Friday, 26 March 2010

Wolf Goddess - Artemis

There are many versions of Artemis.

Goddess in the Greek myths, Artemis has been linked with wolves on occassion. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto, the shapeshifting Goddess who becomes a wolf. She's also been associated with bears. The moon is very significant as Artemis is a moon goddess. It is said that she might be the maiden aspect of the triple moon goddess, with Selene and Hecate as the other two. A virgin goddess of wild animals, childbirth and hunting.

As a young girl, Artemis asked her father Zeus to grant her several wishes: that she could remain a virgin forever; that she have more names than her brother, Apollo (see her epithets below); that she could carry a bow and arrows; that she be attended by nymphs; that she should rule over the mountains; and that she have hounds to hunt with and deer to pull her chariot. Zeus granted all of her wishes, and also gave her dominion over harbors. Other areas of life that came to be ruled by Artemis include the dawn, frost, virginity, healing, the Amazons, and rabies. 
 ...That was taken from Goddess A Day

The image of Artemis that we have is a slender young woman with flowing silvery blonde hair and pale blue eyes, dressed in a silken blue and white tunic, as she holds an elegant bow while carrying arrows on her back. Sometimes I envisage her more athletic, with her hair up, crowned by a golden tiara decked in blossoms, wearing practical attire suitable for running, laced boots, and a pack of wolves beside her. She is pale as the full moon. She is the maiden that we come across in fairytales passed down through time.

This is making me think of Snow-White. Imagine the lunar Goddess in subtle flowery form. Princess and Goddess of the wild beasts, night, forests and hunting, harvest and childbearing, symbolised with the red apples. The seven dwarves are like kind villagers and forest dwellers (more on them later). Snow White is a princess who cannot be killed because she's an immortal. The hair of Snow White is traditionally black as ebony but this is the nocturnal aspect of Artemis, not seen blonde, a shadow and a link to the darkened trees. Hair and trees are tied at the roots. It is not her hair that the fairytale was literally referring to but the Goddess herself in this particular guise. Forests and the deepest secrets (black hair) is the wish of her mother, the wolf changing goddess woman, (Leto?).

Lips and cheeks red as blood. Skin as white as snow. The skin isn't as snow but as bright as a glowing moon. There are fragmented stories of Artemis whose bright eyes may have blinded mortals if they upset her. Sometimes the moon is so bright and snow causes a glare to the eyes. It is Her power of the moon. So it is the too the power of the goddess of you choose to go deep, look inside the "skin as white as snow" meaning. This is just my view. The lips and cheeks, favoured red by all women, was red too, like the three drops of blood that fell from the queen's finger. The red is a link to blood relations and ancestry, the people, folk, animals, life and earth. Nature, fertility, childbirth, sex, fruit, death, pain, lust. All of it is red as blood. So is rage. So is shapeshifting.

Artemis is like the princess Snow White. And Artemis is the Greek equivalent to Diana (Roman goddess of the moon) and possibly Skadi (Norse goddess of winter). The blood means, as I mentioned above, is to do with ancestry, family, nature, ect and WOLVES.

Wolves are always associated with the moon. Moons are never the same without wolves howling to it. Wolves howl at the moon for many reasons. They enjoy it, for one reason. Also werewolves are linked to the moon. Shapeshifting has a lot to do with the moon and when the moon is full, the werewolf becomes a wolf. This transformation needs no surgery but a complete spiritual/mental/physical change in appearance from human to wolf. The full moon has a vast amount of properties such as gravity and this enables the tides to alter, our inner chemicals to move, attitudes and behaviour to be swept up and for animals to undergo a strange pattern that time of the month. The moon is spiritually and physically linked by fables, myths and new age beliefs, to women. The full moon crosses paths with women's menstrual flow, even at different periods! Werewolves, the moon and blood. Wolves, moon and blood. This is what the blood stands for: Womanhood.

White as... (Moon, light, ice) snow.
Black as... (Forests, trees, shadows, secrets or the night) ebony.
Red as... (wolves, werewolves, menstrual flow, rage, passion, poison, childbirth, womanhood) blood.
Snow-White was never a werewolf. Was she a huntress then? She had the ability to run through the forests, not to escape her wicked stepmother or the huntsman perhaps but to hunt alone, herself. The story uses a softer approach to retell this for children but I'm making my own judgements on it, whether or not I'm right or wrong. I believe that Snow White that we don't know was a shadow maiden or the maiden Goddess, or the Huntress moon goddess like Artemis. She was at one with nature. Snow White knew how to train animals and communicate with them. Even the Disney version of Snow White has her being a nature's wild, forest, animal loving child. She must've encountered ferocious wolves and bears on her way to safety?

The dwarves are like the people, mortals, the kind little ones who helped her. They are the people preserving their moon Goddess from the dreaded abbess queen, the church, who wanted to rid the land of this pagan divinity because she's fairer! The church isn't as fair as the moon. I'm not argueing about religion here so please don't bash me. I'm looking for deep symbolisms to the fairytales and this tale by the Brothers Grimm is a reminder of pre-Christian messages. It is true that people kept their roots and now we have celebrations like Ostara with a christianised theme (the church named "Easter" and adopted it with their own Bible story).

Artemis the Huntress is very similar to Snow White. She is also like other warrior women and maidens in stories we come across. There are too many to discuss here and I'll leave it for a future post.    

For more on Artemis the Goddess:

Artemis - Goddess of the Moon
Artemis: Greek Goddess
Goddess of the Hunt
Artemis: Goddess of Light
Artemis in Art
Temple of Artemis

There is also another idea when I came up with. As there are countless legends about Artemis and information on the web, it's made me realise that she could also be a dark goddess. She probably isn't the fairytale princess Snow White to many people but IMO fairytales do have a tendancy to be very similar to ancient legends and myths of gods.  There is far more to Artemis than just this alone.

(I'm not sure who the artist is of the picture posted here above. Please let me know if you're aware of them so I can give credit to the artist's name and post a link to their homepage. Thanks)

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