ARTEMIS: SYMBOLS AND ASSOCIATIONS

by Carla Osborne


*Sandra Stanton

MEANING OF HER NAME:

   1.From Artemes, meaning strong limbed;
   2.From Artamis, meaning she who cuts up (Spartan rendering of her name);
   3.From:
            -Airo - high or lofty
            - Themis - water, convener, lawgiver
 

CENTRES OF HER WORSHIP:
Delos, Arcadia, Taurus, Sparta, Mount Taygete, Troezen, Hermione, Brauron, Ephesus, Crete,
Sicily, Southern Italy Great Temple of Artemis at Mouth of Danube

FESTIVALS:
Great Festivals

-6th Day of the New Moon in late February to early March
 The festival of Elaphebolia, in honour of Artemis the Deer Shooter.  Stags and cakes in the shape  of stags made of honey and sesame seeds were offered to Her.  the entire lunar cycle this festival  falls in was once the Athenian month of Elaphebolion, and was wholly dedicated to Artemis.
-6th Day of the New Moon in late August to early September
 The festival of Kharisteria 'Thanksgiving', in honour of Artemis Agrotera. This month was called Boedromion 'running for help.'
-Full Moon in late March to early April
 This was a particularly elaborate festival, which seems to contain elements of the rites held in  honour of the Thracian Moon Goddess Bendis.  Young girls referred to as Arkteia who had lived in the Temple of Artemis during the summer were dressed  in saffron couloured tunics and leaf crowns, and carried torches or twigs in a great procession. They then passed into the temple of Artemis, where they were said to 'play at being she bears.'
 Other ceremonies gave thanks to Artemis for providing game animals.  Sacrifices consisted of  palm leaves and a female goat, either real or an appropriately shaped cake.
-May 30 (approximate)
 Great Full Moon festival, honouring Artemis as the Moon Goddess and Lady of the Beasts.
-Full Moon in August
 Feast day of Artemis.
-November 22
 The Sun enters the constellation of the archer.
-New Moon in June-July
7th day of Thargelion, festival of Thargelia, birthday of Artemis. It celebrated her as forest and Moon Goddess, protector of new growth.

Lesser Festivals

-6th Day of Each New Moon
 These were celebrations of the fierce energy of new life, represented by the now reborn Moon.
-Full Moon Celebrations
 These were popular all over Greece until late historical times.  They were celebrated with the  forerunners of birthday cakes full of lit candles called Amphiphontes 'shining all round,' and the
 surrender of Her worshippers to her power in the forest.  There, they would make love without concern for the bonds of marriage or conscious considerations, only the presence or absence of
 instinctive attraction.
-Ides were the three day period of the dark Moon, when rituals were performed
to ensure the Goddess' safe return from the underworld.
- Herois 'feast of the Heroine' when the spirit of the Heroine was called
from the temple Omphalos at the Artemisium of Troezen.

SACRED ANIMALS:
horses, dogs, bears, wolves, lions, birds, deer, snakes, fish, boar, goats, bees wild animals in general, swan, kite, vulture, crow, dolphin, quail

SACRED PLANTS:
amaranth, cypress, cedar, hazel, myrtle, willow, daisy, mugwort, date palm, laurel, silver fir,
walnut tree, oak tree, almond, damiana, mandrake

POWERS AND QUALITITES:
transformation, judgement, natural law, instinct, prophecy, healing, poetry, music, magic, psychic abilities, purification, weather changing, light bringing, death bringer, hunter of souls, action, temperance, maker of time and systems of measurement

PLACES:
lakes, marshes,streams, woodlands, ocean, Gargaphian Grive, Grove of Nemi, sanctuaries in nature

OBJECTS:
water, Moon, Sun, double axe, lightning, thunder, bow and arrow, javelin, torch, the star Sirius, forest, herbal medicines, masks and facepaint, Moonwise, swastika, the numbers nine and three,
the zodiac signs Pisces, Aquarius, and Sagittarius, moonstone, pearl, quartz(amethyst), spring, summer, waxing sun, Meridiane(full Moon at midnight)

PATRON OR DEFENDER OF:
singers, young girls and women, women's fertility, sports, sailors, priestesses who taught sexual mysteries

BIRTHPLACES SUGGESTED FOR ARTEMIS:
1. Delos, which falls on the same latitude as Mileta, Didyma, and Therea.  Directly opposite of Delos os Hierapolis, 'city of priestesses.'
2. A cavern at the foot of a mountain near Ephesus, which may in fact be the birthplace of Leto.  Leto was often confused with Artemis by newer arrivals like the Greeks, since both Godesses  dealt with instinct and natural law.  The cavern itself seems to have been called Ortygia, bit this  name has also been applied to an island.
3. The shores of Lake Tritonis, similar to Athena, although the latter was said to have actually  been born in the lake.  the lake was actually in Libya.  Both Artemis and Athena were patron  goddesses of the Amazons, so the idea is not an entirely groundless one.

PARENTAGE:
Artemis is far too old a Goddess to be a daughter of Zeus, as Ancient Greek writers liked to claim.  The Goddess most often named as her mother was Leto, originally named Eni Mahanahi and also
very ancient. Both have Anatolian roots that stretch back to the Neolithic. Leto may have been the  Goddess of Ephesus, although it is difficult to specify from patriarchal records or the Amazons, who came from many places and worshipped warlike aspects of many Goddesses.
In any case, if Artemis were the daughter of Leto, then she would probably be a parthenogenetic one, or a Leto herself as a youth. The connection to Zeus is a late addition who began as a minor vegetation deity.
Another story told was that Despoena was the younger
Artemis, daughter of Demeter and Poseidon. Poseidon is not the father of either Goddess, and  the story proved highly unpopular.
A far better candidate for Artemis' mother is Themis, as explained in the main section.

GODDESSES SIMILAR TO ARTEMIS:
Diana or Dea Anna of Ephesus and Latium, itself named for Leto; Ma Tau P'o; Ma of Cappadocia +and Caria; Hipta of Lydia; Agdestis; Ortheia of Sparta; Bendis of Lemnia; Uma(Umi) of India;
Atalanta of Arcadia; Kallisto of Arcadia; Egeria of Nemo; Chione of Thrace; Carya of Southern Laconia; Eukleia; Leukippe; Niobe; Britomartis of Crete; Diktynna of Crete; Phylonoe; the Telchines
 

                                   * Please visit Sandra Stanton's Goddess Myth site.
                                              http://www.goddessmyths.com/
 
 

                       Message from Livia...last of Artemis' Sacred Priestesses //
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