The Ancient History of Artemis and Arktoi
Little She-bears in Ritual Wildness
The Arktoi (“ärk-ˈtoi̯”), as they were known, were the young students of moon goddess Artemis in Greece. According to legend (and some historical studies of text), the sacred city Brauron of Attica was the central location of Artemis worship, and there were many temples and sites of significance, often run by a High Priestess. The “arkteia” were said to live in a sanctuary, learning about music, dancing, Goddess spirituality. They often wore masks and animal-like clothing during ceremonies, were distinctly androgynous, and had practices rooted in connection to the Earth.
Artemis presided over the wilderness, the hunt, the mountains and symbolized virginity, though in many lights, her legend and folklore paint her as a queer and feminist subset of the mythological pantheon. Artemis is undoubtedly a feminine representation of freedom and liberation, offering different perspective while still encompassing many aspects of the other major Greek Goddesses. Artemis created an alternate representation of sensuality, closer to a sensual spirituality than the lavish flirtations of Aphrodite, and facilitated communal systems based on trust and balance with the Earth, rather than the strategic political prowess and competition of Athena. A Mama Bear protection over her tribe, though “virginal”, midwives practiced and were integral to communities around Artemis.
The purpose of the Arktoi was to allow the young girls to have a period of “ritual wildness”, to decide what path they would like to take whilst entering the stages of puberty. Whether these students took up a life of marriage and motherhood, or creativity and career, or something else altogether, the spirit of being “wild and free” would be embedded in their emotional and intelligent make-up to inform their true sense of intuition, connection to the Greater Cosmic energies of the Moons and Seasons, and relationship to Sisterhood and community.
Fast forward, and we find solace and support in our own individualistic study of Artemis. In years long steep of neo-Pagan practice, moon magick and the divine light of deities who speak to us worldwide, we feel akin to the Arktoi as a means of keeping grounded to the Earth, our feminine intuition, and breaking barriers of expectations and socialization. As a collective based in exploration of the feminine, Artemis speaks to us specifically due to her many all-encompassing character traits: nurturing yet independent, active yet patient, armed with heavy will-power and mobilization all whilst having an ability to be vulnerable with others and hold space for them.
“En” (meaning “in”) + “Alt” (meaning “everything”), we subscribe to a dedication of always growing, learning, connecting and honoring the untamed nature that we believe raises our morale as a global energy. In this, we also stand by certain ideologies that we feel encourages positivity:
Inclusivity + Diversity
We believe in fairness towards all people; there are many different forms of fem-energy, not solely experienced by just female-identifying individuals; and there are many different ways to encompass feminine fire and spirituality.
Support + Safe Space
We believe in supporting each other; respecting boundaries; eschewing social constructs of jealousy and greed; giving and receiving empathetic compassion; finding gentle approaches even in radical honesty.
Creativity + Energy
We believe that creativity, whether in an artistic medium, problem solving, communication, or base flourishes of our environments can help facilitate healing; energy is important and valuable.
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Temporarily put on hold due to COVID-19, we will be rescheduling these upcoming events.
March 2020 POSTPONED
Zine Event – TBA Fall 2020