Hellenic Hekate Ritual: Element of Fire

Fire is one of the classical elements in Hellenic philosophy and practice.  Fire is a fundamental element in creating the world and gave birth to the other elements.  Fire was very valuable for the Hellenics and today that element is still a focus in modern Hellenic ritual.  Fire in the witches pyramid symbolises To Will – to manifest magick through application which is done through ritual, which in and of itself is very magickal.

Rituals in Hellenic practice have always had an element of fire whether it be the hearth, lamp, candle or offerings being lit. In Hellenic philosophy, fire was associated with passion, assertiveness and energy – something which Hekate embodies completely.  Hekate also has her own strong connection to fire, both in her mythology and in her rites.

Hekate used fire as a tool of power during the war against the titans, as quoted here by the Greek mythographer Pseudo-Apollodorus in Bibliotheca 1.34-38:

When the Gigantes made war on the gods of heaven. In the course of the battle….Hekate got [the Gigante] Klytios with fire-brands.

Fire-brands are pieces of burning wood like torches and continuing with this mythology, Hekate appears in a number of ancient vase paintings battling a giant with her twin torches.

 

(Hekate & Cerberus
Antikensammlungen, Munich) 

 

In the abduction of Persephone by Hades, Hekate goes to Demeter to tell her what she has seen. Hekate does this with flaming torches in hand through the night.  In this instance, Hekate is using the flame to guide and illuminate the path she takes between realms she has dominion over.  This myth highlighting Hekate’s fire lit accompaniment is highlighted in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (19):

Then for nine days queenly Deo [Demeter] wandered over the earth with flaming torches in her hands, so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia and the sweet draught of nektaros, nor sprinkled her body with water. But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hekate, with a torch in her hands, met her, and spoke to her and told her news: `Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of good gifts, what god of heaven or what mortal man has rapt away Persephone and pierced with sorrow your dear heart? For I heard her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was. But I tell you truly and shortly all I know.’

So, then, said Hekate. And the daughter of rich-haired Rheia answered her not, but sped swiftly with her, holding flaming torches in her hands. So they came to Helios (the Sun), who is watchman of both gods and men, and stood in front of his horses: and the bright goddess enquired of him.”

(Translated by Evelyn-White)

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

 

The element of fire is creative and it is the element of action just like Hekate.  Fire is at the hearth of the home, a place where Hekate’s shrine is placed.  Fire illuminates and brightens the darkness allowing us to see which way we need to go and Hekate’s role as psychopomp can help us with that.  Here is a ritual I would like to share with you which you can use to honour Hekate in a Hellenic way and which utilises the element of fire:

 

Hellenic Hekate Fire Ritual © Setjataset 2015

Preparation:

Chose a liminal time and place for the ritual to be set, preferably outside if you can manage it.

Purify body by showering or washing head, hands and feet.

Your shrine and offering items should be placed in a basket or bag which are easily carried which should include purified water/khernips, asperging herbs (small bundle purifying herbs such as bay leaves), any offerings you have for Hekate which should include something for a libation – olive oil/wine/honey’d milk, a red pen, white paper, a fireproof bowl and an fire pit/oil lamp/brazier/candle, resin incense and an image of Hekate.

Ritual:

Procession

Form a formal procession and walk towards the shrine from the east, carrying the offerings and shrine items with you.

Wash your hands in khernips/purified water before assembling before your shrine, whilst saying:

Αφήστε όλα αυτά που είναι βλαβερά να φύγουν! (Let all that is profane be gone!)

Present the offerings to Hekate by holding them up in a gesture of oblation and place them on the shrine. You do not need to speak to do this but may say a few words as a statement of purpose if you are inspired.

Take your asperging herbs and dip into khernips/purified water and flick water onto the shrine whilst saying:

Xerniptosai! (Be Purified!)

Light the oil lamp/candle.

Invocation

Light a fire pit, oil lamp, brazier or candle for Hekate.

Throw or sprinkle incense into the fire.

Read out loud or sing a hymn in Hekate’s name.

Preces (Prayer Proper)

Write a petition of something you want to ignite/bring into your life to Hekate using the pen and paper.

Pour a libation of oil, wine or honey’d milk to Hekate upon the ground.

Praxis (Working Proper)

Read your petition out loud three times.

Blow on your petition three times.

                   Tap your petition on the ground three times.

Set fire to your petition and watch it burn visualising your desire manifesting.

Thanks and Closing

Thank Hekate by saying:

Hekate, in your name we gathered, in your name we depart.  Thank you for your eternal illumination and blessings.

Step away from the ritual space by backing away, turning to the right and leaving without looking back.

Ritual is now complete and any feasting can take place.

Do not speak about your petition until it has manifested and even then be cautious with how you share it.


Orphic Hymn Translated by Evelyn-White

(C) T. Georgitsis 2015, Updated 2020

Hekate’s Noumenia by Setjataset

 

Noumenia also known as the New Moon is the first day of the lunar month in the Athenian Calender* and a time when the first sliver of the moon appears in the night sky, right after the Deipnon (Dark of the Moon).

Noumenia is the second day in a three day household celebration, which is held each month in the Hellenic tradition. Historically it was considered a time when religious observance occured at home, the temples and in public. This sacred day was celebrated with much frivolity and feasting and acknowledged the household gods. Even though technically Hekate’s day fell on the Deipnon she was also viewed as a deity whose domain covered the home.

Hekate’s Noumenia is a time to:

  1. Clean your home and decorate your shrine/altars with fresh flowers and herbs.
  2. Leave fresh food and drinks offerings on shrines/altars.
  3. Feasting in Her name. 

When it comes to the devotional practice of Hekate, Noumenia is the time to leave fresh offerings after the old ones have been cleared away during the Deipnon rites – as a form of inviting her blessings.

 

2014 (C) T. Georgitsis

 

Some traditional offerings to leave out for Hekate’s Noumenia are:

Fresh meat, incense, barley, wine and cakes.

Some modern offerings to leave out for Hekate’s Noumenia are:

Incense, wine, cakes, bread, honey, barley, olive oil, cheese, salt, items from nature (shells, flowers, herbs, fruit, rocks/stones/crystals water from the ocean/river/lake) or magically created crafts such as art in her name.

Light follows darkness and so Noumenia comes after the Deipnon which is the darkest night of the month. This shows us that there is an ongoing dual nature of the universe and that one can’t survive without the other. As The Gods children, we celebrate our triumphant progression through life’s cycles of death and rebirth which we see emphasized through nature all around us and which we revel in during sacred days like the Noumenia. 

 

Noumenia Shrine 2012 (C) T. Georgitsis

 

Traditional practice of Noumenia in Ancient Greece found in academia shows us that there was a public ritual on the Acropolis, whilst in Sparta food and drink were freely given to the populace by the King. In the common man’s home a family meal gathering was the focus and it included cleaning and decorating the household shrines with garlands of herbs and flowers. No other events or celebrations were held in Ancient Greece on this day, such was its significance that it needed to be focused on completely.

Current modern devotees practice similar to their counterparts in Ancient Greece. They make offerings upon their home shrine which can be in the same form as the ancients and include modern favourites such as cheese cake and honey bread. The Noumenia is also the perfect time to embark on new projects, trips, partnerships, work on goals and set new tasks.

I personally recommend you write your own Noumenia ritual ensuring it consists of the following basics: 

  1. Procession to home or Hekate shrine.
  2. Purification through the use of khernips** on self, sacred/temple space and shrine and throwing pearl barley upon the sacred/temple space and shrine.
  3. Light the sacred flame (candle or oil lamp).
  4. Libation of purified water or wine with simple blessing or invitation to Hekate (traditionally and in modern practice Hestia is always offered water or wine first and last with an accompanying blessing/invocation in ritual).
  5. Offerings which include barley, wine, honey, olive oil, salt, bread, cheese, frankincense, myrrh, bay laurel and round cakes. The kathiskos can be placed upon the shrine at this time.
  6. Sing or read out hymns in honour of Hekate which you have written yourself or you resonate with.
  7. Libation of purified water or wine with thanks and farewell to Hekate and the same with Hestia which is done as a conclusion/ending of the rite.

Noumenia Shrine 2011 (C) T. Georgitsis

 

Noumenia is the perfect time to create or replenish a kathiskos*** with purified water, barley, olive oil and food remnants from the day’s meal. Here is a simple way to make one for your own practice. 

How to make a Kathiskos for Hekate © T. Georgitsis 2014 

Ingredients: 

    • Glass jar with tight lid
    • Offerings: purified water, pearl barley, salt, olive oil, wine and leftovers.
    • Red, black or white ribbon, cord or embroidery thread.
    • Key or coin which represents Hekate to you. 

Method: 

1. Ensure the glass jar is clean and dry. 

2. Place the offerings in the jar in the following order: pearl barley, salt, olive oil, leftovers and then top up the rest of the jar with purified water. 

3. Seal tightly with the lid – just as a heads up the contents of the kathiskos might spoil and rot before its thrown out during the Deipnon and replaced during the Noumenia, so be warned to ensure that you have sealed it tightly. 

4. Tie a ribbon, cord or thread looped with a key or coin around the lid of the jar. 

5. Place upon Hekate’s shrine. 

Whatever you decide to do for Hekate during the Noumenia, ensure it is pure of heart and effort and that you do your best with what you have or can acquire.


* Also known as the Attic Calendar. 

** Sacred water which is pure like from a sacred spring. 

***Was traditionally made for Zeus and means “small bucket” in Greek. It’s a small sealed jar which is used to contain a portion of your home’s food prosperity to Deity. 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2014 – Updated 2020

 

 

 

Mystic Tribe Magazine: May 2020, Issue #30


In my regular column on crystals, in the latest issue of Mystic Tribe Magazine, I have written an article called “Ancient Egyptian Crystal Shapes and their Influences” in which I describe a few crystal shapes predominant in Ancient Egypt and how you can use them int he modern time. For your FREE copy follow this link:

Mystic Tribe – May 2020, Issue 30

 

 

 

Hymns for Hekate

Sorceress” by John William Waterhouse 

One of the things I always do whilst honouring Hekate during my regular devotionals, is the use of hymns – in and with her name. I find it connects me to Her within seconds of reciting a hymn and I can feel Her flames of power coursing through the words.

Hymns can be used to evoke or invoke a specific Divinity in a ritual setting, during magickal work like spellcraft or when wanting to connect to the energies of a particular God (or multitude of Gods) for any other specific purpose. A hymn is a praising, adoring and devotional prayer to a Divinity which can be recited internally, out loud and even sung, written on various mediums and buried, tied to a tree, burned or thrown into a body of water or to the wind.

When I use hymns, I either employ them in the form of evocation or invocation. Evocation is when you summon, call forth or request a Deity in the form of askance or demand to be present. Invocation is when you call on Deity to take possession of you or another object like a statue image of that Deity.

Hymns can be as elaborate and complicated or simple and basic and it all depends on the devotees main goal and objective of the task at hand.  I advise that it comes from the heart and that the words truly resonate with you as words have power.  Ensure the hymn covers what you want to achieve and that could mean using a hymn written in ancient times or one which is more modern – the choice is yours.

When it comes to hymns written by another, I personally like to use The Orphic Hymn of Hekate. Here is a translation I use which I find quite beautiful:

The Orphic Hymns – Hymn I: To Hekate

(text: w. Quant Orphei hymni Berlin 1962)

I invoke you, beloved Hekate of the Crossroads and the Three Ways

Saffron-cloaked Goddess of the Heavens, the Underworld and the Sea

Tomb-frequenter, mystery-raving with the souls of the dead

Daughter of Perses, Lover of the Wilderness who exults among the deer

Nightgoing One, Protectress of dogs, Unconquerable Queen

Beast-roarer, Dishevelled One of compelling countenance

Tauropolos, Keyholding Mistress of the whole world

Ruler, Nymph, Mountain-wandering Nurturer of youth.

Maiden, I beg you to be present at these sacred rites

Ever with a gladsome heart and ever gracious to the Oxherd.

 

I have personally written several hymns in Hekate’s name, for various uses and reasons which are scattered all throughout my public writings and private workings. I urge you all to give your hand at writing a hymn to Hekate as I have found its one of the most profound offerings you can give this mighty Goddess.

Something I hear often is how do I write a hymn to Hekate?  I have developed some steps for you which can help:

  1. First of all you need to work out WHY?  Why do you feel the need to write Hekate a hymn?  You need to have an objective to be able to write with clarity and purpose.
  2. Next is what STYLE do you want to use? Do you want it to rhyme?  Do you want it to be a sing-song?  Do you           want it to be a freeform poem?
  3. What do you want to SAY?  What do you want to declare, invoke or proclaim?

Next I have come up with some tips which can hone your skills when it comes to writing hymns, they are:

  • TITLES: To start off use titles or characteristics (of Hekate) you want to manifest.
  • DESCRIPTIVE: Use descriptive imagery you want to evoke in your words.
  • MEANING: Use words which have meaning to you and don’t go throwing about thou and thee if you don’t use it in your everyday vocabulary.  It might sound flowery or pretty but the meaning is lost (and in my personal opinion can sound quite pompous or silly).  Also Use words which naturally express your true feelings and thoughts.  Put in what you want to get out and remember to be specific pay attention to details as words have power.
  • PARAPHRASING: Paraphrasing is a tried and tested way of creating hymns.  You can do this with an ancient hymn you are drawn to but please do not plagorise that is just bad form.
  • KISS: Use the Keep It Simple Stupid principle.  I’d suggest you start writing a hymn with something you are well versed in and comfortable.  Your ultimate goal is to honour her so remember to start with the basics and then work in more complicated ideas as you progress.
  • PRACTISE: I encourage you to try writing a hymn and use it.  If it works great if it doesn’t then edit and/or start again and rewrite.

Remember its all about the God/dess you are honouring so focus on that and give it a go.


(C) T. Georgitisis 2013 , Updated 2020

 

Hekate Magick: Samhain for her Witches

deipnon-september 2013

Samhain is celebrated as the witches new year and is the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and therefore perfect for divination or contacting the dead.  Hekate’s connection to witches can be traced back to classical Greece where they worked with her for various incantations, spells and called upon her for assistance and blessings.

Hekate, the Virgin Titaness who prefers solitude, Goddess of the Sea, Earth and Sky, Light Bearer and revealer to those who seek, Keeper of the Crossroads who roams the cemeteries for lost souls, Queen of Magic and the Night, Key Bearer who has access to the otherworld and can commune with those who have passed between the veils, Goddess of Ghosts and Necromancy, Patron of Travellers who guides them to their destination.

Goddess of Witchcraft, Magic and Ghosts – Hekate in my opinion exudes the energy of Samhain. During Samhain, Hekate – the Embodiment of Death, roams the earth and is therefore one of the most suitable Gods to honour during this time.  Since Hekate is known as Goddess of the Dead, Mistress of Souls who can accompany the departed between the realm of the living and that of the dead, witches have naturally been drawn to call upon her during the Festival of the Dead: Samhain also known as Halloween.  Hekate can be called upon as an intermediary to connect you to your ancestors especially since our dearly departed tend to visit us during Samhain.  Also communing with the ancestors during this time can reveal future fate and Hekate can also be of assistance when divining.

Venerating the ancestors and Hekate during this time which also celebrates the last harvest ensures blessings and that fertility to the land is returned in spring.  The ancient Greeks would often leave offerings to Hekate in order for their crops not to fail and for her storm aspect to be pacified.  Considering winter is a time of storms and the earth lays dormant, getting Hekate on your good side with respects to these aspects is forward thinking.

I personally see that during Mabon (Autumn Equinox) is when Hekate, torches in hand, guides and protects Persephone as she descends into the underworld.  At Samhain, Hekate has returned from the Underworld with news from the Dead, as she is one of the few gods who can traverse between all the worlds.

Constructing a dumb supper for Hekate and your ancestors is a wonderful way to honour them both by placing a plate of food that Hekate and your ancestors would appreciate then leaving it on a Hekate or ancestor altar, on a crossroads or on your doorsteps ensures they will take on the essence of the food offered.

Offerings to your ancestors can include food they enjoyed during life and offerings to Hekate that compliments Samhain includes apples, pomegranates, garlic, onion, wine, mead and mugwort tea.

Here is a simple witches ritual for Hekate, Samhain and your ancestors I have composed and used successfully multiple times in years past:

Setjataset Samhain Rite ((C) T. Georgitsis 2010)

Ingredients:

  • Dumb Supper (any of the foods and drinks your ancestors loved in life)
  • Coins (3) – of any denomination which can be donated
  • Incense – dragons blood, frankincense or livani
  • Candles (1-3) – tea lights are easiest but you can use tapers
  • Image of Hekate
  • Key – skeleton if you have it but any key will do
  • Skull – crystal, animal bone or a copy
  • Divination form – tarot cards, scrying bowl, mirror, dice
  • Any offerings you would like infused with the energies of Samhain
  • Pen and Paper

Method:

Prepare a dumb supper and place in the NW of your circle or on the left of your altar/shrine.

Create sacred space or open the shrine.

Light some incense.

Inscribe the candle with the ancestors names you would like to connect with and place before the image of Hekate.

Take the three coins and blow on them before placing them in front of the candle.

Light the candle which has been placed in the middle of your altar before the image of Hekate.  This is used as a beacon so your deceased loved ones can make their way to you.

Have a key and an image of a skull on the left side of your alter/shrine.

Any form of divination should be placed on your shrine after giving the item/s a little shake.

Begin the rite by evoking Hekate with the following Orphic hymn (or any hymn you resonate with which fits the season and purpose):

Hekate Einodia, Trioditis, lovely dame, of earthly, watery, and celestial frame, sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed, pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade; Perseis, solitary goddess, hail! The world’s key-bearer, never doomed to fail; in stags rejoicing, huntress, nightly seen, and drawn by bulls, unconquerable queen; Leader, Nymphe, nurse, on mountains wandering, hear the suppliants who with holy rites thy power revere, and to the herdsman with a favouring mind draw near.

Take the key and tap the top of the skull three times and repeat the following chant:

Hekate we ask that you open the gates of Hades
and allow our ancestors to traverse to us this night.

Guide our loved ones who have passed over,
to us with your wisdom and might.

Bring our ancestors of old and new
with you to share with us their gift of foresight.

Great Goddess we seek to commune with them
in the name of all that is light.

Bless us for we pay homage to you and
our departed ones in this very rite.

Commune with your ancestors and use your divination tools to see what the year has in store for you or ask any specific questions that you have.  Write them down with your pen and paper so you can reflect and refer to them later.

Thank and farewell your ancestors and Hekate.

Close sacred space or close the shrine.

Dispose the offerings by leaving them at a base of a tree, putting them in a compost, burying them in your garden or leaving them safely at a crossroads.

Donate your coins to a charity.


(C) T. Georgitsis 2010, Updated 2020