Artemis - The Goddess of the Hunt

Areas of Influence: Artemis is known as the Greek Goddess of the hunt, nature and birth.

She is also described in Greek mythology as "Goddess of the night", "Lady of the Beast", "Woodland Goddess" and "Phoebe," which translates as the bright one.

Several of this Goddesses roles may appear incompatible in nature. An example of this is that she is associated both with death, brought swiftly through her arrows and healing. She is also both Goddess of the hunt and the protector of wild animals. These contradictions are in reality just a reflection of the cycles of life, death and rebirth.

Artemis is also a bird Goddess as she is linked to  several wild birds including guinea fowl, buzzards and an unidentified sea bird.

She was also known as a moon Goddess. Where she represents the new moon. As such Artemis is an important archetypal figure for young independent and unmarried woman in the form of the maiden goddess.

Birth and Genealogy: Born to Leto and Zeus, she is also the twin sister to Apollo, whom according to myth, she helped her mother to deliver. This is why she was traditionally called upon by woman to ease the pains of childbirth. 

She was a virgin Goddess who never married or had any children.

Strengths: Independence, courage, confidence and physical strength.

When this Goddess is only three years old she asks her father, Zeus for her own bow and arrow.

Her independence and free spirited nature is not appreciated however by all the Goddesses.  Aphrodite  has no control over her as she is not interested in love. The Queen of the Gods,  Hera  is also forced into confronting her when Artemis sides with the Trojans during the war. 

Weaknesses: Vengeful, impulsive and aloof. When one of priestesses is caught with her lover in the temple grounds she punishes the whole surrounding community with a plague.

On another occasion she discovered a man out hunting named Actaeon, peeping at her and her companions she transformed him into a stag and his own dogs devoured him.

Like many of the Greek Goddesses she does not like to be beaten. When Agamemnon kills a stag and boasts that she could not have done it better, she is swift in seeking her revenge, holding back the winds and preventing his fleet from sailing.

Roman Equivalent:   Diana

Temples: The Temple of Artemisium in Ephesis was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was a blend on Greek and eastern influences and held an unusual statue of the Goddess. She is depicted as having numerous breasts (although some historians argue they are bulls testicles which seems more likely) and legs covered and adorned with lions, oxen and other animals. This statue is now housed at the museum in Selcuk.

Festivals: The most well known festival was held at Brauronia. Where the people had angered the Goddess by killing a bear and were punished by a plague. Young girls played the parts of the bear in an attempt to appease her.

There were many other festivals held throughout ancient Greece dedicated to this Goddess including the Elaphebolia, Mounikhia and Laphria.

The Goddess also oversaw the rites of passage for young girls up until the time of their first pregnancy. These girls were expected to remain chaste until marriage.

She continues to be an important Goddess to Pagans and Wiccans today.

Artemis's Symbolism

Symbolism: Her bow and arrow that were a present from Zeus.

She is often drawn wearing a short functional tunic. One of the oldest representations of her also depicts her as a winged Goddess holding a stag and a leopard or lion.

Other works of art illustrate her riding a chariot drawn by four stags.

Sacred Animals: Deer, bears and hunting dogs.

Sacred Birds: Guinea fowl and Buzzards were associated with this bird Goddess.

Sacred Plants: Cypress, almond, fir, walnut and willow trees. Amaranth, daisy, wormwood. Like her brother she was also associated with laurels.

Artemis's Archetypes

The Child of Nature :

This stereotype feels most at home outside bonding and communicating with the forces of nature. The Child of Nature is often emotionally very sensitive and prefers solace and the company of animals to being with people. They are often independent and physically fit.

The shadow aspect abuses animals and destroys the environment around them.

Artemis embodies this role as she is the Goddess of wild animals. As the huntress she becomes the shadow attribute of this stereotype, killing the animals and attacking anyone who tries to take away her dignity.

The Virgin :

This Archetype represents the desire to remain sexually pure and uncorrupted, maintaining your energy for other projects. It can also symbolise a deep desire to create brand new ideas and methods of working.

The shadow virgin, resists her sexuality due to fear and revolution of sex and the loss of innocence it symbolises.

This Goddess is a prime example of this chaste Archetype as she asked her father, Zeus to grant her eternal virginity. All her companions were also virgins and she was extremely protective of her purity. When a hunter saw the Goddess and her nymphs bathing, one myth says she turned him into a stag and set his dogs upon him.

Please follow this link to the Archetypes page to discover which other Goddess Archetypes resonate with you.

How To Work With These Archetypes

The Child of Nature:

To have this particular Archetype you need more than a love of nature. Your health and well-being is affected if you are unable to spend time outside working with animals, plants and other nature spirits. Your idea of hell is likely to be working in a busy office in the center of town.

People who possess the shadow aspect are cruel to animals and have no interest in preserving the natural world. 

The Virgin:

The Virgin is one of your main Archetypes, if you are continually preserving your vital energies, for spiritual pursuits. The Virgin may also represent a desire to explore virgin territory; inventing refreshing, new ideas and ways of doing things.

On the shadow side, fear and disgust caused by bad past experiences could be preventing you from exploring your sexuality.

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