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Bear Goddess

There is quite a bit to unpack in the bear myths associated with Artemis. First, the association with bear sacrifice. Artemis demands that it be a maiden. The bear comes to be associated with Jesus as a totem animal. Does this relate to the death of Jesus as a ritual sacrifice? And what does it mean for his gender? Was it due to jealousy, bloodline, etc.? Next, the Ainu of Japan still sacrifices a bear annually. Does this indicate that Artemis worship reached them or they came from a place of Artemis worship? Finally, what of the Melissae? If there is documentation that the early cults of Artemis were attended by priestesses known as Bear, how did her high priestesses later evolve into bees? Even her brother, the supposed wolf god, has bees on his statues and monuments. The answer is Aphrodite.

As Artemis is referred to as a beekeeper, she could easily be seen as either a high-priestess or an attendant to the priestesses. On at least one shrine it is mentioned that Artemis was a mortal (as Kore became Persephone). A golden honeycomb is depicted on the shrine of Aphrodite at Mt. Eryx.