The Allegory of Apollo and Artemis

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As the story goes, Artemis was born first from Leto (by Zeus) on an island named "Asteria," which means star. Immediately after birth, Artemis became a midwife to help Leto birth her twin brother Apollo. In this way, Artemis as the Morning Star remains a virgin while birthing the Sun.

According to Callimachus (310-240 BC), at three years old, Artemis, while sitting on the knee of her father, Zeus, asked him to grant her six wishes: to remain always a virgin; to have many names to set her apart from her brother Apollo; to be the Phaesporia or Light Bringer; to have a bow and arrow and a knee-length tunic so that she could hunt; to have sixty "daughters of Okeanos", all nine years of age, to be her choir; and for twenty Amnisiades Nymphs as handmaidens to watch her dogs and bow while she rested. She wished for no city dedicated to her, but to rule the mountains, and for the ability to help women in the pains of childbirth.

From this description we see her association with Venus as the virginal Light Bringer ("Lucifer" in Latin) and fertility goddess of the mountain. But we also see her assuming the huntress identity of Diana, the Roman Moon goddess. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, the Moon and Venus were closely associated in ancient times, partly due to their close proximity at times in the night sky, partly because they follow the Sun into the Underworld and partly because they exhibit an inverse period of thirteen with Earth. That is, the Moon's 13:1 annual phases are inversely related to Venus' 13:8 orbital resonance with Earth. But as the Light Bringer and virgin midwife of the sun god Apollo, she is first and foremost a personification of Venus as the Morning Star.

Artemis' hunting companion was Orion. As described in an earlier post, Orion battles Taurus the Bull with the help of his two dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor. In more ancient allegories, it is between the horns of Taurus (the tau-cross) where the Morning Star lassos the Sun to resurrect him in the morning and pull him across the sky in her chariot. To the Egyptians, Orion was associated with Osiris, the sun-god of rebirth and the afterlife. Artemis thus connects Apollo with Egyptian ascension rites (and Vedic cosmology) through her association with Orion.

Finally, the sixty daughters of Okeanos refers to the earth-encirling river Okeanos, giving Artemis dominion over all sources of fresh waters, including rivers, wells, springs and rain-clouds. There were sixty daughters because this number was used in ancient times to divide a circle. The twenty Amnisiades Nymphs then refers to the fresh water streams of Amnisos, another fresh water symbolism, and likely symbolizing the 20 faces of an icosahedron, the Platonic solid associated with water. Water gods were often associated with the "Fountain of Youth," fertility and entheogenic drinks, but that's another story.