Click to enlargeArtemis

A daughter of Zeus, Artemis was the virgin goddess of the moon, hunt and woods. The Romans called her Diana the Huntress. It's said that she helped her mother, Leto, with the difficult birth of Apollo, her twin brother. This experience may explain her decision to remain chaste, while still supporting women undergoing the agonies of childbirth. She was an athlete, who preferred the woods and mountains where she and her virgin followers hunted, to the luxuries of Olympus.

Artemis is a goddess of contradictions. Personally chaste, she was worshiped as a fertility goddess in Ephesus. Her magnificent Ephesian Temple of Artemis was celebrated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. An avid hunter, she was also guardian of the forest and its creatures. A divinity of healing, she was swift to avenge trespasses against her dignity or insults to her women. She ruthlessly destroyed Actaeon, a hunter who spied on her and her nymphs while they were bathing. Yet she generously released followers who chose to marry and bear children, instead of embracing chastity. To Artemis, sisterhood transcended everything, especially when it came to bearing new life.

Only one male interested the elusive goddess. Orion, the lusty Hunter, was as skillful with his bow and arrows as she. Their shared love of hunting might have changed her views on celibacy. However, her brother Apollo, the Sun God, jealous of her love and alarmed by her neglect of her duties as Moon Goddess, tricked her into shooting Orion. The devastated goddess set her lover among the stars where he can be seen today.

She never fell in love again. Instead, her love returned to the moon, the hunt, and the woods - and to the women she cherished and protected with all the strength of her fierce heart. (Story on back of card.)

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