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