Before she entered the realm of myth, Ariadne seems to have been one of the manifestations of the moon, and was part of the star-worshipping pantheon of the prehistoric Aegean. In this sense we are dealing with an early form of Artemis which, like the corresponding figure of Lemnia Hypsipyle, is associated with the mythological tradition of the matriarchal society that gave rise to the creation of the land of the Amazons.
Her name means immaculate, pure; in Crete, indeed, she was called Ariagne, or Aridela, which is possibly an epithet of the goddess of vegetation. In keeping with her origins, myth made her the daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, and sister of Phaedra.
the daughter of Minos of baneful mind,
whom once Theseus was fain
to bear from Crete to the hill of sacred Athens.'
Homer, Odyssey XI, 321-324 (Loeb edition)
Poets from Ovid to the present day have loved Ariadne, who paid for love with betrayal, later to shine brilliantly as compensation for her abandonment.
in the deep darkness
until the pain itself
like a naked sword
will open the road
for your mind to follow
and in a flash you will cleave
the black heavens.'
Angelos Sikelianos, Dionysos's words to Ariadne
From Medea to Sappho - Radical Women in Ancient Greece
Athens, National Archaeological Museum - 20 March - 30 June 1995