- Come to me, Dibella, for without you, my words must lie dull and leaden without the gilding of grace and sagacity to enchant the reader's ear and eye. — Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition
Dibella, also known as the "Passion Dancer", "Our Blessed Lady", and simply, "the Lady", is the Goddess of Beauty, Love, and Affection. She is also acclaimed as the Lady of Love, Beauty, Art, and Music. Dibella is the Queen of Heaven, and is one of the Divines.
According to the creation myth presented in the Anuad, Dibella and the aedra (gods) were born from the mingled blood of Anu and Padomay, the good and evil primal forces, respectively, and therefore have a capacity for both good and evil, in contrast to the daedra, who were born solely from the blood of Padomay. The formation of Akatosh, the God of Time, from the mingled blood of the brothers Anu and Padomay facilitated the formation of Dibella and the gods as they learnt to structure themselves. Shezarr's Song, a Cyrodiilic creation myth, acclaims the creation of Mundus to the sacrifice of Dibella and the gods whose sacrifices were embodied as eponymous planets. Dibella and the gods were subsequently bound to the Earth Bones as a result. Followers of the cult known as the Mythic Dawn deem Dibella and other gods as false gods and claim she and others betrayed Lorkhan.
Dibella, as Goddess of Beauty, is the embodiment of beauty and teaches mortals to seek truth through beauty and worship. Those who follow the teachings of Dibella, and propagate beauty and promote harmony, are granted charm and grace. The Goddess teaches that mortals should give themselves to love, and commands them to open their hearts to "the noble secrets of art and love. Treasure the gifts of friendship. Seek joy and inspiration in the mysteries of love". Dibella holds no limit on the number of lovers one may have, but demands focus on the quality of the essence of love, not the quantity. She teaches that, "No matter the seed, if the shoot is nurtured with love, will not the flower be beautiful?", and blesses the love of those which is pure and untainted.
Dibella discourages relations with undead, such as vampires, and concurs with the teachings of Arkay that vampires have impure spirits. The Goddess makes her will known to mortals through her sybil, who is revealed to her priesthood via the ceremony known as the Exalted Protocol of the Dibellan Sybil. The ceremony is known only to the priesthood of Dibella, and is kept secret from the general population, including acolytes of other Divines. Dibella is known as the Divine who "pays Men in Moans". Followers of Dibella are known to practice the Dibellan Arts and bestow a Mark of Dibella upon others.
Critics of Dibella have condemned the Divine as the "goddess of whores and lepers" and criticized the alleged practice among her worshippers of mocking the scarred and misshapen. Others consider her a lustful and passionate goddess.
Dibella and her worshippers are argued to have what can be considered a personal relationship, in contrast to the formal and impersonal relationship held by the worshippers of other Divines. A number of cults dedicated to Dibella can be found in Cyrodiil, High Rock, Hammerfell and Skyrim, and are varied in their focus. Some cults of Dibella focus on women, artists or aesthetics, while others concentrate on erotic instruction.
Worship in Black Marsh
The majority of the population of the province of Black Marsh venerate the Hist, and, in the Second Era, worship among the Argonians of Black Marsh of Dibella and the gods was limited to a small minority of those who had assimilated to the culture of the Empire. The Kothringi, the indigenous humans of Black Marsh, are known to have worshipped Dibella, in the name Dibe, alongside Mara and Kynareth, as one of the "mothers in the Around-Us".[OOG 1] Dibella was held in high regard by the Kothringi and a Temple of Dibella was located in the city of Gideon in the Second Era, during the Alliance War.
Worship in Cyrodiil
Dibella is venerated by the Imperials of the province of Cyrodiil and is featured as a member of the Cyrodiilic pantheon. A Chapel of Dibella was located at the city of Anvil in the Second and Third Eras. In 3E 433, the Chapel of Dibella at Anvil was desecrated by Aurorans, daedra in the service of Meridia, and several of its priests were killed. At this time, wayshrines dedicated to the Goddess could be found throughout the countryside of Cyrodiil, and a statue of Dibella was located in the Arboretum district of the Imperial City, the capital of the province.
Worship in Hammerfell
Dibella is the patron deity of the region of Tigonus, and is popular among Redguard women. The Redguards of Hammerfell, divided between the Crowns, conservative Redguards, and Forebears, cosmopolitan Redguards, do not universally worship Dibella and she is only venerated by Forebears, who began to accept her into their pantheon under the Cyrodilic Empire. In the late Third Era, temples dedicated to the Divine were administered by the House of Dibella, a religious organization dedicated to Dibella and her teachings, and could be found in major urban centers throughout the province. The House of Dibella was led by a patriarch and was allied to the Benevolence of Mara, a religious organization dedicated to Mara and her teachings. The Order of the Lily was a a knightly order dedicated to Dibella which protected her temples against its adversaries, such as the followers of Sanguine, the Daedric Prince of Hedonism.
Worship in High Rock
In the late Third Era, similarly to Hammerfell, the House of Dibella was responsible for the administration of temples dedicated to Dibella in the province of High Rock, and the Order of the Lily was also active in the province at this time. Dibella is the patron deity of the regions of Koegria and Menevia, and is venerated as a member of the Breton pantheon. In the Second Era, the worship of Dibella was criticized and discouraged, notably by Father Pitof of the Cathedral of Daggerfall, who warned of the "charms of Dibella".
Worship in Skyrim
The Nords of Skyrim acclaim Dibella as the Bed-Wife of Shor,[OOG 2] and is considered a member of the Nordic pantheon. In the Fourth Era, shrines dedicated to the Goddess could be found both in the wilderness and in urban centers, such as at the Temple of the Divines in Solitude, and at the Temple of Dibella in the city of Markarth. She was also worshipped by certain groups of Reachmen in Skyrim. At this time, the practice of the Dibellan Arts was disapproved of in certain localities and could lead to ostracism. Some Nords are known to have considered Jephre, God of Natural Beauty, to be an imitation of Dibella.
Brush of Truepaint
The Brush of Truepaint is an Aedric artifact supposedly created by Dibella. It is said that the bristles of the brush were woven from of Dibella's own hair. The brush allows the wielder to enter a painting canvas and paint things life-sized, simply by imagining them.
At some point before 2E 582, a Dunmer wizard named Bravam Lythandas was performing a cruel experiment in illusion on three captives he was keeping in his basement. He had magically tricked them into believing they were living in a palace, although over time the illusions began to damage their minds. As they descended into madness, one of the captives began rocking back and forth and muttering prayers to Dibella. Several days later, Bravam returned to find the basement entirely empty, with the walls, ceiling, and floor completely covered with a mural depicting the grand chamber of a palace. The only thing remaining was the Brush of Truepaint lying in the corner, which the captives had apparently used to escape into their fantasy world.
Bravam's experiment journal went on to become a tome of forbidden knowledge, hoarded by Hermaeus Mora. At some point a Khajiit named Baezad-dro went looking for the Brush of Truepaint, although he was killed by a daedroth when he tried to read the journal. The journal eventually ended up on the small island of Khenarthi's Roost along with several other tomes of forbidden knowledge. In 2E 582, Sybil Augustine Viliane of Wayrest received a cryptic message regarding the location of the brush and how it could be obtained.
The brush was later gifted to a descendant of Bravam Lythandas, an artist and devout follower of the goddess who served in the Arnesian War of 3E 396. An errant fireball exploded next to him, and he lost the use of both arms. He was a stubborn man, and prayed to Dibella for a way to continue his trade. When the Dunmer artist died, he left the brush to his son, who went on to become the famous Rythe Lythandas of Cheydinhal. Rythe specialized in painting the Great Forest of Cyrodiil; these paintings are famous all across Tamriel for their realism, and some say that one can see the trees sway in the breeze.
In 3E 433, a Bosmer or Altmer thief (reports vary) learned of the brush, the source of Rythe's fame. In an attempt to steal the artifact, the thief broke into Rythe's house, knocked him unconscious and leapt into the unfinished painting he was working on. The thief then created Painted Trolls to act as guardians, but the beasts turned on their creator and killed him. Rythe followed the thief into a painting, and became stuck there, unable to create a portal back without the brush. His wife Tivela, who was unaware of the Brush of Truepaint, put out a request to help "find" him. After several days, the Champion of Cyrodiil responded to the rumors, and entered the Painted World. The Champion met with Rythe, and fought through the Painted Trolls to the corpse of the thief. With the brush retrieved, the two were able to exit the Painted World. A special edition of The Black Horse Courier titled Greatest Painter Safe! was published following the incident.
The fat collected from the Painted Trolls proved to be very valuable in alchemy, and Rythe, being the only provider of this rare ingredient, began to exploit this. One known patron of his was Elgrim, an alchemist living in Riften in 4E 201.
Helm of the Crusader
The Helm of the Crusader, one of the Crusader's Relics, was created by Dibella in the early First Era and granted to Pelinal Whitestrake, the Divine Crusader, to allow him to defeat and banish Umaril the Unfeathered, an Ayleid Sorcerer King. Pelinal, despite his victory over Umaril, was slain and the Crusader's Relics were scattered and lost for thousands of years. The helm was placed at the Shrine of the Crusader at Vanua, Pelinal's place of death, where it remained until it was recovered by the Champion of Cyrodiil in 3E 433.
A symbol for the House of Dibella, as seen in Daggerfall
The Great Chapel of Dibella, as seen in Oblivion
The Temple of Dibella, as seen in Skyrim
- Dibella lends her name to the beverage known as Dibella's Kiss Tea.
- Augustine Viliane Answers Your Questions — Sybil Augustine Viliane
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor
- Loading screen in Oblivion
- Guide to Anvil — Alessia Ottus
- King Edward, Part III
- The Talos Mistake — Leonora Venatus, Imperial Liaison to the Aldmeri Dominion
- The Anuad Paraphrased
- The Monomyth
- Aedra and Daedra
- The Orrery in Oblivion
- Mankar Camoran's dialogue in Oblivion
- Events of Daggerfall
- Trevaia's dialogue in Oblivion
- The Ten Commands of the Nine Divines
- Hamal's dialogue in Skyrim
- Artorius Ponticus Answers Your Questions — Bishop Artorius Ponticus
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Invocation — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- Events of Skyrim
- Falsehoods and Fallacies of the Eight
- Song of Hrormir
- Book Seven of 2920, The Last Year of the First Era - Sun's Height — Carlovac Townway
- Reflections on Cult Worship — Cuseius Plecia
- Varieties of Faith in Tamriel — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Varieties of Faith: The Argonians — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Events of ESO
- Events of Oblivion
- Events of Knights of the Nine
- The Improved Emperor's Guide to Tamriel: Hammerfell — Flaccus Terentius, 2E 581
- Varieties of Faith, The Forebears — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Varieties of Faith: The Bretons — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Varieties of Faith: The Nords — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- Haelga's dialogue in Skyrim
- The Knights of the Nine — Karoline of Solitude
- Dibella's Kiss Tea beverage in ESO
Note: the following references are not found in-game. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.