Bendis was the Great Goddess of gynocratic Lemnos and Thrace, where women worked the land and tended the sheep and cattle. She was called the fierce Huntress of the Two Spears. She provided the religious underpinning for the Lemnosian women's revolt in which all the men of the island were slain. Her name means "to tie". In Her image She is depicted holding a branch of a tree which is thought to grant passage to the underworld.
It is told that Her women wore lion pelts and fox skins. Those who worshipped Her did so in Her Sacred Groves. To the Greeks, Bendis was the same Thracian Artemis worshipped by the Amazons as Tauropolis and She was closely aligned with Cybele and Hecate. As Hecate, She was Moon and Night; Earth and Nature. She had great power over heaven and earth. She is also identified with the Brauronian Artemis and Rhea.
Her worship was introduced into Attica by the Thracians and was so favored that She was celebrated in a ceremonial in Athens which included grand processions and races and was called Bendideia.
Many thanks to my friend Mary B. Kelly for sending these to me!
All of the following goddesses are associated with Bendis as She evolved through time:
Cybele, "She of the Ax", the Phygian Mother-Goddess, worshipped by the Amazons of the Thermodon as Tauropolis and by the Cretans as Rhea. As Kubala-Cybele, She was Mother of Gods, Men, Mountains, and Lions. The Great Mother was worshipped everywhere in Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor, preferably in caves, sometimes in the form of meteoric stones, Her worship apparently dating to the early Stone Age, before the advent of anthropomorphized deities.
Artemis of Ephesus
This Artemis is known as the "Queen Bee Goddess." An ancient goddess associated with knives, swords, axes, and bees. Her image is that of a female body covered with rounded mounds which are thought by some to be female breasts, and by others as beehives.
She is the Tauric Artemis. She was known in Crimea, Attica, and on the Island of Lemnos. Most manifestations of Artemis are associated with forest and wild things and as such She is not actually a war goddess, but is distinctly a huntress. Historically, She has been associated with bulls.
She is the Dark Aspect of the Moon, the Death Goddess, Goddess of the Underworld. Known as the Goddess of the Crossroads. She is associated with change and transformation. As a Triple Goddess, She is Phoebe (birth in the Sky), Artemis (life on the Earth), and Hecate (death below ground).