans.

Leto revisited

A number of explanations have been given to explain the origin of the Leto’ name. Older sources speculated that the name is related to the Greek for oblivion and lotus (the fruit that brings oblivion to those who eat it, but Horus was sometimes as was his supposed father Osiris depicted being born out a lotus flower, Lily). It might then mean ‘the hidden one’ (remember the words of Moses concerning Benjamin, ‘for he shields (conceals) him all day long.) It is reported in one of the many myths concerning the contentions of Horus and Seth, that after Horus had lost his temper with Isis and cut off her head, he placed it under his cloak and ran away with it. Seth was sent to retrieve it, but on finding Horus asleep, he pounced on him, pinned him down and gouged out his eyes, and buried them on the mountain side. The eyeballs turned into bulbs and grew into lotus flowers. (see SV, file on Egyptian myths part 4. The Hypocrite.) Later Hathor found the blind Horus and restored his eyes, these were then called Wadjet= healed eyes. Horus was also worshipped under the epithet, Horus- Khentykhai, depicted as a falcon-headed man holding two eyes representing the sun and the moon. The Greeks called the Cobra goddess Wadjet, Edjo, amongst other duties Wadjet was the protector of kings and women in childbirth, and is connected by some to Leto. In later sources Leto is traditionally derived from Lycian Lada, (wife), as Lada’s and Leto’s earliest cult was centred in Lycia. The Lycian word Lada, may also be the origin of the Greek name Leda, adding to idea that Apollo was a child of Gemini.


In Apollo’s case his twin is Artemis, and it was said she was born literally instantly, that is to say she like her mother Leto, and Leto’s mother Phoebe they were all titles and manifestations of the Moon. Thus, we are also told that this a divine birth confirming a dynasty, and as such has to be witnessed by certain goddesses, thus we have Dione, (sky- heaven) Rhea (earth) Ichnaea (justice? See SV. Encyclopaedic dictionary of mythical gods.) Themis (nature, divine law) Amphitrite (sea) and Leto was aided by Artemis in the role of midwife during Apollo’s birth.

Leto by the Romans is generally referred to as Latona, another Title for the Moon. While there are short myths concerning both, they are of little help, and do not change anything already explained.

Herodotus’s imput.

However, Herodotus, the Greek historian in ‘The Histories, informs us of some very interesting things. He reports that the Egyptians equated the goddess Isis, with the Greek, Demeter, also that they held festivals in honour of Artemis, Athena, Leto and Ares. He also tells us that they had many sites of Oracles- places where divination was practised, these included centres for Herakles, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Ares and Zeus, but the one held highest in esteem was that of Leto.

Legitimacy of Herodotus’s work?

Much of Herodotus work is considered questionable, but it ought to be recognised that he was not so much a historian, but more a reporter, relaying what he was able to learn from those he conversed with. But one thing is for sure, the Greeks were in Egypt, whether merely trading and later living, long before he arrived, and thus a certain amount of cultural exchange, in ideas, religion and more would have taken place. And Herodotus visited Egypt at least a hundred and thirty years before Alexander the Great conquered Egypt.

Herodotus the Egyptian connection.

Herodotus reports to us that the temple of Leto, along with temples to Apollo and Artemis were to found on the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile, and he considers them to be quite marvellous. He then tells us of another almost as impressive thing; apparently, nearby in large lake is an island called Chemmis (khemmis) which floats, although he quite rightly doubts this, however, he tells us that upon it was a great temple dedicated to Apollo, which contained three altars, and that Leto was charged by Isis to look after and hide her son Apollo there, whom she conceived through union with Dionysus. And that Egyptians in their tongue call Apollo, Horus, and Demeter they refer to as Isis.

This is assimilation between the two religions is pure genius.

The Egyptian goddess Isis, with her husband Osiris is invited to a feast of Celebration in honour of Osiris’s first twenty-eight years of prosperous kingship of all Earth. But it is a deadly trap, planned and set by Seth, his twin brother who had ruled the entire world before his arrival. The Sun god had taken Seth’s crown and placed it on Osiris’s head, while he slept, because he was so pleased with his new son. And worse, Osiris was also given Isis, Seth’s wife’s sister, who was the most beautiful women, his coveting eyes had ever seen. He was determined to kill Osiris and regain his crown, and take Isis as his wife. All went well, and when it was near time for the fatal blow, Seth enticed Isis into his vineyard to help him select the best wines for his guests, as they had drunk all the wine he had put out for them, and were becoming restless.

While she was away, Seth’s accomplices nailed Osiris inside a coffin, and while Isis was tasting the great selection of wines, he had brought before her, he slipped away, disposed of the body and returned, to find her totally drunk, and he raped her.

Early the next day Isis awoke, totally unaware of what had happened, she made her way from the vineyard to Seth’s palace, and asked him where Osiris was. But he said he thought they had left together when all the other guests left. She left to search for Osiris, but despite even getting her sister Nephthys to help, she could not find him.

But in truth, Isis was pregnant, if Seth had known or found this out, he would have sought out the child and killed it, because if the child was Osiris’s then he would claim his father’s crown, and if it was his, his own son would take his place, sooner or later. But he knew nothing, and Isis had spread her wings and remained in the sky looking for Osiris and well out of the reach of Seth.

The Egyptians pretended that Horus was conceived by magical powers, and born and grew without Seth’s knowledge. The Greeks had Apollo born on a magic floating island.

And the Egyptians equated Seth with Dionysus, the god of grape harvest, and connected to all those things that happen, when people drink too much alcohol (wine) and lose all their inhibitions.

Thus, we have,

Isis - Demeter/ Leto

Osiris - Zeus

Seth - Dionysus.

Horus - Apollo.

In reality they are the same myths, based on the same reasoning, as the program said, ‘only the names are changed to protect the innocent.’ They should have added, and to confuse.

Ichnaea, the snake charmer and personification of Leto

Ichnaea, who appears very rarely in myth at least not by that name, is recorded as one of the goddess’ who act as witnesses to the birth of Apollo by Leto. Some think she may be associated with, Themis, or Nemesis, thus also, with Adrasteia. But I am reminded, that that Hera, wife of Zeus sent two great snakes to kill Herakles, and his twin brother Iphicles, because Herakles was conceived by Alcemene, a mortal woman, when Zeus, disguised as her husband visited her and laid with her. Herakles strangled the snakes with ease, and in one myth Apollo also kills a python that protects the spring by the Delphic Oracle. And further that the Egyptian god Ra (also called Re, and Atum) had to turn himself into a giant Ichneumon (the Egyptian mongoose, often referred to as Pharaoh’s cat) when attacked by a snake, to destroy it. So, it would seem to me plausible that Ichnaea, was there to ensure Apollo was not attacked by any snake Hera might send to destroy Apollo, who like Herakles was the result of one of Zeus’ many affairs. Ichnaea- Ichneumon? And the Egyptian goddess Wadjet, we are told by Herodotus was said to be the same as the Greek goddess Leto, and at least one statue of an Ichneumon dedicated to Wadjet has been found (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore). And Herakles, Hercules, has been linked to the Gemini twins, for they were also, one immortal and one mortal, as Herakles and Iphicles.


Final words

Leto, was a moon goddess, as was Isis of the Egyptians, as sacred birth mothers both had connections to Virgo, and Isis brought forth Horus, and Leto brought forth Apollo, both were sons of Gemini, and both were seen as messiah types, and Mary brought forth Jesus. All premonitions of the same event.


See Secret Vault file on the Egyptian myths, on Gemini, for even more insights and information. See also, file on David and Goliath, and SV, dictionary of mythical gods for information on other gods mentioned, and other files.

This is her one active mythic role: once Apollo and Artemis are grown, Leto withdraws, to remain a dim and benevolent matronly figure upon Olympus, her part already played. In Roman mythology, Leto's Roman equivalent is Latona, a Latinization of her name, influenced by Etruscan Letun.

Leto was identified from the fourth century onwards with the principal local mother goddess of Anatolian Lycia, as the region became Hellenized. In Greek inscriptions, the Letoides are referred to as the "national gods" of the country. Her sanctuary, the Letoon near Xanthos predated Hellenic influence in the region, however, and united the Lycian confederacy of city-states. The Hellenes of Kos also claimed Leto as their own. Another sanctuary, more recently identified, was at Oenoanda in the north of Lycia. There was, of course, a further Letoon at Delos.

Leto's primal nature may be deduced from the natures of her father and mother, who may have been Titans of the sun and moon. Her Titan father is called "Coeus," and though H. J. Rose considers his name and nature uncertain, he is in one Roman source given the name Polus, which may relate him to the sphere of heaven from pole to pole. The name of Leto's mother, "Phoebe" (“pure, bright"), is identical to the epithet of her son Apollo, throughout Homer.