Mom and I had a conversation about my dad, whom I have not spoken to in probably six months. It was difficult because she wants me to keep in contact with a person who has only given me pain. During one particularly rough part of the talk, I called out to Artemis.
I realized after the talk that even though I may have just blurted out her name, I should probably meditate and see if she needs an explanation or something. So I did. While laying on the couch I visualized myself getting up, walking to the back door, and opening it. Though it’s pitch black here, a bright, white light came through the opening.
Once through I found myself in a vast landscape covered in that same, bright light. But it was coming from a figure in front of me. Quickly realizing it was Artemis, I went down on one knee, head bowed.
“Your Highness,” I said.
I could feel her smile as she told me to stand by putting a hand under my chin. It was hard to look at her because of the light, so I looked slightly off to the side.
“Is there a name you would like to be called?”
“How about my name?”
“Artemis? Okay. I just wanted to be respectful.”
She’s still smiling and looking at me.
“Um, would you mind taking away that light? I can’t quite see you clearly when you have it on.”
The light fades into the center of her chest. As that happens the landscape fills in of a hilly, grassy plane, light blue sky, and a little windy.
I’m finally able to look at her as she takes my arm and walks. She is wearing a white dress that extends to her mid-thigh, a small brown belt around her waist, and the material is slung over one shoulder. Her hair is more dark blonde than it is light brown, wavy, and goes down to her shoulder blades. She is wearing laced-up sandals on her feet.
“I’m sure you heard what my mom and I were talking about.”
She gives no sign that she heard me, but instead, pats my hand and hands me a bow and arrow, something that wasn’t there a moment ago. I take the weapon and she points off in the distance, the silhouette of a stag. This animal has been around for some time: it is large, muscular, and has an impressive rack of antlers.
“Take your best shot,” she says.
I hesitate because she is asking me to do something, should I do it? What happens if I don’t? All she’s doing is asking me to shoot a bow and arrow, something I’ve never done in my physical life. But I take the arrow and put it into place where I think it should be and pull back the string.
Again, I hesitate, because she wants me to shoot a stag. An animal that is sacred to her, that represents her. I lower the weapon by my side and look at her, pleadingly.
She’s looking forward, hand shading her face. She looks out of the corner of her eye at me, almost as if to say, What’s wrong? What are you waiting for? But she has patience for me.
I take a deep breath and align my sight with the animal, pull back the string… and do nothing. I can’t harm this animal. As I breath once more and steady my stance, an arrow shoots off beside me and lands far behind the black shadow.
Lowering my bow slightly, I look at Artemis. She has her bow raised, and even though the arrow has already been shot, she is posing as though she was just about to release the string. She lowers her bow and looks at me.
It’s okay. I won’t be mad.
So for a third time, I raise my weapon, steady my sight, and shoot. The arrow hits the animal in the heart, but the buck doesn’t fall down.
Instead, as Artemis takes my arm and leads us forward, I see that the large stag was nothing more than a cardboard cut out of one. And the arrow’s tip is lodged in a vital place that would have immediately brought one down.
“You can do whatever you want to do,” Artemis tells me as I grab the shaft of the arrow and pull it out, looking at the tip. “Maybe it’ll hurt people, maybe it won’t. You don’t know. So long as you are healthy in mind and spirit.”
And that’s what I needed to hear. “Thank you,” I say.
She smiles. “Of course.”
I hand her back the bow and arrow she lent me.
“I’m not taking those.”
“Every budding hunter needs a good set of tools.”
I realize what this means: my first gift from my Goddess. I almost cry. Instead, I place the bow and arrow across my chest and bow my head in thanks.
She ruffles my hair and laughs a little. We start walking and I try to get used to carrying a bow over my shoulder.
“Um, were you serious about what you said about M? That I should kill them?” I say. In a previous imagining, or what I thought I was imagining, Artemis had told me to kill this one person because I felt they had wronged me while we were in a relationship.
But she shrugs. “That’s what I would have done.”
I stare at her in shock.
“Well, you know, a long time ago. Way back when.” In ancient Greece. Again, she ruffles my hair.
“Okay, do you have any suggestions nowadays?”
She’s silent for a moment. “You were hurt. You’re still hurting, but you shouldn’t let them go. You two have quite the relationship, a special connection. It’s going to take time for you to be okay with them but you shouldn’t let them go.”
Once more, springtime comes up in relation with this person.
“Okay. And that hair ruffle thing? Is that what you do when you feel you need to talk to me?”
She smiles big this time and gah, ruffles my hair. “You bet.”
“One last question.”
“Can I put our conversation on my blog?”
She giggles a little. “If that’s what you feel will get the message out, then sure.”
Now it’s my turn to smile. “Thank you, Artemis.”
That white light is back and I find myself closing the back door.