I really think that this topic is being driven by two things. One, is the book I am reading “Hekate in Ancient Greek Religion” by Robert Von Rudloff. The other, is that I have recently joined a group conversation-orientated on Hekate. Regardless, I do get the impression from time to time, which I particularly see from Hekate devotees though admittedly rarely from Artemis followers, that sometimes there is some tension for worshipers when it comes to the closely related functions of these goddesses, almost to the point that I get the feeling that there is some dismissal for the other goddess. Even in reading the book that I am reading I have found myself often puzzled by an almost anti-Artemis stance the book takes…as if when not dismissing her it is barely begrudging the fact that she has these historical ties and localized cult associations. Many times I got the impression that the author was trying too hard, and rather unsuccessfully to make a case in favor of Hekate over Artemis. And I see this among conversations that spring up too how Hekate is goddess of this and this and this and is this and this and this almost in a conclusive manner. I rather get the impression, and maybe I am just being sensitive, that there are people who would rather just forget that Artemis exists or the fact that she DOES share a great number of functions and honors as Hekate. And it really isn’t a matter of a goddess stealing from another goddess, though thankfully I haven’t come across people saying that so I am not liable to blow a gasket…because come on, really, both of these goddesses have a very long history prominant in their myths and worship. I don’t see where anyone could possibly show proof that Artemis stole any part of Hekate’s worship or honors or function because the things she is honored for are the oldest traditions.
Case in point…Kourotrophos. There in fact several goddesses which are called this, including Hekate and Artemis both, and yet it once again it is treated as an either/or situation. As if there has to be a “the” Kourotrophos when there are clearly others. The Hellenic gods are not so cookie cutter. It is one of the reasons that I dislike New-Age books that make classifications of the gods because it tries to sum a god up in just a few short titles, and often titles that they share on some level with other gods. In fact, the intersecting of gods is quite common. And, in the case of Artemis and Hekate, they intersect at a great many points, but this doesn’t have to be an either/or issue or even a problem. We can celebrate their commonalities and diversities without ignoring one goddess in favor of the other, or attempting to disassociate the history of one goddess in favor of the other. It shouldn’t matter that Artemis holds so many equal positions and titles with Hekate, nor that they share common bonds at Eleusis. There are ways that we can celebrate the powerful place of both goddesses, cousins no less (a relationship that forms a kind of triumvate descendency from Koios and Phoebe between them when including Apollon into the mix).
For instance, in the Eleusinian we can honor Artemis, the goddess who chases after the chariot of Hades in the abduction of Persephone, just as we can honor Hekate who hears the cries of Persephone and who becomes the companion of Persephone leading her up from the underworld. We can honor Artemis and Hekate of the portal at doorways and entrances. We can honor them together as Kourotrophoi during the festival Kourotrophos. This does not lessen their roles that they play in the areas they oversect, nor does it hamper their individualism in their more individual appearances where they divurge whether it be Hekate’s crossroads or Artemis’ woodlands for example. There is room for both goddesses, and acknowlding the history of one does not discredit the other. History should not be thrown away because it is a convenience to one’s ideas after all. I see that too much in the whole “Her-story” movement in feministic pagans in which much history is casually disregarded in favor of an unfounded pre-patriarchal version of the gods.
In the end my opinion is that reducing Artemis does not give more honor to Hekate, nor does ignoring Hekate give any honor to Artemis. They are deeply related goddesses who likely celebrate each other (as I take in consideration from the vase in which Hekate leads forth in front of the chariot of Artemis that they are not disassociated goddesses). They are goddess that nurture the young rearing it into maturity, and Artemis then takes the form of the pursuing goddess who hunts her prey to its death at which point she leaves off, and then we see Hekate again as an administar of the next world. So there is room for both of them, and such room should be maintained in our worship practices. In my opinon anyway.
This is why I honor four gods at the entrance of my home. I honor Apollon and Hermes of the gates and boundaries, and I honor Hekate and Artemis of the portal. And really when you think of it this makes a nicely balanced set with a fine pairing in which you have the divine twins, and Hekate with Hermes with whom she has been noted in myth enjoying the company of. When it gets right down to it, these two fearsome but kindly nurturing goddesses are the goddess that would give their grace and protection to our homes.