A few nights ago I was standing beneath the moon upon a grassy hillock in the New Forest (England). Here with a number of other witches and the like I was celebrating the full moon and to celebrate we used old magic. Old magic is believed to have descended from the goddess Arianna, daughter of Diana. Both goddesses are said to have come to earth to teach the art of magic in particular that of the moon.
The moon has energies, as all things do but this particular night she was extremely strong. Now that mankind celebrates the rise and fall of the sun but also the moon. This ceremony was very serious and meaningful. We had joined together not only to celebrate the full moon but also the goddess Hecate. Now Hecate is considered by many as a dark goddess. She isn’t but she is the triple form of the great mother for she rules the crossroads, burial grounds and the moon.
We were given conkers on a string as well as black tea light candles to connect us to a spell that involved tying a ribbon on a piece of rope which was hung around a yew tree. As each person tied this ribbon they placed their intent of assistance in giving up something, leaving something behind. I can’t tell you what my intent, or anyone elses, as I was taught to keep your spell to yourself until it had manifested and that was in the form of your book of shadows.
Afterwards the circle was closed and we feasted except myself and the three other persons who had arrived together, I don’t drive, had to depart rather rapidly due to a phone call. The power of this full moon had an effect over us for it had brought out our mischievous sides and that was due to the moon’s energies.
When I got home I couldn’t sleep immediately due to the energies that were boiling and bubbling within. I needed to release it so I began to draw and used my pencil to move in whatever fashion it so wished.
Hecate (the distant one) Hekate
Hecate is the ultimate crone of her triple being. As a Titian she had connections to Artemis, cousin, as well as being known as a divine huntress. Hecate was known as Luna in the heavens, the moon, Diana on earth, the hunter, and Hecate of the underworld. She is also identified with the Egyptian god Anubis. As an Etruscan deity she guards the frontier between the realms of the living and the dead, negotiating the divergent needs of both parties. Hecate was sometimes identified with Persephone as the Greek goddess of witchcraft, enchantments and the earths’ fertility but also both share the entwined snakes in their hair. Hecate was the daughter of Perses and Astroea which places her in prominence for us practitioners of Wicca. Prior to the Olympians development Hecate was a far more ancient fertility goddess. From Zeus she received a portion of divine ownership in the realms of heaven, earth and ocean and to preside over good fortune in all aspects of life and over the bringing of youths to puberty. As an earth goddess she later became associated with the lower world and thus the night hence an underworld deity.
Hecate is famous even today as a dark moon goddess and the queen of witches (wise women), a deity of birth, travel and victory. There are but few aspects of this multifaceted deity who wasn’t only a witch goddess but also a matron of midwives and herbalists so on this note her sacred plant was wolfs bane. Hecate was believed, by some, to have two quite different qualities, during the day she was supposed to have a benign influence on farming (Diana) but during the night she was interested in witchcraft, ghosts and tombs (Hecate herself). In many ways this makes her similar to the corn goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. Hecate uncomfortably combines fertility with death as a power of earth. She was seen as a figure of horror in wild places always accompanied by her howling dogs. This might explain why Athenians propitiated her zealously by placing offerings of food at crossroads every month.
“They summoned forth the night and the deities of the night from the neither world, praying to Hecate in plaintive, howling cries. You trivia, potent goddess of the triple crossroads, come, you who known all our plans, aiding and abetting our incarnations and the arts of the Magician.”
Worship of her mysterious cult was found at Aeaina where both dogs and black lambs were sacrificed to her. According to legend Hecate had a temple in the ancient city of Colchis which was surrounded by herbal gardens. Her priestesses were famed for their herbal knowledge. Hecate was accepted, at an early date, into the Greek tradition although she was possible derived from the Arians in southwest Asia Minor. She was once the chief deity of the Carian nation (ancient Turkey) but also the nation of Istanbul where she dominate both life and death and makes the journey in-between which indicates her healing powers.
What’s in a name
From the internet we discover that Hecate derives her name form the Greek ‘hekate’ meaning ‘she who works her will; or ‘hekas’ meaning ‘far off’ which describes her unworldly nature.
Although Iris was the only deity to request that Demeter returned to her duties when her daughter had been kidnapped it was Hecate who came to her aid. When the two goddesses found Persephone in the clutches of Hades it was Hecate who decided to remain there and so became her handmaiden for the four months that Persephone was to remain in the underworld. Hecate is thought to witness other crimes and so she can be appealed to for justice for she abhors rape and all violent crimes towards both women and children so she appears to protect them both when asked to.
Sometimes Hecate appears as a triple bodied tall woman with a sword and torch but in her similarity to Anubis she was also seen as having a single face and a single body. In this single form she wears a long robe holding burning torches. Although a Greek traveler recorded that ‘a triple-faced formed statue of Hecate was found’ (its location is unknown). It was in later representations that she became triple formed, with three bodies standing back to back, possible so that she could look in all directions at once from the crossroads (I doubt this as crossroads have four directions unless what we now call a T junction is called a crossroad by the ancient Greeks), because of this she was sometimes referred to as the Triple goddess. Sometimes Hecate is depicted as having three different animal heads which nearly always included a pigs head. Hecate on occasions manifests in the guise of a black sow especially when she’s in an aggressive mood.
That which is sacred
Animals – black lambs,dogs, toads, snakes and dragons. The latter draw her chariot.
Botanicals – mandrake, deadly nightshade, aconite, azalea, cyclamen and osiers.
Colour – black Fruit – pomegranate
Herb – mint Number – three
Places – tombs, crossroads and graveyards. Planet – moon and the Dog Star.
Time for worship –dark moon, October 11th and last day of the month.
Dogs are also very special to this goddess. After carrying out a spell, request Hecate to accept your petition by observing a single strange dog or unexpected one for this indicates that she has accepted. She is the transformer able to open the initiation door as queen of magick. she is the matron of all Witches and can teach us the best paths to follow.
I hope that if Hecate enters your life this might help you understand her a little bit but if you do work with her be warned to listen and obey for she can be the hard mother, she does things to help you even if you think otherwise.
Blessed Be to you wherever you might be.