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  • Sigi Weiss

Artemis: Huntress, midwife, moon goddess, magician

The small island of Delos is the birthplace of the virgin huntress Artemis and her twin brother Apollon. Just a short boat ride from the island of Mykonos is Delos, which was once the most sacred religious center of the Cyclades and later became the Mediterranean's greatest shipping power. The small island is an archaeological site and UNESCO World Heritage Site throughout its area. This blog tells about the holiest island of the Cyclades to explore Artemis archetype, her mythology, arts, medicinal plants and lunar magic.

Strolling around the island you will see breathtaking temple ruins to Apollo and Artemis, the divine siblings born here to their Titan mother Leto, treasure houses, the famous roaring lions, phallic columns to Dionysus and temples and trading houses of many seafaring cultures: there are Egyptian, Syrian, Jewish, Greek, Italian and Phoenician temples and trading houses. A fascinating history of diverse cultures, Mediterranean seafare and trade and the center of Greek religion and mythology. No one was allowed to be buried on this island, all graves were found on the neighboring island of Rinia.

Moon goddess & sun god

Delos is also the birthplace of the divine twin couple Artemis and Apollon. Her mother was Leto, her father Zeus, and since Zeus's wife Hera was jealous toward her husband's mistress, she commanded that no one should allow Leto sanctuary for childbirth. But Delos was a free floating islandand the god of the sea, Poseidon, anchored it in the sea for Leto. Leto first gave birth to Artemis under a palm tree, and she, who was later usually portrayed as a virgin huntress, immediately reveals herself as a divine midwife. Artemis helped her mother Leto deliver her brother and so the women later called Artemis to request an easy birth.

Artemis is a moon goddess, her brother Apollon represents the sun. She is also the fierce, untameable goddess of the hunt and mistress of animals. She is often depicted hunting with dogs, a bear or a hind and a silver bow. From a young age she asked her father Zeus to stay unmarried and wished to roam freely in the forests and mountains with her companions, the nymphs, and their priestesses. Although she is mostly described as a virgin, she has fun with lovers but remains independent. She loves dancing and singing and is called Kalliste, the beautiful. Together with the nymphs she celebrates exuberant festivals in nature.

Artemis in her dark moon aspect is also considered an underworld goddess and is then associated with the magic goddess Hekate. On new moon nights she goes hunting, while on the other nights she steers the lunar chariot across the sky. Her arrows bring a gentle death.

She is also considered a fertility goddess. In addition to Artemision in Delos, her most important temple is in Ephesus, where she is depicted as the multi-breasted giver of all life. The Amazons also worshiped her. Magic plants and medicinal herbs are also sacred to her, and holy, intoxicating drinks could be brewed from Artemisia (wormwood).

She represents all three aspects of the great goddess and the moon cycles: the virgin hunter and mistress of the animals as Artemis (sickle moon), the fertility goddess and midwife as Artemis Eileithyia (full moon) and the magical goddess of the underworld as Hecate on new moon nights.

Artemis whispers: I am wild, free and untamed. I am the moon goddess, the hunter, the midwife, the mistress of animals, magical plants and forests. Bathe with me in the moonlight!

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