If you go walking through the ancient woods you may cross paths with the Goddess Artemis. You will know her because her bow and arrow will be drawn or slung across her back. She is a maiden, accompanied by deer or wild hunting dogs. She is the huntress embodied, illuminated by the light of the waxing moon.
Her story originates in Greek mythology where she is known as the daughter of Leto and Zeus and the twin sister of Apollo. She is a favorite goddess in these ancient stories and is associated with wildness, forests, marshes, and fields, where she is often depicted dancing and surrounded by nymph-like women. Her Roman counterpart is the Goddess Diana.
Artemis is said to have been a patron goddess of midwifery and of mothers (despite being the virgin goddess), and was believed to help the labor pains of those giving birth. Some say that The Fates themselves gave her this path, after delivering her twin brother Apollo.
Artemis is known as a virgin goddess, which has less to do with sexuality and more to do with self-possession. This wild huntress belongs only to herself and made a promise to herself to remain independent.
Some of her most widely known symbols are the moon, the deer, the bear, or the bow and arrow.
It was said that the god of the forests, the fawn, Pan gave Artemis her hunting dogs while in the forest of Arcadia together. The dogs are so skilled; they are even able to hunt lions.
Deer are an animal that Artemis holds as sacred creatures. Some tales describe how she harnesses them to her chariot to ride through the woods.
The bow and arrow became a symbol of the waxing moon, and Artemis too became associated with this phase. Some tales weave together Artemis with the Goddesses Selene and Hecate as a part of a Triple Goddess Archetype.
When working with plants, Artemisia is named after the Goddess Artemis; however, you may know her as mugwort. Mugwort or Artemisia can help you connect with your own psychic knowing, and explore dreamwork in your own practice, which is reminiscent of Artemis and her magick.
How to Connect With the Goddess Artemis
Connect With the Moon
The phases of the moon can be a beautiful way to connect with our own internal phases. Artemis is representative of waxing moon energy. Some say that the waxing moon is a beautiful time for rising energy, for building creative endeavors, for exploration and initiation. Try tracking your mood/energy/creativity on each day of a moon cycle to map your own tides.
Draw Back Your Bow and Arrow
Artemis and her bow and arrow craft a picture of a dedicated huntress. When you draw back your own metaphorical bow and arrow, what can you focus on and direct your energy toward. The Goddess Artemis is an intentional goddess, and she goes fiercely after what she believes and wants from and for her life. How can you embody this exploration and dedication in your own life?
Work With the Symbol of the Deer
Artemis holds the figure of the deer sacred and close to her heart. The deer is a symbol of femininity, intuition, precision, and witnessing. Meditate on what the symbol and spirit of the deer brings up for you in your own life and associations. What might Artemis and her deer have to say to you?
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