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Artemis – Goddess of Wild Animals and protector of women

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by DanFF

In this post, you will know the story of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Moon, protector of wild animals and women. You’ll learn the symbols of Artemis, her archetype and more.

You can watch the video below if you wish:

Who is Artemis?

Artemis, also known as Artemisia, is the Greek Goddess of the Moon and protector of animals, especially pregnant females and newborns.

Goddess Artemis runs free through the forests protecting these animals from hunters and punishing hunters who do not respect this “rule” and insist on hunting just for fun or hunting pregnant animals and/or newborns.

She runs through the forests along with several Nymphs and avoids contact with men as much as possible, even though she is the twin sister of Apollo, God of the Sun and poetry.

The Roman equivalent of Artemis is Diana and, in some witchcraft traditions, Diana is adored and always depicted as a great Mother, also representing the Moon and magical powers.

Statue of Artemis (Diana)
Statue of Artemis (Diana)
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The birth of Artemis

Artemis is Leto’s daughter, the kindest of all.

Leto is the daughter of Selene (Goddess of the Moon before Artemis) and sister of Asteria (Goddess of the Stars and mother of Goddess Hecate). So we understand that Artemis and Hecate are cousins. There are many relations between the two, including their symbols.

Well, Zeus tried to rape Asteria, as he used to do with all women. Asteria turned into a quail and fled. Flying away from Zeus, she threw herself into the sea and became an island, later identified as Delos. As an island, Asteria was not discovered and escaped Zeus’ attack.

Later, Leto was raped by Zeus. Leto got pregnant and aroused the fury of Goddess Hera, who pursued her.

Fleeing Hera, Leto ended up on the island of Delos, his sister. There she managed to be at peace and gave birth to Artemis and Apollo.

Artemis helped her own mother in her birth and in the birth of Apollo!

Apollo & Artemis
Statue of Apollo & Artemis

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Artemis and Orion: love, hate and death

There are different versions of the story between Artemis and Orion, the hunter, but they all lead to the same ending: Orion’s death and the creation of the Orion constellation.

Apollo deceives Artemis

In one of them, Orion and Artemis were very close and ended up falling in love.

Apollo was jealous of seeing his sister with another man, so he created a plot to separate the two before they got married. Apollo challenged Artemis in a kind of championship to test the Goddess’s skills and accuracy.

He said he doubted Artemis’ ability to handle the bow and arrow, so he pointed out a series of targets for the Goddess to hit. The last target was a moving light in the middle of the sea.

Artemis hit the target with total accuracy. The target, already dead obviously, was brought to Artemis by the waves.

To Artemis’s surprise, the target was Orion. When she realized that she had been deceived by her brother and ended up killing the love of her life, she entered a state of anger and disillusion in which she came to disbelieve any and all male figures.

Orion tries to rape Opis

In another version, Orion tries to rape Opis, one of Artemis’s followers. Opis, however, is also one of the names of Artemis.

So there is a suggestion that Orion actually tried to rape Artemis!

Whether Opis is the Goddess herself or not, Artemis kills Orion for attempted rape.

Orion says he is better than Artemis

In yet another version, Orion goes on gossiping around that he was a better disc shooter than Artemis.

Artemis who hates lying people, goes and kills him.

Orion becomes a constellation

Orion then became the constellation of Orion, lighting up the night sky. Depending on the version, he becomes a kind of companion of Artemis, or he is “punished” and gets stuck in the sky in the form of a constellation.

Orion Constellation
Orion Constellation

Anyway, after this episode with Orion (and Apollo) Artemis becomes exclusively linked to the protection of women and animals. Therefore, the personal connection with Artemis is best done only by women. Unless, if you’re a man, you wish ask her to protect another woman or animal.

Artemis’ symbols

The Moon is the main symbol of Artemis, mainly the Crescent Moon.

The crescent moon, which represents the young and wild face of the Triple Goddess in general, is always related to Artemis in some way. In statues and paintings it is common to see the crescent moon on Artemis’ forehead in the form of a tiara. It is also common to see Artemis’ bow being compared to the Crescent Moon.

The Crescent Moon represents energy, expansion, strength and achievement of goals. This energy is always present in Artemis, who is tireless in her task of protection.

Goddess Artemis
Goddess Artemis (unknown author)

Another of her symbols is the dog. The dog is also a symbol of Hecate, but in a different way. With Artemis, dogs symbolize the ability to explore the unknown without fear, to walk freely in all worlds and also to protect the ones they love.

Artemis - The gardens of Fontainebleau
Statue of Artemis with 3 dogs representing a Triple aspect

And another animal that represents the Goddess is the bear. A mother bear is considered the most ferocious animal in the world, killing and destroying what it needs to protect its cubs. Artemis is also like that. In addition, women dressed as bears danced for Artemis in front of her statue in Brauron.

Artemis as a bear
Artemis depicted as a bear

The Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris) plant received the name Artemisia because of the Goddess. It has silvery leaves and then it was associated with the Moon, then with Artemis. It is also said that Artemis used the plant to cure anyone with parasites in their stomach.

Artemis therefore is always recognized as a free and light Goddess.

Nature is everywhere

Artemis is a Goddess who represents different aspects:

  • She is virgin;
  • She helps births;
  • She is a hunter;
  • She protects the animals;
  • She’s a warrior;
  • She is free;
  • She is the queen of the forests;
  • She is related to fertility.

She symbolizes the duality of good and evil and also the woman’s nature, which can be loving or ferocious. Sometimes she appears as a maiden, sometimes as a fierce warrior. She protects animals and children and she kills those who threaten them.

Artemis taking care of animals
Artemis taking care of animals

The Goddess Tarot

Goddess Diana - The Goddess Tarot

Diana is one of the Goddesses present in The Goddess Tarot. The card number XVIII, Diana, represents The Moon:

In ancient Rome, Diana was honoured as the goddess of the moon as well as of wild forests and animals. The changing moon reflects the cycles of nature and of life.

The Goddess Tarot

General FAQ

Who is Goddess Artemis?

Artemis is the Greek Goddess of the Moon, hunts and the protector of women and wild animals.

What are the symbols of Artemis?

The main symbols of Artemis are the Crescent Moon, dogs and bears.

Artemis or Artemisia?

Both names represent the Goddess. Artemisia is also the name of Mugwort, the plant dedicated to the Goddess.

Artemis or Diana?

Diana is the Roman equivalent to the Greek Goddess Artemis.

What’s the relation between Artemis and Apollo?

They are twins, offspring of Zeus and Leto.

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