Apollon and Artemis

On kyklos Apollon, Todd was mentioning Artemis and Apollon as being the Being and Nonbeing. At first I didn’t understand the reference he was making since I don’t use these words myself, but once he explained it I understood what he was getting at. As a pair Apollon and Artemis do appear to be polar opposites while still retaining a unity. Apollon presides over civilization, and Artemis over wilderness, but in this manner they both are still ruling over a realm of special habitation, one a habitation specific to humans, and one specific to animals. Though as we know worlds do collide, the wilderness encroaches on civilization, wildflowers grow through cracks in the sidewalks and running wild in gardens where they are often ruthlessly removed. Living in Alaska I have seen moose and bears in the yards and streets. I have heard of wolves coming into the national park that stretches into the city. And we see the birds, particularly the wild geese, making their homes where-ever they will. Or even the falcons in the big cities making their nests on the high towering buildings there.

On the other hand people enter the wilderness, and bring the essence of civilization to the forest. Whenever a campfire is struck and food cooked, this is halmark of mankind that is distinctly different from the rest of the natural world. Motorhomes and trucks intercede, tents are popped. Often times a radio is entertaining and in the evening hours lamps are struck as people find their way to their beds. People camping , people hunting. When you think of it the creation of civilization is by interceding on the wilderness, so Artemis doubtlessly yeilding in some respects. However not all places are meant to be civilized, and it is clear enough. I don’t say Artemis punishes those who interceed civilization where it should not, but rather some areas just make it known in the ramifications. Rainforests that are removed for farming, the soil proves too loose and infertile as the trees that once held it in place no longer are there to support it, same with the prarie grass that once removed makes soil in the midwest to loose and blowy—the so called dust bowl. Rains rather than nurishing turn the landscape into mudslides and washouts because the natural grasses are no longer present. Then there are other places, that while there might be some inconveniences it is perfectly suitable for building.  Artemis yeilds but Apollon leads. If you recall the story of the founding of Ephesus, Apollon instructed those for founding the city to follow a wild boar and where it stopped to rest that is where they were to build. Such instructions of where to build a city was not uncommong to be asked of oracles. It appears to me that Apollon, in conjunction with his sister Artemis, knows where nature is more hospitable to be changed into civilization. So it cannot be so clearly defined.

They are also both torch-bearing gods, gods of light. We can say that Apollon is the god of the light of the sun, and Artemis she is the goddess of the light of the moon. But when we start twisting our minds a bit and add a bit of science we known that the moon is infact reflecting the light of the sun, like a giant cosmic lake. The moon doesn’t have it owns light to bear. So Artemis therefore is not bearing a distinct light of her own, but rather reflecting her brothers light. Personally, the fullmoon has often looked alot like a giant mirror in the sky to me. This also seems to go in hand with myth that suggests that Selene lit her torch from the house of Helios, showing the solar light was recognized as the source of the moonlight. And perhaps that Apollon was honored on the Noumenia was due not only to the beginning of the month (though largely), but also a nodd to the god who rules light, and is even the essence within his sister’s light.

When we say that the gods in their pairs are opposite of each other, I think alot of the opposite is superficial and on the surface. It doesn’t make it any less real, because it is real on a certain level. But we have to recognize that it only goes so far, and that there is a complex weave between them, which I think is what really makes them a pair and less that they appear to be opposites. That is just as true I think for other pairs such as Poseidon and Demeter, and Zeus with Hera. I have tried to illustrate in several of my poems such interlinkings but sometimes it may be a bit subtle.

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5 thoughts on “Apollon and Artemis

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    • thanks! Actually because my blog is just that, it is the mutters of my brain. Essentially I am talking outloud to myself for anyone who wants to listen. If there is anything you find particularly unclear that you want me to expound upon I will. Otherwise I don’t tend to put in the detail I would into a full-fledged writing project or research paper 🙂

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