Artemis: Goddess of the Woods by daughter, Jessica

Gate Five
Sound Chakra


Chant to Artemis

Original Chant created by CathyMoon

This candle I dedicate to thee

Light the way so I might see

Your presence I do call

Mother, nurturer to us all

Hail Goddess Artemis


I dream of leaving the city one day to live a solitary life in cabin, in the woods.  I hunger for silence, for enough quite to hear the music of the birds.  I long for the scent of wet leaves, that brush across my skin and open my pores to misty green air.  I want to feel the dark fertile ground beneath my feet and live in harmony with the natural world.  

I imagine that I would live simply.  I would grow a garden.  The dirt underneath my fingernails would fall into the cracks of my keyboard as I poured out my inspirations upon paper and piano--both creations of the wood the Goddess rules. 

I hunger for privacy, for a sacred place to listen deeply to the seasons, for time to know in my bones the wisdom of the wind and the fierceness of the crow.  

I ache for space to rest when my moon cycle appears.  To swap secrets with women who demand time to self care and grow wise together.  

I long to establish myself in life independent from a man.  I want to discover my own strength. I want to know how to stand on my own two feet, not just hanging at his side or constantly cheering for his success (and hoping some of it trickles back to me someday).  I want to sharpen my own skills and figure out how to kick ass at being me.  

The wild feminine calls women to discover the power of their own nature in a realm apart from the world of men.  This is the energy of the Goddess Artemis.

Artemis is one of the most famous of all the Greek Goddesses.  At times she is also personified as Mother Earth or Gaia herself.  She rules over three essential phases in a woman's life and guides young girls through vital transitions.  Artemis is the Goddess of virginity, menstruation and childbirth.

Artemis is the eternal virgin.  As a virgin, the Goddess is one in herself.  No one else completes her.  As a young girl Artemis asked her father Zeus for this gift, and to rule over the natural fields, mountains and woods beyond the city.  She doesn't want a man, she doesn't need one. She penetrates the world just fine with her swift arrows.  As Artemis can be cold towards men, she can be cold in general to humans as she prefers her solitude in nature to their constant drama.

Imagine little girls 5-10 years old dressings up like bears and dancing wildly in the temple of Artemis. Young girls participated in these celebrations "to get the wild out" before settling down in marriage.  

Before a marriage, young women gifted their chastity belts to Artemis.  Girls would also offer their beloved childhood toys and blankets to the Goddess before their first sexual encounter as a recognition that they were leaving the Goddess' virginal realm as they entered marriage (ruled by the Goddess Hera).

Legends say that after Artemis was born, she helped her mother, Leto give birth to her twin brother, Apollo. For this reason, Artemis is also the tender midwife who helps women through the wild journey of childbirth.

Artemis enjoys her solitude and her single life.  Her creative introverted energy is often found in women writers, painters, and poets.  Her powerful hunting and defending aspects are found in many female athletes, ecologists, feminists, and lesbians.  You won't find Artemis at the center of politics, or maneuvering upon the world stage-- there you would find instead her counterpart, the more extroverted strategist, Athena.  

As an interior wild Goddess, Artemis rules over menstruation, and the sacred solitude that women need throughout their lives to reconnect with their own inner wisdom and natural rhythms.

Artemis reminds us (as did Hecate) that the Goddess has a dark side.  In a jealous rage Artemis slaughtered the daughters of a woman who dared to boast she had more children than her mother, Leto.  The Goddess is paradoxical in her nature (as is God in the Old and New Testaments) as she mothers new born infants, young girls and small animals, and she also hunts game and she kills her favorite male companion, Orion.  

The story of Artemis and Orion may reveal to to us an ancient violation of feminine power. The two became great friends and hunting companions.  Apollo her brother grew jealous of the two (after a tryst with Orion) and suspicious that Orion had tempted his sister away from her eternal chastity.  He sent a scorpion to chase Orion to the sea  and then told Artemis that one of her beloved nymphs had been raped.  When Artemis vowed to slay the attacker, Apollo pointed to Orion fleeing from the scorpion in the sea.  Artemis swiftly directs her arrows towards Orion and kills him.  Artemis rushes off to comfort her nymph and then discovers the truth.  Her brother lied to her and betrayed her and caused her to kill her friend. Grief stricken, the Goddess finds Orion's body and tries everything she knows to revive him.  When all is lost, she sets him in the stars, with the scorpion at his feet.  

Apollo is the beloved light bearer, the dashing intellect who can rapt us all with his wit and charm. As much as Artemis is all wild instinct, her brother Apollo is all in his head (and all in his ego).  He uses his divine powers to sever the Goddess from her joy out of his deep insecurity.  We see this in action today wherever our intelligence or our collective common senses are co-opted to serve that which destroys the earth, our innocence, our children and ultimately our love.  There are many crafty insecure ones in the world who use their power to incite drama, betraying even their own family members to grasp for power they can't ever seem to posses without the integration of the instincts and the wildness of love.  

This ancient betrayal lives on today in the severing that our culture has done in keeping women from sharing in sacred menstruation, the medical industry's unnecessarily over-controlling of the birthing process (sterilized healthcare vs. wild women's instinctual wisdom, the demonizing of midwifes in ages past...), pollution of the natural world, and societies where women's rites of passages have been forgotten and little girls have lost the safe spaces of childhood by being raped or forced to to grow up too fast and marry too young.

A vulnerable aspect of the masculine fears the fact that this Goddess does not need him. (How many feminists must justify:  "I don't hate men...I just want equality..."?) I think many men work so hard in order to feel valued.  I'm guessing that there is an essential aspect of the masculine psyche that needs to be needed.  And it's this deep vulnerability within all of us that keeps us cutting ourselves off from our beloved-- We are so insecure that we don't really trust the beloved or the solitude and companionship that our beloved is calling us to.  Like Artemis, we swiftly kill before seeking out all sides of the story.  We betray our beloved because we are unwilling to behold the true heart of love and our own bruised egos.  

In another variation of the story, Orion is walking with Artemis through the woods when he boasts, "Someday I will kill every living thing."  The tale goes one of two ways, either Artemis kills him or Gaia herself sends a scorpion to kill him. Both versions of the story reveal a violation the sacred private feminine realm by the masculine who is often willing to destroy life at any cost.   

At the same time, we know the dark side of the Goddess and we fear her swift (sometimes irrational) wrath.  We long for the beautiful and gentle mothering aspects of the Goddess and dread her cold silent treatment shadows.  But Mother Nature will not allow us to cut her in two and take the parts of Her we like and throw away the parts we don't.  The Goddess asks us to behold all of her children, to see the light and the dark of all of Her creation and to pursue Her sacred symmetry and discover how it all fits together into Her one sacred creation.  

The grief of Artemis reminds us how we have all participated in betraying the Goddesses' realms of earth, birth, childhood, and the sacredness of women's blood.  This feminine wound is why at times the Goddess lashes out with her arrows in irrational vengeance.  But her passion calls us to remember the ways of our wild instinctual soul and to honor her realms again.  Her strength teaches us the impenetrable safety of the womb and a seed before life blooms.  She protects the vulnerable before their time has come.  Artemis touches our hearts with her innocence. And this is a gift that we do not need to grasp for with power and manipulation.  Innocence is gifted to those who live in right relationship to the truth about their mistakes and act with compassion towards their own tender shoots.  



Gate Six: Persephone, by Mother Julie

I am Charlie Brown.

Jessica is Lucy, and she’s always holding the football, coaxing me to believe she will not do what she’s always done.

“Let’s do this project together, Mom. It’ll be fun.”

“Well, I don’t want to get into any weird stuff. I mean, I’m kind of nervous about all this goddess stuff, and, will it freak out my family and friends?”

“No, it will be good for us, Mom.”

So while reading Jessica’s Persephone blog, I’m thinking, “She moved the football, again.”

I’m Charlie Brown, again, whack! I’m flat on my back.

After reading only two paragraphs, I’m like, “Really, Girl?!?! You've embraced pantheism?!?!” And I’m wondering how I can smooth over the shock value and turn it into something humorous and non-scary … and hoping the 2nd half of her blog pretty much says: "just kidding!"

I’ve now read it all. Several times. I still love her, but she really scares me. What have I gotten in to?

I’ll make no comment about baptisms and devotion to goddesses. Yes, she and I “span our own dance of the opposites and [Jess’s] orbit always seems to move into the realms of the forbidden and strange.” Fiddle-dee-dee. Let’s talk about something else.

Persephone’s story of abduction, rape and imprisonment by Hades is extraordinarily similar to Jessica’s journey. In our “dance of opposites,” I am the embodiment of Persephone’s mother, the Goddess Demeter. I am Mother Bear. Demeter (wife of Zeus) dropped everything to search the world for her daughter. Demeter’s story is all about rescuing Persephone. Sadly, while Jessica was in her own hell, I was focused on navigating the family through her fiery eruptions. I knew I’d lost my happy little girl, but didn’t know I was supposed to go search for her. I didn’t know why that shy child had become an angry teenager who hated her mother. Had I known. Had I only known.

Even now, after years of therapy, the scars still occasionally swell and burn a little.

Although Demeter found Persephone and facilitated her rescue, Hades urged Persephone to assuage her hunger before she journeyed out of the Underworld. Persephone had not eaten a single thing since her abduction, so she ate a single pomegranate seed. Sadly, Persephone did not know, “Anyone who tastes the food of Hades must remain in the Underworld.” She is now fated to spend half of each year with Hades and half of each year with Demeter.

Hmm… isn’t there another ancient story where the eating of a fruit results in eternal bondage to the underworld and banishment from the garden, from home, from Parent?

The absence of Persephone myths prior to her abduction story make me wonder if Hades’ despicable act awakened something in her. Perhaps that horrific event and her subsequent rebirth afforded her value, and made her useful for universal myth.

Persephone’s story reminds me that we cannot control the events in our lives. Shit happens. Real bad shit. But in God/Goddess there is redemption and resurrection. The Creator restores, rebirths. There is always death. But there is always new life. Always. Resurrection is real because it is the Divine nature of Goddess. As Jessica’s story unfolds, the Presence of Light, Love and Life is rebuilding her out of the darkness that carried her away so long ago.

Jessica doesn’t think she is strong, but she is.

She is Persephone, Resurrected Queen.


Persephone’s Mandala of the Humble Warrior pose is comprised of four symbols. 

At the center are pomegranates, signifying what sealed her fate as Queen of the Underworld.

Next is the symbol of the river, Styx, which represented the boundary between Earth and the Underworld. The river Persephone had to cross twice each year.

The Persephone myth reveals that while she spent her half year with Hades, Demeter would cause plant life to go dormant. Earth grew cold. As Persephone emerged from the Underworld (always in Spring), warmth returned and Earth came to life. The symbol of the vine represents Persephone’s connection with new life and new growth.

Lastly, there is the eternal fire, a universal image of the Underworld, Hell and Hades. Fire also conjures up feelings of strength and power and leadership, traits of Persephone as well.

Gate Six: Hecate, by Daughter Jessica

Hecate (or Hekate) is the Goddess of the Gates, so before we descend to the next one, we will need to get to know this Goddess a little bit better.  Getting to know her though is challenging.  Hecate still feels like an enigma to me, even after reading about her and wondering about her nature for the past ten years.  Scholars struggle to understand her origin and nature as well as her role seems to overlap those of Artemis or Demeter and Persephone.  Many think she is an older Goddess from another culture that became later incorporated into the Greek pantheon.  As Hecate rules the intersections of our lives, maybe it's no wonder that she remains mysterious to us; it is she who invites us to explore the edges of what we know to be true and she is the guardian Goddess of the other realms of which we do not yet know.  

As far back as 300 BCE statues and pictures of Hecate show her as one in three forms.  It seems that one of the earliest forms of the trinity belonged to Hecate, who was also known as the triple Goddess.  Anyone who has preached on the trinity knows how difficult this divine concept is to grok, which also adds to Hecate's mystery.  Because she tipped off Demeter on where she could find her daughter Persephone and because Hecate accompanies Persephone's return to earth, these goddesses seem to hold together three divine aspects of the feminine: the daughter, the mother and the wise (possibly old) woman, the crone.  

Hecate's triple nature teaches us how to interface with different realms.  She is associated with animals, with the deep instincts, and the wisdom of the night. As a military child, I learned that each culture I lived in had it's own unspoken rules. These secret rules revealed a lot about what a particular group of people collectively valued and feared.  Every place was different.  Every place required careful listening to learn how to interact in each realm.  I learned early on that what worked well in one place, didn't always translate to the next.   Hecate is the energy and wisdom that helps decipher the structure of the many different realms that we rule or move through in our lives.  

Often people left Hecate offerings at crossroads.  She is the one who can see all of the different realms at the same time, so she can help us transition from the familiar to the strange.  Sorta like Jesus stands at the door and knocks, Hecate stands at the threshold and guides us to new realities.  Because she is able to see all of the realsm that war against one another, Hecate was often called upon in battle and at sporting events.  One of her triple statues stood outside of Nike's temple.  It is Hecate who can weigh the opposing forces, and she who can guide us through the realms for the highest good of all beings.  

Hecate also helps us navigate the realms within--which are sometimes even farther away than the stars.  She can keep her many eyes on the many pieces of us we have yet to discover and integrate into our consciousness.    As we are learning and acquiring new skills, she guards the gates that we are not ready yet to open, and opens to us the gates that are most needed to lead us to deep healing.  Following her energy through the unknown is like experiencing a river of "ah ha!" moments.  

Because Hecate traversed the realms, she knew her way around the underworld.  Her many faces mirrors the many faces of the moon.  She rules the dark feminine realm like a wise grandmother.  Often boundary making is seen as a masculine energy, but Hecate reveals how the feminine also makes boundaries with the power to open or close her many secret gates at her command.  

As we unveil many illusions learning wisdom, Hecate lovingly guides us to new discoveries like a caring mother or school teacher guiding a child. She is also a Goddess to the children and she helps them through their rapid transitions and dangerous rites of passage.  

Ancient Greek Invocation to Hecate
You encompass the vast world at night,
You make the Daemones shudder and the Immortals tremble,
O Many Named Goddess who brings glory to men,
Whose children are fair,
O Bull Eyed One, Horned One, Nature, All Mother,
Who brings forth both Gods and men.
You roam around Olympus and traverse the wide and fathomless Abyss,
You are the Beginning and the End, and
You alone are Mistress of All:
For from You are all things,
And in You, Eternal One, do all things end.

Translated from the Greek Magical Papyri

Yoga Pose: Triangle
For Hecate I chose Triangle pose which reflects her triple nature.  Stand with your legs apart and arms out wide.  Line up your feet underneath your wrists.  Now turn the right foot forward so that the heel points at the back arch of the left foot.  The left foot is angled at about 45 degrees, so that the heel is the farthest point back.  Place the left hand on the left hip and square your hips to the front right foot.  Now reach with your right arm straight in front until you come to your edge.  Then place the right hand underneath your right shoulder, on the ground, your shin, or a block.  Keep turning the left hip down to the ground as the heart is turning up towards the sky.  Lengthen the spine on the inhale, and on the exhale engage your core and squeeze out any toxins and old ways of being in the world that no longer serve you and your highest good.  Stay here for about 5-8 breaths and then use your core to bring your spine vertical again. Repeat on the other side.  

Download the mandala coloring page for Hecate.   This also supports Episcopal Relief and Development: Gender Issues and Women's Development.