Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Artemis, Lady of the Mountains

Artemis is, it would seem above all other things, a Goddess of natural places and natural occurrences. The forest, the wooded mountain sides, the tidy holes animals hide in, caves, etc. But also, of moon lit nights, of growth, of hunting (a natural activity), and birth, and the dangers that come with it. She is a goddess of children and young mothers, and of the young animals who, often, require much protection in order to survive.

She is a protective goddess, but also a dangerous goddess, because in her pervue is also the death of birthing mothers, or the children they birth. Often seen as a horrible thing, one can also see these as a mercy, though to the families involved it will never seem that way. As a "nature goddess" I have much to be thankful to Artemis for. The beauty of the world and the shifting changes that are its most enduring characteristic, are something we all need be grateful for, even if it also means our aging, our disease, and our deaths.

But therein lies a problem for me, because I am very much a city man, and like most of us, I am rather disconnected to nature and her many many cycles. Yes, I am affected by time, by disease, by the changing seasons, but the effects I perceive in my life seem to be the grander shifts in natures moods. The weather, the sunrise, the seasons. But Artemis is also present in many of the other, smaller shifts in our day to day reality, which we who live in the cities, often neglect or never become truly aware of.

If I am understanding what I am feeling with regard to Artemis as I write this, then I must force myself to move beyond the metaphorical city walls. To allow myself to be exposed to natures smaller miracles so that I can come to, if not an understanding, than an experience of what it means to me as a living piece of nature. The goddess Artemis, Lady of the Mountains, is not the mountain, not the leaves on the trees, not the beasts that move among them, but she is there in the threat of predation, in the changes and little shifts that decide our fate, live or die, survive or fall prey. She is part of that instinctive fear that keeps us alive, but also the fearlessness that allows us to confront our prey, metaphorical or not, and come out the victors. 

Now, how do I embrace this? How do I plunge headlong into an experience of her and her power?

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