It's 18:17 of 25 December 2009, Christmas day now. The right date, after all, for an "ancient" reflection in those days of double standards (of which I don't know which is worse, "double" or "standard").
Naming a pagan goddess, Artemis, may seem out of place now and here.
But right now I feel her missing presence in our society is part of the problem we face.
As a westerner, I have for the figure of Artemis a great respect. She was "the first of us", the independent people, the explorers. The goddess of the fringe of nature, where the Polis and social conventions wane out and you are alone, facing the Moon and your own natural rhythms, and perceiving all life to vibrate outside and inside of us, a same plot we all are part.
As the goddess of hunt and nature, Artemis was a symbol of female autonomy, joyful competitiveness, tension towards objectives (regardless of whether valued by humans). A virgin, in the sense she did not define herself in terms of relation to someone else, nor had the need of completing in a relation - she was the independence.
Sensation, and not only concentrated thought and will. Her being within nature was as basically a peer, not a domineering and unrespectful presence. She is the symbol of the "human, as nature's self-awareness", at the feeling first than rational level.
Officially, Artemis has been wept away. But you may find her peeping out of current symbols. You find a little bit of her in the Virgin Mary (it is no coincidence many legends once ascribed to Artemis-Diana went to the Holy Queen - at least in Catholic countries, Italy in particular). You find a very lot of her in the eyes and expression of children facing the world for the first times. You can find her half-hidden in nature, in yourself too.
Many attempts have been made by the various patriarchies to repress and suppress her worship, but it always surfaces, again and again.
I wish her presence will be more explicit. We need her, as we need ourselves. As a role model alternative to the reductive ones built for women (and men, too) she may stand in full view, as a realizable element of our personalities. As an archetype of the female strength and power, outside of wars and other "manly" shows, I feel her so necessary, in a new way.
As lady of the birth, she's not that far from the very idea of Christmas, too.
As an archetype, an old sister, and not any longer just a goddess - she's my wish and X-mas gift for us all, men and women.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2009.