Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day of Hecate at the Crossroads


Earliest archaeological record of Hecate worship is an altar inscription dated to 6th century BCE in the sanctuary of Apollo Delphinios in Miletos in what is now Turkey.  This archeological evidence seems to point to the fact that Hecate was not simply a Roman Goddess or a Greek Goddess but actually a Goddess that predates both of these civilizations and was adopted into their pantheon well after her cults in Asia Minor worshiped her.  Her temple ruins are open for visits today in Lagina.  (Link)

Hecate's Temple at Lagina


Leo Ruickbie's "Witchcraft out of the Shadows – A History” says that the ancient Greeks observed a feast day on August 13 to appease the Goddess and protect the harvest,  This also references the Deiphon or Hecate’s Supper, leaving offerings to the Goddess at the crossroads.  He goes on to say that the Romans honored the 29th of every month as the Moon of Hecate – using Diane Stein's un-sourced work, “The Goddess Book of Days" as his source.  

Ruickbie also says that a calendar was found the made references to offerings left to Hecate on the first, second and seventh days of every month, sourcing Graf 1985 163, 185.  I am still looking for this source.    

In Queen of the Night : Rediscovering the Celtic Moon Goddess by Sharynee MacLeod NicMhacha page 60 – she also references the Erythia Calendar from the 4th Century.

Since we know that our modern calendar is nothing like the calendar the ancients would have followed I believe it is safe to say that any festival or celebrations that cites a Gregorian calendar month/day is probably not based on any actual historic sources.  We can compare these days to the lunar equivalents again, it would be a guess.  We know that our ancestors followed the seasons and lunar cycles.  I tend to move my offerings to Hecate in that same manner.   

I lean more towards working with her on Samhain, due to the ancestral work or working with the dead. I have recently seen a connection between her and autumn.  While it is probably a “duh” moment for most as she is related to the myth of Persephone, I just “got it” recently.  I’ll be investigating this further in the years to come.  I can’t say that I’ll add anything additional to my normal rituals to her based on this connection but I will investigate it.

I found a couple of links to Greek and Roman calendars which I have included for reference.


List of Greek Festivals – Link
List of Roman Festivals – Link

When I purchased Witchcraft – Out of the Shadows – A History, I originally purchased it to find out finally where the idea that a set day in our modern calendar was dedicated to Hecate.  For that part, the book was less than pleasing. There is one references to the date and a footnote related to it and it seems that everyone on the web, even myself in earlier writings, repeated this day without a thought to where it originated.  For now, I can say that there is no real historical evidence that this day is more or less significant to Hecate or her ancient cults. 


Moral of the story – Sources are critical kids!


UPDATE- finally a reference to August 13th for Hecate- Thanks to Sara Croft for sharing this wonderful discovery.  - Andrew Alfoldi, Statius' Silvae mentions the procession of torchbearers in honor of the dies Triviae, of whom for the Romans Hecate was one (on p. 141) 
Alfoldi, Andrew. "Diana Nemorensis," American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 64, No. 2 (Apr. 1960), p. 137-144.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chaldean Oracles - 38

The Chaldean Oracles are a group of fragmented texts from the 2nd Century AD and are attributed to Babylonia (Chaldea).  The text refers to Hecate as the female power or Mother of all with two Fathers.  Setting Hecate as the Cosmic World Soul. 

I thought it might be a great project to look at the translated snippets of the references to Hecate in the Oracles to see how they relate to one another, to Hecate in general and our thoughts on Hecate today.


For this I decided to use the translation by Charles Stein.  Mr. Stein is an author and poet and has completed several translation as well as studies on Eleusinian subjects.  His original translation of the Chaldean Oracles can be found at the link below.

Understand that not everyone follows this particular belief in Hecate’s origins.  Some follow the more modern view of Hecate as the Crone aspect of the triple goddess construct.  I invite those with that perspective to follow this line of thought for a moment just to see where it leads. 



Translated by Charles Stein


Hekate says:

These are the thoughts of the Second Father
after which
                        my fire
                                       spirals.                                     [38]


What does this mean?  What can we conclude by reading these passages?  Anything at all?  How do we know that we are missing very important information?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TO HEKATE by Yakov Rabinovich from The Rotting Goddess

TO HEKATE
Pre-Christian, pre-Olympian, pre-Titanic Hecate
world-tree planted in Asia Minor
gate-guard of the worlds,
keyholder to the three reams,
gross seated mother, lions at your sides,
fostering nurse of all that’s young,
female heap of big fat attributes,
cruel, non-rational mistress
of slain corn-kings, sacrificed children,
castrated temple-males;
you glide into Greece after Troy’s fall,
Hecate-Enodia riding down from Thessaly,
leading the angry horde of ghosts,
planted yourself at the crossroads;
your torch began to smoke, then flared up,
making night noon –
world-tree Hecate, your roots reach Hell’s
downmost altitude to suck the power
of the buried dead. Eater of filth,
goddess of darkness, grimly silently
munching on corpses, Hecate,
regaled with incense of goat-fat, baboon-shit,
garlic; honored with gutted puppies
and rubbish rites;
Hecate, in your oakleaf crown shaking reptile dreadlocks,
around you hellhounds yowling sharp and shrill,
so meadows tremble, river-nymphs scream,
their waters rush backwards up the stream-bed
and dive affrighted down their own fountains;
with witches I dance around you,
naked, snake necklaced,
hair in the wind, gashing blood from arms:
sex-crazed hags with false teeth and hair,
young girls, gloriously pornographic,
stir the cauldron of ugly oddities,
throw in magic salads gathered in the graveyard–
a brew with power to draw babes screaming
into existence, or hurl them howling hence.
The witches lay hold of you, Hecate, World-tree,
shake, make tremble on your branches
the planets suspended
like rare and fragile fruit.



http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1998/98.5.11.html
http://www.invisiblebooks.com/Junk12.27.06.pdf
http://www.reference.com/browse/hecate

Friday, November 14, 2014

T is for Triple Goddess


The triple Goddess is a familiar symbol and figure in many pagan and Wiccan traditions.  Alexandrian, Gardnerian, Dianic and solitary followers of Wicca often honor this form.  To me the triple goddess can have two meanings.  For this week’s Pagan Blog Project post, I’d like to explore both.

Triple Goddess Image - Public Domain

First I’d like to look at the modern interpretation of the triple goddess as the Maiden, Mother & Crone. Many well-known pagans such as Robert Graves, Ronald Hutton and of course, Aleister Crowley have written a great deal on the maiden, mother, crone aspects of the goddess.  Crowley actually focused the Crone aspect onto Hecate, calling her “the woman past all hope of motherhood, her soul black with envy and hatred of happier mortals.” And “a thing altogether of hell, barren, hideous and malicious, the queen of death and evil witchcraft” in his novel “Moonchild”.

The basics of the triple goddess from this perspective is that the Goddess forms and the moon forms mirror each other.  In that the waxing moon represents a new beginning and youth which would be evident in the Maiden.  The full moon would be power and ripeness, such as the round full belly of the Mother.  Finally the waning moon would be the dead, darkness and death which would be the final aspect, or the Crone aspect of the Goddess.

We can see this influence throughout much of modern Wicca and paganism through the art of Mickie Mueller for example. The following image reflects the Maiden, Mother & Crone aspect of the Goddess.
Photo Credit - Mickie Mueller
 A few months ago I saw this picture show up on my news feed.  I was very familiar with Mickie’s work but I was not aware that she was hand painting items and dealing directly with her fans that so loved her work.  I watched the progress on this piece and was astounded as she shared new pictures each day.  I even watched as the new owner proudly shared the final product on Mickie’s page.  With the mass marketing and pagan supermarkets that have littered the internet I was extremely pleased to see how truly appreciated and how gracious Mickie was to her client.

I have the pleasure of owning this pendant which is based on the same Maiden, Mother & Crone aspect.

To see more great work by Mickie Mueller please visit her shop at -  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MickieMuellerStudio


Triple form goddess
Another aspect of the triple goddess that I have encountered in my studies is the triple form goddess.  These are goddesses that are represented as having three forms, three heads or from the tree ways.



Hecate, illustration by Stéphane Mallarmé, in les Dieux Antiques : nouvelle mythologie illustrée (Paris, 1880). A Neoclassical rendition of a late Hellenistic or Roman original – Public domain


Hecate is depicted throughout history as having three bodies.  She appears as three females of the same age, unlike the Maiden, Mother, Crone representation.  She appears to be a young woman and carries torches, rope and daggers.  She is often accompanied by dogs. 

Hecate by Richard Cosway




This triple form of Hecate is said to be a representation of the areas of her dominion, the heavens, the earth and the sea.  Because she is said to be the night wandering goddess of the crossroads, the three forms are said to watch each direction. 

Antonine Imperium issued a coin in honor of Hecate (Hekate) available for purchase. 
I found this coin online a few years ago and finally decided to order one. Side one shows Hekate in her triple form with the inscription “Hekate Soteira” and the reverse has a crescent moon at the top, a key at the bottom and the minting information inscribed on the bottom.

I like to think of the triple formed goddess Hecate as watching in the three directions at the crossroads, torches held high to light the way.  I’ve tried several times to create my own Hecate Triformis.  Thus far I’ve only been able to come up with this abstract version. I’ll certainly keep trying.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson



May her mysteries be revealed in your dreams,

Sosanna

Thursday, November 6, 2014

L is for Light-bringer


One of the more well-known titles for Hecate is Hekate Phosphoros, meaning Hekate, the Light-bringer.  In much of the art Hecate is often shown carrying torches.  These torches are said to light the way to secret knowledge.  It is said that she also used those torches along with keys to the underworld to lead Persephone out of the underworld.

So what does that mean to me?  To me, the meaning of the word light-bringer relates to knowledge.  I believe that she brings knowledge to others.  Her “lights” shine the way to understanding things that one may not currently understand.  This is one of the ways I have found that Hecate came into my life in little bits and pieces. 

I am a Knowledge Management Analyst by profession.  My day is spent helping others locate documents and share information with their teams.  I actually unlock knowledge and share it with those that need it.  This struck me in a very profound way.  I’m extremely happy doing this job.  I love it.  I can completely relate to how it must feel to be able to give the gift of knowledge to others.  Teachers and trainers alike must be able to feel this too.
Two of the aspects of Hecate, the Light-Bringer and the Key Bearer both appeal to me. A third aspect completely blew me away.  Hecate is also known to be a protector of women and called upon when justice is needed.  Early in my life I studied law in hopes that I could work to get justice for abused women. 

Some of the correspondences for the Goddess were showing themselves in my life as I continued to look back.  I played an online game where I took the title of “Belladonna”.  Belladonna is an herb attributed to her.  I’ve always been attracted to dogs, bats and owls.  Each are known to be associated with Hecate. 

Going back to my adolescent years, I loved to sit in front of a roaring fire and gaze into the flames.  I used to think I could see things in the fire.  I loved the way it danced and swayed.  Fireplaces, candles and even grills intrigued me.  One of my best memories is sitting outside and watching as a fire pile (how we get rid of our garden waste here in the south) burned.  I attribute this to Hecate.
I believe that knowledge is power, and to be able to not only possess that power, but to share it with others is a truly magical thing.  Within each of us, is that Light-bringer.  We have the ability to share our knowledge, be it related to mundane or to the magical.  I believe it’s our duty to be Light-bringers for all.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna

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