How did you first become aware of the deity?
Just about anyone who honors A pollon and/or Artemis is going to have some exposure to Leto. However that said, if my last post wasn’t blatant enough about it) her presence is so subtle it almost seems secondary. That said in my youth I did not even notice her. I was a devotee of Artemis and other than noting that Leto enjoined hunting with her daughter among her holy train I will confess I never gave her a second thought. Sure, I had read the myths: the punishment of Niobe, the transformation of Lycian villagers into frogs for their lack of Kharis towards her, and of course the birth of her children at Delis which involved some fairly decent negotiation skills. If the Delphi thread of inheritance from Ge to Them is the lawmaker, to P heobe doesn’t make the earthly somewhat chthonic nature of the goddess apparent then her negotiations with Delis certainly might that she secure the island to the earthly bed by the power of her oath.
Yet I never noticed her beyond that and it certainly, probably like many out there, bever occured to me to give her regular worship. Not even during the pregnancy and birth of my first child.
Yet she bleeped onto my internal radar when, months prior to my second pregnancy (14 years following my first one) when I was rereading the Iliad and laughing merrily at the scene in which Hermes is squared off against the goddess. Of course he immediately ceeds the fight to Leto on the basis yhat she was loved by Zeus and it would be foolish of him to try to harm her. Yet it got me thinking. Although in the Iliad she had no role other than collecting the bow of Artemis when the younger goddess was whipped with it by Hera, it sparked a certain movement of awareness in mind. Of all champions of Troy she seemed the oddest to be set against Olympians fighting in favor of Hellas. In fact when it came down to pairings there were no mistakes of clear connections. Apollon and Poseidon as gods of the wall/boundaries/harbors and so forth; Artemis and Hera as two powerful heavenly goddesses concerned with the affairs of women and the strength of the state and its heirs; Aphrodite and Athena which seems like an odd pairing unless you recognize that in Sparta (and pertinent with Helen as a Spartan queen) that Apgrodite has a strong militaristic presence…although I would say there that there is coming to warin terms of passion of spirit that is quite different from Athena’s cool calculator nature which would explain Aphrodite leaning on the power of Ares. Then there is Angus abd Hephaistos representing two creative principles at different ends if the spectrum…waters and fires. But how to explain Leto and Hermes? Clearly even if not remarked on in the Iliad, Leto must have had a prominent position in the cosmos to inspire it. It wasn’t until weeks later when I read material that Leto was known as an underworld goddess that my brain ka-chinged. But of course Leto had to be a powerful earth goddess and if chthonic bent so adequately matched against the god of husbandry (not to mention herding and sharing numerous other functions including this with her son Apollon) and psychopomp. ..well why the he’ll not.
Suddenly from nowhere an obsession with Leto arose, and after years of unsucess in pregnancy in the course of two marriages I found myself pregnant with my second daughter Amber. All through my pregnancy I gave joint offerings to Leto and Artemis, as I did in my third and final pregnancy too. And both times she has been called on with Eilythia, Artemis and Hera to bring forth my baby in successful issue from my womb.
Yet the buck didn’t stop rolling with babies. Although she is lauded as being first among mothers in esteem, the above should indicate by now that there is much more to the goddess. As no festivals of Leto have survived I have begun addressing modern festivals to this Hyperborean goddess, who hails from beyond the most extreme northern border.
I have also given her place at the doorway where she recieves offerings with her children, her “foe” Hermes, and her niece Hekate as the serpentine goddess (playing off Egyptian syncretism and as daughter of Koios and Pheobe) and flow of life and death and mother most lauded.