To Artemis, Goddess of Independence
Divine medium: manna
Κλῦθί μου, ὦ βασίλεια, Διὸς πολυώνυμε κούρη,
I call Basileia, Dios’ many-named Daughter,
Τιτανίς, βρομία, μεγαλώνυμε, τοξότι, σεμνή,
Resounding Titan, mighty-named revered archer,
πασιφαής, δαιδοῦχε, θεά Δίκτυννα, λοχείη,
All-illuminating torch-bearer, Goddess Diktynna, in childbirth’s
ὠδίνων ἐπαρωγὲ καὶ ὠδίνων ἀμύητε,
Travail you aid and in travail cause to open,
λυσίζωνε, φίλοιστρε, κυνηγέτι, λυσιμέριμνε,
Releasing the zone to favor history’s web, O Huntress, release distress,
εὔδρομε, ἰοχέαιρα, φιλαγρότι, νυκτερόφοιτε,
Swift-coursing archer, lover of the wilds, night-roamer,
κληισία, εὐάντητε, λυτηρία, ἀρσενόμορφε,
Unlock opposition, deliver a manly form,
Ὀρθίη, ὠκυλόχεια, βροτῶν κουροτρόφε δαῖμον,
Bring a straight, swift birth, humanity’s child-nurturing deity,
ἀμβροτέρα, χθονία, θηροκτόνε, ὀλβιόμοιρε,
Immortal earthly Lady, beast-slayer, grant a whole-life fate,
ἣ κατέχεις ὀρέων δρυμούς, ἐλαφηβόλε, σεμνή,
Rain your favor upon mountain forests and the deer-hunt, Solemn
πότνια, παμβασίλεια, καλὸν θάλος αἰὲν ἐοῦσα,
Potnia, Queen of All, beautiful bloom of eternal youth,
δρυμονία, σκυλακῖτι, Κυδωνιάς, αἰολόμορφε·
Forest-dweller, pup-nurturing Kydonian, eternally changing form.
ἐλθέ, θεὰ σώτειρα, φίλη, μύστηισιν ἅπασιν
Come, Goddess Savior, beloved Lady, every mystae
εὐάντητος, ἄγουσα καλοὺς καρποὺς ἀπὸ γαίης
Greet kindly, bring-forth the bloom of fruits from Gaia,
εἰρήνην τ' ἐρατὴν καλλιπλόκαμόν θ' ὑγίειαν·
Eirene, too, and lovely beautifully-crowned Goddess Hygiea.
πέμποις δ' εἰς ὀρέων κεφαλὰς νούσους τε καὶ ἄλγη.
Cast to the highest mountain peaks disease and distress.
Artemis (Ἄρτεμις, Ἄρταμις) is the immortal Goddess of independence as exemplified by her hunting skills and virginity which enable a lifestyle free from societal obligations. In addition to her skill in hunting, she is known to tame wild animals, further extending her power in the wilds.
Artemis is often depicted as a warrior and is closely associated with the female Amazon warriors who lived in a society independent of men. Like her twin brother, Apollo, sudden deaths, particularly of women, were attributed to her far-shooting arrows that seem to come out of nowhere.
Artemis’ role in aiding the process of childbirth enables the independent existence of the child and the mother. She is also a Goddess called on to protect the young. In this hymn, she is called upon to release the “zone” of pregnancy, that is, open the cervix. The plant artemesia (ἀρτεμισία), also known as wormwood or mugwort, is known to stimulate uterine contractions to aid in menstruation, parturition, or abortion.
Artemis is closely associated with the moon, a heavenly body that uniquely waxes and wanes and travels alone in a realm of the sky separate from that of the sun, planets, and stars. Artemis’ twin brother, Apollo, is in some traditions associated with the sun.
Artemis is called “torchbearer” perhaps because of her association with the moon which gives light at night. Like Artemis, the moon is linked to procreation and childbirth because its 28- day cycles correspond with women’s 28-day menses (moon) periods. The moon is also associated with agricultural cycles of growth, decline, and harvest.
Diktynna is the immortal Goddess of hunting and fishing nets, a regional name for Artemis. Dikt- (Δίκτ-) means net. The association here of Diktynna with childbirth and Artemis may be a metaphor for the net of life that is woven and portioned out by the immortal Goddesses of Fate, the Moirai (Μοῖραι).
Kydonia (Κυδωνία) is a town on the island of Crete. In Fasti 3.81 Ovid says that Artemis is the patron deity of Minoan Crete. Kyeo (κῠέω) means to bear in the womb, be pregnant; dona (δωνα) mean to give freely, “donate.”
Dios (Διὸς) refers here to Zeus, Artemis’ father, the immortal God of lightning storms and the spark of fire/spark of life.
Artemis’ mother, Leto, is a Titan while her father is an Olympian. The Titans reside in Tartaros, in the depths of the Earth, as contrasted with the Olympians, who reside at the heights of Mount Olympus. Titan means stretch/extend.
The Ephesian Artemis was an ancient Mother Goddess associated with the castration of bulls for agricultural purposes and with priests who practiced self-castration. The Greeks called the Ephesian Goddess Artemis, but she is distinct from the Greek Goddess.
Basileia means Queen; basis of rule. Potnia is a title of honor meaning revered, august, Queen.
Aristee (Ἀρίστη) is an epithet of Artemis meaning the very best, most honored. Aristeia (ἀριστεία) means excellence, prowess.
Mystae are initiates in the Mysteries.
Gaia (Γαιά) is the immortal Goddess of generative earth.
Eirene (Εἰρήνη) is the immortal Goddess of peace.
Hygiea (Ὑγίεια) is the immortal Goddess of health.
The meaning of the name Artemis (Ἄρτεμις, Ἄρταμις) is not clear based on similar words. Art- (άρτ-) is a prefix meaning fresh, new, young. Artemees (ἀρτεμής) means safe and sound. Artimelees (ἀρτιμελής) means sound of limb. Artamos (ἄρτᾰμος) means butcher, slaughter, cut in pieces. (Temo (τέμω, τέμνω) means cut or prune.) Artao (ἀρτάω) means to fasten or hang one thing upon another.