Artemis: An Archetype Profile

Artemis is the fiercely independent goddess of nature, and the twin sister of the god Apollo.

And like Apollo, she’s known for being antisocial and preferring her solitude. But whereas Apollo retreats to his penthouse office on the top floor of one of his skyscrapers, Artemis retreats into the wilderness.

She is both the protrectress of wild creatures, and the huntress of them. In that aspect, she is one of the “mystery goddesses” who encompasses birth, life, and death all in herself. I call her a mystery in that she’s not a sweet and simple figure who is only aligned with light and life, so it is not always easy for those who would follow her to wrap their minds around the entirety of her being. Following Artemis means coming to an understanding that both good and “evil” (a word that Artemis wouldn’t love, since it implies negative things are bad) are part and parcel of this world, and finding a true appreciation for both. Artemis’s followers must embrace death as well as life.

She protrects women and children, especially young girls. She can call the animals to her side with her howl. Hers is the wild, destructive force of nature—earthquakes, hurricanes, floods. She can destroy her brother Apollo’s most brilliant cities if she chooses. She can also send nature creeping in slowly when buildings are abandoned.

She trusts her intuition and her instincts. She doesn’t analyze a situation and decide on the best course of action. She lets her emotions guide her.

She’s the goddess of the moon, which tells us that she rules subconscious motivations that may not make much logical sense, but are no less driving. The darkness is full of mysteries, dangers, and possibilities. It’s a frightening, thrilling place. In the light of day (ruled by Artemis’s twin Apollo), everything is clear. We can see where we are and where we’re going. We can make plans. In the dark of night, things are more nebulous. We can’t always see where we are, and any steps we take or plans we make could be wrong—or even dangerous.

Artemis knows how to navigate this darkness.

(At this point, I do not believe this darkness is the darkness of death, transformation, and rebirth—that’s Persephone’s realm. I think that Artemis’s darkness is the darkness of self-knowledge, or lack thereof, and trusting your gut to know the answer when your mind doesn’t. Apollo’s motto is “Know Thyself.” Artemis’s motto might just be something like “Trust Thyself.”)

She doesn’t much care for cities. In fact, she’d really prefer not to live in a building at all. Unless it’s a treehouse.

She has developed her personal passions to a high level, and it’s not often that anything else catches her attention. Artemis is an archer, which symbolizes her ability to aim for a far-off goal and hit her mark. It also symbolizes that she’s capable of providing food for herself, and of protecting herself without getting her hands dirty. She is self-sufficient.

In general, she isn’t a very sexual goddess. One of the stories about her says that when she was a very little girl, she asked her father Zeus for the right to always be independent and never belong to a man. Zeus granted her wish, and now Artemis isn’t generally subject to the same sexual and romantic whims as the rest of the female gender.

She is sensual, but she doesn’t like to be pretty so that men will find her attractive. She likes to be pretty for herself, because it makes her feel good. Artemis’s version of “pretty” is very different than Aphrodite’s, though. Aphrodite goes all out to be beautiful not only to express herself, but to attract men’s (and women’s) attention. She spends time on her makeup and hair, she gets manicures, and she wears flirty, flattering, feminine clothing.

Artemis doesn’t do makeup. She might even have dirt smeared on her cheek now and then. She doesn’t brush her hair that often, and she doesn’t get manicures. (She lives in a tree, remember? You can’t climb trees with a manicure.) She likes boy clothes and things she can run around in.

Some stories say there’s a natural antagonism between Artemis and Aphrodite, because Aphrodite likes to make people fall in love, but she can’t do that with Artemis.

This profile continues at Mythraeum.com (Sorry, I can get pretty wordy and I wrote way too much for a SocialIn piece lol!)


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