I thought I’d start discussing some of my favorite Gods and Goddesses and what attracts me to them. I thought I’d start out with a Goddess that has fascinated me since childhood. For a long time I couldn’t understand why I was attracted to her. Artemis, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls whose Roman equivalent is Diana.
I think I was always attracted to the imagery surrounding Artemis and how she was a great huntress in a world where men were the hunters. I was a tom boy growing up, so this idea of a maiden Goddess as a top hunter appealed to me. I also liked that she wasn’t really attached to any particular partner. Yes, for a while she liked Orion, but she never really married any other deity or mortal. Like most young girls, I didn’t have an interest in boys or dating or any thoughts of taking a husband someday. I thought boys were gross.
I’ve always had an affinity for the natural places, particularly deep forests. I loved the artwork that surrounded Artemis, a young woman usually hunting in the woods at night surrounded by her hounds, arrow pulled back ready for the strike. Visually the Goddess called to me and I always feel closer to her when I am walking in the woods.
It was more than just this huntress persona that appealed to me. I have always loved animals. If i could take in every stray animal I would. I am currently the proud owner of 3 cats, all of whom were rescued from going to an animal shelter. My first was one of a litter of four I rescued out from under a friends porch after her father threatened to poison the whole lot of them. I found homes for the other 3 and kept the runt for myself. He’s been with me ever since. The second and third were part of a litter destined for the pound if they couldn’t be given homes. They have brought me immense joy. You would think of my love for cats I’d be more in favor of Bast as Artemis is more of a hound or bear goddess. But Artemis is a goddess of wild animals. While my cats are not and all but the first probably never would be, I still feel a bit of a connection through them.
It wasn’t until I got older that I realized how vindictive any of the Gods and Goddesses could be. I always thought the worst of them were Ares and Hera, and that a lot of them could do no wrong. Artemis is not exception to the list of Gods and Goddesses that don’t always provide the best example to live your life by. A lot of this is from my Christian upbringing; with the idea that the world is black and white and you have one purely good God and one purely evil “God” figure. Duality isn’t always the best reflection of the world. There is inherent good and evil in all people and I like now that I am older that the Gods and Goddesses reflect this. Rain gives life, but it can also take away. Artemis is often labeled as a Goddess of childbirth but she is also attributed in many plots of death and revenge. Artemis is a maiden, but she is also a prideful huntress.
It’s this duality inside the Gods or Goddesses themselves that I find I can relate to so well. We are all capable of great good and great evil. I think it is what we choose t act on that makes us who we are and the stories that show the Gods and Goddesses doing things that go against our very nature that shows us how we should act.
Which Greek Goddess most appeals to you?