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Artemis: Patroness of Jerash

Artemis was born from the union of the nature deity Leto and Zeus, the chief god of the Romans and the husband of Hera. It is said that Leto delivered Artemis without any labor pains. But after she came out, her mother started having birth pangs that lasted for days. In her womb was Apollo, Artemis' twin, waiting to emerge. Immediately after she was born, Artemis helped her mother deliver her brother. A midwife by nature. Later, she was known to come to women in labor to ease their pain, although at times she did that by ending their lives.

At three years old, Artemis asked Zeus at Mt Olympus to grant her some gifts. A bow and arrow to hunt with, hunting dogs, and a short tunic instead of a restrictive long dress. She asked for the mountains and forests to be her playground and to be accompanied by beautiful nymphs. Like the moon, she wanted to bring light into the world, and she wanted to remain chaste, a virgin, uncontrolled by men, un-swerved by their love.
Zeus said yes, and so it was.

Artemis protected the wild animals and the children, but she was harsh on those who offended her; those who transgressed suffered and those who trespassed tasted her wrath. The nymphs of Artemis vowed to her eternal virginity; Callisto was one of her favorites. Zeus fancied her and appeared to her in the disguise of Artemis. She let her guard down and was taken by him; he left her pregnant. When Artemis found out, she held Callisto fully responsible and shunned her out (she couldn't really lash out at god, her father, for causing the problem). Later, either she or Hera turned Callisto into a bear, first on earth then in the sky by Zeus. Artemis disliked weakness.

Artemis had sisterly bonds with women but complicated relationship with men. She killed a few. When Actaeon, the hunter, mistakingly came upon her and her nymphs bathing in a pool, he was transfixed and stunned. His glare upset her, so she splashed him with water and turned him into a stag. She then set his dogs after him.
Artemis also killed the hunter Orion, but there are several accounts to why. In one version, we are told that Orion was Artemis' one and only love. This made Apollo jealous. One day, Apolllo saw Orion swimming far in the water. He found Artemis and pointed out a distant object in the sea and said her arrow would never reach it. Competitive and eager to prove her superiority, she aimed, shot, and proved her brother wrong. When Orion's body floated, she realized she had killed her lover. Bereaved, she vowed to never love again, placing Orion as a constellation in the sky with her dog Sirius to accompany him. In another version, we are told that Artemis killed Orion because he raped her or one of her followers. She sent a scorpion after him to kill him, later placing them both in the sky at a safe distance from one another.

Is Orion guilty of this crime? Perhaps...after all, he had previous allegations against him. It is said that Orion forced himself upon Merope whom he loved. He had wanted to marry her, but the arrangements took too long; he lost patience and did the deed. He was then punished by King Oenopion to whom he provided service. Oenopion got Orion drunk and plucked out his eyes. Orion's sight was later restored when he saw the sun, while traveling to the East with the helper that Hephaestus provided him (Hephaestus: god of the black smiths' fire and husband to Aphrodite). In yet another version, the scorpion just went after Orion, but we're not told why...probably to punish him for something.

Revenge, justice, or jealousy...

Taking into consideration Artemis status and temperament, if Orion raped one of her followers or tried to rape her, then she probably killed him. But was it 'rape' attempted or achieved, or was it mutual consent? Perhaps Orion simply threatened her virginity, perhaps she desired him and did not want to break her vow of chastity, perhaps she broke it and hated him for it. Perhaps she feared loving a mortal man who is imperfect.

The scorpion's sting or the golden arrow
The arrow of Artemis or that of Cupid.

If Artemis loved Orion and he betrayed her by seducing another woman, then she probably sent the scorpion after him. In astrology as well as in myth (like the scorpions of Aset/Isis), the scorpion is known for its tendency to take revenge. To the scorpio betrayal is intolerable, injustice is unforgivable, and there is much possessiveness in love. If he broke her heart, she probably shot his with an arrow, shooting her own afterwards.

Whether it's her brother who conned her into killing her lover, whether it was revenge for being betrayed, or whether it was to punish Orion for seducing her or another virgin..the result remains the same, she vowed to never trust and to never love again.

Oh Patroness of women and children, harbinger of light, crescent woman, untamed one..
Undo the vow I have taken so long ago- release me

Patroness of Jerash in the North
In the lush green of Arabian desert
Allow me drink
I vowed to you but often broke my promise
Damned for my oath
Turned into the plough
A memory

Virgin goddess
One into herself
Complete in herself
Undo the vow I have taken long ago- release me

Like you. I have shot my heart dead in the Sea
Like you, I promised never to love again
I punished those who intruded
And turned them into beasts
But they turned against me
With their sharp teeth

I do not care for war I want peace
I beseech you, set me free

I called to you even before knowing your story
I took your flower as my own
But my soul is running dry and it seeks the nectar
So I ask of you, please release me

Let me go but remain in my consciousness
For you are the independence I seek
You are the strength and the clear aim
You are the mountain range and the open horizon
But in your grip you hold my heart,
It is slowly dying and I yearn to melt

Artemis, release me

Release me from the fear of being loved, of loving, of having an anchor
Give me back the key to my emotions
Let me cry and not hide beneath anger
To be vulnerable like a flower
Let me surrender to the embrace of love
To be light and bring light
Let me go, set me free

Readings from:
Encyclopedia mythica
Jean Shinoda Bolen, Goddess in Every woman


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