Just as her twin brother Apollo is a god of the sun, Artemis is a goddess of the moon. She is also goddess of the hunt, childbirth and virginity.
She was the daughter of Zeus and Leto; immediately after being born she became her mother’s midwife and helped to deliver Apollo. This experience convinced her that she had been chosen as a midwife by the Fates. She closely guarded her own chastity, and all her companions were virgins. It is dangerous to love a goddess, yet many men loved Artemis. Only her hunting companion Orion won her heart before she was tricked into killing him by her brother Apollo, who thought he needed to protect his sister.
We worship Artemis at Brauron, where Chloe might be sent to serve her for a year as a ‘little bear’. It is said that in Sparta the boys undergo an initiation ceremony at the altar of Artemis during which they endure ritual whipping. They also dedicate strange clay masks at her sanctuary.