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.
This was oneof the first descriptions I wrote publicly of Hekate years ago…
Winter Solstice also known as Yule is the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest amount of night. Symbolically it marks the death and rebirth of the sun and it falls between Samhain and the Spring Equinox and due to this manifests as the darkest period of the year yet is also a turning point where the days become longer. It symbolises the darkest time of year and marks the returning of the light due to its time of seasonal transition. The winter solstice marks the sun as its lowest elevation in the sky and the reason it contains the longest night of the year. This year in the Southern Hemispherecalendar it falls on Monday the 21st of June at 1.32pm. Gods such as Hekate, Persephone, Demeter, Dionysus, Helios, Poseidon, Zeus, Hera, Hathor, Sekhmet, Osiris, Horus, Neith, Nephthys, Spider Woman, Ameratasu, Saturn, Odin, Bona Dea, Mithras, Holy King, Hod, Frigga, Frau Holle, Cailleach and Baldurcan all be honoured during this time of year.
I have celebrated Yule with groups of people in a magickal setting such as a working lodge, coven and magickal order. The one thing which I found which linked them all together was the coming together to celebrate the light and the darkness whilst sharing food and gifts.
One of the fondest memories I have during this time of year is celebrating the winter solstice through creating handmade gifts. I spend considerable time planning on what to make and then following through by crafting gifts which are unique and special. The first thing I ever recall making was for my first coven where I sculpted and fired a set of runes and hand sewed an accompanying bag to contain them in. This took a significant amount of energy and effort and was placed in a sack of gifts to be randomly selected by one coven member in the middle of our coven’s winter solstice ritual. Imagine my surprise when one of my coven members whom I was closest to (and who has become a lifelong friend) chose it at random and had been wanting a set of runes which turned out to feature her favourite colour (they were coloured green and purple).
I personally like to hand make gifts during this time of year usually involving items which feature divination, light, purification, seeds, woods and herbs harvested and collected. I also love to cook, bake and prepare food which is consumed, shared or given to loved ones including the following: citrus preserves such as salt preserved lemons and Cointreau marmalade, soup (lentil/beans/barley and root vegetable, Greek chicken soup), stew (barley, beans, lentil, cholent andcoq au vin), bread (Greek sweetbread, olive loaf and garlic and feta loaf), gingerbread (especially witches houses/cottages), shortbread (various Greek ones), lamb or beef roast, dumplings and baked spiced rice stuffed into vegetables.
Since this time tends to fall on my personal anniversary (we got together on the winter solstice) for me it also involves going out for an intimate meal with my partner and exchanging thoughtful gifts.
I feel that Hekate resonates with this time of the year for various reasons. One being that this is a liminal time where she has dominion between the darkness and the light. In this time she encourages and enables us to turn our attention to the presence of the promise of new things to come. As the time of growth and movement is before us Hekate beckons us to straddle the in-between time and to use this time for the power it contains.
I personally like to honour Hekate during this time and make offerings of apples, pomegranates, garlic, onions, mead, beer, wine, bread, barley, nuts, lilies, pine, mistletoe, juniper, holly, frankincense, myrrh, cedar, bay, chamomile and roots from dandelions.
I also like to make items for Hekate which resonate with the season mostly wands collected from wood during the summer, candle anointing oil blends, herb pouches for dreaming, health and wealth, candles which illuminate, soap which cleanses, incense using dried herbs from the summer, book and journal covers with locally sourced materials or upcycled materials, various art pieces with paints, ink, photography and/or several thread types (in recent years its been all about the land, sea and sky) and beaded jewellery such as ethically sourced crystal necklaces which can also be used as meditation or manifestation beads.
Herbs such as garlic, basil, chives, cress, curry, dill, mint, parsley, sage and thyme.
Flowers such as aquilegia, calendula, cineraria, cyclamen, delphinium, foxglove, nemesia, pansy, primula, polyanthus poppy and viola.
Some things you can do to honour and mark the winter solstice in your personal practice (or with a group of likeminded individuals) can be:
Hold a ritual signifying the balance of darkness and light and/or liminality.
Work spells and magick which involve igniting a flame, balance or brining the light into a situation, .
Create and light a bonfire or light a special candle carved with symbols which signify the time of year.
Inscribe and light a Yule log in a firepit or fireplace.
Take a walk at dusk holding a lantern.
Bake a seasonal pie, cook a roast and make mulled wine or any other food or drink which to you symbolises the winter solstice .
In the evening go out star gazing and seek out your local constellations.
Honour the Gods which signify this time of year by creating a shrine or altar in their name or tending to an existing one and make offerings to them.
Create an ice wreath in the freezer filled with flowers and herbs of the season (use a bunt cake tin) and once set place a candle in the middle of the wreath and light it to signify the winter moving out and the spring coming in.
Use this time to cleanse your magickal tools and spaces such as shrines and altars.
Rituals and spells involving transitions and movement.
Reflect on your inner world and take some time to just be with yourself and listen to your inner self such as meditation, yoga, going for a walk in nature or just sitting in a space which is sacred to you and just being present.
Use this time to recharge yourself through honouring yourself and do what you need to, to enable that reset.
Host a feast with family or friends which can include music and dancing.
Light black and white candles to signify the diminishing darkness and the increasing light.
Decorate a tree (such as a xmas tree) with decorations which signify the winter solstice.
Exchange gifts with loved ones.
Donate to charities involving the displaced such as the homeless and refugees.
Do something kind for someone who is alone, in pain or suffering.
Volunteer for a charity which assists the natural world or the less fortunate.
Divination such as rune, tarot, dice, candle wax, crystal, magick mirror or ink scrying.
So work your magick this midwinter, honour the light and the darkness within you and all around you and contemplate and manifest balance in your life.
In the latest issue of Mystic Tribe Magazine, I have written an article called “Ancient Egyptian Incense“which describes the history and usage of incense in Ancient Egypt along with a recipe of how to make your own. Get your your FREE copy below:
The solar eclipse is is happening on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 which happens to be a total solar eclipse.
A solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the earth and the sun, obscuring the sun from the viewpoint of the earth during the new moon.
The Magick of the Solar Eclipse
Solar eclipse magick is when the energy is amplified due to the moon energies intermingling with the sun energies. The sun and the moon are in the same star sign and the energies co-mingling this way, emphasises the energies of that particular sign. This solar eclipse is in Cancer* therefore the energies heightened during this time is the cancer star sign.
The kind of magick you can perform during the solar eclipse:
Liminal – magick worked between the darkness and the light.
Transition – use the sun and moon moving through this time to highlight or work with…
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:
Clean your home and decorate your shrine/altars with fresh flowers and herbs.
Leave fresh food and drinks offerings on shrines/altars.