Night of Hecate
Today, November 16, is Night of Hecate (Ancient
Greece) and also a dark moon. So tonights newsletter all about
Hecate of the Dark Moon, Silver Footed Queen of the Night. Hecate
is my Goddess, the one whom I work with most often and who watches over
me. But I did not choose her, she chose me.
When I began casting circles and doing spells, I first read to call
upon "the Goddess". No particular one unless you were asking
a specific goddess for aid in your workings. So I went with that,
unless I was asking a specific goddess for aid, I just said "the
Goddess". Through the next few years, I did sense a difference
in the energy when different goddesses were called, their personal
energy field I guess I would say. Since I was familiar with Egyptian
and Greek/Roman gods/goddesses, I most often worked with them. I learned
about gods and goddesses from Wales, India, Ireland, Norse, Hawaii,
and China and would ask their help on occasion.
Then I got a sense that when I called "the Goddess", the
same one was there every time. I wondered which one it was but She did
not reveal Herself at this time. After that I read a book in which the
author said she had a goddess that she followed. I liked the idea of
always working with the same goddess and since it seemed one was already
there, I went about discovering who She was.
There was a reason She did not reveal Herself, I was not ready to
accept Her. Its like those movies where person A has heard of
person B and does not like them by reputation only. So when person
B actually meets person A (who somehow knows person A doesnt
like them because of what they heard), they use a different name until
person A sees person B is not at all like the rumors. I would not
have accepted the Goddess of Death and the Underworld when She first
came. I had to work with Her first, to see the real Hecate and not
the myth. To see that She is not only death and the underworld, She
is also protection and wisdom. She is Maiden, Mother, and Crone all
in one, and She is equally at home above as She is below. She commands
respect, but you do not have to fear Her. That is the Hecate I came
You would think I would remember every detail of the circle workings
that night when She finally told me who She was and I accepted Her but......I
dont. I remember it was powerful, I remember being in awe, I remember
feeling empowered like never before and yet humbled and honored. I mean,
Hecate, the Goddess of Witches, had chosen me? No way. By this time
I had an idea it was Her, but didnt really believe She was the
one. But it was true, Hecate is my goddess and I am her priestess. It
was right after that I found out that August 13, my birthday, is sacred
to Hecate and Ancient Greece held her festival on this day. I knew then
that this path was set from the day I was born.
So now I invite you to learn more about Hecate, who has been demonized
by the Christians and made into a old hag of the dead. She is not always
what She seems.....
Goddess of Witchcraft
Different sources state different facts. As with all tales of the
gods, the memories fade and the myths grow. Heres what I found
in my research.
All sources seem to agree she is a pre-Olympian Greek goddess.
She seems to have originated in Caria in southeast Anatolia where
Greek personal names based on her name, such as Hecataeus, are common.
Some sources say she is the daughter of Zeus and Hera
but it is more commonly believed she is a Titan who sided with the gods,
her parents being the Titan Perses and the nymph Asteria.
Hecate has many meanings, the most accepted being far darting
or far removed. Her first appearance in Greek literature
is in the Theogony of Hesiod and the Hymn to Demeter
where she is an illuminator and guardian. The Theogony describes
her as a Titan that sided with the Gods and is thus afforded numerous
powers and domains. In Hymn to Demeter, she is with Helios,
the god of the sun, when she witnesses Persephone being taken
into Hades. She then illuminates the path for Demeter into Hades
with her twin torches and helps her search for Persephone.
At this time she is described as a young beautiful goddess. She was
believed to take the place of the young women that would be sacrificed
to protect a city from harm. By possessing them at the last moment,
she saved the young women the agony of death.
Around the fifth century BC she begins to develop the underworld and
witchcraft association and becomes a goddess of the crossroads.
She still appears in her youthful human form mainly but in some literature
incorporates animal heads such as lions, serpents, and dogs. She is
invoked in this aspect often in the Greek Magical Papyri and
the famous lead Defixiones Curse Tablets. By the second
century A.D. she appears in the Chaldean Oracles as a
transcendent and mystical goddess.
At some point, Hecate becomes demonized by the Christians. I could
not find exactly when this occurred, just that it did. Im glad
to say that she is finally recognized as a goddess again in most cultures
altho she is now depicted as an old hag or crone. I can tell you she
is not an old woman unless she chooses to take that form. She has always
appeared to me as a beautiful ageless woman with dark hair and eyes
full of wisdom that can see right through you.
She has many names: Hecate, Hekate, Most Lovely One, The Distant
One, Queen of the World of Spirits, Goddess of Witchcraft, Silver Footed
Queen of the Night, Lady of the Wild Hunt, Hecate Trevia, Hecate of
the Three Ways. The Romans dubbed her Diana Triformis
- Diana, Hecate, and Prosperpina (Artemis, Hecate, and Persephone
in Greek terms). Another source says Selene, Diana/Artemis, Hecate.
Hecate is associated with healing, prophecies, visions, magick,
the dark moon, dark magick, charms and spells, vengeance, averting evil,
protection, riches, victory, wisdom, transformation, purification, choices,
renewal, regeneration, revealing karmic events, enchantments, incantations,
dogs, endings, choices, hauntings, torches, snakes, keys, cauldron.
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen
" Hecate possesses infernal power, roaming the earth at
night with a pack of red eyed hell hounds and a retinue of dead
souls. Visible only to dogs. She is the cause of nightmares and
insanity and is so terrifying that many ancients referred to her
only as The Nameless One. In her dark aspect, she wears a necklace
made of testicles, her hair is made of writhing snakes."
Hecate also appears in Shakespeares Macbeth. It
is descriptions such as these that give Hecate her fearful and scary
reputation and why I would not have accepted her. She might appear
so to those that deserve such treatment, but it is only an aspect
of her darker side which she must use occasionally.
There is more about her than I can fit in a newsletter so I will create
a page on Infinite Flames site in the near future with more info
and some images.
Working with Hecate
Now that you know she is not some frightening demon, you might want
to honor her with an altar or call upon her in your circle. The following
are some of her favorite things.
For colors I find she likes black and deep dark purple
best. She also likes dark blue, navy, grey, silver, other shades
of purple and blood red. On my Hecate altar I have black
and dark purple candles. The altar cloth I use is black with a triple
moon symbol in silver.
Her symbols include the cauldron and keys. A cast iron
cauldron is best but any will do, she loves them all. Cauldrons symbolize
transformation and no witch is without at least one. Keys are for wisdom,
I have several on my ceremonial belt to symbolize my connection to her.
Her favorite animals are dogs and snakes, adding a small
statue or picture of either one will please her.
I could not find any reference for a stone or crystal connected to
Hecate. I use dark purple amethyst and she seems pleased with
that choice. Black fluorite or fluorite of the deeper
shades would be a good choice too (I hesitated to add that but a
voice in my head is saying yes). Smoky quartz is another
good choice. I feel crystals are more pleasing to her than stones, except
for jet, she tells me she likes jet.
As for herbs and oils, according to Cunningham and other sources, cypress
and peppermint seem to be the two best choices. Of the two, cypress
Ive seem most often associated with her. Cypress is great for
helping one through transitions of all kinds, from moving to dealing
with loss. It is an ancient symbol of comfort and solace and throughout
the Mediterranean region is has been planted in cemeteries for centuries.
Cunningham has a Hecate Oil:
3 drops myrrh
2 drops cypress
1 drop patchouli
1 dried mint leaf
Mix the essential oils in a base of sesame oil (almond or jojoba if
you dont have sesame). Add the dried mint leaf to the blend. You
can wear the oil or anoint a candle with it when working with Hecate
or when doing defensive magic. I made this blend and saw no reason to
change it, other than adding another drop of patchouli because I love
He also has a Hecate Incense:
3 parts sandalwood
2 parts cypress
1 part spearmint or peppermint
Burn at crossroads or during dark moon rituals. I use stick incense
most often at home and since I do not have cypress, I usually burn a
stick of peppermint incense on my Hecate altar. If I have a charcoal
block to burn during a ritual, then I use a pinch of dried peppermint,
sometimes adding powdered sandalwood.
Of course, I have our Hecates
Cauldron candle on my altar too. When we created the candles to
sell, I used a larger container to make one for my use as I knew I would
burn it often. One customer who purchased this candle told me later
that it was "very powerful". She was new to Hecate and used
our candle when she did her rituals and said she was very satisfied
with it (I do not have permission to use her name).
If you have not already called upon Hecate in your practice, I hope
you will in the future. She is a very powerful goddess and visiting
her in a meditation is always a transforming experience.