|Artemis is known as the Greek virgin Goddess of wild animals, the moon, the hunt, wilderness, children and childbirth. Known as Diana in the Roman Pantheon, she is also sometimes associated with Selene (Goddess of the moon). The daughter of Zeus and Leto, in Greek Mythology Artemis was also the twin sister of Apollo. Some tales say that Artemis was born first and then assisted in the delivery of her twin brother.
At only three years old, it is said that Artemis requested that her father grant many wishes for her. "She asked to never have to be married...and nymphs as her hunting companions" (Wikipedia, page 4). Zeus granted his daughter's wishes and Artemis remained a virgin...any man who attempted to dishonor her was punished, usually with death.
According to Pantheon.org, Artemis was worshiped as a second deity in most Greek cities, but in Asia Minor, she was a "prominent deity". A temple, located in Ephesus and built in her honor, was considered one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World". Sparta was known as the location of one of Artemis's best-known cults.
Artemis Statue (reproduction)
Picture from JBL Statues at
|Athenian girls were said to have been sent to serve the Goddess for one year at the sanctuary of Artemis. Wikipedia.org explains why:
...During this time the girls were known as Arktoi, or little she-bears. A myth explaining this servitude relates that a bear had [regularly visited] the town...and the bear became tame. A young girl teased the bear, and, in some versions of the myth it killed her, while in other versions it clawed her eyes out. Either way, the girl's brothers killed the bear, and Artemis was enraged. She demanded that young girls "act the bear" at her sanctuary in atonement for the bear's death.
Other festivals that honor Artemis included Brauronia (held in Brauron) and the festival of Artemis Orthia (held in Sparta).
Artemis was originally represented in Greek Archaic art as a "...winged goddess holding a stag and leopard in her hands...", (Wikipedia, p.3). In Greek Classical art, she is depicted in the form we most likely associate with her, that of a maiden huntress wearing a short skirt and a quiver, bow and arrows. In post-Classical art, she is sometimes depicted with the crown of the crescent moon, (usually represented as Artemis-Diana). And in Ephesius, at her temple, where Artemis was primarily worshiped as a mother goddess, her statue was "...adorned with multiple rounded protuberances on her chest...formerly believed to be multiple breasts but are now thought by some to have represented bull testes" (Wikipedia, p. 3).
Sacred to Artemis are animals, particularly wild animals, children, childbirth, chastity, fertility, night, the deer and the bear, Mugwort, the days Monday and Friday, the month November and the flower Amaranth.
Painting by Sandra M. Stanton
©2006 Sandra Stanton
Image linked from Akashan Pathways
Artist site: http://www.goddessmyths.com
|Needed: White, green and brown candles. Rose incense. Spring water (bottled or in a glass) A white flower, or flowers, ideally wild flowers, but any will do. Matches for the candle. Ritual tools including a cauldron, chalice, glass or bowl.
Best time to do this ritual: On a Monday or Friday, ideally in November, best if during or near new moon.
To do: Set up altar with cloth, ritual tools (athame, cauldron or chalice) and any other tools you normally like to use. Line up and set up candles and incense and spring water. Place flowers at head of altar. Do not light candles yet.
Cast circle. Light the rose incense and invoke the presence of Goddesses associated with Artemis:
Young Artemis sculpture by Billie John
Picture from JBL Statues at
"Selene, Hecate, Diana please join me as I attempt to honor our sister Moon Goddess, Artemis today. Selene, I ask you to instill in me your love and beauty so that I might shine from within tonight. Hecate, I ask that you guide me with your wisdom and knowledge so that I might honor the Goddess with grace. Diana, please grant me your strength as I honor your other aspect, Artemis."
Light the candles and say:
Artemis, I light this white candle and ask you to join me tonight as I honor your love of animals and your care for women, fertility and childbirth. Thank you for guiding me as I, too, honor these things. I light this green candle for nature, fertility, prosperity, peace, hope and home, in your name. I light this brown candle for protection of household, healing and pets and for healing of animals, also in your name.
Meditate for a few moments on why Artemis is important to you. Do relaxation exercises and envision meeting Artemis in the forest. What do you say to her? What does she look like? How does she respond? Do you have things in common?
Next, read or sing the following Prayer to Artemis from www.hunter.apana.org.au, or a poem or hymn of your own:
PRAYER TO ARTEMIS
Artemis, huntress of the moon, make my aim true.Give me goals to seek and the constant determination to achieve them.
Spend a few more moments meditating on your meeting with Artemis. Why is she important to you? Tell her. Thank her for meeting with you and being an influence in your life, then say goodbye (for now).
(Please also see sources for additional information. Links listed here were not used as sources)
“Artemis” by Sandra M. Stanton