Hekate for Halloween

deipnon-september 2013

Halloween is also 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 Halloween. During Halloween 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: Halloween also known as Samhain.  Hekate can be called upon as an intermediary to connect you to your ancestors especially since our dearly departed tend to visit us during Halloween.  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 Halloween, 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 Halloween includes apples, pomegranates, garlic, onion, wine, mead and mugwort tea.

Here is a simple ritual for Hekate, Halloween and your ancestors I have composed and used successfully in the past:

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

Create sacred space.

Light some incense preferably dragons blood, frankincense or livani (which is found at Greek continental shops and I prefer the rose scented type).

Have a candle placed in the middle of your altar before an image of Hekate in red or black so your deceased loved ones can make their way to you whilst invoking a hymn to Hekate (I prefer the Orphic Hymn to Hekate).

Have a key (I prefer skeleton keys) and an image of a skull (I prefer to use crystal) on the left side of your alter.

Any forms of divination should be placed on your shrine which include, tarot cards, scrying bowl or mirror.

Begin the rite by lighting the spirit candle and evoke Hekate with the following Orphic hymn:

“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.

Thank and farewell your ancestors and Hekate.

Close sacred space.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

Advertisements

We Are The Witches – A Poem

We are the ones who rise
We are the cursers
We are the crafters

We are the ones who heal
We are the charmers
We are the wise

We are the ones who dare
We are the quiet fury
We are the witches

(C) Image and Prose: T Georgitsis 2017

 

 

Isis-Seshat 2017 Summer Issue: Summer Festival

The latest issue of Isis Seshat (the journal for the Fellowship of Isis and the like) has just come out and I have an article about a summer festival in the southern hemisphere  – get your copy now: PDFs are available for purchase at $5 USD each; just email me via PayPal at anna dot applegate at yahoo dot com.

The Alternative Spirit (Issue 13): Regular Column – Ancient Medicine

In this issue of of The Alternative Spirit Magazine, I’m talking about one of my favorite subjects – medicine of the ancients!

You can purchase your copy here:

http://www.alternativespiritmagazine.com/

Communicating with the Blessed Dead

Unknown to me at the time, I first started working with the blessed dead as a young child.  I call them the blessed dead because they have provided me with messages to aid the living, insight or knowledge applicable in life and guided me on my magickal and spiritual path.  The blessed dead is a term I use, as it’s a name used for our ancestors and deceased loved ones in the Kemetic tradition I am a follower of.

It all started in the middle of one night when I was woken up by a loud voice talking to me.  When I opened my eyes I was at first startled when I saw a tall middle aged man standing at the foot of my bed, but as I focused, I realised he was familiar to me and so I wasn’t afraid.  He was talking to me without moving his mouth, was slightly transparent and being so young I didn’t question this aspect.  I just accepted that he was there and didn’t want to hurt me as he just wanted me to pass on a message.

He was telling me that I needed to tell his brother that he was gone and that his brother needed to know he was ok and not to worry.  I got up and ran into my parents bedroom to tell them what this man had told me, but my mother thinking I had a bad dream, put me back into bed after bestowing upon me a blessing and protection prayer.  Some time later, I was woken again by this man who was adamant I pass on a message to his brother and that he wouldn’t leave until I’d done so.  Again I raced into my parents bedroom and this time when my mother tried to explain it was just a nightmare and everything was ok. I started to throw a tantrum because I wanted to be heard.  Whilst my mother was trying to calm me down I practically screamed out the message I had received which was that “John” was in my bedroom and wanted to tell his brother that he was dead but that he was ok and not to get sad.  My mother’s eye’s widened in a quizzical expression and she then asked what he looked like so I carefully described him.  When I was done my mother crossed herself and shot my father a worrying glance.  I started to cry in panic and she soothed me and put me back to bed whilst telling me everything was going to be fine and thanked me for passing on the message from John.

The next morning I found my father crying at the kitchen table and when I asked him why he was sad he told me that his brother John had died.  Uncle John was my father’s favourite brother and best friend who lived interstate and had suffered a stroke and died during the night.  I hugged my father and told him not to cry as Uncle John had visited and told me that he was ok. It did give my father comfort and solace.  Then in the following days when I attended the funeral with my parents I wasn’t shocked to see Uncle John lying in an open casket and was actually wondering why people gathered were upset since he told me himself, he was fine.  When I told this to my mother she explained to me that not everyone talked to people who had passed away and gently warned me not to repeat to anyone what had happened as they wouldn’t understand.  She also explained that some people in our family could talk to the dead in order to help those who were left behind with their grieving.  Since I had this gift she would teach me how to work with the blessed dead in a safe and helpful way.

That was the beginning of when I started working with the blessed dead and to this day I continue to work with them in one way or another.  I predominately work with my own blessed dead as they have guided me on my magical and spiritual path.  When I conduct healings and readings I receive messages for clients from their loved ones which I pass on.  I find that these messages along with descriptions of their loved ones are appreciated by the living as they help them to move on and accept they are no longer in physical form and we don’t need to worry about them.

Having lost both my parents before I turned 30, working with the blessed dead has allowed me to accept and let go of them with love in my heart as I am completely confident they are in a peaceful place.  I had been warned about both my parents passing before it occurred through dreams and other blessed dead who came to me to tell me and in both my parents cases it actually helped them move on.

Over the years I’ve delved deeper into Hellenic and Kemetic magickal and religious practices.  I have found this has added value not only to my personal life but also when dealing with the blessed dead.  My interest in Hellenic and Kemetic traditions stems from my ancestry and I was also drawn to it through the guidance of my spirit guide who happened to be an ancestor well versed in these traditions.

When I was introduced to the concept of Ancestor Veneration in the Kemetic tradition it felt very familiar.  This practice was something which I had always done in some way or another and it was refreshing to see others actively participating in the same practice in this day and age.  I came to learn that “Akhu” also known as the “Shining Ones” or “Blessed Dead” and are the spirits of our ancestors who became a star in the heavens in the body of Nuit.  Nuit is a sky goddess who is depicted as a naked woman covered in stars who arches over the earth.  She is also a goddess of death and swallowed and rebirth the stars and sun. As stars shine their light down upon us, they remind us that they are always with us and watching over us.  This brought me great comfort and resonated within me in a most profound way.

Venerating the Ancestors is a practice where you honour (instead of worship) your blessed dead so their Ka (soul) continues to be fed and therefore continuing to exist.  Through remembering and speaking their name and by leaving them offerings such as incense, water or things they enjoyed in life , it allows them to have the ability to intercede on our behalf and assist us in our lives.  Venerating the Ancestors shows how much you care for your blessed dead even though they are no longer in physical form in this earthly plain.  It allows us to thank them for being as our own existence is due to theirs.  When Venerating our Ancestors it allows them to bestow blessings and offer insight into our lives.  This is because it is believed that they stand in the Duat or underworld/land of the dead and can communicate to us or be go betweens to the Gods themselves if necessary.   All that is needed to Venerate the Ancestors is to acknowledge them in the form of prayers or offerings, this includes asking them for assistance and in return thanking them for their assistance when given.   Also it is worthy to note that you don’t have to be blood tied to your blessed dead as they can be a person you cared deeply for in life and want to remember them in death.

People in many cultures including Eastern, Native American, Greek and Egyptian have been known to Venerate their Ancestors for many thousands of years.  Originally it was part of everyday life for the common man to do this and in the modern day these practices have remained in one form or another.  This shows us that many acknowledge that honouring and/or working with the blessed dead gives them comfort or blessings and has a positive impact on us physically and psychologically.

I have an ancestor shrine which I maintain regularly and sits in a part of the house I frequently use to ensure my blessed dead are acknowledged as part of the family.  My shrine is an old desk I have covered with a star studded shrine cloth and I have placed various items on it which represent my ancestors and which symbolically feed their soul.  Some items on my ancestor shrine include personal possessions of my ancestors, photos of my ancestors, a book containing ancestor’s names and their stories, flowers, a libation bowl, a food offering plate, incense holder with incense and candles which are lit during the reciting of prayers.    It is important to note that food offerings are always disposed of in the garbage separately to the household trash and are not to be consumed.  Libations are left to evaporate or poured onto the earth outside.

((C) T. Georgitsis Akhu Shrine 2010)

 

I find an effective way to communicate with my blessed dead other than simply talking to them in shrine is by writing them a letter and reading it to them or leaving it on their shrine.  I have a personally amended a Kemetic prayer (A Hotep Di Nisut Prayer) with my own words at the end which has been framed and placed amongst photos of my blessed dead on my shrine which is recited frequently:

An offering which the King gives to Yinepu-Upon-His-Mountain and to Wesir, Lord of Abydos: a thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, a thousand of oil and alabaster and linen, a thousand of meat and fowl and all things good and pure that heaven gives, the earth produces and the inundation brings; for the ka of _______ ma’a heru.

Your names will live on forever, for you are the stars who watch over me “

If it wasn’t for my ancestors, my blessed dead, I wouldn’t be here and for that I am indebted.  I am a part of them and they will always be a part of me as I remind myself how much I love them through devotional veneration where I bestow offerings and prayers as a symbol of this love and remembrance.  In return they bless, assist me and remind me of where I came from.  Until I see my blessed dead when it is my time to cross over, I will continue to show them respect and be their messenger when needed.

By T. Georgitsis © 2011

This article was the opening piece from the book: Memento Mori – A Collection of Magickal and Mythological Perspectives on Death, Dying, Mortality & Beyond, Edited by Kim Huggens which can be purchased here:

Memento Mori Collection Mythological Perspectives

Mabon

Mabon is also known as the Autumn Equinox and is considered a vernal equinox where the hours of day and night is roughly equal in number.  It is the second harvest festival in the wheel of the year seasonal calendar (in the wiccan and Celtic pagan traditions).

I like to work with Demeter during Mabon time and make her offerings of wine, grapes, bread, corn, nuts and apples.  I tend to use seasonal fruit and veggies as during this time they are in abundance.

Traditionally I like to perform a ritual to Demeter for the Autumn Equinox. Offerings of apples/pomegranates cut in half, wine, ears of corn and poppies on her shrine are made, as in the Greek pantheon she is the mother goddess of the harvest and the land.

I also like to bless seeds in her name which I plant during this time of the year such as:  lavender, marigold, cornflower, larkspur, burdock, spearmint, fox glove, borage, calendula, chamomile, coriander, sorrel, parsley, poppy, onion, thyme, chives, rosemary, peppermint, catnip, caraway, soapwort, wormwood, pennyroyal, hyssop, queen anne’s lace, chicory, marshmallow, nasturtium and dill.

Here is a hymn I wrote which you can use for Demeter during the Autumnal Equinox:

Hymn to Demeter at the Harvest

Goddess of the Bounty, Harvest and Grains,

Give us what we need to gather our gains.

Madam of Marriage and the Sacred Law,

Hope giver to followers of your mysterious awe.

Barley, Corn and Poppy Mother,

Giver of food and abundance of Gaia.

Dominatrix of the cycle of life and death,

We pray for our bounty to be full of life’s breath.

Motherly matron of food and blessings unbound,

Turn the earth, sow our seeds to harvest plough.

Giver of boons, fertile and quaff,

Separate the wheat from the chaff.

Great divine feminine light upon the earth,

I adore and honor you with mirth.

© T. Georgitsis 2017

Wiccan Circle Cast: Elphame Tradition

As an initiate of the Elphame wiccan tradition I was tasked with copying this from the coven’s BOS where all initiates were instructed to do the same.

I figured I would post this online, to be able to have a record of it publicly available since the lineage seems to have vanished or gone underground.

pentacle-1800976_1920

Elphame Wicca Circle Cast

Items Needed:

  • Candle holder and three candles – red, white and black.
  • Incense, charcoal blocks and incense holder.
  • Earth bowl and cakes.
  • Wine chalice and wine/juice.
  • Salt dish and salt.
  • Water chalice and water.

Cast circle.

Salt and water taken around circle.

Earth and water where thou art cast,

Let no evil powers last.

Work in complete accord with me

And as I do will it – so mote it be.

Incense taken around circle.

Creature of air and fire bright,

Do my bidding this very night.

On you this charge I lay,

No phantoms in thy presence stay.

Head my words to thee,

As I do will it-  so mote it be.

 

Spirit candle is now lit and raised up towards the sky whilst the following is repeated:

Be to me the fire of moon,

Be to me the fire of night,

Be to me the fire of joy,

Turning darkness into light!

 

The spirit candle is now carried to the East whilst raising the candle (and hand gestures by the others gathered) in unison with the following words:

As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without.

 

The spirit candle is now passed to other coven members while the above is repeated for the South, West and North quarters.

The Spirit candle is raised up towards the sky once more and the following is repeated:

By the Virgin waxing cold
By the Mother full and bold
By the Queen Hag silent and old
By the power of the moon, the one in three
I consecrate this circle – BLESSED BE!

All to commence magical working.

All to leave appropriate offering.

Cakes and Ale.

Farewell and thank God/dess.

Close Circle.

Agape.

 

Basic Hellenic Ritual

1475811_10152448752794762_1673674297_n

Basic Hellenic Ritual

Set up working shrine with the following: image of God/dess, knife, khernips, khernips bowl, offerings including: barley, flowers, grape juice/wine, blessing cups, libation vessel, olive oil, salt, bread, candle/lamp, incense, charcoal, incense burner, bay leaves and matches.

Purification

Wash your hands in the khernips which is placed in a bowl outside the sacred space.

At this point state, Let all that is profane be gone!

Take barley and throw the offering of cleansing upon the shrine and upon the sacred space and say,
Hekas hekas este o-bebeloi(Afar, Afar, O The/Ye Profane).

Procession

Form a formal procession and walk towards the sacred space carrying the offerings with you.

Present the offerings to the God/desses by holding them up in a gesture of offering and placing them on the shrine before forming a semi-circle around 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.

Sprinkle khernips over offerings to purify them with the words “Xerniptosai (be purified).

Honoring God/s

Read out a hymn to Hestia (the first and foremost) and offer a libation in her name.

Read out hymn to specific God/dess and offer a libation in their name.

Offerings and Blessing Request

Present any offerings.

These can be in the form of items lifted up to the heavens, in the form of hymns or prayers you would like to read out, any petitions of askance, blessings or the like and lastly any jewelry or ritual tools may be consecrated using the khernips.

Pour a libation for God/dess.

Partake of the libations if so inclined.

Closing

Thank God/dess by saying:
“God/dess, in your name we gathered, thank you for your eternal illumination and blessings.”

Ritual is complete.

This is now when the “feasting” part of the ritual takes place ensuring that afterwards the shrine is disassembled and cleaned up.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2012

 

Dedication of a Home Shrine to Hekate

 

Like the Ancient Greeks, Anatolians and Romans, Hekate has always had a place in my home.  In times gone by, shrines to Hekate were placed above doorways to people’s homes, at the entries to cities, villages and towns as well as the roads traveled in between (predominately at a three way crossroads).  This was done as a way to supplicate Hekate’s connection as Queen of the Dead and Sorcery and to ensure the dwellers and travelers were protected from the restless dead and evil magick.  Offerings were made in these liminal places during the new moon to show devotion and request protection.

In modern times many Hellenic practitioners, witches, magicians and the like continue this tradition and create a shrine in her name.  The most ideal place to create a shrine in Hekate’s name is within the home, in a place of high volume of traffic, like the lounge room or near the front or back door of the home.  To create a basic shrine to Hekate ensure it contains an image representing her, a flame of some kind, sacred water, incense and offerings.  An example can be seen below which is my Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads shrine in my home:

h.jpg

 

It’s prudent to dedicate your shrine when creating it in honour of Hekate as is ensuring the shrine is kept in a state of clean and good repair. Making fresh offerings on Noumenia and cleaning shrines during the Deipnon is traditional and ensures it’s done on a regular basis. Here are some simple steps of how to dedicate a shrine to Hekate:

Dedication of a Shrine to Hekate

  1. Invocation of Hekate and light flame;
  2. Consecration of Water and Incense which is sprinkled over and through image of Hekate respectively;
  3. Offerings Made in Hekate’s name;
  4. Dedication of Purpose of Shrine ie working shrine in Hekate’s name: and
  5. Farewell and thanks to Hekate.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

Initiation Hymn

egyptian-1822056_1920

This is the hymn I had to write for my first degree back when I was part of the Elphame tradition in the 1990’s.

I came across it recently in my handwritten BOS.

Please excuse the “old English” style language as I was in my early 20’s and was over exposed to that liturgy technique during inner and outer court.  The AHP and HP at the time used and wrote rituals in this tone and truth be told I personally don’t use this type of language and never have.

Interesting to see how much I have changed yet my devotion is still unwavering over the years.

Initiation Hymn

O Great Goddess of all that is,
I call upon you to be here with me now.
Come to me O Great Lady as I invoke you in your many guises.
I call thee forth for guidance as I walk the old path and strive for spiritual growth and knowledge.

To Athtor I call out, Mother Night.
Bring to me respect of all things,
Power within and heighten my hidden senses.

To Bast I call out, Playful Lady.
Bring to me happiness and all that is joyful in one’s life
and help me to live the life to its fullest.

To Hathor I call out, O Beauteous One.
Bring to me love for all things
and the power of self-love.

To Maat I call out, Bearer of Truth.
Bring to me truth, honour, justice and
the power to speak out against untruths.

To Mert I call out, Lover of Silence.
Bring to me the wisdom of silence
and constraint when needed.

To Isis I call out, Mistress of Charms and Enchantments.
Bring to me the determination and dedication
in finding and learning the mysteries.

© T. Georgitsis 1998