Artemis The Maiden Goddess Of The Crescent Moon  

Posted by Stella Clark

Artemis The Maiden Goddess Of The Crescent Moon Image
Artemis, I sing, with her golden arrows and her hunting cry.
The sacred maiden, deer huntress, showering arrows,
sister of Apollo, with his golden sword.

(Homer)

Artemis, is one of the principle Goddesses of the Greek pantheon. She was the twin of Apollo and was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. In one legend, Zeus was so taken with her that when she was only three years old, he sat her on his lap and promised her more gifts than she could ever ask for. One of the gifts she asked for was that of eternal chastity, and she asked no less of her followers, becoming vengefully angry if the vowed loyalty and then sought to have secret liaisons with a man. She was overprotective of their purity and proved cruelly punitive of any man who attempted to dishonor her or her maidens. On one occasion, while she was bathing in a stream, she was observed by a young hunter, Acteon, as he stopped to rest by a rock. He knew he shouldn't have been spying on the nakedness of a Goddess, but was transfixed by her beauty. When she looked up and saw that he was watching her, she grew fearful that he might boast to his cronies that he saw her naked, so she turned him into a stag. He turned and bolted into the forest, but Artemis had now set her pack of hounds loose. They soon overcame the helpless stag and tore him limb to limb.

Artemis was the chief hunter to the Gods and Goddesses became the Goddess of hunting and wild animals. And, because Leto had borne her without the normal pangs of childbirth, Artemis was also looked upon as a patron of birth. It was fairly clear that her preference was to run free in the mountains, pursuing game, and lighting up the night with torchlight. She is sometimes depicted with the crescent moon above her forehead.

Artemis is the archetypal wild woman, the woman who "runs with wolves." She 1s a virgin huntress, the Goddess of the hunt, the moon, fertility, childbirth, young women, wild animals, the bear, wolves, dogs, and the forests. She knows of all the deep places in nature where one could rest and regain strength. Violence for itself was abhorrent to her, yet she was swift to deal out punishment to offenders, especially those who threatened or harassed women. She is a fitting Goddess for today's modern day feminists for she inspires us to be strong, independent, to trust our instincts and intuitions, and to love and understand the wild and vulnerable around us and within us.

Write a poem or journal exercise in which you explore the powers and characteristics of the Goddess Artemis...including wild animals, nature, deer, and the promotion and protection of life, fertility, chastity, and transformation. Think about how these attributes and how they relate to the cyclical phases of the Moon, to yourself. Or create an alter to honor Artemis. Use a green cloth, a symbol of Artemis' bow and the crescent Moon, images of animals...including the bear, a wand, or another object made of wood.

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