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Hecate, Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft -- once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as a "hag" or old witch stirring the cauldron.
But nothing could be further from the image of Hecate's original glory.
A beautiful and powerful goddess in her own right, the Greek goddess Hecate was the only one of the ancient Titans who Zeus allowed to retain their authority once the Olympians seized control. Zeus shared with Hecate, and only her, the awesome power of giving humanity anything she wished (or withholding it if she pleased).
Usually classified as a "moon goddess", her kingdoms were actually three-fold . . . the earth, sea, and sky. Having the power to create or withhold storms undoubtedly played a role in making her the goddess who was the protector of shepherds and sailors.
A lover of solitude, the Greek goddess Hecate was, like her cousin Artemis, a "virgin" goddess, unwilling to sacrifice her independent nature for the sake of marriage. Walking the roads at night or visiting cemeteries during the dark phase of the moon, the goddess Hecate was described as shining or luminous.
In other legends she is invisible, perhaps only glimpsed as a light, a "will-o-the-wisp". Perhaps it was this luminous quality that marked Hecate as a "moon goddess", for she seemed quite at home on the earth.
Some scholars believe it is also was because her mother was Asteria (the Titan goddess of the Shining Light or "Star") or perhaps it was because she sensibly always carried a torch on her journeys.
Like Artemis, Hecate was usually depicted with her sacred dogs, although Hecate and even her animals, were sometimes said to have three heads and that they could see in all directions. Although usually depicted as a beautiful woman having three human heads, some images are fearsome indeed (one with a snake's head, one with a horse's, and the third a boar's head).
This farsightedness, the ability to see in several directions at once (even the past, present, and future) featured largely in her most famous myth, the abduction of Persephone. For it was the goddess Hecate who "saw" and told the frantic Demeter what had become of her daughter.
The goddess Hecate continued to play an important role in the life of Persephone, becoming her confidante when she was in the Underworld. Hades, thankful for their friendship, was more than hospitable, honoring Hecate as a prominent and permanent guest in the spirit world. Surely this had the effect of enhancing her reputation as a spirit of black magic with the power to conjure up dreams, prophecies, and phantoms.
Greek Goddesses: Hecate
Hecate's ability to see into the Underworld, the "otherworld" of the sleeping and the dead, made her comfortable and tolerant in the company of those most would shun out of fear or misunderstanding.
In her role as 'Queen of the Night', sometimes traveling with a following of "ghosts" and other social outcasts, she was both honored and feared as the protectress of the oppressed and of those who lived "on the edge". In Rome many of the priests in her sacred groves were former slaves who had been released to work in her service.
The goddess Hecate was often accompanied on her travels by an owl, a symbol of wisdom. Not really known as a goddess of wisdom, per se, Hecate is nevertheless recognized for a special type of knowledge and is considered to be the goddess of trivia.
Hecate's farsightedness and attention to detail, combined with her extraordinary interest in that which most of us discount as irrelevant or arcane, gave her tremendous powers.
She knew what the rest of us did not.
Greek Goddess Hecate
Not surprisingly, the people thought it best to give the goddess Hecate (and any friends that might be accompanying her) a lot of honor and a fairly wide berth. When darkness descended they wisely retired to the fireside for supper, but put the leftovers outside as an offering to Hecate and her hounds.
That the homeless and destitute were often the actual beneficiaries hardly mattered...after all, they were under Hecate's protection.
In a similar fashion, food was often left at the crossroads to honor Hecate, especially at junctions where three roads converged --what we often call a "Y-intersection".
Frequently a pole was erected at the intersection and three masks would be hung from it to pay homage to Hecate and to request her guidance in helping to choose the right direction.
Three-faced masks also adorned the entrances of many homes, honoring the goddess Hecate who could, of course, wield her influence over "the spirits that traveled the earth" to keep them from entering the household.
Greek Goddess Hecate
It is hardly surprising that a woman who needed to make a trip alone at night would say a brief prayer to Hecate to seek her protection. The goddess Hecate, like her cousin Artemis, was known as a protector of women, especially during childbirth.
Not only was Hecate called upon to ease the pains and progress of a woman's labor, but especially to protect and restore the health and growth of a child.
Similarly, Hecate played a role that, in contemporary times, we would describe as "hospice nurse", helping the elderly make a smooth and painless passage into the next life and staying with them, if need be, in the otherworld to help prepare them for their eventual return to the earth in their next life.
Familiar with the process of death and dying as well as that of new birth and new life, the goddess Hecate was wise in all of earth's mysteries.
Greek Goddess Hecate
The Greek goddess Hecate reminds us of the importance of change, helping us to release the past, especially those things that are hindering our growth, and to accept change and transitions. She sometimes asks us to let go of what is familiar, safe, and secure and to travel to the scary places of the soul.
New beginnings, whether spiritual or mundane, aren't always easy. But Hecate is there to support and show you the way.
She loans her farsightedness for you to see what lies deeply forgotten or even hidden, and helps you make a choice and find your path. Oft times she shines her torch to guide you while you are in dreams or meditation.
Hecate teaches us to be just and to be tolerant of those who are different or less fortunate, yet she is hardly a "bleeding heart", for Hecate dispenses justice "blindly" and equally.
Whether the Greek goddess Hecate visits us in waking hours or only while we sleep, she can lead us to see things differently (ourselves included) and help us find greater understanding of our selves and others.
Although her name may mean "The Distant One", Hecate is always close at hand in times of need, helping us to release the old, familiar ways and find our way through new beginnings.
Geatanina Madio 10:50in the evenin' Jan 24
The Goddess Hekate (Hecate) “E-CA-TA” or “e-CO-ta”
Hekate the daughter of Perses and Asteria, she is a triple Goddess, ruling the Heavens, Earth and the Underworld, she is considered a Mistress of the Night, Goddess of Crossroads, Protector of everything newly born, Goddess of Witchcraft and a guardian of the household as well as a Moon Goddess. She sets woman free from the bonds created by man. She is virgin Goddess like her cousin Artemis, and taught the Witch Medea the secrets of magick and how to bring down the moon, which upset Selene the Full Moon Goddess, who always wanted to be in the sky.
Many woman pray to Hekate when they travel alone, for she is protector of woman, especially during childbirth.
Times to call to Hekate are:
In her Maiden aspect you call upon her for when you need to look for something or for new beginning,
In her Mother aspect you call upon her for when need nurturing and protection.
In her Crone aspect you call upon her when you need protection, wisdom and magick.
Just be careful, Hekate is not a Goddess who will give you anything, she is very stern, if you brought the situation upon yourself. She is very swift and protects those who follow her, just be prepared for changes to take effect and it might not be what you expected.
Hekate was not always a Greek Goddess, she was a Thracian and a Pre-Olympian Goddess, Zeus bowed down to her antiquity by granting to Hekate alone power shared by Zeus as well as powers of the Heavens, Earth and Underworld, not that she didn’t have these powers already.
Days of Hekate are :
August 13, this is when you pray to her not to send storms to ruin crops
November 16, the Night of Hekate which begins at sunset
November 30, The Day of Crossroads
Every 29th of the month is the Moon of Hekate.
Many leave food at crossroads for Hekate, many place three face masks at the entrance of their home to welcome her.
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The Delphic Triple Goddess Legacy...or, Artemis-Hecate (Hekate)of Snakes & Bees:
(Pictured: Artemis holding a flaming torch and writhing serpents.)
***According to the ancient mythos, the goddess Hecate (He-Kate), is perceived as the 'Underworld' rendering of the goddess Artemis.***
The bee was an emblem of Potnia, the Minoan-Mycenaean "Mistress", also referred to as "The Pure Mother Bee".Her priestesses received the name of "Melissa" ("bee"). In addition, priestesses worshipping Artemis and Demeter were called "Bees". The Delphic priestess is often referred to as a bee, and Pindar notes that she remained "the Delphic bee" long after Apollo had usurped the ancient oracle and shrine. "The Delphic priestess in historical times chewed a laurel leaf," Harrison noted, "but when she was a Bee surely she must have sought her inspiration in the honeycomb."Ernst Neustadt, in his monograph on Zeus Kretigenes, "Cretan-born Zeus," devoted a chapter to the honey-goddess Melissa.
The Homeric Hymn to Apollo acknowledges that Apollo's gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee maidens, usually identified with the Thriae. The Thriae was a trinity of pre-Hellenic Aegean bee goddesses. The embossed gold plaque (illustration above right) is one of a series of identical plaques recovered at Camiros in Rhodes dating from the archaic period of Greek art in the seventh century, but the winged bee goddesses they depict must be far older.
The Kalahari Desert's San people tell of a bee that carried a mantis across a river. The exhausted bee left the mantis on a floating flower but planted a seed in the mantis's body before it died. The seed grew to become the first human.
In Egyptian mythology, bees grew from the tears of the sun god Ra when they landed on the desert sand. The bowstring on Hindu love god Kamadeva's bow is made of honeybees.
Hekate and 'Imbolc'...the Delphic Legacy:
***Note: The following text has been excerpted from an article entitled, 'The Edge of Transformation'..to view article in its entirety, see attached link.***
A silver apple falls [or 'Blue Apple'?].
There, amongst the branches, the mother sits.
Weaver of dreams against the weft of the wood,
Insight falls like gentle rain on a moon-bathed garden.
– Song to Hecate, by Alison Jones
At Imbolc, we honor the great mystery of the Triple Goddess, as She changes now from the Dark Mother and Crone who has accompanied us since Samhain, into the Maiden once more.
Thus, on this last day of January, as on all final days of each month, we honor the Great Goddess Hecate, Goddess of Witches, She who guards the crossroads. It is Hecate, Goddess of the Night, who teaches us the ancient Mysteries.
The last day of each month is sacred to Her, but especially this one, being the moment of Her transformation, as the Crone transforms into the Maiden. Hecate, the Ancient One, who has faithfully, lovingly guided us in the darkest nights of the year with Her torch now reveals beloved Brigid of the Sacred Flames.
Hecate...Isis...and, the Fleur-de-Lys:
(Pictured: Goddess Isis Crowned with a Fleur-de-Lys)
Isis declares, “I am Isis, the great Goddess, the Mistress of Magic, the Speaker of Spells,” and on monuments “I am in the constellation of the Dog.”
Out of all the Gods and Goddesses, there are few if any who can compare to the power, magic and adaptability of the Goddess we know of today as Isis. Many people seem to be mistaken as to the various roles or different names of the Goddess Isis in mythology and life as we know it. To some people she is only known under the name Isis, but to many other such as the Greeks, Isis is known as the goddess with ten thousand names or Isis Panthea (”Isis the All-Goddess”).
***For example, you will find Isis under the name of “Hecate.” Hecate is one of the many titles of “Isis the great Hecate” and “The mother-goddess Isis, the great Hecate.” She has a lion’s head. Apuleius says (Metam. lib. xi.) that Hecate is another name for Isis. She is also the sorceress and in the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the ‘she-dog’ or ‘bitch.’ Lucan says, “Nos in templa tuam Romana accepiraus Isin, semicanesque deos,” or “We have received into our Roman temples thine Isis, and divinities half-dog.”***
Hecate, the sorceress, is one of the titles of Isis that was given by the Greeks and Eomans as a name to their queen of the Underworld. Hence, Isis in not only the Queen of Heaven (AS ABOVE), but also the Queen of Hell (SO BELOW/Earth). It wasn’t until after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great and the Hellenization of the Egyptian culture initiated by Ptolemy I Soter that Isis became known as Queen of Heaven and today she is mostly known by this description.
*** The last Pharaoh Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII was of the family of Ptolemy and had always appeared in public clothed in a robe sacred to Isis, her head adorned with a crown of golden lily leaves.***
The ancient religion of Isis likewise spread throughout the Roman Empire during the formative centuries of Roman Catholicism.
Today in many churches you will find the Roman Catholic Mary represented by the lotus, or now called the lily in her hand or the fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys in French means “lily flower” (fleur means flower, and lis means lily or iris). The white fleur-de-lis, often called the 'Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary', the flower of the 'Queen of Heaven', the Roman Catholic Mary, and a symbol of purity or whiteness. You will find this symbol throughout history as an ornament on the crowns, scepters, thrones, seals, coins, etc. of not only French Kings, but also on Greek, Roman, German, English, Spanish, Egyptian, Syrian and ancient Babylonian Kings....
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Goddess Hecate (Artemis) and her Biga (Chariot)
(Pictured:The Chariot Tarot Horse Goddess Art Original Painting · EmilyBalivet.)
***Note: The following text has been excerpted from an article entitled, 'Hecate Titan Goddess of Crossroads: Queen of the Witches'...to view full article, see attached link.***
Hecate is a triple Moon Goddess; skilled in the arts of divining and fortune telling. She represents feminine energy and independence from the masculine. Hecate as Queen of the Witches is the protector of women and children, in her role as Mother Goddess. As the Crone she is all wisdom, understanding and protecting the tribe (society). As the Maiden her role is that of fertility, the cycle of life, and rebirth. Hecate is the Goddess of Crossroads, and with three faces can divine past, present and future. As Queen of the Witches, she protects and guides both solitary witches and covens, and can grant great power to them and bestow upon them great gifts. As Goddess of the night and holder of the key, she is able to freely move between the worlds and guide one into or out of the darkness of intuition and self-knowlege.
Hecate is an ancient Goddess from an early, pre-Greek period of myth. It is believed she was a Titan Goddess, and was so powerful and respected by her followers that she maintained control even after the fall of the Titans to the Olympian Gods. She had dominion over sky, earth and the underworld making her the bestower of wealth and the blessings of life. Even Zeus honored Hecate in that he allowed her the ancient power of giving or denying to mortals any desired gift.
***It is believed that Hecate's name derives from the Egyptian midwife-Goddess Heqit, Heket, or Hekat. The hag was the tribal matriarch of per-dynastic Egypt and was known as a wise woman. Heket was connected with the embryonic state when dead grain decomposed and began to germinate. She was also one of the midwives who assisted every morning at the birth of the Sun.***
***Hecate of the Amazons was a Moon and underworld deity. Her chariot was often pulled by dragons. She was the oldest Greek form of the triform Goddess, who ruled heaven, the underworld and the Earth. After the matriarch fell, the Greeks worshiped Hecate only as Queen of the Underworld and ruler of three-way crossroads. In Greek Mythology, when the Olympian Gods claimed fame, Zeus did not dare try to take any of Hecate's powers from her, as he knew her powers were just as great as his if not greater.***
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