Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt and Wilderness

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Artemis was born the daughter of Zeus and Leto and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis was born one day ahead of Apollo on the island of Delos. She then aided her mother to Delos where she actually helped in delivering her brother Apollo. This also made her a goddess of childbirth and protector of women. Artemis is identified as a goddess of many different things depending on what legend you're reading. In most cases, she's the goddess of the wilderness, wild animals, and the Hunt. She's also been said to represent the moon, childbirth, and fertility.

Artemis has frequently been depicted as a tall, slim woman, with sculpted features, dressed in a short tunic, and driving a chariot pulled by silver stags. She frequently carried a bow and silver arrows, and appeared to either be wearing animal skins, or else having animals, especially fawns, by her side. If Artemis was your friend, then she was your friend for life; and if one of her friends ever happened to be in need, Artemis would act quickly, using her sharp wits to rescue and protect them. However, when anyone happened to do something wrong, Artemis handed out her punishment quite swiftly, even though she was supposedly opposed to violence. 

Main aspect of Artemis' persona was her virginity. It's said that in early childhood, she asked her father, Zeus, to give her eternal virginity. This was granted and Artemis remained as one of the few virgin goddesses. Not only did she keep her virginity, but she was extremely protective of her followers being virgins as well. She wasn't too fond of being seen nude by men either. One character by the name of Actaeon, a hunter, found this out the hard way. He happened to find Artemis and her companions bathing nude in a hidden pool. Of course Actaeon couldn't resist the sight of a goddess bathing so he froze and just stood there, watching in delight. Unfortunately for him, Artemis caught the little peeper and changed him into a stag. She then sent the hunter's own dogs after him at which point poor Actaeon was killed by the hounds.

Artemis frequently played in the woods with her female friends, and she was often joined by her many animal friends, as well as her pack of hounds, which were known as the Alani. Artemis was such an excellent huntress that the Gods decided to give her an extremely unique title for a woman, which was “Huntsman-in-Chief to the Gods.” Artemis also had some characteristics, which were totally and completely unique, only to her. On a few unfortunate occasions, she was also known to cause destruction, although her actions were usually seen, for the most part, as being benign. Artemis definitely had some very interesting qualities about her. Besides being a hunter-of-souls, and a shape-shifter, she also had control over the powers of magic, sorcery, and enchantment, and was also well known to have psychic abilities. She was also associated with both physical and mental healing.

Even though Artemis may have done many good and decent things, it is through her actions that we are able to see the duality the existed within her, and which exists within each and every deity, as well, since they all have the ability within them to do both good and evil.

Contributed by Nicole Castro

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