Selene's etymology is uncertain, but if the name is of Greek origin, it is likely that the word selas (σέλας) is connected, meaning "light". Just as Hélio, from his identification with Apollo, is called Phoebus ("brilliant"), Selene, from his identification with Artemis, is also commonly referred to by the epithet Phoebe (feminine form). The original Phoebe from Greek mythology is Selene's aunt, the titanid mother of Leto and Asteria, and grandmother of Apollo, Artemis and Hecate. Also from Artemis, Selene was sometimes called "Cíntia". Selene was also called Mene. The word for men (feminine mene), means the moon, and the lunar month. It was also the name of the Phrygian moon god Men.
It is from Selene that comes the academic term selenolatry, which denotes the worship and subsequent cults to the moon and lunar deities, regardless of origin or nationality. Several lovers are attributed to her in several myths, including Zeus, Pan, and the deadly Endimion. In classical times, Selene was often identified with Artemis, just as her brother, Helium, was identified with Apollo.
Both Selene and Artemis were also associated with Hecate, and all three were considered to be lunar goddesses, although only Selene was considered to be the personification of the moon itself. In Arcádia, she joined Pan, who seduced her by disguising herself with sheep skin and then presented her with a flock of entirely white oxen that she used to pull her night cart.