“The Greek goddess Artemis was the guardian of young maidens, and she taught them to be independent and true to themselves. She was also protectress of the animals and the forest, provider of medicinal herbs, and an aide to all those giving birth. Artemis protected all to be free to follow the rivers and the winds, to enjoy the forests and to honor the women of the woods. Artemis could give life, but she could also take it away from those who broke the laws of Nature. Above all, she demanded respect for Nature and the inviolable integrity of women. Artemis could become a Madwoman, enraged at anyone who defiled her integrity or her laws. When the hunter Actaeon overstepped the boundaries of sexual propriety and spied at the naked Artemis one morning as she bathed in a clear stream in her forest, she was angered, changed him into a stag, and turned his own hunting hounds against him to kill him. Nowadays we see Artemis’ demand for respect of feminine integrity in women’s outrage at child abuse and sexual harassment, and in their demand for the right to live in accordance with their own nature. Demeter, goddess of grain, became a Madwoman when her daughter, Persephone, was abducted and raped by Hades, lord of the underworld. Hades wanted to keep Persephone in the underworld and make her his queen. When all peaceful attempts to retrieve her daughter failed, Demeter, maddened by grief, threatened to withhold all growth from the earth. Finally, a bargain was made between Zeus and Demeter. Persephone could be with her mother half the year, when things grow in spring and summer. During the other half, when things lie dormant, she remains in the underworld with Hades. Persephone’s separation from Demeter symbolizes every young woman’s separation from her mother to enable the awakening of her own sexuality and distinct individual life. Her return to Demeter for part of the year symbolizes the new relationship she can build with her mother, enhanced by her own experience.”

— Linda Schierse Leonard, Meeting the Madwoman: Empowering the Feminine Spirit