by Linda M.
The Temple of Artemis Diana is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World!
What could be more fitting than visiting Artemis’s temple after paying homage to Apollo. She is his twin sister after all, quite a power house in her own right. To add to that, it just so happened we had our own “Artemis” in our group. Her connection to animals was evident. She loved them and they loved her. Her pockets were always full of little treats that she would gather at breakfast. Our resident ”Isis” was cut from the same cloth and between the two of them the little souls we encountered on our daily treks were fed with many epicurean delights.
“Artemis” reminded me of the Pied Piper as she strolled along with her entourage of four leggeds walking behind her, sometimes two or three, sometimes more. We also had a “Pele”, an “Athena” and an “Aphrodite” in our group. We discovered this one morning on the bus during a bit of a drive. Finbarr had pulled a book out of his magic bag called “Angels and Archetypes” by Carmen Boulter. She listed and described twenty two different feminine archetypes. We all had an opportunity to scan through the book and see where we thought we fit in. He had already observed which goddesses we embodied and were curious to see if we’d recognized ourselves. Of course, we seldom see ourselves as others do so it was quite an adventure to get his input and so apropos that we did this on the day we were driving to another goddess site, and not just any one. This site, the Temple of Artemis Diana is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Her temple was ravished by fire twice and still, some of the foundation has survived to this day. I could hardly wait to get there.
As we arrived a flock of crows flew around the site for a few minutes, cawing away. They seemed to be greeting us. They disappeared after a bit but came back to urge us on, saying “Look, look, did you see this? What about over here? Stop! You missed this!” We had a gaggle of geese that gave us proper heck when we wandered into areas they didn’t want us to visit. There were dogs and dogs and dogs everywhere. One little one stood out from the rest, the cutest little being that ever walked this earth. He was black with a bit of white on his nose and his chest and just seemed to guide us to different spots of the ruins. He would go ahead, walk a bit, turn around to see if we were coming and if we were too slow for his taste, would sit and wait for us to catch up. And so it went.
There were many different blocks of stone and other remnants of ancient times strewn throughout the site. One stood out, a solitary column that showed where Artemis’s actual temple had once graced these grounds. I wandered over there and stood quietly. I thought of the twins, Artemis and Apollo. He was fire and she was earth. He was sun and she was moon. He was consciousness and she embodied subconsciousness. I knew his energy, I wanted to know hers.
I remembered reading that her temple was discovered or possibly rediscovered in 1869 by a group led by John Turtle Wood. I marvelled at the synchronicity of his name. Had she chosen him to find her temple? Had she decided this before he was even born, when he was still in the bardo? Was his soul already drawn to nature and was that why he came to parents with those names? Were his parents also nature people and is that how they were each born to people with those names? How far back had she started weaving the tapestry that that would bring this particular man, with his particular penchant for archeology to her site exactly when he did? I wished I could have asked Artemis about all of this, and as quickly as I thought it, I heard her musing “Wow! Your mind really is like a runaway horse when you get started, isn’t it? I thought, “Darn, I’m doing it again.”
“Our minds certainly have their place” she continued, “but there are some things that can only be experienced in the body, can only be understood in that way. Pay attention to what’s around you. Once you’ve done that, we’ll talk.”
I was going to ask her about John, but she was gone. Then I realized! I just had my very first encounter with Artemis! Wow! Then I heard her again. “Shut her down! “ I took her advice, cleared my mind and waited to see what would happen. At first, I felt nothing. Then after a few minutes I felt a bit of a tingle in my hands. I was still experiencing this when I heard a whoompf! I opened my eyes and spotted Finbarr on the ground by one of the ruins’ walls. I walked over as did the others. He was fine. He had stood at a higher level, above the site and gone into the energy. He was immediately transported into another time. He was there, when that temple was in full use and found himself at the top of some stairs. He went to descend, but in present time the stairs had long disintegrated and instead he found himself stepping into the air and boom, down he went about two or three feet into what had once been a basement. It was quite something to hear him talk about it. He invited us to stand in the same place and experience the energy. I did and within a few seconds I found myself being gently drawn towards a kind of energy field or something like that. I felt my body wanting to lean forward a bit when our pup gave me a sharp bark and grounded me. The spell was broken but the intensity of that energy there was palpable and of course it would be.
Artemis did then and still does today embody strength and independence. She lived in the forests and the wilds and did what she pleased. She answered to no one and kept a low profile, except when she saw a child or an animal being hurt. Then she became this ferocious hunter that would protect the young. Again, I realized my mind was off on a tangent and so I slowed my steps and just concentrated on the feeling of the ground beneath my feet. And then it was time to leave and I headed toward the bus with everyone else.
Our little faithful friend followed us to it as well, to see us off. Our own Artemis thought she had one more treat on the bus, so she quickly went in to get it. I’m not sure what the rest of us were doing, but it was quite strange, because one second that little piece of fluff was there and the next, his little tail was nowhere to be seen. He had vanished into thin air. It didn’t make sense. We should have been able to see him on the grounds, walking away in some direction. There were no huge rocks other than the column, or groves of trees or anything that would have obstructed our view of him. Nevertheless, in a blink of an eye he was gone, disappeared. In the end we surmised that he was one of Artemis’s beings who showed up to guide us and then left the earth plane for the spirit world as quickly as he came. We were back into the mystery! It was most interesting to experience.
Later that evening I started thinking a bit more about Artemis and how I really had no sense of who she is. I wanted to know her better, maybe learn from her. Each of the gods and goddesses have their gifts for humanity. Maybe it was time I found out what her’s were. She showed up earlier because I fervently wished it. I figured if that worked once, it might again. So I cleared the night table of everything and put a clean facecloth on it to act as an altar cloth. Then I lit my little traveling candle, cut the picture of her statue from the itinerary sheets and placed both of those and a leaf that I picked up at her temple on the altar. I focused on her picture for a minute or two and then shut my eyes and invoked her presence.
I stayed with it and then finally got a sense that she was there. I thanked her for coming and then kind of blurted out “I don’t get it. Why is it I can feel something for some of the other gods and goddesses and yet never seem to be able to get a handle on you? It’s as if I can’t find anything to grab onto.” It was out of my mouth before I could stop it. It wasn’t a great opening, but there it was.
She laughed, clearly amused, and said “Better than you have tried! Listen, you can’t find anything to grab onto because I don’t WANT anyone to be hanging on to me. I fly solo. And I don’t care if that offends people. They either like me or they don’t. You could learn from that, by the way. BE WHO YOU ARE AND DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES. If people leave, they leave. You’ll survive! Take a walk on the wild side! Speaking of which, you could use a good dose of the wilds. You’ve forgotten how to live! Howl at the full moon once in a while, yell when something hurts you. Jump in the air when you are happy! Get into your body! Don’t look at me that way. You are the one who called me in, who wants to learn. I just answered to see if you are up for the challenge. On that note, you should know that I’m not an easy goddess to work with, so if that’s what you are looking for, you better go somewhere else. And I’m not a touchy feely one either so don’t think you will be coddled. But I can promise you this. I am the one who can absolutely bring you to the most authentic, fearless part of yourself, to the part of you that can shoot an arrow at your deepest, most impossible dream and hit the target. I am the one that can strengthen your soul, build its stamina. If you are up for that, I’ll take you on. ” She paused for a moment and then said abruptly, “The hounds are calling. Got to go. You know where to find me.” Boom, she was gone. I clasped my hands, bowed my head in gratitude and blew out the candle.
Wow, I thought. She could sure strip a person naked, that one!