This evening I lit a fire for Artemis. She is the goddess of wild things. On our land she has dedicated to her the most wild part, the forest area including 'the Enchanted Wood'. There is something unreachable about Artemis - especially if you are a man, I suppose - but not just to do with gender, more to do with wild energy. We are now all so civilised. Civilisation is a mixed blessing. Here in France at the moment chaos is breaking out as a great confrontation unfolds between the government and the trade unions, a bit like the miners strike in England in the time of Margaret Thatcher. It seems that we do make progress of some sort in becoming more civilised but under the surface other forces are at work and it is important to acknowledge them and give them space.
Watching the flames curling upward one can feel oneself to be in the presence of energy that is completely untamed. Although mankind rose to power over nature in part by mastering fire, the idea that one can really 'master' it is preposterous. One day our whole planet will be swallowed up in some unthinkably huge celestial fire. The flames curl and glow and never repeat. We think that we have understood something when we have worked out some regularity in it, but wild things never really repeat. No two flames are ever exactly the same. One can gaze into the heart of the fire and enjoy the warmth and the magic of it, the transformation and the energy, and feel deep respect for the power there that knows its own way without any guidance from us and that, in the end, will outlive us all.
Looking around in the forest in the evening light, the deep green is mysterious and transporting. It is a kind of trance just to be in the midst of it with the slanting sunlight filtering in through the branches. Nature, like Artemis herself, terrible and beautiful, provider and huntress. She is not 'nice' but she is wonderful.
Paen, Goddess of the wild
grant us the speed of your gold arrow
and the space of your virgin world.
Remind us of the wild energy in our hearts.
Let us not deny you,
but cherish life as free as fire
that madness never overwhelm.
Goddess of the wild, paen.