Artemis, Aphrodite and Teen Awareness

In an odd twist of circumstances, the two most influential goddesses in my oikos are Artemis and Aphrodite, a situation which arose early in my life and for which I can appreciate their roles in teen life, especially as my eldest daughter has entered her teen years.

Anciently the teen years were ones that marked the transition from childhood into adulthood, more firmly than they do today where our teens are considered children until they are 18 years old. This was marked by ceremonies in which Artemis was given thanks and offerings by the youth or maiden, and afterwards were expected to leave the shelter of Artemis in exchange for the blessings of Aphrodite and Hera (and other blessed gods persiding over the marital state). It was considered part of the natural order of things, and the violation of which could bring about disasterous consequences as Euripedes cautions in his Hippolytus.

In short you end up with a period in which a child still clings to Artemis, to the wild uninhibited freedom she brings, while Aphrodite begins to assert herself. This is rough period of time. With adoration I, like Hippolytus, clung to Artemis. I vocally, and sometimes viciously shunned Aphrodite who represented what I intellectualized as the embodiment of my scathing opinion regarding relationships. I laughed and sneered at boys, or just outright challenged them in some form of contest or another. I felt Artemis laughing with humor, and often egging me on. “Oh I dare you” she would seem to taunt at my hairbrain ideas. She is like a shout in the wind…utterly uncatchable leap of freedom. With her I trampled through the woods, leaves tangling in my hair, dirt mingling with sweat, shouted and laughed. She encourages and relishes the beast in me even as she me to become greater than I am. Always a challenge rises from her. It is too easy though to be carried away in your love for that you neglect the mounting responsibilities you owe your family as you age…and even to resent the curb to your freedom and your family who places these upon you.

To make matters worse, no matter how much you push away Aphrodite, she is still working on you. I would find myself adornibg myself with nice clothes, jewelry and perfume. Nevermind the flow of desire in the later years. She us resilient, waging her clever battle.

Even for those who fly eagerly into the arms if Aphrodite, I imagine it is difficult to let go of the joys of Artemis.. to be able to completely surrender to the sway of Aphrodite and leave childhood behind.

I see my daughter struggle between these with having her first real boyfriend but clinging in so many ways to wanting to be a little girl even as she wishes to be grown. I made peace with these goddesses by giving them equal places of honor as I refused to let go of Artemis, and her me. How will my daughter?

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