The White Moon Gallery Presents

Artemis of the Moon

Project Created by Kerritwyn )0(

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Ephesian Artemis
Courtesy of the Corel Corporation


Here is the virgin Goddess,
Running across the mountains of Taygetos,
Or up the steep hills of Erymanthos,
Running with her maidens,
Running with the deer,
Accompanied by birds,
Ranging widely in the wilderness,
Playful and strong and free and beautiful:
The heart of her Mother is glad.

Homer, The Odyssey (1)

Artemis is the preeminent goddess of classical Greece, though her origins are lost in time and matriarchal goddess worship, and may include a descent from a pre-Indo-European sun goddess.(2) Artemis is known from Greek, Lydian and Etruscan inscriptions and texts, and on very ancient tablets from Pylos.(3)

Artemis and Hecate are linked through time, through the moon cycle: Hecate, awesome and linked with death, and Artemis, youthful, beautiful, reflecting the purity of nature, and linked with unmarried motherhood.(4) Hecate and Artemis can be seen through the prism of time as two sides of a mirror, and many qualities attributed to one, in one culture, were passed along to the other, at a different time.

Artemis was said by the classical Greeks to be the daughter of Zeus and his mistress, Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo, who was born a day later.(5) Athenian girls of marriageable age dressed as bears and danced to her, and offerings on her altars included phalli, sacrificed animals, fruit, spindles, loom- weights, shuttles, and woolen and linen cloth.(6)

Artemis was the protector of all life, but she was also the essence of apparent contradiction: the virgin who promoted promiscuity, the huntress who protected animals, a tree, a bear, the moon.(7) She was the epitome of feminine possibility, changing as a woman does as she moves through her life, and an expression of infinite, explosive and sometimes terrifying power.


Artemis was viewed as perpetually unmarried, virgin in the sense of being her own woman, subject to no male, though she was often invoked in dying-god fertility and harvest rituals.(8) In this context, virginity symbolized autonomy and independence, and the freedom of the goddess to be her own person, to be true to her own beliefs and instincts, and to pick and choose her lovers freely.(9) Other authors see this aspect of Artemis as an Amazon and a passionate and aggressively sensual lover of women.(10)

Courtesy of the Corel Corporation


On the full moon in August, in Ancient Greece, one of the great festivals of Artemis was held, dedicated to Artemis in her aspect as Huntress. She is often depicted with a bow and arrows, and with one or more hounds. A goat was sacrificed to her during this festival, to honor the magickal control she exercised over all animal life. Honoring the savage huntress recognizes that life feeds on life. Whether the life we consume is animal or vegetable, we cannot survive unless we devour the bodies of once-living entities.(11) In this form, Artemis was an elemental force, a creature of instinct, who killed certain individual animals, but assured that the species survived, and who killed anyone who hunted pregnant animals or their young.(12)

There are few
Whom laughing Aphrodite cannot conquer;
Artemis is one,
For she is already in love with the hunt,
With the bow and the quiver full of arrows,
With the sound and the scent of the chase,
The songs and calls of the hunters,
And the fierce blood shed by
Wild boar and deer as they die
In the shadowy forest glades;
And the dancing, later,
To the music of lyres
Among right-living people.


Artemis also used her bow and arrows for specific acts of justice and vengeance. When her mother, Leto, was angered by the bragging of Queen Niobe that her own children were superior to Leto's, and called upon her archer daughter for vengeance, Artemis killed all of Niobe's offspring, and turned Niobe into a block of black stone, from which a weeping fountain endlessly poured. Artemis also killed the serpent, Python, and the giant, Tityus, for tormenting her mother, and the spying hunter, Achteon, who secretly watched Artemis at her bath. Artemis executed him by turning him into a stag, and setting her own hounds upon him. Dozens of others were allegedly killed by Artemis, according to Greek myths. Artemis also inflicted Teuthras with leprosy, so that he would die slowly and miserably, when he killed one of her sacred pigs.(14)

In addition to being an aloof and balanced game warden, this aspect of Artemis was also a ruthless and swift force for vengeance against sacrilege or insult to the goddess, or on behalf of any woman or female creature who was cruelly treated.

Matron of Birthing Mothers.

Artemis was invoked by women in childbirth, as Artemis Eileithyia, and was also considered the protector of young girls.(15) In contrast, in another form, as Artemis Brauronia, she was said to have aroused madness in birthing mothers, and her anger could cause the death of a woman in childbirth.(16)

Moon Goddess.

As she is most typically pictured in Western Art, Artemis is the virginal moon goddess roaming the forest with her female band, bearing a bow and a quiver of arrows, avoiding men, and killing any many who looked upon her.(17) In an even more ancient association, her name has been said to mean 'High Source of Water', and the Moon is considered to be the source and ruler of all water, and of the tides of the ocean, and of the menstrual cycle.(18) Some depictions of Artemis combine the lunar crescent with the archer's bow, and show her bending the moon into the sickle shape, and aiming an arrow through it.(19)

Dark Goddess.

In Sparta, her dark aspect was worshipped as Taurian Artemis, allegedly with an annual human sacrifice, which was later modified to ritual flagellation.(20)


The many-breasted Artemis of Ephesus was worshipped as a fertility goddess, in a temple which was said to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.(21) This temple at Ephesus is believed to have been originally built by the Amazons (1000-600 B.C.E. (22)), and was destroyed by barbarian hordes in the middle of the 3rd century.(23) King Croesus rebuilt the temple 100 years later, and it's chief object of love and adoration, mentioned in the Acts of Apostles, was a palm-wood statue of Artemis. She received many rich gifts, including gold and silver awnings and garments for the statue, which were regularly changed, and which included golden sculptured grapes, giving the appearance of many breasts.(24) Artemis was served by chaste priestesses called Mellisai, or "bees", and by eunuch priests.(25) The temple continued to be a place of reverence until approximately 400 A.D., when Christians allegedly destroyed it.(26)

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Magickal Associations.

Bears, the fiercest animal mothers, are sacred to Artemis, and she is associated with the constellation of Ursa Major.(27) Guinea fowl are her birds. Her magickal number is 777. Her Tarot cards are Nines, the High Priestess and the Temperance card. The gems associated with her are quartz, moonstone, pearl and crystal. The plants associated with her are artemisia (one form of which is dusty miller, often known as wormwood because it is said Artemis wormed her hounds with it (28)), banyon, mandrake, damiana, almond, mugwort, hazel and moonwort. The animals associated with her are the elephant, dog, centaur and horse. The mineral associated with her is lead. Her perfumes are jasmine, ginseng, menstrual blood, and all sweet, virginal odors. Her magickal weapons are perfumes, fleet sandals, and the bow and arrow.(29)

Other concurrent names for her were Callisto, Cynthia, Delia, Phoebe, Pythia and Parthenos. She was subsequently adopted into the Roman pantheon as the goddess Diana.(30)


Artemis the Huntress

Much magick invokes Artemis, because of her extraordinary depth and complexity. Out of the wealth of possibilities, here is one lovely example:

Woodland Love Spell

This spell is designed for those seeking a female lover, using earth-focused forest energy and woodland spirits. On a bright and sunny day, go to a favorite spot in the woods, with fruit, cheese, bread, a knife, a felt tip pen, a small piece of rose quartz, and some green cord. Get comfortable, let go of the mundane world, and tune into the life of the woods around you. Cut a slice of bread, a cube of cheese and a piece of fruit, and bury them in a hold you have dug at the base of a nearby tree. Then, on a large broad leaf, write with your pen:

Lady of the Forest,
Lady of the vine,
Bring to me
The love that is mine.
Blessed Be.

Wrap the leaf carefully around the rose quartz, tie it with the green cord, and raise earth energy to charge your charm. Place the charged charm on top of the buried food, and chant:

Oh Ancient Huntress, I come seeking you.
Come to me, Artemis, Mistress of the Hunt,
Earth Daughter, Green Mother, Lover, Creatrix.
Bring me a woman suited to be my partner.
I will accept and love the one you choose to
Embody yourself within.
Let us bind together,
Play together,
Love together,
Entwining our souls and minds,
Entwining our hearts and bodies,
Entwining our paths and lives.
So mote it be.(31)

Poem & Invocation to Artemis

Fierce Goddess
By Kerritwyn )0(

Mighty Goddess,
Proud and free,
Tall and strong,
Swift as the wind,
Fill me with the fierce joy
Of your riotous passion.

Noble Goddess,
Stern in punishment,
Brooking no cruelty,
Suffering no mockery,
Fill me with the fierce joy
Of your righteous vengeance.

Mesmerizing Goddess,
Changing with the moon,
White as ice,
Red as blood,
Fill me with the fierce joy
Of your female mysteries.

Artemis and Achteon
by Boris Vallejo

Page Designed by Rowen Saille

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1.Monaghan, Patricia, The Goddess Companion , Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN., 1999, p. 142.
2. Farrar, Janet and Stewart, The Witches' Goddess , Phoenix Publishing, Inc., Custer, WA., 1995, p. 198.
3. Rush, Anne Kent, Moon, Moon , Random House/Moon Books, New York, N.Y. and Berkeley, CA., 1976, p. 204.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Id., p. 205.
7. Monaghan, Patricia, The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines , Llewellyn Publications, Inc., St. Paul, MN., 1997, p. 54.
8. Id., fn. 2.
9. Gadon, Elinor W., The Once and Future Goddess , Harper San Francisco, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 1989, p. 191.
10. Budapest, Zsuzsanna E., The Grandmother of Time , Harper San Francisco, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 1989, pp. 91-94.
11. Id., p. 262.
12. Id., fn. 7.
13. Ibid.
14. Monaghan, Patricia, The Goddess Path , Llewellyn Publications, Inc., St. Paul, MN., 1999, pp. 126-128.
15. Id., fn. 2.
16. Id., fn. 3, p. 205.
17. Id., fn. 7.
18. Id., fn. 2.
19. Id., fn. 10, p. 129.
20. Id., fn. 2.
21. Ibid.
22. Id., fn. 7, p. 43.
23. Id., fn. 3, p. 151.
24. Ibid.
25. Id., fn. 7, p. 54.
26. Id., fn. 3, p. 151.
27. Id., fn. 7.
28. Ibid.
29. Id., fn. 2.
30. Ibid.
31. Galenorn, Yasmine, Embracing the Moon , Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN., 1998, pp. 168-170.

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