The Artemisian Order is a feminist Neo-Pagan group founded in the 1990s by Oriethyia, a feminist poet. It is a clan of sisterhood and society of women who protect one another while serving nature. Formally identified with Dianic Wicca (centered upon the Roman goddess Diana), Oriethyia found herself drawn more to the Greek equivalent, Artemis, and decided to start a new Wiccan group with Artemis at the center. Like all feminist Wicca, Artemisian faith affirms the female image of deity, which stands in sharp contrast to the primarily male image with which Oriethyia had been raised. Unlike most Wiccan traditions, she saw no need to balance male-female energies by naming a male consort God to stand with the Goddess. She believes that the balancing of energies derives from the assertion of the feminine within a masculine-dominated culture.
Artemisians also identify with the ancient Amazons, the legendary fighters whom even the bravest of male warriors feared and respected. They describe themselves as proud and capable women worshipping the goddess Artemis. They submit to no man in the recognition that women have been subjected to patriarchal cultures that persecuted and killed women for their beliefs. They have threatened to hunt down and kill any man discovered spying upon their activities (though there is no hint that such has ever occurred). Only a few men are associated with the group. They are known as the Gargareans and Philos of the Artemisians. The former are the male companions of the Artemisians who assist the female Artemisians with their duties to nature and to other females. The Philos are the trusted friends of the order.
The modern Artemisian Order consists of the sisterhood, plus the Philos and Gargareans. The sisterhood administers the order on a day-to-day basis. The female members may hold position as either Sophias, who lead with their wisdom; High Priestesses, who keep the rituals; Amazons, who defend the way of life; or Maidens, who assist with their strength of mind and spirit. The Gargareans and Philos assist the sisterhood by protecting their sacred ways. Only females may become initiates. Males may become part of the order, but only as Gargareans and Philos.
The Artemisian Order may be contacted through Oriethyia at P.O. Box 7184, Capitol Station, Albany, NY 12224. Website: http://www.artemisian.org/sanct.html.
Hopman, Ellen Evert, and Lawrence Bond. People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out. Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books, 1996.