Articles/Essays From Pagans
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November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
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How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
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Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
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When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
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What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
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Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
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My Father, My First God
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May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
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Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
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A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
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Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
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Hekate: A Devotee's View
Article ID: 14206
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Hekate (Hecate is the Latin spelling and being Greek I prefer the Greek one) is perhaps one of the most misinterpreted and misrepresented deities in modern Paganism. From being given the Crone aspect when no historical or mythological source supports it verifiably (and because Neo-Paganism tends to cater to stereotypes heavily) to the misinterpretation of Her triplicity to unfounded overemphasizing of Her darker traits to virtually anything you can imagine.
Hekate has been misconstrued by many Neo-Pagans, mainly due to the lack of research and study of reputed sources (Hesiod's Theogony comes to mind as a very basic and vital work on the mythology of the Gods) but also due to the overwhelming sense of "being special" that many Neo-Pagans seem to have. Note that this isn't a blog on poking the - admittedly big - portion of the "bad apples" in our big community tree. This is a post attempting to educate somewhat regarding a well-known but also exploited deity. However, in order to do so, one needs to shed light upon the shadows of ignorance and misinformation that cloud Hekate's image.
Before I delve deeper into Hekate's case, let me share some information on Her.
Hekate is the daughter and only child of the Titans Perses and Asteria. She inherited power over the earth, sea and sky from Her parents. Hekate is one of the very few Titans to have survived the Titanomachy and the Olympian reign "unscathed" (which is an allegoric/mythological way to portray the survival of Her cults and worship as opposed to that of most other Titans) as well as the only Titan to be praised equally to the Olympians. In the Theogony, Hesiod notes how Zeus praised Her above all others, did not take anything from Her power and even gave Her a share in the dominion of most other Gods. She is the one He often went to for advice.
Hekate is a Goddess of liminal places and times, key and torch bearing maiden, guide, psycho pomp and "opener of ways". She is a counselor and companion of those in need and protectress from and against witchcraft. At the same time She is the governor of all magical acts and believed to have invented theurgy. That is also why Hekate, alongside Hermes and/or Iris, was to be appeased and petitioned before any ritual act for the Gods, as She was the one (or rather one of those) responsible for and permitting the mortals to reach out for the Gods. Should Hekate refuse to aid you, your calls will remain unanswered and fall to deaf ears.
Hekate is also a Goddess related to the Moon (especially with the Dark/New Moon) , childbirth (or more appropriately, child-nurturing) and crossroads. She is one of the minor household deities, a protectress of the home and household from outside perils, alongside Hermes. Note that she only has a connection to the moon. The only Moon Goddess (and that is understood as the one presiding over, embodying and ruling the Moon) in Greek mythology and theology is Selene.
She presides over the darker side of the self as well as the inner one. She governs intuition, divination and insight. Hekate is the Goddess-In-The-Shadows but also the one who can pierce the shadows. She is a "dark Goddess" in the sense that She is Queen of the Unseen but not in the sense of negativity or "evil". Gods are beyond such human concepts.
She is a maiden Goddess and not a crone contrary to popular (mis) belief. Most mythological-related texts consider Her a virgin as well although some have her double as the mother of Skylla (by Phorkys - in the works of Apollonius Rhodius) or as the mother of Circe, Medea and Aigialeus (by Aeetes - in the works of Diodorus Siculus) . Personally, I prefer the virgin Goddess theory since the rest conflict with the other mythological family trees.
Hekate is often portrayed as a crone due to Her association with Magic. In medieval times, the image of Hekate merged with the stereotypical image of an elderly, scary-looking woman over a cauldron. From that, as well as Her, somewhat "grim" duties, spawned the image of a physically old Hekate, which is, of course, mistaken.
Another "faulty" interpretation of Hekate is Her triplicity. Due to the popularity of the Wiccan/Neo-Wiccan tenet of a Triple Goddess, other "Triple" Goddesses were misappropriated and deemed as being "triple" in the same manner. That is also incorrect. Hekate is triple in a literal sense. Being associated with crossroads and liminal places, Hekate is literally a "three-headed/formed figure", seeing in all directions. The Triple Goddess tenet of modern Paganism (specifically Wicca) is allegoric in the sense that it's related to aspects and periods as opposed to a literal, physical figure. In addition, Hekate was also portrayed often as a single person or as having three distinct bodies.
Finally, Hekate is a strict and stern Goddess. She can be very loving, warm and intimate with Her followers, especially those that praise and satisfy Her but She is also not as forgiving as other deities as well as intolerant of many vices, in a greater degree than most deities. A bright example is how She can be quick to remove (at least temporarily or until reformation occurs) Her favor and aid from even a devoted follower of Hers, should he/she stray from the path and fail to meet the requirements and standards set, not so much by the Goddess Herself, as much as by the person. Unlike other deities, Hekate is less direct and more influential, meaning She works in more subtle and indirect ways as well as more affecting ones, since She approaches you in a gentle fashion as opposed to a strong, straightforward manner.
If Hekate calls to you, don't freak out. She can be strict but also very rewarding. As Hesiod says: "He who has her favor will be showered with riches, for it is within her power." (paraphrased) . However, be wary. She won't tolerate the unworthy.
Hekate: Her Sacred Fires, edited by Sorita D'Este
the Theoi (dot) com website
Location: Athens, Greece
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