Her name has several possible meanings. "She
who works Her will" is the most commonly accepted, but also
"the far-off one," "far-darting one" as well
as "most shining one."
Hecate was a beautiful and powerful goddess in her
own right, and therefore was the only one of the ancient Titans
that Zeus allowed to retain authority once the Olympians seized
control. Zeus shared with her the power of granting humanity anything
she wished. She was accepted into the new regime as a guardian of
the household, protector of everything newly born and the goddess
of witchcraft. She was not of the same kind and never lived amongst
them, preferring the underworld.
Hecate has long been associated with crossroads
where three roads meet and a decision must be made. According
to ancient Greek religion, the soul was judged at a place where
three roads met: one road led to the Elysian Fields, one to the
Fields of Asphodel, and the third to Tartarus. Crossroads are
also seen as ominus and dangerous places and in many traditions
this is where suicides and criminals were buried.
In her "Dark" aspect she is awesome and
terrifying. She rulers over death and the dark intuitive wisdom
that is beyond the conscious mind. This wisdom comes to us through
dreams and whispers, mediumship and divination. It is the inspired
vision of seers and artists and for some it can be too much and
bring the madness of lunacy. As the dark mother she can send demons
to torment men's dreams, but to those who welcome her she brings
Hecate has long been a Goddess of magic spells and
witchcraft. She has long been invoked to make spells more powerful.
With divination she can cut through the darkness, bring visions,
call back the past and reveal the future.
She is also known as a protector and guardian, Goddess
of childbirth, and as a guide. Pillars representing Hecate stood
at crossroads and doorways to keep away evil spirits. A common
attribute of birth Goddesses is the torch, and she is often depicted
carrying torches. It is thought that the knife she carries cyts
the umbilical cord that begins our lives as well as severing the
link between the body and spirit at death. This knife may have
been the origen of the athame. Hecate is known to frequent graveyards
to find wandering spirits and help them on their way. In the Homeric
Hymn to Demeter, Hecate is portrayed as a nurturing and protective
guide for Persephone on her annual journeys.
As with other Gods and Goddesses, certain creatures
and plants are sacred to Hecate. All wild animals are sacred to
her and she is sometimes depicted with three heads: a god, horse
and bear or dog, snake and lion. Creatures of darkness and of
the earth are most sacred; ravens, owls, crows, snakes, frogs,
and dragons. The yew, cypress, hazel, black poplar and the willow
are all sacred to Her. Other herbs and plants were associated
with Her including garlic, almonds, lavendar, myrrh, mugwort,
cardamon, mint, dandelion, hellebore, lesser celadine, belladonna,
hemlock, mandrake, and the opium poppy.
Several times are sacred to Hecate. Samhain is especially
significant to her, but there are also several festival days in
her honor. The 13th of August is the time to ask for her blessing
on the coming harvest. Sunset on november 16th marks the beginning
of the Night of Hecate. If you choose to honor her only once in
a year this would be the time.In ancient Greece animal sacrifices
would have been made, but now leaving a Hecate's Supper at the
crossroads is more appropriate. Those who follow Her are often
initiated into Her mysteries on this night. November 30th is the
Day of Hecate at the Crossroads. In some traditions January 31st
is the night Hecate hands Her torch to Brigid.
Several symbols are associated with Her including
torchers, a knife, a rope or scourge, a key, a phial, flowers
or a pomegranite. Her worshippers used red henna to stain their
hands and feet.
We can look to Hecate to assist us to make the transitions
and new beginnings, especially ones that were not planned. I have
felt Her presence at my side through the past few years and all
the changes that have occurred during that time.
By Morgan Danae Stardancer
In this ritual you will be calling on Hecate in Her Crone aspect.
It is performed during the Dark of the Moon.
Begin by setting up your altar as you normally do
for a ritual, making sure you have a black candle and wine or
water in your chalice in addition to anything else you use. You
will also need a cleansing, purifying incense and a censor or
some kind of container which can be carried around your room.
It is best to set your altar on the floor for this
rite, but you may do it however you feel most comfortable.
Cast your circle as you normally do. When you are
through, kneel before your altar and light the black candle. With
your arms held palms upward at your side, call Hecate by saying
Hecate, beautiful Crone of Night
I call you here to put things right.
Transform the negative thought and pain
And help my life be whole again.
Close your eyes. When you feel the presence of Hecate
and know she is there to help you, open your eyes. Bow your head
to her to show your reverence, then take the chalice, saying:
Lady of the Dark Moon,
Share with me this wine.
Bring your protection to
Flood this life of mine.
May the waters of your eternal womb,
Bring change most divine.
Sip a small amount of the wine (or water), envisioning
it as liquid energy flowing to effect a positive change within
and outside of you. Leave the rest as an offering to Hecate.
Light the purifying incense in the censer, cut a
door in the Circle, and with your four pieces of black tourmaline
(the stick kind) walk around your room placing the tourmaline
at each of the four quarters. (Use window sills and ledges behind
the furniture to hold the tourmaline). As you do this say
As this incense purifies this area of
all cuurent negativity,
let these stones serve as a boundary to hold future negativity
Come back to your altar and begin to visualize a
bright golden light filling your room.
Hecate, Lady of the Golden torch
Bring your clear light into my sight.
Help me to know that the dark corners of my mind are now
by the illumination of your torch's golden glow.
Thank Hecate. Meditate if you wish, visualizing
your life free from negative happenings and feelings and full
of love, prosperity, and happiness. Feel how She has changed your
home and your life. Close the Circle and know that it is done.