Hekate is a Chthonic Greek Goddess who preceded the Olympian gods and was also a titaness. Daughter of Perses and the Star Goddess Ateria and Granddaughter of Phoebe, Titanus of the Moon. Hekate aided Zeus in the battle of the titans and therefore was not expelled like the other titans were when Zeus formed the Olympian pantheon. Hekate also played a part in Persephone’s story in which she helped Demeter, Persephone’s mother in finding her after Persephone went into Hades (wether by force or by her own volition) and thereafter became Persephone’s guide when the later, travelled to the underworld for her yearly journey.
Hekate’s name means “she operates from afar”, “she removes or drives off” “the far reaching one” or “the far-darter”. She is shown as an ageless goddess who in later times was sometimes depicted with three human faces or three animal faces. These faces consisted either of a dog, snake, horse, cow or boar, all which faced different directions and refers to Hekate’s triple nature and the realms she has dominion over – the sky, sea and earth. Hekate is also sometimes depicted with dogs at her side whilst at other times shown alongside other gods (like Hermes and Kybele) or children.
Hekate having dominion over the sky, sea and earth is also known as the Goddess of the crossroads, liminal places, witchcraft, magick, herbology, necromancy, cosmic world soul, mistress of animals, aider to women in childbirth, mistress of the dead and guide of ghosts. She is patron of sorcerers and witches and in ancient times was prayed to by athletes solders, fishermen, farmers and merchants alike for favour in their various endeavours as well as being a common goddess venerated in household shrines. Shrines to Hekate were placed at doorways and crossroads where offerings were made on her sacred day Deipnon (Dark Moon) which was the last day of the month in the Athenian calendar and again on the Noumenia (New Moon) on the first day of the next month. Hekate’s main site of worship was in Lagina (modern Turkey) but she had shrines scattered throughout ancient Anatolia and Greece.
Hekate’s symbols include keys, torches, the moon, snakes, dagers and is a goddess who bestows her blessings in the form of protection, prosperity, prophesy, proficiency in communing with the dead and the performance of magick. Sacred offerings to her include: milk oak, yew, honey, garlic, cypress, aconite, belladonna, dittany, mandrake, and pomegranates.
(C) T. Georgitisis 2012 (first appeared in The Australian Pagan Magazine – Issue 1)
Image of Hekate was commission by me from the artist Shay Skepevski in 2011