Friday, February 27, 2015

An Introduction to Crossroads Altars

An Introduction to Crossroads Altars

Historically Hecate is a goddess of luminal spaces and is said to wander the crossroads.  Often offerings are left for her there.  This document will serve as an introduction to creating an altar at a crossroads.
You will need:
v  Location
v  Image
v  Incense  & dish
v  Torch
v  Offerings

Location –Traditionally Hecate is a goddess of the three ways or three directions.  The crossroad would be a Y intersection.  A spot where there are three directions to take.  Choose a spot away from the main part of the road where it is safe to set up the space and where it will not be a nuisance to passersby.

An image for Hecate – Depending on the size of the altar set up, the image can be a simple statue or a large pole with masks (faces) mounted on it to gaze into three directions. 

Incense & Dish
Types of incense can vary based on accessibility and preference.  Many use frankincense and myrrh for Hecate.  I prefer to use white sage simply because I like the clean smell it gives my ritual space.  There are formal recipes that can be used to create incense specifically for Hecate.  If you wish to do this by all means take the time and add this to your altar.  Be mindful that this will be left outside. In fire prone areas, it makes sense to bring the incense back inside with you and not leave it outside unattended.

Candles, garden torches or other items can be used to represent a torch in this setting.  Again be mindful of the natural surroundings.  If fire is a concern refrain from leaving unattended flames outdoors.  An alternative to a live fire may be to pick up a few solar powered drive way or garden path lights and use those instead.

Typically the offerings left at the crossroads altar would consist of the elements of the Deipna or supper.  These include mullet, garlic, eggs, leeks and other items.  The sweepings of the house are often dropped at the crossroads as well.  This is said to remove the negative energy or any energy that may have displeased Hecate from the house.  The offerings should be taken out to the crossroads as part of the entire ritual and left without turning back.   Be mindful of the offerings if the crossroads chosen is not one’s own property.  Leaving food will of course attract animals. 

Using the Crossroads Altar
Generally the crossroads altar is used for leaving offerings to Hecate.  As mentioned in the offerings section, be mindful of what items are left behind.  Fire hazards, dangerous foods and any type of items that could cause a distraction to traffic should be avoided.

Each individual rite may vary.  This is a simple way to use a crossroads altar.

The day prior to Hecate’s Supper, sage the entire house and complete a ritual cleaning.  Use the sage smoke to cleanse the air and pick up a broom and sweep around the ritual space as well as the entire house.  The sweepings should be tied up in a small bag and placed next to the inside working altar.

At the working altar on the night of the supper, cleanse the area and create a sacred space.  Use the means that best fits your practice to create this space.  Ask for blessings and prosperity over the next moon and display the offerings on the altar. 

After the ritual is complete collect the bag, the offerings and walk to the crossroads altar.  Recite any spells, chats or incantations that are desired here.  Leave the offerings along with the bag at the crossroads and return to the house without looking back.

Every persona will set up an altar a different way.  Take the time to think about the purpose the altar and what needs should be addressed.  If it is to be a public altar where rituals will be held, be mindful of neighbors and traffic that could be impacted. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Is Hecate the Cosmic World Soul?

In Chaldaean Oracles and Theurgy, Hans Lewy repeatedly identifies Hekate with Plato’s Cosmic Soul (Lewy, 1956, p. 6, 47,83, 95, 121, etc.), while in The Chaldean Oracles, Ruth Majercik points out the conflation of Hecate with the World Soul (Majercik, 1989, p. 4, 7). 

However in the chapter ‘Plato’s Timaeus and the Chaldaean Oracles’ in Plato’s Timaeus as Cultural Icon, Luc Brisson objects: “We must abandon the universally admitted idea according to which Hecate is identified with the World Soul... Hecate is too high in the hierarchy to be the World Soul; instead, it is the World Soul that emanates from her" (Reydams-Schils, 2003, p. 119). - Plato's X & Hekate's Crossroads - Astronomical Links to the Mysteries of the Eleusis - George Latura

In the text above the debate is, based on the information in the Chaldean Oracles, is Hecate the Cosmic World Soul or is she the source of the Cosmic World Soul.  Several references to Hecate is the Mother, the source of consciousnesses.  If that is the case do we see Hecate as some see the the Christian god or as the Madonna?  And if she is the Madonna would that not make us gods?

It is interesting to see how much research has been put into the things like the Chaldean Oracles and other ancient texts.  I am extremely interested in seeing how far back references to her go.  Was she always a goddess of the crossroads? Where else does she appear in antiquity?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

PGM - Greek Magical Papyri - III

"PHORBA PHORBA BRIMO AZZIEBYA". Take bran of first quality and sandal-wood and vinegar of the sharpest sort and mold a cake. And write the name of so-and-so upon it, and inscribe it in such a way that you speak over it into the light the name of Hecate, and this: "Take away his sleep from such-and-such a person", and he will be sleepless and worried.
Against fear and to dissolve spells: Speak through [two] knives [sounding loudly] this formula: but [against] evil animals it does not work [compellingly], for [- - -]

Hecate is often called upon or associated with curses.  In modern times, most people associate curses with dark magic or dark spell work and in turn lean towards a night or dark goddess for that work.

First let me state that I do not believe magic has a light or dark, a left hand path or a right hand path.  Magic is energy and energy encompasses all.  We cannot know one without the other.  They are one source, one energy, one magic.

In 2012 a curse was found and published in Live Science calling upon Hecate to curse.  The curse was written in Latin and depicted a snake haired goddess on a lead tablet.    With all of her attributes it makes sense why they would choose her as a source of power for a curse.  

I have worked with Hecate in warding spells and in spells to protect my property.  The papyri above reference a spell to keep someone awake and worried.  Have you used Hecate in curses?  Would you?  Why or why not?