Sunday, December 18, 2011
The Lunar Huntress
Artemis: Virgin Goddess of the Sun & Moon--A Comprehensive Guide to the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, Her Myths, Powers & Mysteries
Sorita D'Este, Avalonia (September 22, 2005)
Sorita d' Este has a knack for writing informative books about her subject and making it both enjoyable, easy to understand and read. I breezed through it yesterday morning and after having learned a lot about Artmenis I was still wanting more. Damn good book if you ask me. Then again all of Sorita's books are damn good.
Artemis is the virgin huntress who roams the night time hills in search of animals to hunt like stags, boars and fish. She is the the daughter of Zeus and the Titaness Leto. Her twin brother is Apollo, the sun god and the poet. Zeus, her father, is rather lusty and tends to father lots of children with goddesses, Titans and humans. Hera gets rather jealous. In a fit of jealously she sends out a mighty python to pursue Leto. She gets know rest until she arrives on the island of Delos which was set us by Zeuss. Artemis has an easy birth but Apollo's birth is rather difficult. So Artemis helps. Hence she is the Goddess of unmarried virgins, midwife of the gods and the moon goddess.
Artemis has no need for love she never wants to get married or have relation. Those who choose to follow her must remain virgins as well. That goes for the priests at her temples too. Artemis is always surrounded by nymphs who are shorter then her. The maiden that choose to follow her make an enticing target for mortals and men I guess they want a taste of the forbidden fruit. Two thing happen when the maiden are pursued. If the man is successful and achieves his goal either through rape or seduction, Artemis kills or banishes the deflowered nymph or maiden. If a follower is running from a man they can count on being turned into a spring, river or reed instrument. Artemis can be rather vindictive and vengeful as is Nike.
Upon being born one of the first assignments given to Apollo and Artemis is to slay the python who pursued Leto. They kill the python and Apollo gets the Python's old temple and prophecies are issued forth from their. Anyone who insults Artemis or any of her colleague can be sure to experience her wrath. King Agamenon boasted he could kill more animals than she could. His fleet of ship was held up from an invasion until he made amends. He also had to sacrifice his daughter because a pregnant animal was killed in his kingdom he had to sacrifice his daughter. She would later become a priestess and then steal one of her wooden statues. Perhaps most famous is her incident with Orion who was unlucky enough to view her bathing naked in stream. He was turned into a dear and had his own hounds set upon him. Other versions of the story have Apollo tricking her into shooting an arrow at him when he swims in the Ocean. Adonis the one who loved Aphrodite was killed for boasting against her as well. This would make Artemis an enemy Aphrodite.
Artemis like all the Greek deities had her share of friends and enemies. Most notable would be Aphrodite and on this I could go into more detail but I will let you read the book. She has a love hate relationship with Zeus's wife where in one time she saves Hera and in another two times she is defeated by Hera. She has alliances with Ares, Dionysus, Pan and Hekate. Once again if you want to find out more read the book. There are two other virgin goddesses , Hestia and Athena.
Her favorite animals are the bear, boar, dog and dear among other. You can hunt them but do not kill her dancing bear or one of the females will have to take it's place. The story at Sparta is heavy. Two spartan one time had a fight at one of her abandoned shrines and for a certain time after that live sacrifices were required then the sentence was lowered to whipping a boy prior to the onset of adulthood and smearing the altar with blood. This carried on until Roman times.
There is more to tell for sure but dear reader you must take that journey yourself. I just wish the book was a bit longer. Perhaps if there is ever a reprint she could throw in a s sample ritual . Sorita is awesome. There is a great bibliography in the back and everything is well footnoted
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