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Magickal Musings From Infinite Flame

November 16, 2009
Define "wicked".....

 

Night of Hecate

Today, November 16, is Night of Hecate (Ancient Greece) and also a dark moon. So tonight’s 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. It’s 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 doesn’t 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 to know.

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 don’t. 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 didn’t 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. Here’s 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. I’m 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 Guiley states:

" 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 Shakespeare’s 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 Flame’s 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 I’ve 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 don’t 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 patchouli.

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 Hecate’s 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.

Until next time....
~~~~Rhiannon Rose

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Moon Phases
& Sign

Dark in Scorpio:
November 16 at 2:14pm
also void of course at 2:14pm

1st Quarter in Pisces:
November 24 - 4:39pm

Full in Gemini:
December 2 - 2:30am

Last Quarter in Virgo:
December 8 - 7:13pm

Next Dark Moon:
December 16
also a void of course dark moon



Credit and
Butt-Kissing

Llewellyn's Witches Datebook for all moon phases

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham

Protection and Reversal Magick by Jason Miller

Moon Magic by D.J. Conway

The Witch Book by Raymond Buckland

I thank the Goddess Hecate for all that She has blessed me with, for the knowledge She shares with me, for the inspiration, for watching over me and protecting me, I am honored to be a Priestess of Hecate.

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