6 Amazing facts about Goddess Hecate
As you may already know Hecate is a goddess of Greek mythology who was capable of both good and evil.
We will examine her origins and describe the crossroads ritual.
Hecate’s actual origins may be in caria, Turkey we can find The Temple of Hecate in the Sanctuary of Hecate at Lagina in Caria (modern-day Turkey which has been dated to the last quarter of the 2nd century CE.
It measured 21m x 28m and was built in the Corinthian order with 8 columns on its shorter sides and 11 columns on its longer sides. Lagina was one of the most important Carian sanctuaries.Hecate also has a strong connection with Georgia as well as throughout Italy.
The name Hecate means: The Most Lovely One; Worker from Afar; Three -Headed Hound of the Moon; Influence from Afar; The One Before the Gate; Light Bringer
She was specifically associated with witchcraft, magick, the Moon, Archways, and creatures of the night such as hell-hounds and ghosts.
She is often depicted carrying one or several torches to remind of her connection with the night and in sculpture with three faces, representing her role as the guardian of crossroads.
Quite often each face is different, one of a dog, one of a horse and one of a goddess.
According to Hesiod in his Theogony, Hecate is the daughter of Perses and Asteria, making her the granddaughter of the Titans Phoebe and Coeus.
Euripides, on the other hand, mentions her mother is Leto. Other writers claim her as the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Aristaion.
Associations & Rituals
The goddess was frequently associated with Demeter and even assimilated to her in some cults.
From the 5th century BCE, the goddess hecate is associated with the darker side of the human experience, that is death, witchcraft, magick, the Moon, dreams, hell hounds and creatures which roam the darkness of night.
…outlandish in her infernal aspects, she is more at home on the fringes than in the centre of Greek polytheism.
Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition.
Hesiod describes the goddess in the following glowing terms:
Zeus, Cronus’ son, honoured [Hecate] above all others: he gave her splendid gifts – to have a share of the earth and of the barren sea, and from the starry sky as well she has a share in honour, and is honoured most of all by the immortal gods. For even now, whenever any human on the earth seeks to regain the favor or goodwill by performing fine sacrifices according to custom, he invokes Hecate; and much honor very easily stays with that man whose prayers the goddess accepts with gladness, and she bestows happiness upon him. According to Theogony
Hesiod goes on to say that the goddess supports warriors, athletes, hunters, horsemen, herdsmen, shepherds, fishermen, and children.
Contrary to popular current belief she wasn’t originally a matron for women but for all who fit the above categories.
Quite often warriors worshipped the goddess Hecate just as readily.
Her companions are the Furies (Erinyes), the winged creatures who punished wrong-doing, and her children are the Empusae, female demons partial to seducing travellers.
The goddess Hecate had unusual rituals performed in her honour, which include the offerings of food – given at crossroads, road junctions, and any other sort of boundary or threshold – known as ‘the supper of Hecate’.
These took the form of small cakes of eggs, cheese, bread, and dog meat, which were lit with miniature torches or, alternatively, a dish of red mullet, which was usually prohibited from offerings to the other gods.
Hecate was also offered the sacrifice of dogs, especially puppies. The dog connection may be the fact that dogs were known to eat the dead if left unburied; they also howl at the moon, of course.
A further canine connection may be with the Egyptian god Anubis who guided souls to the underworld, and the Greek three-headed hound of Hades, Cerberus, may be an earlier form of Hecate.
The offerings to the goddess were made each month during the night of a new moon. The goddess was especially appealed to by sorceresses for aid in their magic and spells and appears on surviving examples of curse tablets.
IT WAS A COMMON PRACTICE TO PLACE IMAGES OF HECATE AT CITY GATES & THE DOORWAYS OF PRIVATE HOMES AS SHE COULD WARD OFF EVIL SPIRITS.
According to Pausanias, the 2nd-century CE Greek traveller, the island of Aegina had a mystery cult dedicated to the goddess where it was believed those suffering mental illness could be cured. Kos, Erythrai, Samothrace, Thessaly, and Miletos also worshipped the
goddess, with the latter having a 6th-century BCE circular altar for sacrifices to be made in her honour (the earliest archaeological evidence of her worship).
The worship of Hecate continued into the Hellenistic and Roman periods with significant archaeological finds of votive offerings to the goddess being found at Lagina in Caria and Phrygia.
Hecate is a goddess of life, death, regeneration, and magic. She rules wisdom, choices, expiation, victory, vengeance, and travel. She is the witness to every crime.
- She is invoked for justice, especially for sexual crimes against women and girls.
- Hecate is invoked when justice is not forthcoming from other channels.
- Hecate has the power to grant or deny any mortal’s wish.
- She may be invoked for protection for dogs and from dogs.
- Hecate is petitioned for fertility, especially for female children.
- She brings victory in battle.
- Hecate may be invoked for healing, especially if medical solutions have failed or are not an option.
- She may be petitioned for a swift, painless death.
- Hecate can banish ghosts (or produce a ghost infestation).
Hecate typically responds to petitions via visions and dreams. If lost at a crossroads, literal or metaphoric, invoke her name and then pay attention to signs from her. She can be a shadowy, oblique goddess:
her response may be subtle. Look for her animals: snakes, dragons, cats, and especially dogs.
Favored Types of People
Midwives, witches, healers, herbalists, dog lovers and rescuers; she is the matron of women in general and protects those who ride horses, male warriors or cavalry as well.
In many cultures and religions in many lands. The crossroads are special places, places of great power, but at the same time haunting places.
Witches do gather together or solitary on crossroads as do magicians , hoodoo and voudan practitioners to cast their enchantments and spells.
The necromancers not only conjured the spirits of the dead on nightly cemeteries but also on the crossroads, the leftovers from spells are buried on the crossroads in many magical traditions and in many religions it is believed that the spirits are lingering on the crossroads.
The crossroads were and are also places where several accidents occurred and or ambushes, holdups… they can be places of vulnerability where fates seem to be on rare occasions sealed.
And all these views if we go back in time can also be found in the Greco-Roman world.
In ancient times the crossroads didn’t have our modern symbolism as a place of choices.
In the Greco-Roman world, the crossroads were places of spirits, doorways to the other world(s), places of magic, spells and necromancy and also places of purification.
As the Romans developed and constructed superior road systems, we started to see the emergence of choices and nowadays in modern
times its difficult to find a quite crossroads to perform workings except in remote areas.
Hecate was weaved strongly into all these symbolisms of the crossroads and still does to her devotees.
In the sources about Hekate that are from the ancient world, the crossroads are not mentioned as a symbol of Hecate.
But Hekate was in this time also connected to liminality.
A Recommended Book on Hekate Liminal Rites
And there is a good book titled Hekate liminal rites By David Rankine and Sorite D’Este…you should check out.
Hecate appears in the pseudo-Homeric hymn to Demeter- there Hecate dwelled in a cave during Kore’s abduction and appeared to Demeter in the dawn while she was searching for her lost daughter.
The cave and the dawn are both thresholds- liminal times, thresholds between the earth and the underworld and night and day.
And during these times Hecate was also very much connected to other portals- such as doors, entrances, thresholds and eventually the crossroads.
Several modern devotees already adapted the tradition of giving food offerings to Hekate- these are sacred meals, that are bought on the dark moon ( This is the last visible crescent of a waning Moon. The duration of a dark moon varies between 1.5 and 3.5 days) to the crossroads.
For many it is a time to connect with Her, to thank her for her blessings, her guidance and her protection during the last lunar cycle and also to ask her to bless and protect them in the new lunar cycle.
First you can set down the offerings to Hekate on the crossroad, just be sure to choose a less travelled crossroads free of heavy traffic for your safety.
You then connect yourself to her through visualizing and forming a mental image of her presence, you then thank her and pray to her.
You ask Hecate to feed on these offerings, to accept them as an act of friendship and continued bond and also as an act of gratitude on your part.
You may request to banish harm from you and to protect you and your loved ones.
Many of the traditional offerings to Hecate- are: milk, honey, oil, cakes, cheese, bloody meat, eggs, onions, garlic. All these were also given Hekate in her Deipnon (food offering). You may like to light incense such as the smoke of wormwood, cypress and lavender in these offerings.
Wormwood and cypress are traditional herbs in spirit work and lavender brings a kind of protection to your workings without banishing all the spirits around you at the crossroads.
And the dark moon is also a powerful time to cleanse you, from negative energy, negative influences or potentially harmful spirits.
The time of the dark moon is a special time of the month to give offerings to Hecate.
One can view the doors between the worlds as being very thin during this time therefore it is a golden opportunity to show her your respect
Performing a protection rite on yourself and use of amulet is always encouraged as well.
If you are interested in effective unique protection magick...CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
Check out our essential video on Hecate