Arktoi & the Influence of Artemis
The Arktoi (“ärk-ˈtoi̯”) were the young students of ancient Greek moon goddess Artemis. According to lore (and referenced in text from 412 BC), the cult of “she bears” resides in the sacred city Brauron of Attica, a central location for Artemis worship, abundant with temples and other sites of spiritual significance. There, the “arkteia” lived in a sanctuary, delving into music, artisanry, dancing and other practices rooted in the deep knowledge of esoteric magick. Wearing wild masks and animal-esqe outfits, the “arkteia” were distinctly androgynous and connected strongly to Nature, otherwise known as:
Little She-bears in Ritual Wildness
Artemis did not preside over the wilderness but acted more as a protector, in harmony with the forest and mountains, within a self-sustaining community of women. Her symbolic “virginity” was, in many lights, considered as a silent implication of a queer sexuality. Regardless of orientation specultation in art and literature, Artemis is considered a prime feminist icon in the mythological pantheon due to her refusal to participate in the subservient “feminine”. She represented an undoubted alternative to social conditioning while honoring the organic connections and support systems of women’s experiences. No matter the time frame and context, Artemis represents free expression and gender liberation whilst having an awareness of the dangers outside of her realm.
Artemis also strongly encompassed many other aspects of the main Greek Goddesses… She was sensual in an esoteric eroticism separate from the lavish flirtations of Aphrodite. She facilitated communal systems based on trust and balance with the Earth rather than the strategic political prowess and competition of Athena. With “mama bear” protection, though less explosive and strict than the likes of Hera, midwives and children were integral to groups based in Artemis worship.
The purpose of the Arktoi was to allow 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 with a connection to the Greater Cosmic energies of the Moons and Seasons.
Fast forward to 2020. With the pandemic’s challenges, deep solace was found in individual study of the Moon cycles, soon discussed with friends, further connecting outward into a loose creative collective. The decades steep of neo-Pagan practices, deities who speak to those seeking to break from negative programming, felt renewed during this strange crisis. As information and intuition was networked, Arktoi was born. Extending to a hearth that encompasses all walks, Arktoi en alt, “En” (meaning “in”) + “Alt” (meaning “everything”), our dedication of growing, learning, connecting and honoring joyful embrace of unrestricted “fem-nergy”, we stand by certain ideologies that encourages safe(r) spaces. This includes but is not limited to:
We believe in fairness towards all people; there are many different forms of expression and energy in the realm of “femme”, not solely experienced by just cis individuals or bound to a binary; and there are many ways to encompass said fire and spirituality.
We believe in support through the respect of boundaries; eschewing social constructs of capitalistic ideologies of success which create jealousy and greed; reciprocating empathetic compassion; finding gentle approaches even in radical honesty.
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 and is worthy of being treated with delicacy and balance.
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