Tag Archives: Artemis

Gratitude Project 2017, Day 11 – Artemis

Artemis.  Artemis and I have a rocky (to put it mildly) acquaintance.  I can’t even call it a real relationship.  Of the Theoi I have met, She is the only one who really, truly terrifies me.  I don’t know why.  I suspect it is because She doesn’t particularly care for me.  I’m not sure what I did to get on Her bad side, but nevertheless, that is where I find myself.  I mean, She isn’t cruel or anything. She’s just… well… unconcerned?  It’s not like She hasn’t ever answer my prayers, because She has.  Probably just doing Her job.  And it isn’t as though I haven’t ever worked with Her in the sphere of Her domain.  I have, and we have worked well together, when it’s just business.  But, try as I might (and I’ll admit I probably haven’t tried hard enough) , I can not seem to translate our working relationship into a reverent one.

I typically make an attempt every couple of years.  I’ll write something for Her, or do a ritual for Her, and She will accept the gift or attend the ritual, but again, it feels like She’s doing it because She takes Her job seriously.  Maybe that’s all it is.  Maybe I’m just plain intimidated and She isn’t really trying to be hostile.  I mean, She’s not exactly hostile, but perhaps I’m just used to a certain amount of warmth from the Theoi?  Warmth that Artemis isn’t the slightest bit interested in showing me.  That might never change, but I think I need to maybe try to be more specifically welcoming toward Her in my household.

On an intellectual level, I know She is Apollon’s other half, and that the Twins are best honored together in at least some capacity.  In practice, however, I’ve fallen majorly short.  On Apollon’s festivals, I make a point to include Artemis, but I can’t say I’ve ever celebrated one of Her festivals, save for the first day of Thargelia, but I don’t think that one counts.  Not long ago, I was given some divination from one of my Treasury Sisters, telling me that I really need to start paying honor to Artemis, among a few Others.  Since then, I’ve done a few little things, but not enough.  I’m just not sure how to approach it, or how to approach Her, most of all.  I suppose this post today is another attempt to approach Her, perhaps to let Her know that I know that I should be doing better?

So, here’s to Artemis, She who hunts, She who forces me outside of what I find comfortable.  And that there might very well be the point.  When was the last time I did something uncomfortable for the sake of improving or deepening my practice?  If I can’t think of an event (which, I can not), then it’s been too long. There are lessons for me to learn that Apollon can’t teach.  There are perspectives that I have not yet been made aware of.  I guess I need to suck it up and be grateful that She is willing to do that bit of business with me.  But boy, is it going to be awkward.

#GratitudeProject2017

Ode to Thirteen Goddesses

Lovely Persephone, ruling over the hosts of Hades
You bring solace, both above and below
Assuaging the barrenness of Winter, Death and Time

Indomitable Rhea, in the face of all adversity You smile
For You are the Lioness, whose prowess is known
In the hearts of those who labor on

Well-loved Columbia, Lady of sweet freedom
Whose strong arms enfold us in warmth
Glad are we by Your presence
And in Your absence left cold

Wild Artemis, running along rivers
Protectress and Huntress of beasts
We honor Your fierce glory
And stand awed by the might of Your Bow

Indelible Ariadne, Lover of Madness, Speaker of Truth
Your lessons are those we find within us
Of Will, and Wisdom, and love’s fickle moods

All-encompassing Gaea, O vastness of Earth
Who is at once Mother and Grandmother
Eternal Creatrix, we praise You
And embrace You at our end

Luminous Hekate, Light at the Crossroads
Tending the unwelcome spirits
Even these have purpose among Your retinue
As we hail them in passing

Compassionate Athena, Lady favoring strategy over brute force
We are the wheels You set in motion
And by our hands is the Divine Work done

Warlike Aphrodite, bane of hearts and Mistress of cruel Ares
You tempt even the strongest of mortals
And Yours is the triumph of procreation

Beloved Hestia, consumed in the flame of enlightenment
Yours is the way of the Unfettered Self
We are but fleeting in the face of Your truth

Illustrious Hera, Queen of Gods, tester of men
Your trials forge character and train resolve
For ego falls away, as Your gaze falls upon us

Resplendent Leto, She of Untamed Spirit
Woe be upon the boasters and fakers
Who with scornful tongues
Will know the peace of Your Offspring

Bountiful Demeter, by whose power Earth’s sustenance is grown
Thank you for the greatest bounty of all
Your Daughter, the Blossom of Spring

Blessed are the Goddesses!  Hail the Magnificent Thirteen!

Red Riding Hood Redux

So, this article was published by the Guardian yesterday, and then this was shared by one of my Sisters. She’s our IE person and we’re so grateful to have her around. <3  So, in honor of all this, I’m going to share ‘Red Riding Hood’ again, because I feel validated (not that I needed it– I’d already formed these views, after all), and because I love fairy tales.  :D


Inspired by Lykeia’s Little Red Riding Hood posts, here and here, I thought I’d hash out a bit of the symbolism from the version of the story that I know well. This version has been told and retold by the mothers in my family line for generations, so it might just be a peculiarity of my family.  It is quite a bit different from that discussed by Lykeia, but it is of course, still Little Red Riding Hood, so the basic story remains the same.  First, the tale itself, then a brief discussion of the symbols.  Here we go!

~

Once upon a time, a young maiden lived with her Mother at the edge of a lush, green forest.  The girl, who was called Little Red Riding Hood, or simply Red (for she was no longer little), was never seen without wearing her red, hooded cloak.  Together, they worked diligently, gathering medicinal herbs and flowers, for they had received a letter from Grandmother, whose house lay deep in the forest.  Poor Grandmother was very ill, and all alone.

Soon, the gathering was done, and Mother instructed Red on how to make the medicine for Grandmother.  When Red was confident enough that she could remember, the maiden set off, alone, upon the forest path to Grandmother’s house.

*******

From the cover of the forest, a sly old Wolf walked along side Red, his teeth bared and his tongue twitching to taste the young maiden’s flesh.  He listened to her merry whistling and singing, as she hurried along to her Grandmother’s house.  The Wolf knew the forest well, having lived and hunted there his whole life.  He remembered when Grandmother had been a young maiden like this tasty Red, and remembered well the scar she had left him with.  Perhaps, the Wolf would pay Grandmother a visit, too, after he gobbled up tasty Little Red…

*******

As Red walked along the path, she began to feel uneasy, as though she were being watched.  At first, she ignored the feeling, continuing while merrily whistling and singing along with the birds in the forest.  She happened upon a small patch of lovely flowers and stopped to pick a few.  As she was bent over the flowers, she heard a distant voice, saying:

“Oh, Little Red, stay a while here to pick the lovely flowers.  Grandmother will be alright for a while longer.  The flowers are so pretty, just like you, Little Red…”

Red began to feel uneasy, once again.  She looked around.  There was no one, and she could see nothing out of the ordinary, and yet the feeling persisted, so she left the lovely flowers behind, continuing swiftly down the path.

Unfortunately for Red, the feeling did not go away.  Something was behind her, right on her heels!  Frantically, she began to walk faster and faster, her feet carrying her frightfully far from the intended path.  Was there some menace or wild beast stalking her?  The feeling was quite ominous now, and all Red wanted to do was get away.  She forgot all about Grandmother, as she ran deeper and deeper into the forest.  Eventually, Red realized that she was lost, so stopped when she happened upon a fallen log.  There, at the log, Red sat and cried, and waited for the beast to strike.  But, much to Red’s surprise, the thing rustling in the nearby bushes wasn’t a beast at all, but a Huntsman, who had been hunting in the forest with his loyal hounds!

The Huntsman approached the weeping maiden slowly, asking her if she were lost, if she were alright.  Red told him everything.  Told him how she was going to help her sick Grandmother, how she had become lost while fleeing the presence, which had been stalking her.  The hounds licked her hands to comfort Red, as she recounted her story, and the Huntsman listened patiently. At the end of it, he looked her seriouly in the eyes, and said:

“There are many wild things in the forest, which would love to gobble up a sweet maiden like yourself.  You must be strong to protect your own life.” Then, he pulled out a rather large hunting knife from the sheath at his hip. Turning the knife slowly in the dappled forest light, he said, “Take this with you, young one,” and he removed the sheath from his hip, placing the knife back inside.  The Huntsman handed Red the sheathed knife, and together with the hounds, walked her back to the forest path.  There, they said their goodbyes, while Red thanked him once again.

With the knife safely tucked away in her basket, Red continued toward Grandmother’s house.  She felt guilty for having taken so long, and so she rushed as fast as her legs could carry her…

*******

In Grandmother’s house, in Grandmother’s bed, the sly Wolf tucked himself in. Grandmother sure was tasty.  Tastier than he’d ever imagined, and weaker, too.  It was too bad that awful Huntsman had to show up when he did.  Little Red was almost between his teeth.  But no matter.  Soon, she would be knocking on the door, and soon, she would join her dear Grandmother in the old Wolf’s belly…

*******

Little Red Riding Hood stood at the threshold of Grandmother’s house.  The door was unlocked, which was unusual.  She called out to Grandmother, but heard no answer.  She was worried.  Had she arrived too late?  Had Grandmother’s illness progressed too far?  The maiden stepped inside.

The house was eerily quiet.  Nary a sound to be heard.  Little Red felt small indeed, wrapping herself up in her red, hooded cloak.  There!  In the bedroom, she heard a noise.  A deep chuckle unlike any she’d ever heard before.  As she approached the room, she hesitated a moment, opening her basket to feel for the knife given to her by the Huntsman.  As her fingers passed over the hilt of the knife, Red thought that perhaps it was just the illness making Grandmother sound so peculiar, so she strode on.

Little Red came up to the side of the bed, looking down at her weary Grandmother, who had the covers tucked up over her head.  Only her ears were visible, so Little Red said:

“Grandmother, what big ears you have…”

And Grandmother answered, “All the better to hear you with, my dear.”  Then she lowered the covers just a bit.

“Grandmother, what big eyes you have…”

And Grandmother answered, “All the better to see you with, my dear.”  Then, Grandmother lowered the covers just a bit more.

“Grandmother, what a big nose you have…”

And Grandmother answered, “All the better to smell you with, my dear.”   Little Red found this statement very strange, but watched carefully as Grandmother lowered the covers even more.

Now, Little Red felt very, very small, as she said, “Grandmother… what big teeth you have…”

Grandmother turned to face Little Red then, smiling a sly, wolfish smile and said:  “All the better to EAT you with, my dear!”  Then, the Wolf lunged out of the bed, straight for Little Red!

Little Red ran and ran all over the house, with the Wolf hot on her heels.  It wasn’t long before she found herself trapped in a corner with no way to escape.  Tears welled up in Little Red’s eyes, as the Wolf stalked closer, ever so slowly.  His massive jaws were wide open, and saliva dripped freely onto the floor.  Little Red was all alone, locked in this dance of death with the sly, old Wolf.  And then, it happened…

Little Red and the Wolf had both disappeared.  They had become one thought, a single unifying instinct.  Survival, hunger, life and death, all merged together into the One.  And the One let out a terrible scream, and then there was only red.  Red everywhere…

*******

At the door to the old woman’s house, the Huntsman slowly entered with his hounds.  In a bright red corner, all covered in blood, Little Red Riding Hood sat weeping over the body of the sly, old Wolf.  The same Wolf that the Huntsman and his loyal hounds had been searching for.  The knife he had given her, was lodged in the beast’s throat.  Little Red looked up at him, the blood blending together with the red of her cloak.  She was different now.  She was no longer little, but was a woman grown.

The Huntsman came to her, knelt beside her and the dead Wolf.  He pulled the knife out of the beast, then Red exclaimed:

“I was too late!  The Wolf gobbled up my Grandmother!  I was too late!  I couldn’t save her!”

Then, the Huntsman answered, “Look here now, young one, your Grandmother lives.”  And he took the knife, slicing open the Wolf’s belly, and out fell Grandmother, alive and whole.

Red immediately thanked the Huntsman and began to care for her poor Grandmother.  Grandmother coughed and wheezed, but was profoundly grateful to be alive.  She held tightly onto Red, saying:

“Oh, my Little Red, isn’t so little anymore.  You, you saved my life by saving your own.”

And while Red tended to Grandmother, making the medicine as her Mother had instructed, and settling the old woman down in the bed, the Huntsman skinned the wolf.  It was only fitting that Red receive the spoils of her own actions, so once Grandmother was sleeping soundly, he offered the sleek pelt to the brave, young woman.

Red and the Huntsman, along with his hounds, left Grandmother’s house then. The Huntsman went off to hunt other beasts, while Red took the path back to her own home, where Mother was waiting.  The Wolf’s pelt was now tucked snugly into her basket, and she knew that Mother would be able to make a wonderful new coat, or blanket, or some other such thing, to keep Grandmother warm on cold nights.

~

And that was my family’s version of the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.  Now, I’ll break down the different elements which, to me, bring Apollon (or Artemis) specifically to mind.

1.)  First, we have Red’s hooded cloak (as Lykeia rightly points out in her own posts) which is reminiscent of Artemis’ hooded cloak. [Also, let us recall that Apollon’s cloak is often said to be of a red color, and is usually depicted that way in art.]

2.)  The medicinal herbs and flowers, as Apollon is a god of healing a healers.

3.)  The path that Red walks to Grandmother’s house is reminiscent of the roads over which Apollon presides.

4.)  The Wolf, who pursues Red, causing her fear, and eventually, provoking her into self-defense, is a symbol of Apollon Himself.

5.)  The Huntsman, I believe is an emissary of Artemis, who watches over Red, first by providing her with the knife (necessary life-skills) she would need to survive.  He is accompanied by hounds, which are know to be loved by Artemis. [I’ve also come to see a fair bit of Apollon Himself in the Huntsman, actually.]

I love this story so much. It brings back so many good memories, and I’m particularly glad to have a reason to share it again.  And if you want to, dear readers, you can examine the story I’ve told, and comment on any more associations that you find.  I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.  And I do hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the stories of my mothers/grandmothers.

Hail Apollon!  Hail Artemis!

Leto, Glorious Mother

[Originally posted here at the Treasury of Apollon’s blog, October 4, 2014]

~

I see Her there, seated upon the exposed root of a great and aged tree, its leaves turning the colors of blood and fire.  She is in Her element, upon Her throne, a visage of civilization still apparent, yet noticeably porous; the act during the feast.

Her host, Her court, all make wide circles within their crowded space, trying to come ever closer to Her, but She is the distance between the stars, and none can traverse the few steps separating them from Her.

In that area, Her Son stands vigil, staring the crowd into submission.  He will not allow any to draw near, and delights in the power to instill fear within those who love Her.

She laughs, having been brought to joy by the appearance of Her Daughter, wild and freely dancing with the forest nymphs.  They circle Her, and the great tree with hands clasped together.

And Her Son turns to look upon them all, to smile in that sincere way that would cause a mortal heart to stop.  And His Sister dares Him with Her haughty eyes.

With one graceful wave of Her delicate arm, the Mother, the Enthroned One, compels the crowd to stillness, while simultaneously inviting Her Son to rule the dance.

And when He takes up His lyre, the forest falls into silence.  When He plucks the strings, all the nymphs and spirits swoon.  When His voice carries over the tree canopy, all those gathered are entranced.

And She, upon Her throne, is pleased; served sweet water by the creatures of the forest, while nymphs adorn Her golden hair with night-blooming flowers, each as white as the snows which soon will fall.

This is the court of the Dark Mother, this is the feast of the wild things which dwell in the night.  This is the host which follows Her over the threshold between Seasons.  And this is the stark beauty of life.

Hail to You, Leto, Glorious Mother, and Mistress of Winter’s long nights.

Thoughts of Artemis

[Originally posted here at the Treasury of Apollon’s blog, October 3, 2014]

~

I have to be honest.  Artemis terrifies me.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I’ve never really tried to have a relationship with Her and I feel like that may cause Her to dislike me.  I know that She looks at me harshly sometimes, but that’s on me.  There are many things which I could improve upon just to satisfy Her Brother more, and She knows that, and probably would rather I change my behavior than continue on not doing what I should to please Him.  But that’s only one possible reason.

In my youth, I spent a lot of time with Hekate, but none at all with Artemis.  I know that many of Their attributes intersect, and I wonder if the things I could have been learning from Artemis at that time were actually being taught by Hekate.  It could be, though I do recall having sort of a passing interest in Her, that was due mainly to the general Pagan scene in my area, which was very much rooted in Goddess Spirituality.  Artemis was always very popular in those communities.  However, it never really went anywhere. I probably just didn’t know enough about the authentic Artemis for Her to be interested, especially since I was so thoroughly steered away from Reconstructionism at the time.

[I am not a Reconstructionist now, by the way, and I never have been.  But, if I had not been so put off by the (probably exaggerated) stories I’d heard from other Pagans, it probably wouldn’t have taken so long for me to find my way to Polytheism.]

But what excuse do I have now?  Well, none actually.  I get a little shaky and apprehensive when I acknowledge that fact, because it means I have to do something to initiate and maintain a relationship with Her.  And She’s still terrifying, but you know, when it comes right down to it, all the Gods and Goddesses are terrifying.  So, what exactly is it that keeps me from delving into Her lore as readily as I delved into Apollon’s, or Dionysos’, or Zeus’?

I don’t have an answer yet for that.  When I remember my younger years, especially those before I became a teenager, I can clearly see similarities between myself and Her.  I was wild thing, at least in my own mind.  I had a very strict mother, who didn’t put up with many of the things my sister had gotten away with before me.  But deep in my heart, I felt more like some beast living its life free in the mountains.  Oh, how I wanted to live a life like that!  To be alone, and to roam one’s habitat without any expectation other than that of survival…

Of course, looking back on it from the perspective of an adult, I can see how terribly naive I was.  I wouldn’t have lasted an hour, let alone a day, trying to subsist by myself in any fashion, anywhere.  And indeed, Artemis is not alone. She may be free, She may be Her own Person, She may never, ever have to depend upon Anyone, but She is far from alone.  And I doubt She would even want to be.

All of this is what’s been churning in my mind today, as we welcome Artemis into our homes for the third day of Aegletia.  I know She has arrived here, because I very much feel like these thoughts were not instigated by me.  Up until I awoke this morning, I hadn’t given all that much thought on how I would personally try to relate to Her today.

Certainly I’d devised some activities to share with my daughter, but that’s about as far as it went.  There were no elaborate offerings planned, just some nice words and a quick prayer as I crawled out of bed.  There was no desire for meditating on Her nature, because as I’ve said before, She’s terrifying, and She’d already been too close for comfort by having haunted my dreams last night.  But, that could never be enough, could it?  No.  I don’t think so.

And that is why I have written the following brief prayer to show Her honor. Though I doubt I will have any kind of deep interaction with Her in the near future, what with my wimpiness when it comes to Her energy, I can begin to scratch at the surface of things unsaid, and things undone.

~

Brave Artemis, who did not shy away, even as the pangs of childbirth swept over Her Mother, I honor You, who with deft hands only just born, delivered the Light of the World into the world.

Confident Artemis, so sure of Her prowess, who did ask Her Father to sanction Her enviable freedom, I honor You, who roams the wild woman spaces, collecting the free maidens and keeping them free.

Loyal Artemis, who loves Her Brother beyond knowing, I honor you, who by some versions released the arrow which pierced the heart of unfaithful Koronis, thus protecting the Bright One’s honor.

Fierce Artemis, who, along with Her Brother, destroyed an entire clan for their offensive insult toward Their Mother, I honor you and the drive to mete out justice.

Artemis, I thank you for all that you do to keep the Cosmic Order.  I thank you for the strength that you provide to women in need; all those who seek for your guidance.  I thank you for the protection of the young, those like my own child, who know you well.  And I thank you kindly for the light which you reflect, that of your dear Brother, shining magnificently upon this world.

Hail to you, Beloved Artemis!  Hail and Praise!