Artemis: Goddess of Light
And Protector of the Vulnerable
In Greek mythology Artemis (also known as the Roman goddess Diana) was the daughter of Zeus, the mighty ruler of the Olympian gods. After an affair and secretly impregnating Leto, Leto had to give birth to Aretmis while being chased by the Python sent by Hera. Fortunately for Leto her first child, Artemis, was birthed without any pain. However Leto had twins so her labor continued, and as weak as she was the newborn Artemis quickly took the roll as midwife and helped birth her twin brother Apollo. You could say that, of all the Greek goddesses, the goddess Artemis was literally born to serve as a nurturer and protector! It looks like though both twins had young knacks for things.
On her birthday Artemis asked for Six wishes from Zeus, his father. These wishes were.
1. To be able to live life chaste.
2. To be able to be a lifelong bachelorette and never marry.
3. A bow and arrow like that of Artemis’s
4. Hunting dogs to assist her hunting.
5. Stags to lead her chariot.
6. And 80 virgin nymphs to be her hunting companions.
Zeus was amused by wishes and being the good father granted her each wish she asked for. Artemis would never marry, and would be chaste for all eternity. She roamed with her hunting dogs, nymphs, and her stags, hunting all throughout the mountains where she resided.
Artemis was very protective of the chastity of her nymphs and was angered when they didn’t keep their purity. In the case of Callisto, Zeus had disguised himself as Artemis and took advantage and impregnated Callisto, Artemis was furious that she was no longer chaste and blamed her loss of purity on her. Artemis then immediately irrevocably turned her into a bear. However before Artemis killed Callisto in bear form Zeus intervened turning Callisto into constellation in the stars, as Callisto the Bear, also known as Ursa Major.
The Greek goddess Artemis was frequently called upon to nurture her needy and somewhat ineffectual mother. Many times she came to the aid of her mother healing her from sickness. Artemis very naturally became the patron saint of childbirth, the protector of children, and the goddess who especially heard the appeals of women. Helping women in childbirth by relieving them of the pain they suffer on several occasions.
Artemis is unsurprisingly associated with the wilderness and the natural world. She symbolizes the untamed spirit, never being tied down by things such as love, being the eternal huntress of the forests.The Greek goddess Artemis was famous for her hunting skills, especially with her bow and arrow. She had unerring aim that never missed her target. She was a very able hunter taking down some of the most terrifying beasts with ease and grace.
Artemis was also very protective of the animals in her domain. Once the King Agamemnon slaughtered one of Artemis’s sacred stags and boasted that he was a superior hunter to Artemis. In vengeance while Agamemnon and his forces were sailing to Troy for the Trojan War Artemis becalmed the ships so they were stuck in the middle of the sea with no wind. Artemis then demanded Agamemnon sacrifice his daughter and then Artemis would restore the wind. In the end Artemis herself swaps the sacrifice of
Artemis was a goddess very comfortable with her female companions and rarely ever had male companions excepting her twin brother. She often bathed and danced with her nymphs and womanly companions. Once the hunter Actaeon saw Artemis bathing with her nymphs and was paralyzed in wonderment staring at all the women bathing in the river. Artemis, was none too pleased at the peeping tom and so she turned him into a stag and made his own dogs attack and kill him.
Artemis never had any love affairs, but one. That was with the mortal Orion. Artemis was in love with Orion. However, upset that his sister's time and attentions had been diverted away from him, the God Apollo, her twin, became very jealou. So when Orion was swimming far into the ocean Apollo made a wager with Artemis that she couldn’t hit the floating object on the horizon.
Artemis being the prideful archer she was took the wager gladly and proudly drew her bow and shot the object on the horizon winning the wager. However once she won she realized that the “floating object” was actually her only lover Orion. In her great grief the Goddess Artemis turned Orion into various stars and shot him into the night sky, making him a constellation in the night sky forevermore.
The Greek goddess Artemis was often associated with the moon, especially the crescent or "new" moon. Phoebe was one of the many names she was called. The name Phoebe means the "light one" or "bright one".
Artemis "Goddess of Light" had the divine duty of illuminating the darkness. Artemis was often depicted carrying a candle or torch, lighting the way for others, leading them through territories yet uncharted.
In Greek mythology Artemis, despite her "wildness" (her refusal to conform to conventional ways or tradition) and her fierce independence, was depicted as one of the compassionate, healing goddesses. Of all the Greek goddesses, she was the most self-sufficient, living life on her own terms, comfortable both in solitude and in holding the reins of leadership.
The Greek goddess Artemis gives us courage. Like her counterpart, the Roman goddess Diana, she illuminates those places that terrify us and lends us her strength to bring us safely through our fears.