Thank you so much to everyone who voted in the poll a couple of weeks ago. I value your input, and it confirmed what I was feeling. The next Goddess I will be walking with is Artemis.
Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, wild animals and fertility; daughter to Zeus and sister of Apollo (the sun god). Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some say she was one of the most venerated goddesses of the Greek pantheon.
I find it interesting that Artemis became a goddess of fertility, since she was a virgin goddess. It was said that as a young girl of only three years old, she sat on her father’s knee and asked to be granted these wishes:
- to remain forever a virgin
- to have many names to make her distinct from her brother
- to have a bow and arrows fashioned by Cyclops (a renowned smith)
- to be “Pheasphoria” – bringer of light
- to wear a tunic reaching only to her knee that she may hunt great beasts
- 60 daughters of Okeanos for her choir, all nine years old and chaste
- 20 Nymphai Amnisides to be her handmaidens and tend her hounds, also chaste
- all mountains as her realm
Her connection with childbirth comes from the legend of her own birth. Artemis was said to have been born before her brother, and then immediately became midwife to her mother for her brother’s birth. According to Callimachus, a Greek poet from the 3rd century BC, Artemis declared that the moment she was born, the Fates declared that she would be their helper for women in childbirth, so that they might deliver without pain, just as Leto gave birth to Artemis without pain.
This seeming paradox of a virgin goddess who really seemed to dislike men (I’ll tell you of her one reported romance another time) being the goddess women called on in childbirth perplexes me. As a woman who has given birth three times, I think that someone who has actually given birth might be a better goddess to call upon for assistance. I’m going to have to do some more research and meditate on that one for a while to see what insights I can find there. If you have any ideas, please post them in the comments below!
PS. While searching for images, I came across an article that called Sarah Palin an “American Artemis”. *shudder* 🙂