Artemis, the Greek Goddess Who Kicks Butt

Artemis-Detail

Although I am an agnostic when it comes to the actual physical existence of any kind of God or divine power, I am drawn to pagan spirituality. I love their connection to the earth, seasons, and the cycles of nature. I also happen to love mythology, whether it be classic Greek/Roman, Egyptian, Native American, Eastern, Celtic, Norse, or whatever else there happens to be. I’m not sure if I could believe in the Gods/Goddesses of these belief systems as actual living beings, but I can certainly believe in the archetypes and types of universal energy they represent and the various facets of humanity they project.

Greek mythology is my favorite pantheon and has several Gods/Goddesses I adore. Hades will always be a favorite, as the cool ruler of the underworld. His wife Persephone is right up there as well. Athena is brilliant, and Hecate is dark and mysterious – two things I adore! But my favorite Goddess has to be Artemis (Diana in Roman mythology).

I always loved how Artemis was tough and tomboyish. She determined from her youth that she didn’t need no man! She could take care of herself and find happiness with her nymph friends and beloved animals. The other day I came across a bit of knowledge on GoddessGift.com I didn’t know about Artemis though, which made me love her even more:

“Artemis’ mother, Leto, gave birth to Artemis after a short and painless labor. But then Leto’s labor continued, with her contractions growing weak and painful. Moved to compassion, the infant goddess Artemis, born only a few minutes earlier, became her mother’s midwife and delivered her twin brother Apollo. You could say that, of all the Greek goddesses, the goddess Artemis was literally born to serve as a nurturer and protector!

The Greek goddess Artemis was frequently called upon to nurture her needy and somewhat ineffectual mother. All too often she felt compelled to come to her rescue even though Artemis received little from her mother in return. As a result of her having caused her mother no pain in childbirth, and her successful role as midwife in her brother’s birth, Artemis naturally became the patron saint of childbirth, the protector of children, and the goddess who especially heard the appeals of women.

The goddess Artemis was always responsive to the needs of the vulnerable and the suffering. She was quick to defend the powerless from unjust treatment at the hands of the Olympian patriarchy; it is not surprising that in current times Artemis is seen as the “feminist” goddess.”

What a kick ass Goddess! Right after she was born she helped deliver her baby brother Apollo? And like me, she had an ineffectual (probably narcissistic) mother that she had to take care of all her life? I can totally relate to having to come to a parent’s rescue time and time again, when you get little in return. And being a feminist in a time of overt patriarchy (especially with a philanderer like Zeus for a father)? Artemis, you rock!

(Want to help support this blog?)

 

What is Your Great Work?

trees-2562083_960_720

Recently I was reading a book about glamour magic. I read a lot of books about paganism and mystical spiritual paths, because even though I consider myself an agnostic, I also believe there are many, many things we don’t understand and I enjoy delving into the mysteries and deeper meanings found in spirituality and mythology.

Overall, the book was a bit of a letdown, it seemed fairly shallow in some ways, but I guess I should have guessed that since glamour magic itself is generally about surface level changes. However, there was one meditative exercise in the book that I did find meaningful. This part of the book emphasized the importance of figuring out what your great work will be.

As the book went on to explain, in order to get anywhere in life, you have to know what you are aiming for. You have to know what is most important to you in terms of achievement and meaning. You have to figure out where your energy, passion, and hard work should be directed. So, I meditated on this subject for a while and here are the three things I came up with that I currently would consider my own “great work” in this life:

  1. My writing/blog. Guess what? You guys are all a BIG part of my great work! I write because my soul cries out to share my experiences, feelings, hopes, and dreams. Having people who actually want to read about those things is truly a magical gift in itself!
  2. My art. I often feel insecure in my artistic abilities. I feel like there are so many artists out there that are far more talented and definitely better trained than myself, but I LOVE art and sometimes I genuinely love the stuff I make. My art may not be top of the line, but I do think many of my creations are unique artworks that only I could make.
  3. Advocating for others like me. This kind of ties into #1 and #2, since I often use my art and my writing to advocate for others who have autism, mental illness, or chronic pain/illness. People like me are often marginalized, ignored, looked down upon, and mistreated. I want to help stop that. I want to help the world to become a kinder, more empathetic place for those who struggle.

Now that I have shared my own great works in life, why don’t you spend a little time figuring out your own? You can pick just one, or you can have several like I did. Think deeply about it and question your purpose in life. If you would like to share what you come up with in the comments on this post, I would love to hear it!

What I Believe, Do Not Believe, and Am Unsure About

question-mark-2492009_960_720

Like many others with Aspergers and OCD traits, I enjoy making lists and organizing my thoughts in a linear fashion on paper. While flipping through an old notebook, I found the following lists of “What I Believe”, “What I Do Not Believe”, and “What I Am Unsure Of”, and thought I would share it just for fun. Since I am not religious anymore, I made this list to try to figure out and pinpoint what I personally believe or no longer believe.

What I Believe

  • There is probably some kind of all-encompassing spirit or energy in the universe. Whether that energy is conscious and/or aware can be argued.
  • There is an inter-connectedness of all things.
  • I believe in the power and goodness of love, kindness, and forgiveness.
  • I believe in the power and strength of nature.

What I Do Not Believe

  • Any form of religious dogma. It is ALL man-made.
  • I do not believe that any human or religion has all the answers, no matter how much they think they do.
  • I do not believe in eternal punishment or “hell”.
  • I do not believe that everyone needs to or should follow the same path.

What I Am Unsure Of

  • Are there any Gods or Goddesses in any form?
  • Is there an afterlife? Are ghosts, hauntings, or reincarnation real?
  • Are there other “realms”? For example, do fairies, aliens, alternate realities, mythical monsters, etc. exist in this current reality or any other?
  • Is there such a thing as a personal soul? If so, do only humans have them, or all living beings? Can a non-organic being (like Artificial Intelligence) have or develop a “soul”?

“Mini Myths”, Kids Board Books Based on Greek Mythology

I love children’s books. I collect many different kinds of books for kids and honestly probably have more books geared towards children in my library than I have books geared for adults. Recently I came across these “Mini Myths” board books that are made for babies and toddlers (written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli). They feature characters like Pandora, Hercules, and Medusa from Greek mythology and are simply adorable:

DSC08445

Here you can see a brief glimpse inside the books:

DSC08446

I think my favorite is probably Pandora, although I love Hercules’ energy and trouble-making attitude. If you work with or have small children of your own, I would definitely check these books out. They are a great way to introduce even the youngest of kids to fun characters from mythology in a silly, playful way kids and parents will love.

Lady Lilith

Lady-Lilith-56a55f663df78cf77287fce3.jpg
“Lady Lillith” Painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Lilith has been one of my favorite mythological figures for years. Here’s why:

Lady Lilith
Written By: Maranda Russell

Kick-ass,
Adam’s first wife
you spurned his advances,
refusing to be beneath him,
but had to be equal
or even superior.

The Dark Maid,
The Maiden of Desolation,
are you truly so dark?
Like the owls you adore,
you flex your wings
and curl your talons.

Symbol of fears,
cursed to give birth,
your children murdered,
you seek revenge
from human children,
but who can blame you?

Succubus,
vampire of wet dreams,
refusing to kneel,
you chose to leave
paradise rather than
submit to a man.

Pony Gods

Theodor_Kittelsen_-_Nøkken_som_hvit_hest.jpg

Pony Gods
Written By: Maranda Russell

I pray to the Pony Gods.
I don’t know if they listen,
or even if they care,
but sometimes
they do seem to answer.

Why the Pony Gods?
Why not?

I figure the Pony Gods
have just as much a chance
of being good –
or being real
as the human ones.

Bodhi Sitting Time

53135921

Sometimes I sit around and wonder what my purpose in life is, especially right now when I am struggling with so many physical issues that it makes me feel useless, or like I can’t even live a “regular” life. From what I have heard, this seems to be a common feeling among those suffering from chronic pain or illness, but it doesn’t make it any easier just by knowing it is normal. On bad days where I spend most of my time in bed or on the recliner, I do start to sink into depression and wonder, “Am I really making any difference in this life?” I worry about my impact on others – do I inspire people? Do I encourage people? Do I love enough?

Tonight though, while I was meditating/praying in the bathtub (something I do frequently), I came across an image that made me think maybe I am right where I am supposed to be. Although I am not a Buddhist by religion, I have always respected Buddha and his desire to ease the suffering of others and know the truth. I have often read about Buddha and the great amount of time he spent in self-imposed isolation sitting under the Bodhi tree, determined to stay there until he found some answers. In the traditional story, the evil one sent many distractions to Buddha (beautiful women, bad weather, demonic armies, etc.) to try to lure him away from finding enlightenment, but Buddha continued to sit, determined to become wiser. Eventually, his persistence did pay off and he was granted great wisdom and became known as Buddha, which means “The Awakened One”.

Anyhow, this story flashback made me realize that maybe at this time in my life I am in my own Bodhi sitting phase. Perhaps there is a reason why my illness has come at the same time that I have a strong desire to grow spiritually and find greater wisdom and truth in life. With all the self-imposed downtime that chronic illness provides, I do have plenty of time to read, meditate, study, pray and think deeply. I still hope this illness won’t last forever, I would eventually like to be able to do more and return to a somewhat normal lifestyle, but for now, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for what I’m not able to do. Perhaps, I should focus on what I can do and let the changes happen on the inside for a while.