[After looking over and updating my list of goddesses and divine female figures to cover in this series, I see that there are many more than I had expected...around 40 more, in fact! Thus, I'll be attempting to do about three or four a day until the end of the month...]
The goddess who probably has one of the closest direct connections to Antinous is Artemis or Diana, particularly under the Roman form of her cultus at the site of Lanuvium, adjacent to Lake Nemi, the lake known as “Diana’s Mirror” and the site at which was the grove of Diana Nemorensis, about which Sir James George Frazer based most of his ideas on fertility cults and annual kingship that was the basis of The Golden Bough. The two deities shared a temple and a collegium dedicated to their worship at Lanuvium, and a relief depicting Antinous as Silvanus was also found at the site (though possibly not connected to the temple); as Silvanus was chaste with women, and also a hunting deity, the pairing of Silvanus and Diana would seem logical.
The site of Ephesus in Asia Minor, however, that was the center of the cult of Artemis of Ephesus in her peculiar form covered in elliptical objects (breasts? bull testicles?), was also one that was important to Hadrian, and where there is some evidence of Antinous’ cultus, including in Antinous’ possible syncretism to Androklos. The fact that Androklos hunted a boar to found the city in his legend, and that Boatwright suggests that the boar hunt on the Arch of Constantine is paired with the sacrifice to Diana, is also suggestive in its possibilities (though others suggest it was the bear hunt that belongs with Diana).
Artemis was a chaste goddess of the wild woodlands, and was associated with Arcadia, Sparta (Artemis Orthia, who received particular sacrifices and caused the youthful warriors of the community to be whipped or flogged before her statue), and several other locations, both as a protectress and as a huntress. She was connected to hounds as well, since hounds were essential to hunting as practiced by the Greeks and Romans. She was often accompanied by nymphs, who had to be chaste to be in her retinue; the failure to be so caused Kallisto (who was turned into a bear) and many others to be excluded from her band; the same was true of the Arcadian ancestress Phylonome, who gave birth to the twins Parrhasios and Lykastos after she was raped by Ares (not unlike the tale of Romulus and Remus being born of Mars by a Vestal Virgin). While she did seem to demand chastity from men from her nymphs, she didn’t seem to mind inter-female dalliances–in fact, in some versions of the legend, the only reason Kallisto submitted to Zeus’ seduction was because he came to her in the form of Artemis.
Artemis did favor some males, though, both in her cult and in myth. At the shrine of Diana Nemorensis, the yearly king was, in essence, her consort. Artemis’ favor to males in myth was for figures like Orion, and for Hippolytus, about whom Michael Routery (poet and Mystes Antínoou) wrote an excellent piece in the devotional anthology for Artemis published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. These “unconventional males” seem to have been granted her favor, and it is likely that the same was true of Antinous. Those that lusted after the goddess, however, were not dealt with as kindly, as the tale of Actaeon/Aktaion demonstrates: after seeing the goddess bathe and lusting after her, he was turned into a stag and his own hounds devoured him. (As he was one of several cousins of Dionysos to meet such a horrible end, it’s perhaps not surprising…)
Artemis and Diana are great, multi-faceted figures who were clearly important to Hadrian, Antinous, and many of the ancient cultists of Antinous. Further, modern feminists and pagans often take Artemis/Diana as a kind of queer figure, a lesbian goddess beyond compare, and she certainly seems to fit this description in certain respects; this includes Dianic practitioners, one of whom is the founder of Come As You Are Coven, Rabbit, with whom the Ekklesía Antínoou did Communalia a few years ago. We celebrate the Natalis Dianae, as reckoned in Rome and Lanuvium and by the collegia of Antinous and Diana in Lanuvium, yearly on August 13 (a date on which Castor and Vertumnus were also celebrated in Rome).
Khaire Artemis! Ave Diana! Ave Antinoe! Khaire Antinoe!