• Daniel Bernhard

ARTEMIS * Boundary Boss

Aktualisiert: 6. März

So he was right. There w e r e voices behind the bushes. Gushing voices of actual nymphs, in water! Actaeon, the hunter, told his 50 hounds to wait a second and approached the thicket of willows and holly bushes that grew right next to the spring. Careful not to make any sound, he pushed leave after leave aside, a basic hunting skill. His excitement grew. So did the impatience of his 50 hounds. Careful, careful, it’ll be worth it. And there she was, playing in the water with her nymph friends: Artemis, virgin goddess of the wilderness, fully naked like her companions, lighthearted, giggly, splashing them with water. He knew it! He got dizzy. One thing to long for the sight of a goddess in front of you, another thing to actually be exposed to the full power of her presence.

He was unprepared. He tried, but he slipped. A twig cracked below his elbow. Instantly the master huntress leaped to grab her silvery bow and arrow. „Who’s there?“ Tension. One of his 50 hounds started panting. She looked over. „Actaeon. Ha! Dirty Bastard! Peepin’ at virgin goddesses, you needy little sh1t? Did you ask? Did you ask for consent, little fv€4er? I don’t think so. Did he? Nymphs, what do you say? Nereids? Right: he didn’t. Just coming by to objectify some nature beings, right? The good old extractivist mindset in full display: first coming to the forest to grab some animals and while I’m at it, why not quickly have a cheap w@nk watching some innocent girls in the pond, huh? Anything to your defense?“ Actaeon was too baffled to speak, too taken by the presence of the goddess. He had org@smed three times already while she was speaking to him. So embarrassing! „Okay. Then die, scum. But die in style…“ She mumbled some ancient Anatolian spells, then pointed her laser eyes onto him.

The next thing he felt was the softness of the moss below his hoofs. Two toes. That’s what he saw when looking down to where that gentle sensation came from. „Ai, the antlers got stuck in one of the bushes. Aiiiii, but feels nice. So the goddess transformed me in the most beautiful way! Wow! She does love me in the end! She made me the king of the forest. I am beautiful! I am strong! I need to thank her…“ The first growl from one of his hounds. No more thoughts. Instinct screams: run! Hearing the teenage dream goddess giggle again, he skipped past the pond. His 50 dogs dashing right behind. Artemis and her gang started cheering for the animals. „Go get him. Eat him slowly! Lol.“

They kept running for ages, across the forest and beyond. The stag, still full of the goddess, had mustered bizarre stamina, so did his hungry dogs. But finally he collapsed in the shade of another willow. A lush meadow, a blue sky, a bee… Surrender. They tore him apart in seconds. Delicious every bite. He dissolved in bliss. And that was the end of him, severely punished for a transgression. Just like so many poachers, rapists, abusers of children before him. The master avenger with her moon bow and arrow, protector of innocence, was very precise with her boundaries.

Artemis was the guardian not just of her personal boundaries towards men, she watched over all kinds of liminal spaces back then, the passageways from youth to adulthood, the places where wilderness and civilization merged and blurred. She was not simply a goddess of the hunt. She was Boundary Boss*. And she was wilderness impersonated. A heroine we might urgently need these days, someone to defend innocent life and protect a planet under siege by the patriarchal death cult, these days more apparent than ever.

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