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Artemis: The Virgin Goddess of the Moon
By Penndragon
(Written for Ecclasia)


Artemis was Greek goddess of the moon, of nature, of the harvest, and of the hunt. She is also one of the virgin goddesses, and She protects women in labor, small children and wild animals. A child of Zeus and Leto, she was born on the Island of Delos. She symbolizes health, love, charms, and shape shifting. Animals, which were especially sacred to Artemis, are deer, stags, geese, wild dogs, fish, goats, bees, and bears, laurel trees and fir trees were also sacred to Her. However, keep in mind that since Artemis is the protectress of animals, all animals can be considered sacred to Her. Artemis is associated with Monday, the month of April, the silver bow, and She is said to be one of only three who are immune to the enchantments of Aphrodite and not affected by her manipulations (the other two are Hestia and Athena). She is a friend to mortals and protector of the youth; She dances through the countryside in her silver sandals giving her divine protection to the wild beasts, particularly the very young. She rides her silver chariot across the sky and shoots her arrows of silver Moonlight to the earth below. She, like the other Olympians, had favorites among the mortals but she could not protect the fine huntsman, Skamandros, from the spear of Menelaos at the battle for Troy. Unlike her brother Apollo, Artemis was not skilled in war craft but she could punish and kill as the will of Zeus dictated. In fact, many dying women, as well as dying women in childbirth, went to Artemis to ask for a quick and painless death from Her silver arrows because She was also the goddess of childbirth, and she was praised for having the compassion to give young women who died in childbirth a swift and painless death. Artemis was also sometimes confused with the Roman goddess, Diana and is also associated with the Egyptian goddess Bast. As the moon goddess, she was sometimes identified with the goddesses Selene, Hecate, and Luna.

Flowers associated with Artemis are rose, jasmine, honeysuckle, and fern. Her candle colors are silver, white, and green. Her oils are cypress, pine, olive, rose, and jasmine. Crystals associated with Her are moonstone, clear agate, and amethyst. A recipe for Artemis Incense, which was so kindly given to me by my lady Skyefire is:

2 tbsp Acacia Gum (gum Arabic)
2 ½ tsp Cypress Balls (cones of the cypress)
1 ½ tsp Mugwort
1 ¼ tsp Dried Daisy Flower
1 ½ tsp White Willow Bark
1 tsp Dried Cedar Leaves
2 tsp Myrtle
2 nuts Hazelnuts - the meat inside
1 leaf Bay Leaf (medium size)
5 drops Freesia Oil
3 drops Cedar Oil

This is a rather difficult grouping of ingredients, so if you are missing any of the ingredients, Acacia flowers, or Globe Amaranth could be substituted. This is then burned to invoke the goddess Artemis in her maiden incarnation, with an emphasis on the healing and creative aspects of this woodland huntress.


Actaeon: A legendary Greek hunter, son of Aristaeus and Autonoe (who was the daughter of Cadmus). Artemis turned Actaeon (Kernunnos) into a stag and he was chased down, torn to pieces, and killed by his own hunting dogs. According to one myth, She did this because Actaeon saw her naked while She was bathing in a stream near Orchomenus. Artemis, as a virgin goddess, was so pure that She allowed no man to see her naked body. In another myth She did this because Actaeon boasted that he was a better hunter than even Artemis Herself.

Callisto: The daughter of Lycaon was a follower of Artemis. One day, however, Zeus seduced Callisto, and Callisto became pregnant with His child. As Artemis requires the same chastity of her followers that She maintains Herself, She punished Callisto by changing her into a bear. Zeus then prevented Callisto from being hunted to death by setting her image into the stars. Callistos child, Arcus, was saved.

Orion: Artemis was very beautiful and had many suitors, but vowed that She would not marry until She found someone as wild and free as herself. Her nymphs (or spirits of nature), as well, vowed not to marry. But one day, seven of the nymphs were in the woods when they saw the strong and handsome hunter Orion. Because of their promise to shun men, they fled. But he saw them and pursued. Though the nymphs were very swift and graceful, they soon grew weary and called out to Artemis for help. Hearing their prayers, she turned them into pigeons, which flew up into the sky and became the constellation of stars called the Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters). Frustrated, Orion turned away to hunt elsewhere, but soon met Artemis herself. Both of them, sharing a passion for hunting and the woodlands, became good friends. Soon after that, Apollo became worried that his sister would marry Orion and break her vow, and he knew that Orion had received the ability to walk on water from his father Poseidon and was often out on the sea. So Apollo went to his sister and led her to the sea. After they reached the sea, he began provoking her with his great accomplishments; then he dared her to try to hit a distant target at sea. Artemis, unaware that it was Orion, shot a silver arrow from her bow and precisely hit the target. The waves soon lifted Orions body to the shore. Artemis grieved her loss, and then she placed him, and his dog Sirius among the stars, as she had done with her nymphs.


The symbol of Artemis is the Moon, She rules over the nights, wild realms, mysteries, and the bodies of women. The headdress of Artemis was often shown with animal horns. Also, Artemis, and her priestesses wore a crown, shaped like a crescent Moon upon their brow as depicted below:

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This page last updated May 5, 2008