Goddess as Queen Bee - Artemis of Ephesus

Goddess as Queen Bee - Artemis of Ephesus

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by KIM WILBORN OF GUARDIAN GATEWAY as part of the “Celebrate the Goddess” series. Over 20 wonderful teachers offered mini-classes to help you discover ways to bring the magic of the Divine Feminine into every area of your life.

My discussion was devoted to Artemis of Ephesus – the “Queen Bee”.

Here some images for you to meditate with as a way to get to know the Bee Goddess and Artemis of Ephesus. I’ll also give you a synopsis of our conversation…

We all know the Greek Artemis – the young huntress, daughter of Zeus and Leto, twin sister of Apollo. But, on the Western edge of modern-day Turkey – near the Aegean sea overlooking Greece – we find an Artemis who is very different. This Artemis is a regal Mother Goddess – a creative and fertile Nature Goddess. Her energy is grounded, protective, Earthy, fruitful and life-giving. She flows with nourishment and abundance.

I love to spend time at her temple in the ancient city of Ephesus – one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. On her statues, she wears her story:

Artemis wears a mural crown of the city walls. This honors her role as Patroness of the city, Guardian of All who Enter. She is incredibly protective.

At her neck, she wears garlands of fruit and flowers. Her arms are outstretched in a gesture of welcome and blessing.

On her chest, are rows and rows of breasts, portraying Artemis as a nourishing Mother Goddess. For thousands of years, the Divine Feminine was imagined as the “Nurturer of the World”, often pictured with her hands cupping her breasts.

There has been some scholarly debate about whether these are really breasts… and in fact it may be a “play on words” or a mix of symbolism. The breasts may also represent bee eggs or pomegranates (likely, as amber pendants in the shape of pomegranates have been discovered – these were draped on the Goddess as offerings).

The rest of her body is shaped like a pillar. This tells me of her strength; her permanence and durability. This shape is an ancient form also related to Cybele and other Eastern Goddesses.

Her dress is decorated with lions, goats, griffins, bulls, flowers.
And most importantly...bees.

Bees and honey are simply magical, and bee symbolism in sacred texts, art and artifacts dates back to the Neolithic Period. The Bee and the Goddess have been intertwined through time, and in multiple cultures – Egyptian, Minoan, Greek, Roman, Sumerian all featured Bee symbolism.

Artemis of Ephesus and other ancient Queen Bee symbolism

Agriculture – Bees are necessary for pollination, ensuring the health of the land and the nourishment of all creatures.

Food – Honey is delicious, full of nutrients and it is a perfect food that never spoils. Archaeologists have discovered honey jars thousands of years old. Sealed in pots, the honey was still preserved.

Healing – Honey has been used for millennia as a medicinal remedy. Honey is a digestive tonic, it helps with allergies. Honey was used in salves and in wound care as an anti-fungal, antibacterial agent.

Sacred Geometry – The perfection of the honeycomb represents divine harmony and community.

Magic of Creation – Hive construction and the production of honey are acts of transformation and genesis.

Ritual and Ceremony – Honey has long been used as an offering. It is used in ritual cakes and drinks. Bee hives were kept in temple complexes. Bee and honey imagery are often found on Goddess statues and adornments worn by her priestesses. My favorite images are statues of a Mother Goddess streaming with honey and gold jewelry featuring a Bee Goddess.

Artemis of Ephesus is one of the ancient Bee Goddesses. She is indeed a Queen Bee.

The honey comb is seen in architecture in her city of Ephesus – “City of the Bee”  Her priestesses were called Melissa – a name that means “bee”.

The bee represents the magic of creation, transformation, divine perfection and healing.  Artemis as Queen Bee, is the source of all these.

Connecting with Artemis
How do we get to know Artemis every day and how do we reach out to her?

Meditate with her symbols
Put the bee or an image of her statue where you can see it every day. Let the symbols of Artemis speak to you. What do they mean to you?

Be mindfully aware of her presence in Nature
Wild places tap into the deep heart of the Earth and the heart of the Goddess. Artemis is alive in the wild places. So, go outside. Be in nature. Open your heart and take time to feel her presence. Feel how she supports and strengthens you. Let yourself return to balance. Also, listen for messages – as Mistress of Animals, Artemis often sends us messages through animals.

Dedicate a wild space to Artemis.
This can be a place in your back yard or your garden or even just a few plants in pots on your balcony. Grow herbs or flowers that have a connection to healing, like lavender or rosemary. I feel very connected to Artemis when I harvest my lavender. The bushes are always buzzing with bees! Remember to leave offerings – you can pour bowls of honey, offer flowers or even coins.

“Bee” creative!
Make art, draw, write poems, do crafty things for no reason at all, make delicious foods. All these things are acts of creation and transformation. Artemis inspires us to be productive and she loves it when we create.

Call on her
It is as simple as saying:
“Mother Artemis, be with me. Grant me your strength and protection.”  

You can call on Artemis any time you feel you need a little help – before a job interview, a difficult conversation, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or tired. She will come stand beside you and give you her loving support. When I call on Artemis Ephesia, I feel her presence. She always has my back and supports me through any challenge.

Visit her sacred sites
If you can, travel and walk in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims who came to honor Artemis. Make offerings at her temple and walk through the streets of her ancient city. 

Offerings and altar created at the Temple of Artemis Ephesus

With Artemis I know that I am…
Absolutely nourished and supported.
Completely protected. Completely loved.
Called to create. Inspired to be productive.