Artemis, the archaic mistress of animals, probably dates back to Paleolithic times. Her realm is the wilderness, and her concern extends to all wild, untamed things. She presides over the hunt and is the goddess of hunters. Fiercely individualistic and independent, she remains apart from relationship to men. Despite her fierceness she is addressed as a healing and soothing goddess. Protector of births, she alleviates the suffering of women in childbirth. She is also responsible for the initiation of young girls. Artemis is a wonderful symbol of female independence. She reminds us of the value of solitude and the importance of wild, unprotected places She shows us those frightening places that bring healing even through fear.

The Greek huntress goddess, Artemis, is found in many forms, including the many-breasted nurturer of all life. In her guise as Artemis Calliste (Artemis, the Fairest) she is the mistress of wild animals and protector of all life. She often takes on the form of the bear-mother and represents all of this animal's characteristics: fiercely protective of her young, independent and completely in touch with her wild, instinctual nature. Associated with the initiation of young girls, she is a mediatrix to new life and a guide to the process of death and rebirth. Artemis Calliste reminds us of the value of solitude and the importance of wild, unprotected places. She shows us those frightening wild places which bring healing, even through fear.

Arianrhod: Welsh
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Athena: Greek
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Ⓒ The Susan Eleanor Boulet Trust (illustration)
Ⓒ Text copyright Michael Babcock