17 November 2007
Tonight is Hecate Night in honor of the Great Goddess Hecate. Although She has other sacred days within various cultures, the Romans especially honored Her on the 29th of each month, this is the day I and others mark as specially meant for Her. Although considered by many to be a Greek goddess She actually originated from Asia Minor, Anatolia to be exact. She later became somewhat incorporated into, but independent of, the Greco-Roman pantheons. She is a goddess of many guises including a mother goddess, sorceress, Queen of the Underworld and Queen of the Night. Though She is considered a crone goddess by most neopagans today She is herself a Triple Goddess and thus a Great Goddess. According to one myth She shares the moon duties with Artemis and Selene, as maiden and mother respectively, and is represented by the dark of the moon. But as the moon itself produces no light of its own it is in fact always dark. As such, Hecate is the moon goddess of all phases and stages as well as goddess of sky, Earth and Underworld. Without Her we would quite possibly have no seasons as, out of all the gods, only She heard the pitiful cries of Persephone and took steps to ensure Her part-time freedom from the land of the dead. Her sacred symbols are the key, as a guardian goddess of the Underworld; the scourge, as a herder and sometimes beater of souls; and the dagger, symbol of Her ritual power as well as Her ability to take life, especially that of babies who would otherwise suffer worse fates. Dogs are also sacred to Her as they are able to sniff out good souls from evil souls and as such Cerberus is especially Her friend. Crossroads, as metaphors for the past, future and present, are sacred to Her and offerings to Her are to be left in these magical places. In the past victims of violent or otherwise questionable deaths were often buried at crossroads so as to encourage Hecate to quickly take the deceased away to the Underworld.
The more modern understanding of Hecate is that of patroness of witches and mighty crone goddess. She is a wise, stern and sometimes cruel goddess who does not suffer fools gladly and will gladly kick you in the face if you deserve it. She does not coddle or baby Her followers but rather She challenges us to challenge ourselves, to incorporate the darkness within us into our larger souls and thus become whole. She is not to be trifled with, She cannot be fooled and She reigns over the unconscious land of dreams and that of the Underworld. She is a Great Goddess, some would say, The Great Goddess. All hail Hecate!
For a more exhaustive history of Hecate visit Wikipedia. Original art by Luis Royo.