Friday, February 28, 2014

Variations on this Deity

This topic gave me pause.  To me every single deity has variations.  There are variations in a bologna sandwiches to be sure there will be variations on a deity.  I don't like saying that one particular belief is better than another or rather, one is right and one is wrong.

The way we work with a deity is very personal.  Be it Jesus Christ or Hecate, we have a very individual way of interacting with that being.  For me, I tend to be more free form.  I have one ritual that I do every single day in order to be sure that I'm devoting time to her, but as for a set ritual, I shy away from that.

Some have things they do every dark moon, or every full moon.  Some only do ritual on Samhain or Beltane. To me each way that we interact create a sort of variation.  This changes the way we view that deity.

One of the things I do is try to work Hecate into my other activities.  I do a lot of craft work, so I try to create things in her honor.  Recently I made this entry way altar.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

I love working with clay so I created the the following statues of her.

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

Finally I created this outdoor shrine area that I plan to use for outdoor rituals when the weather permits.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson




Not something that every devotee of Hecate does but something that I've found fits me.



Friday, February 21, 2014

Names and Epithets Of the Goddess Hecate

The name itself is said to mean “from afar” or “one that operates from afar”. Generally there are two spellings for her name.  Hecate and Hekate.  Both spellings are correct, the K is from the Greek and the C is from the Latin. 

The pronunciation of the name is also sometimes in conflict.  Some pronounce the H at the beginning like you would in the word “hexagram”.  While others have a soft or silent H at the beginning and say it as “eh CUH tay”. 

I tend to believe that as dialects develop and people migrate the pronunciation of the name is not quite so important.  Others may disagree, but I believe that it is the intent when the action is done.  So, if I intended to say her name with devotion and honor that will be my action.
As with most deities, Hecate has many names associated with her. 
 I’ll start with a general list. (1)

Agrotera (huntress)
Antania (enemy of mankind)
Atalos (tender)
Brimo (angry one)
Despoina (mistress)
Enodia (of the paths)
Epipurgidia (on the tower)
Khthonia (of the underworld)
Kleidophoros (key bearer)
Kleidoukhos (keeper of the keys)
Krataiis (strong one)
Krokopeplos (saffron-cloaked)
Kurotrophos (nurse of the children and protectress of mankind)
Liparokredmnos (with bright headband)
Monogenes (only child)
Nyktipolos (night-wandering)
Perseis (daughter of Perses)
Phosphoros (the light-bringer)
Propolos (the attendant who leads)
Propylaia (the one before the gate)
Prytania (invincible Queen of the dead) - This is probably mistranslated
Selene (the far-shooting moon)
Skylakagetis (leader of the dogs)
Soteira (savior)
Trikephalos (three-headed)
Trimorphis (three-formed)
Trioditis (of three roads)
Trivia (of the three ways)


Other names include:
Mother of Darkness
Goddess of the Crossroads
Goddess of the Night
Mother of the Night

I’ve found that one of the best ways to write a hymn to Hecate is to jot down a list of the names such as above and then make a list of those things that are attributes of the deity.  This brings together all the elements to sing the praises of the Goddess.

The following is an original work I completed for one of my Hymn for Hecate. (2)
Hymn for Hecate
Hecate Soteira,
Savior and Mother of night
Embrace your child with protection and might.

Hecate Brimo,
Angry one’s call
Silence the worlds, silence them all.

Hecate Phosphoros
Bringer of light
Reveal the attack shown in this fight.

Hecate Adonaea,
Guide my magic, direct and firm
All that hurts shall be returned.

Hecate Nyktipolos
Night wandering queen
Open my eyes, allow all to be seen.

I believe my favorite titles for her are Keybearer and Lightbringer.  These two speak directly to what I have found in working with her.   She holds the keys to knowledge and her torches shine the light of understanding onto the unseen. 

(1)      List Source - http://www.goddessaday.com/greek/hecate

(2)      Hymn for Hecate – Renee Sosanna Olson

Friday, February 14, 2014

Other Related Deities and Entities Associated with Hecate

The most well know associates of Hecate are from the story of Persephone and Demeter. This is one of my favorite myths.  Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter.  Zeus being the god of the sky and thunder as well as the ruler of the gods and Demeter being the harvest goddess.

By Missinglinkantiques [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


The story goes that Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld to be his queen.  Hecate and the god of the Sun, Helios hear her cries.  Hecate finds Demeter wandering around looking for her and tells her about the cries she heard.  They go back to Helios to get the whole store and find that Persephone is in the underworld.  The account vary based on the myth being told, but basically Demeter wants Zeus to have his brother return Persephone.  Eventually he sends Hermes to tell Hades to let Persephone go, to which he agrees but not before feeding her some pomegranate seeds.  Knowing that anyone who consumes anything in the underworld can never leave.  Demeter threatens that spring will never return to the earth if her daughter is not freed.  A deal is made that Persephone will spend part of the year in the underworld and part with her mother.   During the time that Persephone is in the underworld, Demeter is sad and there is no vegetation or warmth from the sun.  No crops grow until she returns.

Zeus is almost linked with Hecate as it relates to the war of the Titans.  Hecate is said to be the only one of the Titans to retain her power after the war.  It is said that she was honored above all.  She was granted powers over the earth, heaven and seas.  Others say that he gave her nothing.  She already had these dominions via birth rights from her parents Asteria and Perses.

Museum Collection: Metropolitan Museum, New York City, USA
Photo source - www.theoi.com


Some believe that Hecate was a consort of Hermes.  The cults of Thessalian Pherai and Eleusis look at both of them as being associated with the myth of Persephone (see above) and with the souls of the underworld, or the dead.  Some modern followers of Wicca who attribute the role of Dark Goddess or Crone Goddess to Hecate may also include Hermes as her consort in a Lord & Lady representation. 


Certainly not an exhaustive list of those deities associate with Hecate, it will give a point of reference to begin researching her.  One of the things I've found most interesting since joining the Covenant of Hekate, is finding how many other cultures have goddess figures that have similarities to Hecate.  For example the Minoan Snake Goddess from Crete. 
By Olaf Tausch 


 To me looking at her, she just says, Hecate to me.  I’m still learning and looking to find connections with the goddess in other deities.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Members of the Family - Genealogical Connections

This is number four 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.


Her father Perses, the Destroyer, was the son of Titan siblings Krios and Eurybia.  Krios was the son of Ouranos and Gaia.  Gaia, is the earth, the mother goddess.  Eurybia, goddess of the sea, was the child of Pontos and Gaia.  Hecate was said to inherit her dominion over the seas from her.  Pontos, had no father and was said to come from the mother goddess Gaia.

Her mother Asteria, the Starry one, was the daughter of Titan siblings Koios and Phoibe.  Asteria was said to be the goddess of oracles, dreams and the reading of the stars.  Hecate is thought to have inherited her gifts for necromancy from her mother.  Koios, the father of Asteria and Phoibe, the mother were both children of Ouranos and Gaia.   Ouranos was a sky god with no father. (1)



Seeing Hecate Soteira, as the Cosmic World Soul is said to be present at those liminal points in life. Be it birth and death, or decisions about one’s life.  She is said to use her torches to shine light on the answers that we seek.  Putting together our personal family tree, we have birth certificates and public records that give us the proof of who we are and from where we come.  In the case of deities our books are written by humans.

Humans who guided by divine hand or by greed write down stories and pass them down through antiquity.  We look at these documents be they Chaldean Oracles or the King James Bible through our own eyes.  With our own interpretations and experiences.  We cannot know what they actually intended when they wrote these down. 

To me, Hecate represents my desire to seek out knowledge and magic.  She represents my hunger for knowing the unknown.  My need to understand the points of birth and death.  The drive I have to see fairness and justice prevail.  I long for the keys to unlock the mysteries of the world and wisdom to understand it correctly.  So perhaps the imagery that we have for her is actually the elements that we long for in ourselves.  The key, the dagger, the torch.  These are the tools that we need and we use her to guide us to achieve them.  When we are nervous or afraid, perhaps Hecate Brimo appears for us to defend and protect.  We may call upon her to deliver us.  Deliver us from death as in birth.

 I look at her as the Cosmic World Soul.

Soul, being a brilliant fire by the power of the father,Remains immortal and is the Mistress of LifeAnd holds the plenitude of the full womb of the cosmos. ~Chaldean Oracle Fragment 96(2)
Workwoman, she is the bestower of life-bearing fire,
and filling the life-giving womb of Hekate... ~Chaldean Oracle Fragment 32(3)



Hecate, illustration by Stéphane Mallarmé, - 1880





(1) Parentage resources - http://www.theoi.com/
(2) Hekate Soteira - Sarah Iles Johnson p158
(3) Hekate Soteira - Sarah Iles Johnson p64