Plant Resins for Hekate

My first memory of scent is the scent of livani (aka mosholivano which is a greek incense made from frankincense and flowers/herbs) through the house which my mother would burn on a sunday to honour the blessed dead and/or ancestors as well as cleanse the house of malignant and negative forces.  It was a lesson in sensory magick and that it triggered a heightened state of spiritual connection.  Whenever I smelled that scent I felt the ancestors were near and that I was wrapped up in a blanket of protection.  These days the smell of livani connects me to my ancestors and Gods through the communion of scent due to burning it as a regular part of my magical and spiritual devotions.

Resins in Ancient Greece, specifically plant resins, were used in religious and ceremonial rites such as frankincense and myrrh as noted by Theophrastus and mastic as noted in the Hymns of Orpheus. Burning resins as an incense was seen as a way to communicate with Diety and feed them as well as acknowledging their presence through scent.  In Ancient Greece incense was burned not only to please Deity but as an accompaniment to rituals which were religious, civic and family-centric in nature.   They were also used in festivals of Ancient Greece to mark each phase of said festival, from procession to prayer to sacrifice.  Incense burners were seen as a staple in Ancient Greek sanctuaries and they burned resins for purification and as a pure offering.

Resins in modern practice like in ancient practice are burned as an incense using a censor or thirable on a shrine or altar.  Many modern Greeks burn it in their homes in an incense holder for their deceased relatives and Greek Orthodox churches burn thirables of incense at every ceremony.  When my father passed away according to Greek tradition I had to walk around the hearse carrying his coffin, three times with lit livani before it made its way to church.  All family members were gathered and watched, taking in the scent to purify his journey, as well as cleansing his last residence.

Many modern witches, magicians and reconstructurists also burn resins as part of their religious or magical practice whether it be in ceremony, ritual, spell work, meditation or as a way for them to trigger what they are seeking through the use of scent.

My last sojourn to Greece I stayed on the island of Chios which is known for their mastic resin from the Schinias region tree on the island’s south.  This resin which is hard crystallised drops is collected from trees in the summer in the Schinias region when they are hit with an iron tool.  This practice has been occurring for over 2500 years and continues to this day.  The resin is used in incense as well as medicines, cosmetics, embalming and cleaning products.  The whole island’s economy relies on this resin not only as a product, but as a tourist draw.   I remember buying a few boxes of mastic as gifts and a keep sake.  When I returned from my trip I chewed it (as it was the first gum in Ancient Greece) and also used it in my incense blends, as well as gifted it to a few family members and friends much to their delight.

Burning resins can promote feelings of centred calm, can engage and open the mind whilst assisting in connection to spirit and Deity during ritual, spiritual and meditative practices.

I like to make my own incense blends and predominately use resins which I either use on their own or mix with other resins, herbs, oils or flowers.  The act in itself of choosing the resins and using a mortar and pestle to crush the resins and then blend any additional ingredients, is very alchemical in its process for me and is a devotional act I employ regularly.  As someone who burns resins as part of my daily Hellenic practice as a devotee to Hekate, I have spent years experimenting to create the right blends for Her with Her various titles I venerate and for assorted purposes.

When blending resins for magical, ritual or spiritual use, I suggest you research and find those which resonate with you and your workings and devotionals.  I also suggest you burn them in a heatproof container such as a heat proof thirable, dish or cauldron and ensure there is adequate ventilation.

As stated above, burning resins is a huge part of my practice to Hekate and as such have created a list of resins I have found resonate with her workings which I have shared below:

Plant Resins for Hekate by *Setjataset

Amber

Balm of Gilead

Balsam

Benzoin

Black Storax

Camphor

Cedar

Copal

Dragon’s Blood

Eucalyptus

Fir

Frankincence

Livani

Mastic

Myrrh

Pine

Styrax

Please note certain resins can be harmful or toxic if ingested, inhaled or placed on skin.

As always please research and check all the resins you will be handling before working with them to ensure you do so in a safe manner.


 

(C) *T. Georgitsis 2020

Soap for Hekate

Hekate’s Pandemic Soap

 

 

Lemon & Lemon Myrtle: clarifies, increases awareness, cleanses through purification and longevity and is anti-stress.

Eucalyptus & Blue Eucalyptus: stimulates, reinvigorates, heals, balances, protects and relieves mental and emotional stress.

 

I wanted to make an Australiana style cleansing soap I could use, since we are in Stage 3 lockdown here in Victoria and I wanted to wash my hands with something magical with a shout out to the land I live on.  I have always had a bottle of Australian Eucalyptus on hand but a mere few weeks before the pandemic really hit us, I was researching Australian natives and ended up buying a few bottles of different oils to experiment with.  This in hindsight was a boon, as these essential oils are perfect during this time.

The green soap pictured is Lemon (Citrus Limonium) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Radiate).   I tried to mix some volcanic mud it it for the colour, however it sunk to the bottom as I placed the oils in before the mud and therefore did not blend right (lesson learned).  So then I added a swirl of all natural green food die so I could tell the two soaps apart.

The blue soap pictured is Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia Citriodora) and Blue Mallee Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus) and I used all natural blue food die.  I liked the scent of this one the best as its stronger and more appealing.

I then charged them with purpose: to cleanse, protect, bring long life, strength and luck whilst also de-stressing.

This is the quick and easy method of soap making I used which I have blogged about previously if you want to make your own (just add 6-12 drops of each oil to a 1/2 kilo batch of soap):

 

Melt and Pour Process Method

 


(C) *T. Georgitsis 2020

The Cat in Magick: Familiars of Witches & Priestesses


Having been raised with domestic cats as pets, I have developed a strong connection to the feline and have been lucky enough to be owned by a few cat familiars.  My first familiar* came to my attention in my late teens when I became interested in Wicca and I set up my altar.  My ginger tabby Hoody would love to jump onto the altar and absorb the energies raised upon it, even though on occasion he would singe the end of his tail on the candles lit upon it.  Hoody would accompany me or keep watch over me whilst I performed spells and rituals. When I would cast circle he would actually be able to discern where the invisible boundary of the circle was and would dutifully pace the boundary in a stance of protection and once the ritual had started he would sit sphinx position outside the boundary facing in and watch over me.  This led me to find out more about cats and the role they have played in magick and not surprisingly they are considered a magickal and sacred animal all the way back to Ancient Egypt, right to the modern witch.

Cats were believed magickal and sacred in various cultures around the world.  In Ancient China, Ii-Shou the god of the gathered crops took the form of a cat to protect the harvest. In Japan the Emperor Ichijo found 5 kittens in his palace during the 10th day of the 5th moon which was an auspicious day and thereafter cats were considered good luck and images were placed in temples, businesses and homes.  In Ancient Rome cats were sacred to the Goddess Diana and were seen as guardians and protectors of the home whilst also being a symbol of domestic virtuousness. In Norse mythology the fertility Goddess Freyja’s chariot is drawn by cats and they are believed to be a blessing with respects to procreation and newborns.

With respects to Ancient Greece and associated mythology, there is a small connection to cats and Hekate through the mythology of Galinthias by Ovid, where Galinthias was turned into a polecat (a type of weasel) by Hera and Hekate feeling sorry for Galinthias appointed her a sacred servant and/or priestess. I also came across this gem with respects to cats and Hekate:

“Among ancient civilizations, however, the cat was probably least popular among the Greeks owing to its association in certain myths with the goddess of death, darkness and witches, Hecate, who is more commonly associated with the dog (as is her Roman conterpart, Trivia)” (1)

I could say that cats can be servants of Hekate devotees but those of you who are owned by a cat know this to the the complete opposite, however they can make wonderful familiars and many devotees have them in their lives.

In modern Greece there are feral and wild cats all over the country and in some places are fed by various volunteer groups.  When I lived in Athens (Nea Erythrea) and then the island of Lemnos (Kondopouli and Myrina) and I would always notice cats everywhere – in town squares, parks and ancient sites and the locals always fed them and protected them.

Its often speculated that the Priests of Ancient Egypt were the first to domesticate wild cats whom they fed temple scraps to. Images of the cat in Ancient Egypt can be traced as far back as 2600BCE which shows the longevity of their interaction with humans.  Cats were mummified and placed in tombs which showed they were greatly loved and valued by their owners who would also shave their eyebrows in an act of deep mourning. Cats were so revered in Ancient Egypt that harming a cat was a crime punishable by death.

The Egyptian Goddess Bast was originally a lion headed goddess but her image eventually morphed into a cat headed goddess due to the sacredness the Ancient Egyptians held them in.  Bast was the daughter of the sun god Ra and the daughter of mistress of magick, Isis and one of Bast’s titles was “Rage of the Eye of Ra” and Bast’s name itself means soul of Isis – Ba-En-Auset.  Some myths describe her as the daughter of the God of the Underworld, Osiris instead of Ra and thus her role also includes Mistress of the Dead.

Bast’s symbols are the sistrum (a dancing rattle) and as such Bast is attributed with dance, music, love, sexuality and pleasure which gives her connections to Hathor.  Another symbol was a basket which represents the womb of life and as such Bast is ascribed as the goddess of fertility, motherhood and the underworld. Lastly another sacred symbol to Bast is the aegis, a shield like ornament and with that association Bast is credited with war and protection. Adorned in red, the symbol of motherhood and as a daughter of the sun god Ra, Bast oversaw the growth of the crops in the fields and was a representative of the sun.  Being dual natured Bast also was the moon representative of the eye of Horus and her strongly independent nature also classified her as a virgin ie being owned by no man.   The magnificent attributes of Bast strongly correlate with the characteristics of a domestic cat and as such shows their archetypal energies were elevated to the status of “God” thousands of years ago and if you have a cat in your life or been around cats, you know they wouldn’t expect any less.

Originally in British folk lore the black cat was viewed as lucky and was seen as a symbol of the dark night as they could shadow their witches at night time rituals. Black cats are traditionally seen as the witches cat because they were viewed as being able to be able to absorb and carry magick. In many cases cats kept company of people like midwives, herbalists, healers and witches in the middle ages due to their independent yet caring nature which made them perfect companions for solitary practitioners.  During the 16th and 17th century cats whom were seen as familiars of witches were persecuted along with them and so were exterminated in large numbers which decimated their population and increased the rat population which is believed to have caused the plague to spiral out of control during these times.

As a magickal familiar the cat can give a witch warning of psychic attack or spiritual presences by their alert and observant natures.  The cat can be a centred, graceful and calm guide who inspires us to find that within ourselves and it can allow us to channel our magick in a clear and concise way.  The feline familiar teaches us to pay attention and be vigilant with respects to the subtle changes around us which we can work with and which will aid our intuition.  Through the wisdom of the cat’s traits of hunting we can be inspired to explore in search of new possibilities with a cautious yet playful way.  Also the cat’s ability to sit and just be encourages us to do this which allows for self contemplation.  The feline familiar has confidence in themselves which is evident in their graceful walk, constant grooming and “I don’t care what you think” attitude which can in turn encourage us to be confident within ourselves, our bodies and our sexuality.  When we are ill, a cat familiar instinctively knows this and the developed bond will allow them to show they are here for support and this can inspire the same behaviour in us with others.

I know so many witches, magicians and devotees of magick (especially those who work with and honour Hekate) who have black cats.  They resonate with this beautiful animal and feel blessed to have them in their home.  I myself am currently owned by two black kittens who I rescued recently after my previous rescue passed away.  My previous rescue was called Midnight and was born on Samhain Eve, he had a penchant for Hekate’s shrine and I would find him sitting behind her shrine when ill or before it when he was just chilling.  I would come home and find him smelling like wild flower livani, something I always had sitting on Hekate’s shrine, yet nothing had been moved on the shrine, which made me deduce he simply liked the energy of it.  When I would go into shrine he would sit by my side and watch, sometimes observing occurrences invisible to my eyes.  Therefore from my own UPG although Hekate has been associated with dogs, I personally find that the cat resonates with Hekate and her archetypal energy.

A cat is not a pack animal and as such doesn’t need a leader and can live an isolated existence with its owner. Fiercely independent and able to confidently display their various moods, cats don’t seek to be ruled.  Their dualistic nature can range from purring loving bundles of fur, to predatory hunters who can scratch and bite if threatened, which in my opinion is the perfect familiar for those who resonate with those qualities. A cat has nine lives and it is said that a witch can transform into a cat nine times in their lifetime. The magick of the cat can be used to bewitch, protect, transform, bless, charm and scry and with that said I strongly urge you to connect to these magnificent feline beauties and find what benefits they can bring into your practice.


* Familiar = an animal believed to be possessed of magic powers and has close association with a magickal practitioner.

(1) = Mark, Joshua J. “Cats in the Ancient World.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 17 Nov 2012. Web. 15 Jul 2020.

(C) *T. Georgitsis 2014, updated in 2020

Candles for Hekate

Hekate Pandemic Candles – Sage, Pomegranite and various stones (depending on jar). This is the recipe I used:

DIY Candles: How To Make Soy Candles

I added some of my home grown organic sage and the crystals were hand picked from a supplier both which resonated with Hekate.  I used C-Soy from a local candle supplier and non toxic fragrance for the pomegranate and sage along with container maker which stops the soy from frosting in the glass jar.

I then charged them with purpose: to protect, cleanse, bring long life, strength and luck whilst healing.


(C) *T. Georgitsis 2020

Oils for Hekate

 

Essential oils have been used by the Ancient Greeks for centuries which they have used for fragrant oils, balms for medicine, perfume and spiritual aromatics.  Aromatherapy is the use of oils in inhalation or diffusion of fragrance for the mind spirit and emotion but they can also be used on the skin.

Essential oils can be blended in base oils (carrier oils) to make anointing oils for self and items.  They can be used in soaps and candles or mixed with resins and herbs for burning as incense. Essential oils can be used on clothing, to clean various surfaces or items and can be used to treat various medical conditions.

Frankincense, myrrh and benzoin; sandalwood, spikenard and patchouly were oils specifically used in Ancient Greece. Olive oil is also a much used oil in Ancient Greece for medicinal, culinary and spiritual purposes.

When making essential oil blends for magical, ritual or spiritual use I suggest you research and find those which resonate with you and your workings and devotionals.  I also suggest you use a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond, apricot and jojoba and then add essentials oils. General rule in aromatherapy is to use one drop of essential oil per one teaspoon of carrier oil. I would also suggest you practice with small amount of essential oils mixed with a carrier oil before you make a larger amount.  I suggest you use 1 drop of a base note, 3 drops of a middle note and 1 drop of the top note (see footnote section for further details) to which you then add 20 drops of carrier oil, which ends up being 1 part essential oil: 4 parts carrier oil. More information of essential oils and which are a base, middle and top notes can be found here:

Essential Oils: Base, Middle and Top notes.

I’ve been making oil blends as part of my practice since I was a teen, as for me scent is very magical and can trigger various states of consciousness and instantly change my mood.

One oil blend I use for Hekate ritualistically is my Abramelin Oil:

Abramelin Oil

I also use a Witches Flying Oil I created for Hekate:

Witches Flying Oil

As someone who studied aromatherapy I have quite a selection of essential and cold pressed carrier oils I use in my devotionals but I have created a list of oils which I have found resonate very strongly with Hekate.

Essential Oils for Hekate by *Setjataset

Almond

Aloes Wood

Amber

Angelica

Apricot

Atlas Cedarwood

Balm of Gilead

Basil

Bay Laurel

Benzoin

Black Poplar

Black Storax

Calamus

Calendula

Camphor

Cardamom

Cardamon

Cardamon

Cassia

Chamomile

Cinnamon

Clary Sage

Clove

Copal

Cypress

Dill

Dragon’s Blood

Eucalyptus

Fennel

Fir (Douglas aka Spruce)

Frankincence

Galangal

Garlic

Geranium

Honeysuckle

Hyssop

Ironwort

Jasmine

Jojoba

Juniper

Lavender

Lemon

Mandrake

Marjoram

Mastic

Mint

Mugwort

Myrrh

Nutmeg

Oakmoss

Olive 

Oregano

Orris Root

Patchouli 

Pepper

Peppermint

Pine

Propolis/Honey

Rose

Rosemary

Rue

Saffron

Sage

Sandlewood

Spikenard

Star Anise

Styrax

Thyme

Valerian

Verbena

Vetiver

Willow

Wormwood

Yarrow

Please note certain oils can be harmful or toxic if ingested, inhaled or placed on skin.

As always please research and check all the oils you will be handling before working with them to ensure you do so in a safe manner.


Top notes 15 – 25% of the blend.
Middle notes 30 – 40% of the blend.
Base notes 45 – 55% of the blend.

(C) *T. Georgitsis 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

 

 

 

Hekate Goddess and Mistress of Witchcraft (Classical Antiquity) by Setjataset

The Ancient Geeks believe Hekate was a Goddess who taught witchcraft and sorcery to witches, known as pharmakeia in Ancient Greece. The first witches documented to be devoted disciples of Hekate’s were the witches Medea and Kirke, as quoted below by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus around 60-30BCE:

“She [Hekate, the daughter of Perses brother of Aeetes] married Aeetes and bore two daughters, Kirke and Medea, and a son Aigialeus.”(1)

“[Medea] said [to the Argonauts] that she had brought with her many drugs of marvellous potency which had been discovered by her mother Hekate and by her sister Kirke; and though before this time she had never used them to destroy human beings, on this occasion she would be means of them easily wreak vengeance upon men who were deserving of punishment.” (2)

Medea and Kirke were well versed in herbal lore and magick.  They took what Hekate taught them and multiplied this wisdom into an immense knowledge which held great powers over the natural world, men and their fates. In Apollonius (Ancient Greek 300BCE poet, philosopher and scholar) Argonautica* writings, it is Hekate who gave the gift of drawing down the moon to her devoted witches as quoted here:

“How many times … have you [the witch Medea] disturbed me with your incantations, making the night moonless so that you might practise your beloved witchcraft undisturbed.” (3)

Hekate was seen as the Goddess, classical witches prayed to and evoked through their hymns and magickal workings.  Even though Hekate’s worship originally started in Asia Minor it developed in Ancient Greece.  This is most likely due to her connection with death and magic, which were areas lacking in the pantheon of the Greek Gods.  Since Hekate was known to be a Goddess who punished the evil doer, classical witches were known to cast spells using “curse tablets” and asked Hekate for her assistance through prayer and incantations.

The Greek Magical Papyri and Curse Tablets mention Hekate the most in these texts (along with Hermies) which proves that she was in high demand for the witches who worked to harness Hekate’s magickal power through their sorcery.  Classical witches were skilled in herbal knowledge as well as being very well versed in various poisons.   I love how the Greek word for “sorcery /witch” also means “poison” especially since many sorcerers and witches work with baneful herbs and this is doubly true for Hekate’s witches.  Medea was able to sway the course of rivers or check the paths of the stars and the moon – as modern witches aren’t we known to bend our will to manipulate the elements around us as well as use astrology to assist us with our spell casting?

Hekate was merged with Diana, Queen of the Witches.  Evidence of this shows in the Hellenisation of the iconography of Diana as well as the spread of Hekate’s cult like devotion when the Ancient Greeks immigrated to Roman provinces. Nemi in Ancient Rome was founded by Orestes and Iphigenia – Iphigenia according to Roman myth was divinised under Hekate and the myth is supported by a triple statue of Artemis-Hecate from 600AD.  Cuma a Greek colony in Ancient Rome had a cult of the Chthonic Hekate and many of the images of Diana Trivia have characteristics of the Ancient Greeks gods which further shows the practitioners of the time synchronised Diana not only with the Greek Goddess Artemis but Hekate as well.  This also shows us that Hekate’s patronage of witches spread with her Goddess Cult.  As modern witches we can claim her patronage as far back as classical times when she was viewed as an ageless Goddess and therefore show how strong our relationship with Hekate has lasted over the centuries.

As her practising witch I have created a hymn to call to Hekate to aid you in your witchy workings.  This can be used in ritual, when spellcrafting in her name or simply when honouring her in her devotionals.

Hymn to Call Hekate as her Witch

“Come be present in my sorcery

Hekate your witch calls out to you

Watch over me and my working

Devoted as I am to you as this

Sacred priestess of pharmakeia

By the moon and its phases

Eternally grateful for you

Your guidance and blessings

Come be present in my sorcery”

(T. Georgitsis 2020)

 


Footnotes:

  • Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 45. 1
  • Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4. 50. 6
  • Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.55

(C) T. Georgitsis 2015 – Updated 2020

Hekate’s Deipnon by Setjataset

Hekate’s Deipnon is Hekate’s main day of veneration and adoration which falls on the Dark of the Moon.  This works out to be at the end of the month in the Athenian Calender (aka Attic Calendar) and any time before the first sliver of the new moon appears in the sky.  The word Deipnon means supper/evening meal which *traditionally was the biggest meal in the day.

Hekate’s Deipnon is a time to:

  1. Venerate Hekate and keep the restless dead at bay;
  2. Clean and purify the home, shrines, altar and ourselves in preparation for the Noumenia (New Moon); and
  3. Make up for slights or offences caused to Hekate, as she won’t grant your boon or bless you unless you make amends.

Making and leaving offerings during the Deipnon is a beautiful hands on approach to honour Hekate and is a very important aspect of ritualised practice in her name.  It’s also a way to placate the restless dead, as in Ancient Greece it was believed that Hekate was the Guide of Lost Souls, whom she guided into the underworld flanked by her hounds.  Traditionally perishable food and drink offerings were left inside or upon shrines, on the door step of homes or at a crossroads.  Offerings left outside were typically left in the middle of a crossroads – the person would present the offering, turn around and leave  without looking back, lest they go mad or anger the restless dead and be followed to their home. Those who were poor, hungry and/or homeless would often consume the offerings.  This wasn’t seen as anathema by the ancients but instead viewed as something which offered a dual purpose – one of honouring Hekate and one of feeding the needy.

Modern practitioners are divided in their practice with respects to the perishable Deipnon offerings – some dispose of the items, saying to partake is unfavourable, whilst others disagree and consume them in an act of appropriating her blessings. Modern devotees as well as placing offerings in traditional places, also use liminal locations such as: the base of trees, mouth openings of caves, edge of a streams, rivers or beaches. Tithing has also become quite popular among modern practitioners with goods, services or donations being given to various charities which predominately include nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and animal rescue homes.

Other non-perishable things to proffer Hekate during the Deipnon are things you want to remove from your life and sweepings from the home.  Taking stock and cleaning out your pantry or fridge is an ideal way to “clean house” and find items to present at the Deipnon .  Other suggestions to engage in during the Deipnon could be to “spring clean” your home and/or work, donate items not needed to charity and/or sell them with proceeds going to good causes.  Some other suggestions are helping out your local community and spiritual/religious/magickal groups you are connected to, cleaning up of natural public places (beaches, parks etc) and assisting family, friends, acquaintances or perfect strangers in need. Every little bit helps regardless how small the token, as giving of yourself without expectation of return is a very distinguished way to venerate Hekate.

The Deipnon is also an apt marker as it’s a timely way to set goals with respect to the things you want to rid yourself of emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Following every Deipnon you can check on your accomplishments and progress with regards to following through with removing the obstacles or things you wanted out of your life.

Traditionally Purification of the home was another important aspect of the Deipnon and included the following steps:

  1. Clean and sweep out all waste including the fireplace;
  2. Fumigate through censoring the home and persons with incense and sacred herbs; and/or
  3. The sacrifice of a black dog, especially when it related to bad deeds the householders wanted to expel.

These days the practices outlined above are continued with modern devotees, with the exception of the sacrificial dog, which is rightfully frowned upon.

I personally like to clean, purify, refresh my working shrine/altar with offerings and set goals of banishments/removals of toxic and unnecessary things in my life.  I also empty my **Kathiskos to Hekate and many other devotees find this useful.  I take a jar which has been consecrated and decorated in Hekate’s name and place items from my fridge and pantry in the jar.  These items, for me, symbolise prosperity and vitality and the Kathiskos is created during the Noumenia (New Moon) which I then empty and clean out during the Deipnon.

 

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

Ampiphion (cheesecake with candles), milk, eggs, garlic, bread, bay leaves, honey, wine, olive oil, onion, fish, leeks and incense (myrrh, frankincense, copal and storax).

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

Craft projects for items used in Hekate’s name, pomegranates, honey cakes, lamb, herbs associated with Hekate (wormwood, poppy seeds, rue, maidenhair fern, bay laurel, lavender, juniper, mandrake, mint, mugwort and saffron ), raisins, apples, snakeskin, dog hair, oak leaves, roses, mushrooms, mead, keys, skulls, poppy flowers, crystals( amethyst, tourmaline, onyx and black obsidian), poppy and sesame seeds, candles and oil burners.

The way to dispose of perishable offerings from the home is to place in compost, bury or burn off in an incinerator/fire pit.

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


* Traditionally as in the traditions of devotees, followers or the people in Ancient Greece.

**Kathiskos 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

Herbs for Hekate


The Tarot of Delphi by J.D. Hildegard Hinkel

One of my most favorite things to do whilst crafting my magick is to go out into my garden and harvest fresh herbs, plants, bark, fruit, flowers, resins and leaves.  I love the ceremony of picking and culling the perfect flowers, leaves and stems or pulling out the plant in its entirety. I love speaking to the trees and asking to partake of the gifts they provide through their bark, resins, flowers, leaves, fruit, nuts and seeds. Its something that all my family does as a regular practice as in the “old country” the only way to get access to herbs, plants and trees was to grow them or wild-craft (harvest them from nature).

An aspect of my practice, which I took on-board early, due to it being one of the first things my mother taught me with respects to magick.  One of the first memories I have, is of my mother showing me how to gather Greek Basil from our backyard to make into a steeped tea to drink, after having complained of a headache.  I also have fond memories of my mother taking me out into nature with nothing more than a kitchen knife to show me which greens and herbs were safe to collect and eat and which herbs and plants to carefully avoid.  She taught me about the aspects of nature’s pharmacy which could harm and those which could heal because she believed you couldn’t heal without knowing how to harm and vica versa.

I never realized how this early education with trees, herbs and plants shaped my craft in not only preparing food and drink in healing (and on occasion harming) but also in magickal use.  This is why when starting out in one’s practice I would suggest everyone grow at least one herb on their kitchen windowsill or if feeling adventurous create a simple herb garden either in pots or in a garden bed, to be able to have these sacred plants at hand.  This is not only for convenience, but it’s a way to deeply connect the energies of the plant – to you, which comes from time spent sowing the seeds, planting the seedlings and tending to them by fertilizing them, watering them and on occasion trimming them back.

I would suggest starting off with these easy yet wonderfully effective and safe perennial herbs to plant in your garden, which can be used for various magickal purposes:

Chives = aphrodisiac, protection and weight loss.
Tie a chive into a knot whilst thinking of the protection needed and then bury it deep into the ground.

Fennel = strength, protection and weight loss.
Chew the seeds for confidence and courage.

Garlic = protection.
Hang a garland of garlic in the home to protect against malevolent energies.

Mint = purification and healing.
Mint placed around the wrist in a chain protects from illness.

Oregano = peace.
Steep some of the dried herb in water and use to wash the doors and windowsills of the house, which prevents negativity entering the home.

Rosemary = protection, love and stimulates the mind.
Tying up a few dried springs and then burn in the home for purification and to clear the mind.

Sage = longevity and increases magick.
By using the dried herb make a divination tea and scry for future events.

Thyme = purification, love and psychic ability.
Carry a spring of thyme in your pocket to boost your psychic abilities.

As a devotee of Hekate I consider myself a practicing Pharmakia.  Pharmakia is a Greek word meaning sorcerer who works with baneful herbs.  Some translations of Pharmakia also include the word witchcraft and I strongly resonate with this as a magick worker whose Patron is Hekate.  I actually wrote a poem about being Hekate’s Herbalist due to working with Hekate’s herbs so frequently.  I find my witchcraft being so intriguingly infused with nature within my practice I work with what I call Hekate’s Pharmacy – the herbs, plants and trees used in her name and with her guidance.  I do this whilst maintaining a connection to the land I live on as well as respecting the plants and trees I use in my magickal life.  Like the Ancient Hekate Priestesses – Medea and Circe, I too, like to have access to Hekate’s herbs, plants and trees for me to use in her offerings, devotionals and crafts.  Therefore, I have personally created this list from academic resources with respects to her ancient practice, modern practitioners findings, devotees of Hekate personal musings and my own UPG.

Hekate’s Pharmacy by Setjataset

*Aconite (aka monkshood or wolfsbane)

Angelica

Alcea ‘O Hara’

All-heal

Almond

Apple

*Asphodel

Cardamon

Chives

*Cypress

Cassidony

Chamomile

Barley

Bay Laurel

*Belladona

*Black Hellebore

*Black Poplar

Basil

Garlic

*Galangal

Greenbrier

*Datura

Dandelion

Dittany of Crete

Fennel

*Hedge Mustard

Hulwort

Honeysuckle

Ironwort

Jasmine

Juniper

Lavender

*Lesser Celandine

Lion’s Foot

Maidenhair Fern

*Mandrake

Mint

Mugwort

Mullein

Myrrrh

Oak Tree

*Oakmoss

Olive Tree

Onion

Oregano

Pepper

Pine

Pomegranite

*Poppy

Rose

Rosemary

*Rushes

Saffron

Sage

Thyme

Verbena

Vetiver

Willow

*Wormwood

*Yew

(*Please note these can be harmful or toxic if ingested, inhaled or placed on skin.)

As always please research and check all the plants and trees you will be handling before working with them to ensure you do so in a safe manner.

I would also suggest that before collecting any items from Hekate’s Pharmacy for use in your practice, that you evoke Hekate to bestow her blessings and give her thanks.

One I use, is one I wrote for my devotionals when I was first initiated to her practice: Devotional Hymn to Hekate

 

 

C) T. Georgitsis 2020