'There was no public worship of Artemis the Chaste' (Sir J.G.Frazer), although Artemis was worshiped throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East -- the so-called 'cradle of civilization. The many breasted Artemis of Ephesus ('Diana of the Ephesians') where her temple as a fertility goddess was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, is much closer to her pre-Greek Great Mother function. Her cult there was said to go back to the Amazons.
Artemis is the goddess of independence and survival. She is entirely self-sufficient and shares her sufficiency.
Coryphaea (Of the Peak)
Limnaea and Limnatis )Of the Lake)
Daphnaea (Of the Laurel)
Lyceia or Lycea (Wolfish)
Caryatis (Of the Walnut tree)
Cedreatis (Of the Cedar)
Selasphorus and Phosphorus (Light-bearer)
Paedotrophus (Nurse of Children)
Items Sacred to Artemis
Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto. She is the lady of the wild things. She is sometimes referred to as Potnia Theron (mistress of the Beasts) indicating her concern for and power over wild animals. She is the huntsman of the gods. She is the protector of the young. She is also concerned with women's transition from girlhood to adulthood (via marriage) and with childbirth, a concern she shares with Hera and Eileithyia. Women who die are said to be struck down by her arrows. Like
Apollo she hunts with silver arrows. ). She probably absorbed a pre-Indo-Europeon Sun goddess, and her twinning in classical legend with the Sun god Apollo may stem from this.
Artemis shares with Apollo the ministry of death to mortals, reflecting the "darker underworld side of the Earth Mother". She is Goddess of the beasts, the earth, the moon and the hunt. As Artemis Agrotera, she was paid homage by hunters. They would pour a libation, crown her statue with flowers and sing hymns to her. They would offer the first fruits of the game taken. They would then feast together with their dogs, whom they would also crown with flowers.
Artemis was born without pain and is, therefore, invoked by women in childbirth. She is known as Ilythyia (the birth-goddess). She was born on the island of Ortygia, after which she helped her mother cross the water to the island of Delos, where she acted as mid-wife at the birth of Apollo. Her father Zeus, took her on his knee and asked what gifts she wanted. She asked for eternal virginity and became on of the three goddesses whose heart cannot be moved by the power of Aphrodite (the others are Athena and Hestia). She also asked for a bow and arrows. She requested for 60 ocean nymphs to be her companions and 20 river nymphs from Crete to look after her hunting gear and hounds. She also asked for all the mountains in the world and one city. Zeus also made her the goddess of roads and harbors.
As a Goddess of nature and fecundity, Artemis was not always regarded as a virgin (in its modern definition). She was concerned with the loss of virginity and childbirth and encouraged women to be fruitful. In some places, maidens would offer a lock of their hair to her before marriage.. Euripides says that Artemis, in her capacity of mid-wife, would not even speak to childless women.
Artemis captured alive two pairs of golden-horned, bronzed-horned stags and harnessed them to a golden chariot. She jealously guards the honor of her mother and brother and sends heavy punishments on those who fail to give due honor (such as first fruits, etc).
An Invocation of Artemis
Protectress of Birth-Givers, bearers of life,
Artemis, the Warrior, all female’s mid-wife.
Caregiver of beasts, wild and untamed,
Women, unruly, virgin, unnamed.
Amazon Goddess who rules the night,
Runs with all creatures, bearer of light.
One who is hawk, lioness and bear,
Guarded by hounds who show you great care.
Your breasts are sensuous, full and giving
Meant to nourish and suckle the living.
Lady of Beasts, Lady of the Wild
Hear your daughter, Hear your child.
Artemis, Virgin, one who is free,
Huntress, Protectress, Great Shining Tree.
Mother of Mysteries, song of my soul
Enter my being making me whole.
Spirit of the Wild, Shining Fire
Enter this Circle as we desire.
Enclose us all, be with us today
Magically join in our sacred play.
~Maat’s Book of Shadows