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)

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Heart of the Vixen

The distant relative of the wolf is the vulpes, or fox. They belong to the Canidae family. Smaller and far gentler than wolves but carnivorous, they hold a place in the imagination, spirits, hearts and minds of everyone just as much as the wolf. Sometimes it's obvious that the fox has a more prominent place in human lives than wolves do, mainly because there seems to be far more foxes dwelling in human societies than there are wolves.

It is believed that foxes have supernatural powers, psychic gifts and can shapeshift into humans. Many legends describe she-foxes becoming women. Foxes play a dominant part in folklore myths and legends around the Far East, particularly in Japan. These stories and myths of foxes, knowned famously as "Kitsune", are heavily detailed with very colourful tales of these magical creatures. These magical foxes, not to be mistaken with the ordinary regular/earthly fox animals, can have more than one tail.

The fox symbolises cunning, invisibility, seduction, the faerie realm and magical ability. The Celtic phrase for the fox is Madadh (canid), Ruadh (the colour "red") and Sionnach (Vulpes vulpes).

There are a number of human Fox Clans or families in different parts of the world, including the Americas, Ireland, France, England and Russia.

In some legends, foxes took on the form of beautiful women and then procreated with men, whose offspring were human children. Many of these stories show a pattern of disaster and sadness because these victims fell broken hearted. It could be that the fox ladies were linking humans back with the animals. Subconsiously this was a return to the Earth Mother, the divine, spirits or towards the psychic domain. However, some of these fox women were regarded as evil. People are afraid of nature at times. It seems there's a clash in beliefs here about those foxy shapeshifting beings. They were either portrayed as demonic in some places or they were benign. It seems that lighter mystical side of the fox legends and spirits were tainted badly by people over time, mainly because of religious attitudes, or through generated fear.

Foxes are part of life and nature. Foxes are here. Foxes appear and disappear. You can trick a fox and they can trick you. This form of trickery has been described in more myths, like the fairytales and fables of ancient Europe. Trickery of the fox comes from observation and these animals do so out of survival, and they're famous for their cleverness.

Fox reiki is very potent and beneficial to well-being, sense of health and confidence building. 

Monstropedia - Kitsune
Fox Totem
Animal Totem: Fox
Celtic Animal Allies
Morningstar Fox Medicine
More on the Kitsune

The above image is "The Fox Familiar" by Pebblepixie

Friday, 19 March 2010

Wolf Guardian

One senses the image of a wolf, especially during a deep state of hypnogogic sleep. The wolf's eyes are looking deeply and intelligently at me. The wolf seems calm and I feel a sense of calmness overcome me. When the wolf gets close, I can smell pine, roots from the forest, fruit, flowers, rain, snow, water, grass, mud, trees and water. The wolf knows what I'm doing. The wolf knows how I'm feeling. The wolf senses what might be troubling me and what could be making me feel the way I do. This appirition of the wolf is beautiful as any wolf. The wolf is going to be there until I fall asleep and won't be there after I wake up. This wolf has a name, printed in the air, on winds and breezes, mist, breathes. When it rains, the name becomes visible on stones and glass. The wolf belongs to a greater pack, of loyalty and love. Strength is vital. Power is shared. This wolf is a part of me and I see her sometimes.

Wolves can have an interesting effect on us in dreams, wide awake or in deep thought. When we deal with actual wolves, we want to understand them. Some wolves are rebellious and yet it doesn't mean they don't want to be understood. But do they? Often, lone wolves are like solitude. They absorb details they may not have learned if they were still belonging to the pack. They can find ways to cope when they feel a certain way. They might be hungry and they will want shelter and rest. Some lone wolves probably reflect, in their own way, the landscape and animals all around them. They might remember their pasts. They might anticipate the future: What will the storms bring tomorrow, perhaps?

These lone wolves symbolise the sole journey we have to take as adults. People feel a time when they want to be on their own and concentrate. People need time to think. People like to enjoy hobbies and activities themselves. Some like their own company. Even those who are sociable by nature want to be on their own a little, to recuperate, meditate, make decisions, study, sleep, pleasures like me-time. I guess some wouldn't understand this and what I'm trying to say is that the intimate self is looking inside at ourselves and coming to terms with our deep side. The wolf is a trigger of the deep self. The wolf is a animal in the forest and zoos, yeah but also there is a much more different type of wolf. The wolf of the psychic and spiritual realm. The wolf of the subconsiousness. The wolf in dreams, The wolf who appears in our imagination and wild ideas.

When I look at the wolf I look at many things about it. I can see an animal of such beauty and progress. I can see an animal who was important to ancient peoples. I can see an animal that was a cause of panic in the Middle Ages. I can see an animal that scares children in fairy tales. I can see an animal that could be a spirit guide. I can see an animal totem. I can see an animal who belongs to the Native American tradition of the medicine wheel. I can see an animal who makes people delve into vivid imaginations. I can see an animal that will be capable of killing me. I can see an animal that might be capable of attaching itself to me as a guardian. I can see far more that I can't describe.

When people are in trouble, they experience hallucinations, if they are that, and these are identified as angelic or guardians. Animals can appear also, including wolves. People that have endured near fatal accidents come face to face with wolves that come from nowhere, who seem to then vanish after guiding people to safety. Also wolves represent the pack instinct, with a social order and always a routine. When people learn to understand wolves properly, they might also be able to understand a little more about themselves.

Special links:

Totem animals
Spirit of the Wolf by Lady in Black
Sacred Wolf Dream's Spirit World
Timberwolf HQ

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Berserker - Ulfhednar

"Berserker" - when a warrior became so angry that he lost control.

It was said to be linked to bears and bearlike qualities. "Ulfednar", or Wolf Head, was a warrior robed in a wolf pelt, who entered battle during his manic anger.

Soldiers and warriors have been called predatory beasts, associated with bears and wolves and other vicious animals. Military emblems often feature carnivorous species, even though they can display horses, stags and mythical creatures too but of those of loyal strength, anger and physical power.

The animal spirit or Fylgia shows itself in a warrior's rage.

A blessing on weaponry by Allfather Odin:

A third song I know, if sore need should come
of a spell to stay my foes;
When I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,
nor their weapons nor staves can wound
An eleventh I know, if haply I lead
my old comrades out to war,
I sing 'neath the shields, and they fare forth mightily;
safe into battle,
safe out of battle,
and safe return from the strife.
(Lee M. Hollander, trans. Poetic Edda. Austin.
Univ. of Texas Press. 1962. pp. 44-45) 

Shapechanging was visually observed while men became beserk and werewolf legends are full of battling males and bloodthirst. 

For more info on the BERSERKER visit:
Viking Answer Lady