The effects of Artemis

As some of you who have been following this blog for a while will know, I’m soon to release a science fiction novel, called ‘The Artemis Effect’. As the title is perhaps a little obscure, I thought I’d post something about my research into Artemis, and how she fits into the book.

Artemis was a greek goddess, the twin of Apollo, and daughter of Zeus, through one of his many extra-marital affaires. The Romans also worshipped her, but rebranded the goddess to become their Diana. Talking of names, Artemis may have come from the greek word: Γ‘rktos, which means bear. I understand that in one of the cults of Artemis, young girls were to act out being as wild as bears, which is interesting, but has nothing to do with my title. Must have been fun though.

The story goes that when they were being born, Artemis was born first, and being a precocious little tyke, then helped her mother Leto to give birth to her brother. As such, childbirth became part of her professional portfolio. Childbirth is a major theme in my novel (don’t let this put you off – it is relevant to the story), and hence the first connection with Artemis.

As a 3 year old, she apparently climbed into her father’s lap (possibly after having been beaten by his wife, Hera), and asked for several wishes. One of these was to always remain a virgin, which these days we would perhaps put down to the trauma of seeing childbirth up close. πŸ˜‰ She also asked for a bow and arrow to be allowed to hunt, to have many names, to have various nymphs and followers (all female), and to become a Light-Bringer.

This last one is particularly interesting to me, and relevant to the title of the book. Some sources suggest that as Apollo represented the sun, Artemis represented the Moon – as a bringer of light in herself. She also seems to be identified with Selene, the goddess of the moon, but whether this is one of her many names, or if she is one aspect of the moon and femininity (the ‘virgin’ stage, as opposed to the mother or the crone) is not really clear. As she was worshipped over a long period of time in many different places, they all may have believed slightly different things of her. Artemis was often depicted with a crescent moon, giving strength to the idea that she was connected with this celestial body.

The Moon is really the major player in the book, and so we have tie number two.

Various men and gods fancied their chances with the lovely Artemis, but were sadly disappointed. Orion, her hunting companion, was either killed by Artemis when he tried to rape her, or stung by a scorpion which she conjured up. One story has both Orion and his hunting dog being stung by the scorpion, and rising to the heavens to become the constellations of Orion and Sirius. Bouphagos was struck down, Sipriotes was turned into a girl, and Actaeon into a stag. So Artemis was a strong and resourceful woman of the times (which were pretty rough for deities), and well able to look after herself. Many of my female characters in the book have this kind of strength, although they don’t go around randomly slaughtering chaps who cast them sidelong glances.

Artemis’ portfolio also extended to forest and hills, wild places and wild animals.Β  These places emerge as being of greater importance as refuges and resources throughout the novel, and hence the third tie. In typical style for mythology, she has conflicting aspects of being a madly keen hunter, and also a protector of animals such as stags.

So – I hope that’s helped to make things a little clearer, and to give you some feeling for the story. I should say that it is science fiction, not mythology, but the goddess Artemis is certainly mentioned, and her aspects fit so well with the story that I couldn’t resist naming it in her honour.


22 thoughts on “The effects of Artemis

  1. Great overview of the goddess.

    I have to say, I love mythology (Norse is my favorite), yet I’ve always forgotten Artemis after reading Greek mythology.

    I think this time I’ll have her attributes and stories firmly in mind thanks to your writeup. πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait until you release your book! Now you’ve got me trying to figure out what it’s about.

    Moon babies? A hunting ground on the Moon? Grah!

    Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks – I can’t wait to get it out either. So close…and yet so far.
      I love Viking mythology too, much more than Greek, but I don’t know enough about it to know if they have an appropriate match to Artemis. πŸ™‚

      • *puts on nerd glasses*

        I believe Skadi was the female goddess of the hunt, bow hunting in particular. She has a bit of a persephone thing going on in that she had to live nine nights in the mountains where her father used to live (but her husband hates the place) and three nights in the sea where her husband prefers (but Skadi can’t stand).

        Suffice to say, the marriage didn’t work out well.

        Odin was known for so many things; I’m pretty sure hunting was one of them.

        *takes nerd glasses off*

      • Ah – but does she have the moon aspect? That’s pretty crucial.
        Sounds like Skadi got the better end of the deal with 9 nights vs. 3! πŸ™‚

  2. Nice. Personally, I wouldn’t want to remain a virgin forever, but I also spend a good deal of time trying to keep my mind out of the gutter. Great explanation of the mythology though. Very interesting.

  3. Looks like a very creative, as well as fun, project (β€˜The Artemis Effect’) – Kasia – good luck on the release date…

  4. I like the sound of this book, and I’m glad I’ve stumbled onto your blog. Sci-fi is my new obsession and I’m trying to get caught up

    The only thing I have to nitpick is the sentence comparing Orion’s attempted rape as a sidelong glance (ladies, amirite?)

    • Glad you found me!
      Yes – that wasn’t my intention at all on the ‘sidelong glances’! Some of the others were punished for things like catching a glimpse of her while bathing.

      • Herp derp– I need to refresh myself on basic mythology. I totally forgot about her low tolerance for creepers. With my temper, if I’d been a deity, it would probably have been Artemis. πŸ™‚

      • You could always go down the Indie author path? I’m not sure that agents always know what they’re doing. Partly perhaps because they need a marketing angle, and a neat niche to fit work into. Look at all those Indie authors who were rejeced 20 or 30 times, and now are in the Million Club at Amazon. There must be publishers looking at them and slapping their heads.

    • Hi,
      Yes, it will be realeased on Amazon, and we’ll look at other platforms after that. Also probably on Lulu as I have promised hard copies to one or two people.
      I’d love it if you have a chance to pick it up – I’d be very interested in your opinion on it. πŸ™‚

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