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.