Greek Goddess Hecate  

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Greek Goddess Hecate Cover
Ruler of the underworld and feared by many, this Goddess is the Crone of many a trinity. Although not evil she has a fierce temper and will happily mow down those who oppose her holy will. The owl is her symbol, and thus feared by many as a sign of eminent death. Hecate can and will help modern witches. Needless to say she adores croning rituals. Hecate, Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft -- once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as a "hag" or old witch stirring the cauldron.

Hekate is a guardian, standing at the crossroads and doorways to keep away evil spirits. She is the dispenser of judgment and a Goddess of atonement and purification. We can relate to her today as a guardian figure in our unconsciousness, holding the key to the shadow within us and bearing torches to light our way to our inner self.

A lover of solitude, the Greek goddess Hecate was, like her cousin Artemis, a "virgin" goddess, unwilling to sacrifice her independent nature for the sake of marriage. Walking the roads at night or visiting cemeteries during the dark phase of the moon, the goddess Hecate was described as shining or luminous. In other legends she is invisible, perhaps only glimpsed as a light, a "will-o-the-wisp". Perhaps it was this luminous quality that marked Hecate as a "moon goddess", for she seemed quite at home on the earth. Some scholars believe it is also was because her mother was Asteria (the Titan goddess of the Shining Light or "Star") or perhaps it was because she sensibly always carried a torch on her journeys.

Hecate Attributes: Protecting women and dogs and cursing the unjust
Color: Midnight blue, burgundy, silver and black
Symbols: Torch, dog, snake owls, cauldron, key, rope, dagger and willow
Element: Earth
Stone/Metal: Onyx, moonstone and silver
Scent: Dittany of Crete, mastic and myrrh

Hecate's ability to see into the Underworld, the "otherworld" of the sleeping and the dead, made her comfortable and tolerant in the company of those most would shun out of fear or misunderstanding. In her role as 'Queen of the Night', sometimes traveling with a following of "ghosts" and other social outcasts, she was both honored and feared as the protectress of the oppressed and of those who lived "on the edge". In Rome many of the priests in her sacred groves were former slaves who had been released to work in her service. The goddess Hecate was often accompanied on her travels by an owl, a symbol of wisdom. Not really known as a goddess of wisdom, per se, Hecate is nevertheless recognized for a special type of knowledge and is considered to be the goddess of trivia. Hecate's farsightedness and attention to detail, combined with her extraordinary interest in that which most of us discount as irrelevant or arcane, gave her tremendous powers. She knew what the rest of us did not.

When one learns from Hekate, one must be willing to sacrifice oneself on the inner altar to gain her goodwill. This is a spiritual sacrifice, a willingness to give up negative habits and friends, taking time for meditation and ritual, being kind and understanding to others and opening oneself to new ways of spiritual thought and understanding. Through Hekate's cauldron, we must look at our true self, the nature of our motives and the results of our actions; because only when we look into Her dark cauldron can we see the light. Hekate is about transitions; She is the guardian of doorways, She watches over birth and death and She guides the initiate who dares to pass between the worlds. Hekate guides us across the borders and because the crossing is fearful, She is often feared by association. If we honor Hekate, She will serve as a guide in the most difficult and traumatic changes we can know at birth, initiation and death.

Hekate is awesome and terrifying for us because She represents things that we fear or keep hidden. Her main area of work was as goddess of the underworld, of night and darkness. Before Christianity, however, the underworld was not the place it is considered today. Then, it was the resting place of the dead. Many fear death and associate Her with only death but there is so much more to this Triple Aspect Goddess.

Hekate has also been looked on as a Goddess of fertility, whose torch was carried over freshly sown fields to symbolize the fertilizing power of moonlight. Torches are a common attribute of birth goddesses, possibly through the association of fire with purification, as are dogs, probably because of the ease in which they give birth. The knife that She often carries cuts the umbilical cord that begins our lives, as well as severing the ethereal link between the body and spirit at death.

The Hecate reminds us of the importance of change, helping us to release the past, especially those things that are hindering our growth, and to accept change and transitions. She sometimes asks us to let go of what is familiar, safe, and secure and to travel to the scary places of the soul. New beginnings, whether spiritual or mundane, aren't always easy. But Hecate is there to support and show you the way. She loans her farsightedness for you to see what lies deeply forgotten or even hidden, and helps you make a choice and find your path. Oft times she shines her torch to guide you while you are in dreams or meditation. Hecate teaches us to be just and to be tolerant of those who are different or less fortunate, yet she is hardly a "bleeding heart", for Hecate dispenses justice "blindly" and equally.

She has long been a Goddess of Witchcraft and has been invoked to make spells more powerful. Hekate is known for her gifts of prophecy, her clear vision and her knowledge of the magical and occult arts. She can cut through the darkness and call back the past and reveal the future. She gives humans dreams and visions which, if interpreted wisely, lead to greater clarity. She is particularly skilled at and associated with scrying and looking into the darkness for answers. Because She stands at the crossroads, She can look into the past, present and future. Her worshippers invoked Her in ritual, which always took place in the darkest hours of night and placed food for Her as an offering. This was known as Hekate's Supper.


I am the Queen of Magick, hidden in the deepest night.
I am the mystery of the other world and the fear that coils
about your heart in the times of your trial. I am the soul of
nature that gives form to the Universe.
My torches light the way for enlightenment and illumination.
My sickle of death cuts away things
that are dead & no longer needed
It is I who awaits you at the end of your spiral dance.
I am She who has no secrets but a thousand secrets.
I am the aged Old Crone of Darkness whose face of death
portends life anew and filled with Luna's secrets.
All acts of magick and mysteries are my rituals and
My greatest ritual is love itself.

Further reading (free e-books):

Ann Moura - Green Witchcraft
Francesca De Grandis - Goddess Initiation
Francesca De Grandis - Be A Goddess

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This entry was posted on 14 May 2009 at Thursday, May 14, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .