I’ve posted a few times already about my Journey to Eleusis this year, and I haven’t really talked about the Goddess I am working with yet. This year, I will be holding the energy of Hekate at Spring Mysteries Festival.
Hekate is the patron Goddess of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. She is known by many names – Torchbearer, Keeper of the Keys, Goddess of the Crossroads, Mother of Witches, Psychopomp…
In modern paganism, a lot of people see Hekate as the Crone face of the Triple Goddess, the wise woman. Others see her as the hidden fourth face, the Dark Mother. To the Greeks she was a young woman, or the triple Goddess all on her own (Hekate Trivia). One thing Hekate keeps telling me is, “Just because I am ancient doesn’t mean I am old!”
Walking with Hekate, I’m seeing more patterns in the world.
“It’s all been done before.”
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
Hekate has been around for a very, very long time. I personally believe she is pre-Greek. I believe she was a Goddess of Place, local to the area that became Greece, long before the Olympian mythology. Not unlike Brigid to the Irish, she was popular enough among the people that the incoming (invading?) religion could not push her out. So they included her as one of the Titans, one who came before the Olympians.
After the Titanomachy (the overthrow of the Titans by the Olympians), Zeus divided up the rule of the worlds between all those who had assisted him. Hesiod tells us:
And she [Asteria, wife of Perses] conceived and bore Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honor, but much more still, for Zeus honors her. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother’s only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.
We see here that she had a great many roles and honors, more than some of the Olympians even!
I’ll leave you with the lovely Orphic Hymn to Hekate:
Hekatê of the Path, I invoke Thee, Lovely Lady of the Triple Crossroads,
Celestial, Chthonian, and Marine One, Lady of the Saffron Robe.
Sepulchral One, celebrating the Bakchic Mysteries among the Souls of the Dead,
Daughter of Persês, Lover of Solitude, rejoicing in deer.
Nocturnal One, Lady of the Dogs, invincible Queen.
She of the Cry of the Beast, Ungirt One, having an irresistible Form.
Bullherder, Keeper of the Keys of All the Universe, Mistress,
Guide, Bride, Nurturer of Youths, Mountain Wanderer.
I pray Thee, Maiden, to be present at our hallowed rites of initiation,
Always bestowing Thy graciousness upon the Boukolos.