Friday, January 31, 2014

My Favorite Myth about Hecate

When I was in 6th grade I got my first electives.  I was able to choose which extra classes I wanted to take.  I chose to work as a library assistant.  I spent 45 minutes every school day helping my school mates check in and books.  I shelved books and had access to what the head Librarian called the “Closed Stacks”. 
This is where the reference books and the material that was ‘special’ was kept.  This was where our mythology was kept.  Being in a rural area, deep in the heart of Jesusland, stories of Gods and Goddesses were considered out of reach for the average 6th grader.  We had about seven books on ancient Greek Gods. 

I sat in the closed stacks and devoured the tails of Medusa and Zeus.  I poured through Athena and learned of Minotaur and Hades.  After my time as a library assistant I moved on to other stories.  Each of the old slowly slipping away from my memory.  I looked back at the myths I read and for the life me I cannot recall Hecate.

One of my favorite myths was the story of Demeter would be sad as her daughter Persephone was away from her in Hades for part of the year.  She would be so sad that the earth would freeze and all the life would stop until her return.  I won't giveaway the story here, but highly recommend reading.

As an adult I read of the role that Hecate played in her return.  How she used her torches to light the way to Hades.  How she stayed with her and guided her back to her mother in the spring.  To me this myth reinforces her role as a guide to the thresholds.

Now when I look at the myths, stories related to Zeus or to the Titans, I’m very interested in the lack of reference to Hecate.  I spend a great deal of time now looking for information both historic and mythical related to her.  I’m looking forward to going through this project and exploring her mysteries.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Symbols and Icons of Hecate

This is number three in my thirty day devotional work to the goddess Hecate.  To see a list of all posts with links please click the –Thirty Days of Hecate – on the menu above.

What are the symbols and icons of Hecate?

Hecate has four main symbols.  They are keys, dagger, torches and rope. 

By Medos at de.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Keys – Hecate carries the key to the underworld.  She uses this key to help souls journey to the underworld. 
Dagger – The dagger is a ritual tool and a symbol of judgment and power.  It is said to have been the origins of the Athame used on Wiccan altars.
Torches – Hecate is often depicted carrying torches.  She used them to light the way between the realms.  In Greek mythology Hecate helped Demeter search for Persephone using her torches to light the way.

unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Rope – Said to represent the umbilical cord, the rope is the symbol of birth.
There are other symbols that are associated with the Goddess Hecate.   These are other images associated with her.
Dogs – Hecate is said to be followed by black dogs.  Her presence is said to be announced by the howling or baying of dogs. 

Serpent – Hecate has been presented of having one or more animal heads such as dog, cow, boar, horse and serpent.  She has also been described as having a head surrounded by serpents.

Richard Cosway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Three way crossroad – Hecate is said to be at the crossroads waiting to help light the way to the destination.  Offerings are often left for her at a three way crossroads. 

Hecate’s Wheel – (Strophalos of Hekate) This symbol is sometimes used for the goddess.  It has also been aligned with other deities.  It is often used as a talisman or as a tool to bring about trances or mediation. 

By Nyo (Image:Hecate's Wheel 2.PNG) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Some who follow Hecate see this particular symbol as not being directly related to her and instead related to a device used as a way to bring back a lost love.

On the web I found a coin that I had turned into a talisman.  Side one shows her in her triple form while the back shows torches, a key and a crescent moon.

Hekate Coin - Side one - Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Hekate Coin - Side Two - Photo Credit - Renee Olson 
Hekate Talisman - Photo Credit - Renee Olson

The coin was created by Scroll of Poppaeus and is available for purchase on the site.  

I've also had a tattoo designed and completed in her honor.  I've incorporated the symbols and imagery.  It is an arm band created by my hubby.  It contains a dog, a snake and an owl and the word Hecate below it. The flowers are Plumeria and are often associated with funerals or the afterlife.

Hecate Tattoo - Elijah Olson - Artist
Photo Credit - Renee Olson

These are only a few of the symbols and icons related to Hecate.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How Did You First Become Aware of Hecate?

This is part one of a thirty post project dedicated to the Goddess Hecate.  To see a list of all the posts with links please click - Thirty Days of Hecate on the menu above.

How Did You First Become Aware of This Deity?

My first exposure to the Goddess Hecate was via a book by Christian DayThe Witches Book of the Dead.  I won two copies of the book in drawings and ended up actually reading it.  In several spots, Christian mentions the Goddess and I was intrigued.  I wanted to find out more about her and found The Covenant of Hekate.  Here I learned about her relationship to the Chaldean Oracles and her role as the mother of the cosmic soul and felt that this was where I belonged.

Over the years, I've learned so much about Hecate and found that really she was here all along.  When my hubby and I found our house, it was sitting on a three way crossroad.  We closed on our house on November 30th, a day considered to be sacred to the goddess.  Our first year here we had several snakes pay us a visit.  As I started to learn about the Goddess I found more connections.  Keys have been important to me though out my life and in my current mundane job, I actually help people "unlock" their files. Just after I completed the Rite of the Red Cord and became a Devotee, my mother who was at the time near death moved in with me.  I felt this was some sort of test for me and did my best to take care of her.

She has since moved on to live with another family member, but I do believe that I helped move her from one point of her life to another and with my feet planted squarely in the realm of justice, did so with honor and grace.  Earlier this summer I was chatting with Hubby about Hecate and he yelled from the entry way, that a snake had made its way into the house.  It came in just around the entry shrine I had created for Hecate.

My awareness of her is fairly recent, but my relationship with her seems to be as old as my own sense of self.  I've been a fighter for children, dogs and justice as long as I can recall.  I've been a protector of mothers and always donated to help feed those who are less fortunate.  I've been the one standing at the doorway, offering support to guide them through different choices in their lives.

I believe that each of us has a lesson to learn. We may need to learn that from a Hellenic Goddess or a Jewish Carpenter. No matter our teacher the lesson is the same.  Until we learn it, we are destine to repeat the errors of our past. 

To me, learning to find your teacher, and then after graduation, being able to share that knowledge is what life is all about.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hecate Threshold Shrine

This weekend I completed my threshold shrine.  I have a working altar and then places where I place things around the house related to the goddess.

This shrine is at my entry way and holds several items that I use to honor the goddess.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

In the upper left there is a key, the owl image on the front was created by Loren Morris at Saga's Cottage Storybook Art.   On the altar is a small dish of white sage, a raven skull that I made and a form of Hecate Triformis that I made.

Here are a few views from other angles.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Basic Introduction to the Goddess Hecate.

This is part one of a thirty post project dedicated to the Goddess Hecate.  To see a list of all the posts with links please click - Thirty Days of Hecate on the menu above.

Who is Hecate?
Often labeled as the crone aspect to the triple goddess of Wicca, Hecate (Hekate) is a dark goddess.  Hecate has been linked to the cosmic world soul by the Chaldean Oracles and hailed as the most favorite by Zeus. 
When we look at Hecate’s role in Wicca we have to remember that Wicca is a relatively new religion, historically speaking.  It is a 20th century creation and has its roots in modern times.  When we talk about the relevance of Hecate in that religion we have to remember that she, as well as may other goddess figures play a huge role in the background and the creation of the practice for some, and not at all for others.

First let’s talk about spelling.  Hecate vs. Hekate.  Basically both are correct.  It’s what you feel.  I am a member of the Covenant of Hekate but when I am sharing my content I use the “C” instead.  Languages change and morph.  I don’t think the Goddess really cares about the spelling.  I think she would be more concerned with how you worked with those around you in her name, more so then if you used the letter “C”.  I’ve heard her name pronounced “HEK uh TEE”    or “EK u Teh”.  I use “HEK uh Tea”.
The parents of Hecate are said to be Perses and Asteria, however there are several different birth stories out there.  Hecate was considered at Titan Goddess and was most favored by Zeus in some mythologies and in others, she did not receive gifts from him, yet only demanded what was rightfully hers as the Goddess of the Heavens, Earth and seas. 

I lean more towards her being a part of the creation of the world.  Predating the worlds of the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses.   She was the womb that carried the seed of thought and life into being.  So as I relate to others that see her as the Queen of Witchcraft or the only surviving Titan, a giant who was granted dominion over the world by Zeus, I also keep in perspective my own thoughts and remember that I feel she is the intermediary between life and death.  The point at which we come in and take our first breath and the point that our last breath is exhaled.

In all her titles; she is at the crossroads waiting for us as life ends.  She is the beginning and the end.  Hecate Soteira, the savior.  Hecate Triodtis, she is of the crossroads.  Hecate Trimophis, she is the three formed.  Hecate Brimo, the angry one.  Hecate Perseis, the destroyer.

She is the goddess of magic and witchcraft.  She is the keeper of the realm of the necromancer.  Those which look to move on to the next life travel the border with her.  She is the key holder of the underworld and those that wish to move on will need to move on with her assistance or join her to wander the night for eternity.  She is Hecate Kleidophoros, the keybearer. 

Hecate Phosphoros is a light bringer.  Like Lucifer, she sheds light and knowledge around her.  She is the keeper of knowledge or light.  Her torches light the way to information that is there, but hidden by darkness.
My work with Hecate is related most related to the crossroads.  I believe she is a liaison between life and death.  She is the “ferryman” if you will.  I believe that those who cross over are guided by her torch light.  In order to see the other side, they need her torches and her keys to make the journey.  She guide them along their way and ensures safe passage.  Those that choose not to go, join her symphony and say around her as a choir of sorts, to help guide others on their way.  Some souls are not ready to move on and need to stay for some purpose.  Those join her and wander the night until their destiny is fulfilled. 

Hecate is not concerned with the mundane.  She is not troubled by light bills or blown tires.  I do not call upon her when I’m feeling fat or when I want to win a ball game.  She is a serious Goddess for serious needs and troubles herself not with the desires of mortals.  I am honored to be in a relationship with her and spend my devotional time to her in either works for the poor or works that bring me closer to her.  Those often include working to educate those on the Goddess, working with the Covenant of Hekate on specific projects or working on a sanctuary I am creating on the back part of my property for her.  I live in a very rural area, that is heavily Christian and there are no places of worship for the Goddess here.  It is my goal to create the first CoH Sanctuary in NC.

So who is Hecate?  She’s a Greco-Roman Goddess for sure, possibly earlier.  She is considered by some to be the mother of the world as the womb of the cosmic soul.  She is the keeper of the keys and the guardian of the crossroads.  She has dogs, snakes and polecats as her minions and has hordes of souls following her around the night.  She is the Goddess of the Witches, of Magic and Night with a knowledge of herbs such as Mandrake and Belladonna. 

I believe she is a firm Goddess, level headed and very “matter of fact”.  She is the voice of reason and the voice of “cold hard truth”.  She is the voice of reality.  Her decisions are not based on emotion and her guidance is invaluable.

To me, Hecate embodies a strength and a desire to do the right thing, no matter the consequence.