Names: Artemis (Greek), Diana (Roman)
Asteroids: Artemis (#105), Diana (#78)
Mythology: Greco-Roman virgin goddess of the waxing moon, the hunt, childbirth, sisterhood, women and children, chastity, forests, mountains, and wild animals.
Light Expression: Wholeheartedly fights for the rights of women, children, animals, and/or the environment. Strong and enduring bonds with women. In touch with one’s wildness. The courageous protector. Independent, whole unto oneself, and free. Unwavering reverence for the natural world.
Shadow Expression: Self-righteous and polarizing in one’s beliefs about women, children, animals, and/or the environment. Cold or unwelcoming toward men. Demands freedom at all costs. Judgement of women who lose their virginity, marry, have children, or otherwise transition away from maidenhood. Fear of childbirth and/or loss of freedom prevents the otherwise desired transition into marriage/motherhood.
Exploration: Asteroid Artemis (#105) is named after the Greek goddess of the Moon, the hunt, childbirth, women and children, mountains, forests, and all things wild (Roman, Diana). In mythology, Artemis is the daughter of Zeus (Roman, Jupiter) and Leto (Roman, Latona), and the twin sister of Apollo, the god of the Sun, music, dance, truth, healing, light, and poetry. Artemis’ association with childbirth and midwifery arises from her own birth story, in which her mother, Leto, is banished from Mount Olympus and forbidden birthing assistance by Zeus’ wife, Hera, because she is carrying Zeus’ offspring. When Leto goes into labor, Artemis is born first, quickly and easily. She then supports her mother in delivering her twin brother, Apollo. According to myth, after witnessing her mother’s pain and isolation during labor, she asks her father Zeus (king of the gods) to allow her to become a virgin goddess so she could remain wild and free and never be forced to have her own children. Zeus agrees, and she thus became one of the three primary virgin goddesses in the Greco-Roman pantheon (alongside Vesta and Athena). That being said, Artemis also feels chosen by fate to support other women through childbirth as the goddess of midwifery, and becomes the protector of women and children, as she and her mother were not protected from Hera’s wrath during their own vulnerable time.
As a virgin goddess who valued her freedom and chastity, Artemis’ wrath was at times unleashed on men who pursued her, challenged her authority, or jeopardized her chastity. The most famous stories are those of Actaeon, Adonis, and Orion. In mythology, Actaeon was a hunter who came upon Artemis while she was bathing in the nude in a sacred spring. In some tellings of the myth, he attempts to rape her while in others he simply sees her naked body, but in both versions, Artemis turns Actaeon into a stag and he is hunted down and killed by his own dogs. There are also many tellings of Adonis’ myth, but in the version with Artemis, he proclaims that he is a better hunter than the goddess of the hunt, and Artemis sends a wild boar to kill him for his hubris. Perhaps the most compelling myth is that of Orion, who became a close hunting companion of Artemis and may have been her lover. Again, there are many versions of this myth, and in some Artemis falls in love with Orion, while in others he arrogantly pursues her and is thus met with an untimely death. In one telling, Artemis loves Orion, but is tricked into killing him by her twin brother Apollo, who is protective of her maidenhood. In others, Orion pursues her or one of her maiden companions and she kills him. In most tellings, Artemis sends a giant scorpion to kill him, which becomes the constellation Scorpio, and Orion is either placed in the stars by Artemis or Zeus in love or commemoration.
It’s worth noting that the Greek Artemis (asteroid #105) and Roman Diana (asteroid #78) have much in common, but also some key differences. Both are virgin goddesses of the hunt, the moon, childbirth, and the wild, and both have strong linkages to ancient goddesses that predated Greco-Roman culture. In particular, Artemis and Diana were associated with the bear, and it is believed that these goddesses were derived from ancient Neolithic bear cults that practiced primal totemic and shamanistic rituals. They are also linked to an ancient Minoan goddess of the mountains and hunting, and to the Great Mother Goddess. That said, the Roman goddess Diana is more closely linked to the Moon, crossroads, and the underworld, and was seen as an ancient Latin triple goddess, like the Greek goddess Hekate. In this way, Diana transcends the maiden goddess archetype and takes on qualities of the crone as well.
In astrology, the qualities associated with Artemis’ asteroids are linked to these mythological and historical underpinnings. Those who have her asteroid(s) prominently placed in their birth charts may be in touch with their wildness, have a love of animals and the natural world, worship the moon, spend time hiking, backpacking, or hunting among the forests and mountains, relish their freedom and independence, choose to remain unmarried, and/or advocate for women and children. They may work as midwives, OB-GYNs, environmentalists, women’s rights activists, child lawyers, social workers, or advocates, wildlife conservationists, moon circle facilitators, etc. They may reject traditional women’s roles and potentially look down upon others who embrace them. Similarly, they may reject the support of men in women’s movements, judge parents for the way they raise their children, and become cynical about human-wildlife coexistence if they are working with the archetype in its shadow. They may also experience some form of internal or external intervention when they fall in love and the transition away from maidenhood feels imminent.
To find out if Artemis’ myth is prominent in your astrological birth chart and psyche, see if she is making any major aspects (e.g. conjunction or opposition) to your luminaries (e.g. the Sun and Moon), planets (e.g. Saturn, Jupiter, etc.), the Moon’s Nodes, OR to any significant dwarf planets (e.g. Haumea: #136108) or asteroids (e.g. Persephone: #399) in your natal (birth) chart. It’s also helpful to look at Artemis’ sign, house, and other planetary aspects to better understand how she shows up in your personality, subconscious, and life experience. If asteroid Artemis is not significant in your chart, but you feel liker her myth is prominent for you, try looking up asteroid Diana (#78) – the Roman name for Artemis – to see if it plays a larger part. If not, you may be experiencing Artemis by progression, transit (personal or collective), solar arc, or in your solar return chart. Whatever you find astrologically, if you feel Artemis’ presence in your life, it’s time to work with her myth, meditate on her light and shadow attributes, and see what she is hoping to awaken in you.
If you would like some guidance and support in understanding the Artemis archetype, or other goddess archetypes, in your astrological chart and personal experience, feel free to reach out to me and we can do a goddess astrology reading, mentorship meeting, or archetypal coaching session to further explore her purpose in your life.