In mythology, we have seen gods, goddesses and negative elements with many limbs. We have seen them with many hands or legs or faces or even eyes. However, I recently came around a few goddesses with more than two breasts. By itself it seemed odd, but when you read about them and understand the depiction, it doesn’t seem all that odd.
The first goddess is a Greek goddess by the name of Artemis. Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto. When Zeus’s wife came to know about the alliance, she forbade everyone to help Leto deliver her babies. Leto was in labour and in that situation she roamed all around and finally delivered in Delos. She delivered a set of twins, Artemis and her twin brother Apollo. In due course Artemis was associated with hunting and moon, and Apollo became the god of Sun. The Temple of Artemis was considered to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, located in Ephesus, near the modern town of Selçuk in present-day Turkey.
|Statue of Artemis|
Artemis is depicted with a bow and arrow, to confirm with her status of goddess of hunts, but more important than that, is that as a fertility goddess, she is depicted with multiple breasts. She is considered to be the goddess of child-birth and cures women of labour pains or leads them to an easy death in case of the delivery gone wrong, by striking them with her arrows. This according to some scholars is because she was aware of the pains her mother had to go through during giving birth to her and Apollo. Artemis is a virgin goddess, probably because she herself did not want to go through what her mother had to undergo. However, ironic this sounds, she continues to be viewed as a goddess of fertility and all major depictions show her with multiple breasts. She is also sometimes referred to as Diana.
The Inca’s too are supposed to have a similar goddess, by the name of Mama Allpa. She too was seen with multiple breasts and was considered to be the goddess of fertility and a provider of abundance to the earthlings.
Multiple breasts in goddesses, from the above examples seem to have a direct association with fertility and all aspects of it. The multiple breasts are to be seen as a symbol of the female nourishing power and fertility and may even extend to the goddess standing for Mother Earth and Nature itself. The breast in this case is depicted as a source of life and is a recurring theme in many a myth. The multiple attributes is an indication of the abundance that they lead to with reference to fertility, be it in the form of harvests or offspring of humans and animals.
There is a difference here when we read about a similar goddess from South India, next time. Keep reading………
Pic Courtesy -
Statue of Artemis from - Ephesus Museum, Selcuk, Turkey
courtesy Travelsignposts.com (Internet)