Friday, March 28, 2014

Places Associated with this Deity and Their Worship

Hecate has dominion over the Heaven, Earth and Sea.  Some believe her right to reign over the Heavens Earth and Seas was granted by Zeus for her assistance during the Titan war.  Others say, Hecate is the only child of Titanes Perses and Asteria, who gifted to her the powers over these areas. 

She is known to have dominion over the liminal spaces.  Those spaces of transitions and passages.  She walks the night guiding those who have passed from the world of the living to the world of the dead. 
Hecate is associated with these borders, walls crossroads and spaces between.  Hekate Enodia, means “on the way”.  Hekate Propylaia means “before the gate”.

Aristophanes, Wasps 804 ff :"I have heard it foretold, that one day the Athenians would dispense justice in their own houses, that each citizen would have himself a little tribunal constructed in his porch similar to the altars of Hekate (Hekataion), and that there would be such before every door."[N.B. Hekataion were statues or chapels of Hekate, placed at the entrance of houses.] - http://www.theoi.com/Cult/HekateCult.html

As part of my work with the Goddess I created two indoor spaces and one outdoor.  The first indoor space was out by my front entrance to my house.  As I was beginning to talk with my partner about beginning the work to become a Torchbearer, he opened the door and a black snake darted into the house circled the altar in what seemed to be a message from the Goddess. 

Photo Credit - Renee Olson
Euripides, Medea 396 ff (trans. Vellacott) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :"My chosen helper Hekate, who dwells in the inner chamber of my house [i.e. at the household shrine]."  -  http://www.theoi.com/Cult/HekateCult.html

Outside I have an area of pavers and torches that I can use to do outdoor rituals.  It looks out into bank just near the river.  I’m working to create a large area here where I can hold public rituals in her honor.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Friday, March 21, 2014

Festivals, Days, and Times Sacred Hecate

(1)The Greeks were said to honor two sacred days to Hecate; August 13th and November 30th.  The Romans took every 29th of the month as a day sacred to her.  (2) Other dates that are recognized in relationship to the Goddess are Samhain (October 31) and December 31st.

Then we have the Deipnon, which consisted of three parts.  The meal, the expiation and the purification.  The process was said to make amends to Hecate for any offense that may have been taken by her.  In my following of the Goddess I tend to stay away from exact days.  Our calendar is very different from those observed by the Greeks and Romans.

When I am arranging my offerings or my celebrations to her, I tend to follow two things.  The moon and my heart.  Each day I have a bit of time that I spend in her honor.  On a monthly view, the dark moon is the time that I tend to spend on the ritual of cleansing and purification.  No matter what type of life we lead, we all end up with left over sweepings (magic) in the house.  The dark moon is a great time to do a spiritual/magical cleansing of the space and take those out of the house.

I also use the traditional offering food items such as honey, leeks and garlic.   As my work in pottery grows, I plan to make a clay censer to add to my ritual.

Another type of mundane ritual that I add to my festivals and sacred times for the Goddess is donations to local shelters and food banks.  As Hecate had dogs, I believe that spending time at the shelter or making donations as you can is a great way to celebrate her.

"Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month [food placed inside her door-front shrines] and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served." - Aristophanes, Plutus 410
This quote tells me that the Goddess believed that we should look to those that have to provide to those who have not.  I look to this when I make my donations to the local food bank and homeless shelters.

While I have a wonderful time and really enjoy celebrating those days from the Wheel of the Year as well as seeing all the photos from Hecate's Night, I don't believe that any one day is required to celebrate her.  I recently was asked by a friend, if I thought Hecate minded if she was placed on a Yule altar as opposed to a Samhain altar.   My reply was -   "Do you prefer to have someone love you on Monday or Tuesday?"

My belief is that everyday is the perfect to honor the Goddess.



(1)Festivals - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hecate#Festivals
(2)Other days - http://witchofstitches.blogspot.com/2011/08/hekates-night-august-13th.html
(3)Deipnon - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deipnon

Friday, March 14, 2014

Offerings - Historical and UPG

In ancient times offerings to the Goddess Hecate included animal sacrifices.  Black bulls, sheep and dogs were often killed and presented to her.

My offerings to the Goddess are slightly different.  My altar consists of small bowls for me to add different elements.  Generally I'll have garlic bulbs, leeks and honey as a standard offering.


Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Offering Bowls - Honey, Mushroom & Garlic


Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Fertility & House Cleaning


If there is a special intent, such as Rites of Her Sacred Fires or if I'm doing magical work, I'll include a small bowl for blood.(1)

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Rite of Her Sacred Fires

Though controversial the offering of blood is something that many provide to their deity.  In my discussions around the Goddess Hecate, I've learned that some even offer menstrual blood to her.  In my workings I use a sterile lancet and prick my finger to produce a drop of blood.

Sometimes the blood will be dripped into a jar with other offerings or applied to a plate or surface as a
sigil.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson
Healing Ritual with Blood Offering

Working with offerings should be something that is very personal.  I tend to use what I have on hand.  If I'm working on Hecate's Supper, I might prepare a meal to take out to the crossroads along with my floor sweepings.  When the weather is bad, I tend to keep my offerings of fresh fruits to provide a bit of food for the wild life around me.

I believe that regardless of the actual offering, the intent is the key.  Give of yourself.  The rest will work itself out.


(1) This blog in no way endorses the offering of blood for any reason.  This is a practice that should be undergone with the utmost respect and care to avoid illness and injury.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Common Mistakes About This Deity

To me, saying that one person is mistaken about a deity could be viewed as a bit arrogant.  We have very limited historical data as it relates to most deities.  For the most part, our "history" is dependent on vases, jars and myths.   When we look at Hecate, the same is true.  There is no solid scientific evidence of her existence.  Based on the information that I've seen up to this point, among followers of Hecate there are two camps.

One follows her in the sense of the Cosmic World Soul.  Meaning the vessel in which all souls were created by the father god.  The other followers are as the crone aspect of the Wiccan interpretation of the Triple Goddess.  This is by no means the only split in the community, but I've found this to be the most common.

In my reading, Aleister Crowely referred to Hecate in his book, Moonchild

“a thing altogether of hell, barren, hideous and malicious, the queen of death and evil witchcraft.”
This is the image that was then applied to her in the modern age, embracing the crone for the wisdom and knowledge instead of the negativity implied by Crowley.  

In the majority of the paintings from antiquity Hecate is depicted as a woman, not too old or too young.  She does not appear to be a mother and certainly not a grandmother.

 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Hecate, illustration by Stéphane Mallarmé, in les Dieux Antiques : nouvelle mythologie illustrée (Paris, 1880)


In my working with Hecate she seems to be about 45.  She has been around long enough to have some smarts about her, but not to a point that she claims the title of Crone.  That may change I as learn more but for now.  I am sticking with the Cosmic World Soul and leaning away from the common dispute that she is the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess.

I'd also like to add, if someone gives you a flower because they love your eyes does that make the gift from another because they like your lips any less?  My point is, should it really matter the differences that we have in the deity?