Monday, May 6, 2013

Today is the Festival of Artemis

Goddess Artemis

Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals." The Arcadians believed she was the daughter of Demeter.

In the classical period of Greek mythology, Artemis was often described as the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls, bringing and relieving disease in women; she often was depicted as a huntress carrying a bow and arrows. The deer and the cypress were sacred to her. In later Hellenistic times, she even assumed the ancient role of Eileithyia in aiding childbirth.

The proto-European Almother

It is confusing as later mythological manifestations mixed regional manifestations of the proto-European Mother Goddess, or whom I prefer to refer to as the "Almother"--or other aspects, beliefs or traditions of those early Moon cults--with what migrated or emerged several thousands years ago. In this case the Classical Greek mythology or Olympian pantheon absorbed the Goddess Hecate, probably the Goddess Artemis, and possibly even the Goddess Phoebe. The three may possibly have been the same goddess at one time in pre-Olympian Greece. The following excerpt, from the Hecate Wikipedia page, reflects this confusion:

Hesiod emphasizes that Hecate was an only child, the daughter of Perses and Asteria, a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto (the mother of Artemis and Apollo). Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe the ancient Titaness who personified the moon.

Laphria (festival)

Laphria was an ancient Greek religious festival in honour of the goddess Artemis, held every year in Patras. There was a sanctuary of Artemis Laphria on the acropolis of Patras. The sanctuary had an image of Artemis Laphria, that was brought there from Calydon in Aetolia after it was laid waste by Augustus. Every year, the people held a "festival of the Laphria" in the goddess's honour "which was peculiar to their place". They made a barrier of tall logs round the altar, "still green", so that the stockade would not burn. They piled the driest wood on the altar, for kindling, and then smoothed the approaches to the pyre by laying earth on the altar steps. On the first day, the people walked in procession of the "greatest grandeur" for the goddess. A virgin priestess brought up the rear, riding in a chariot which was drawn by tame yoke deer. The next day, living animals are sacrificed, including edible birds, boars, deer, gazelles, wolves and bears, but also fruit from trees. The altar was set on fire. Animals forced out by the first leap of the flames, or escaping at full tilt were thrown back into the fire, to their death, by those who had brought them. There was no record of anyone being injured by the animals.



Artemis was born at the sixth day, the reason why it was sacred for her.

Festival of Artemis in Brauron, where girls, aged between five and ten, dressed in saffron robes and played the bear to appease the goddess after she sent the plague when her bear was killed.

Festival of Amarysia is a celebration to worship Artemis Amarysia in Attica. In 2007, a team of Swiss and Greek archaeologists found the ruin of Artemis Amarysia Temple, at Euboea, Greece.

Festival of Artemis Saronia, a festival to celebrate Artemis in Trozeinos, a town in Argolis. A king named Saron built a sanctuary for the goddess after the goddess saved his life when he went on hunting and swept by the wave and held a festival for her.

At the 16 of Metageitnio (second month on Athenian calendar), people sacrifice to Artemis and Hecate at deme of Erchia.

Kharisteria Festival on 6 of Boidromion (third month) to celebrate the victory of Marathon and also known as the Athenian "Thanksgiving."

Day six of Elaphobolia (ninth month) festival of Artemis the Deer Huntress where she was offered cakes shaped like stags, made from dough, honey and sesame-seeds.

Day 6 of 16 of Mounikhion (tenth month) a celebration of her as the goddess of nature and animal. A goat was being sacrificed to her.

Day 6 of Thargelion (eleventh month) the 'birthday' of the goddess, while the seventh was Apollo's. A festival for Artemis Diktynna (of the net) in Hypsous.

Laphria, a festival for Artemis in Patrai. The procession started by setting the logs of wood around the altar, each of them sixteen cubits long. On the altar, within the circle, is placed the driest of their wood. Just before the time of the festival, they construct a smooth ascent to the altar, piling earth upon the altar steps. The festival begins with a most splendid procession in honor of Artemis, and the maiden officiating as priestess rides last in the procession upon a chariot yoked to four deer, Artemis' traditional mode of transportation (see below). It is, however, not until the next day that the sacrifice is offered.

In Orchomenus, a sanctuary was built for Artemis Hymnia where her festival was celebrated every year.


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