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)
- 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
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