Monday, August 12, 2013

Day Three - Symbols of Artemis

3. Symbols and icons of this deity.

Artemis' bow is probably one of her more iconic symbols. These days, many like to associate the waxing crescent moon with Artemis' bow - and I admit, I like that symbolism myself - but classically Artemis' bow and arrows are described as being golden. The bow is not Artemis' only hunting weapon, however, as she also carries a spear and hunting/fishing nets. She is frequently shown wearing a short hunting tunic, as well, and is accompanied by a pack of hunting dogs.

Artemis is also said to have a chariot, again usually described as golden (or all gold), which is drawn by four deer with golden horns, and deer in general are one of the animals sacred to Artemis.

The torch is another of her symbols, and she is often shown or described as holding a single torch, or twin torches. When she is holding a single torch, often her bow is in her other hand, but sometimes she will be shown holding something else, such as a snake.

Artemis has some ties to music and dance, and is frequently shown holding a lyre (a stringed instrument).

Deer were not the only animals sacred to Artemis. Bears were also particularly sacred to her, as well as boars, dogs and wolves, partridges, quails, guineafowl, and other ground birds, and the buzzard or hawk.  

Artemis also ruled over fishing, and was sometimes said to be a goddess of lakes, so fresh-water fish were also sacred to her, as well, and it would seem a pool or spring of fresh-water fish was a common feature at many shines to Artemis.

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