Friday, March 27, 2015

My Walk with Hecate

My journey with Hecate has been filled with intrigue and discovery.  I've learned so much over the years that I couldn't begin to list. 

I completed the Rite of the Red Cord just as my mother was moved in with me to assist her in moving on through to the other side.  I thought this was a message from Hecate to take up the torch so to speak and guide her there.  As it turned out I was able to nurse her back to health and send her on a different path.

My decision to become a Torchbearer came like many other decisions related to the Goddess.  I was discussing it with my partner and as he opened our door a black snake slithered into the threshold and then back out again.  I knew this was the Goddess giving me her blessing.  I've worked on several projects for CoH, several ongoing at this time.  As part of my dedication, I have written several magazines and am currently in the process of creating a set of my own Oracle cards based on the Goddess.  I've also created a local rescue to help care for the homeless animals in my county.

In August of 2013, I became an officially ordained Minister and currently offer spiritual counseling to others at no charge.  Several clients have regularly scheduled sessions with me and some are also followers of Hecate.

My house sits firmly at a crossroads, next to a river where I've been fortunate enough to have the open space to create a small ritual space dedicated to Hecate outside.  We are looking to expand so that I can create a Pagan Community Service Center to assist those like-minded in my area. 
As part of my service to the Goddess I have daily works and of course on the moon phases to spend time putting myself in a position to understand more about her.  This process has been extremely rewarding and helped me find a point in myself that I can accept me for me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ostara Blessings

This entry was published as part of the Ostara Issue of Imramma Magazine.  Get the full issue here.

As a devotee of the goddess Hecate, spring is an important time of the year.  In one of the most popular myths related to the goddess, Hecate participates in the search for the captured Persephone in the underworld by the god Haides.  After an eventful search, rescue and deal with Haides, Persephone stays as his wife and queen in the underworld, returning in the spring.  Her mother, Demeter is said to be so distraught that when her beloved daughter descends into the underworld all the life dies on the earth only to return the following spring, when Persephone returns.  Hecate accompanies her on this journey each season, using her torches to light the way and her keys to unlock the passage to and from the underworld.

Spring is when we look to welcome a burst of new life over the planet.  We plant our seeds that we blessed at Imbolc and sow them deeply in the warming soil.  This is the time when we see new life often in the form of bunnies and ducklings from pets in the pet store to the marshmallow kind that grace Easter baskets across the United States.  For me, this is the time when my flowers are blooming and I’m able to finally get my hands in the soil.   As a potter, I work with the earth in the form of clay in my studio all year; however there is something different when I’m able to get my hands into the soil for the first time of the growing season.  Remembering my Imbolc ritual blessing of the seeds I go out into the garden and begin with a deep breath and complete the following:

Using my hands I dig into the soil feeling the energy flow through my hands.  I visualize the flow of energy from my body to the seed as it drops into the soil. I cover it when the soil imagine the walk of Hecate from the darkest parts of the underworld bring forth Persephone and breathing life back into the world.  She comes forth from beneath the earth and breaks through the ground escorted by Hecate Chthonia, Hecate Phosphoros, and Hecate Propolos!!

Ostara Blessings!

Sosanna is blogger, shop owner and spiritual counselor located in rural North Carolina.

Friday, March 13, 2015

An Introduction to Threshold Altar

An Introduction to Threshold Altar

Historically Hecate is a goddess of luminal spaces.  Doorways, entryways and gates were/are often graced with her presence.  It was thought that Hecate would protect those that passed through the gates and within the gates from harm.  These are some suggestions for creating your own entryway altar.

v  Image
v  Incense Burner
v  Incense
v  Candle
v  Offerings
v  Tokens

An image for Hecate – This can be a literal representation of her in the form of her in human or animal form.  Many purchase items from online retailers or have a statue commissioned from an artist or sculptor.  A cost effective alternative would be to check local thrift/second hand stores for images of females that can be used to represent her.  For example, recently I found a statue of the “Blessed Mother” with a blue head wrap that stands about 12 inches tall in a second hand store.  I repainted the porcelain white skin and powder blue head scarf to a deep olive toned skin and a saffron colored head piece and now she is Hecate.

Incense Burner
The next thing you’ll need is a dish for burning incense.  I use a small dish that I threw on my pottery wheel.  Any non-flammable dish will do.  It can be something as elaborate as a metal dish with carvings or as simple as a piece of pottery.  The important thing is what it means to you.  Find something that you relate to and dedicate it to her.

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.  However, do not feel that you need this one item to make your altar real.  Your altar is real simply because you created it with honor to her.

Small candle that can be lit safely each day and burn throughout the day safely.  I use tall seven day candles or large glass candles that are relatively inexpensive and safe to burn.  Some prefer red candles specifically for working with Hecate.  I use red for my main candle and for The Rite of her Sacred Fires.  For my threshold, I use what I have on hand.

Some threshold altars can have a spot for offerings.  Typical offerings to Hecate may include honey, leeks, fish or garlic.  I recommend doing what makes practical sense in your situation.  I have cats who are known to jump on my altar so leaving items like fish for example, would be a recipe for destruction.  Instead of leaving perishables or spill-ables at my door way altar, I leave tokens.

Tokens are small items similar to objects found in a mermaid’s purse or shaman’s medicine bag.  These are items that find their way to me throughout my day.  It may be a small sea shell that I found at a beach or park or it may be a small pebble that met me on a walk around my Sanctuary.  It may be a gift from a friend.  I have a key on a string of beads that was a gift when I became a Torchbearer for Covenant of Hekate that encircles my incense bowl.  I replace these items ever so often when I feel the urge to do so. 

Using the Threshold Altar
Each person will use their altar in different ways.  I have seen some being condemned for dropping their keys when they come in the door on their threshold altar.  To me, what a better place for my keys to be safely stored than in the presence of Hecate.  This is my daily ritual to her.

Stand in front of the Threshold Altar and clear my mind. I find a spot in my mind that is quiet and take a deep breath in. 

I light the candle and focus my mind on what the light of her torches may reveal to me today.

I light the sage off the candle’s flame and wave the smoke around her tokens and her imagery on the altar.  I focus on the smoke permeating the items on the altar, my space and my body with healing and prosperity.

I close my eyes and see myself making my way through my day with her energy around me.

A Threshold Altar is a space that we set up to remind us of the importance of Hecate’s presence in the choices we make in our daily life.  It is intended to be a place of respect and a place to focus our energy.  While each item is important and should be chosen with care, it does not need to be something that is made of gold or costs an exorbitant amount of money.  It should be something that means something to you.