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Hecate

In Greek mythology, a powerful goddess who
became the patron of magic and witchcraft. Hecate has
three aspects: goddess of fertility and plenty; goddess of
the Moon; and queen of the night, ghosts and shades. In
her moon-goddess aspect, she is often part of a trinity
with Selene and Diana/Artemis.

Hecate possesses infernal power, roaming the earth at
night with a pack of red-eyed hell hounds and a retinue
of dead souls. She is visible only to dogs, and if dogs howl
in the night, it means Hecate is about. She is the cause of
nightmares and insanity and is so terrifying that many
ancients referred to her only as “The Nameless One.”
She is the goddess of the dark of the moon, the destroyer
of life but also the restorer of life. In one myth,
she turns into a bear or boar and kills her own son, then
brings him back to life. In her dark aspect, she wears a
necklace made of testicles; her hair is made of writhing
snakes which petrify, like the Medusa.

Hecate is the goddess of all crossroads, looking in
three directions at the same time. In ancient times, threeheaded
statues of her were set up at many intersections
and secret rites were performed under a full moon to appease
her. Statues of Hecate carrying torches or swords
were erected in front of homes to keep evil spirits at bay.
Hecate has been associated with many incantations,
sacrifices and rituals throughout history. In ancient
times, people sought to appease her by leaving chicken
hearts and honey cakes outside their doors. On the last
day of the month, offerings of honey, onions, fish and
eggs were left at crossroads, along with sacrifices of puppies,
infant girls and she-lambs. Sorcerers gathered at
crossroads to pay homage to her and such infernal servants
as the Empusa, a hobgoblin; the Cercopsis, a poltergeist;
and the Mormo, a ghoul. One petition for her
patronage was recorded in the 3rd century by Hippolytus
in Philosophumena:

Come, infernal, terrestrial, and heavenly Bombo (Hecate),
goddess of the broad roadways, of the crossroad,
thou who goest to and fro at night, torch in hand, enemy
of the day. Friend and lover of darkness, thou who doest
rejoice when the bitches are howling and warm blood is
spilled, thou who art walking amid the phantom and in
the place of tombs, thou whose thirst is blood, thou who
dost strike chill fear into mortal hearts, Gorgo, Mormo,
Moon of a thousand forms, cast a propitious eye upon
our sacrifice.

As the goddess of all forms of magic and witchcraft,
Hecate was far more important in antiquity than the
mythical sorceress Circe, who was sometimes said to be
her daughter, or the witch Medea, also sometimes said to
be Hecate’s daughter, who helped Jason steal the Golden
Fleece.

In modern Witchcraft, Hecate is usually associated
with the lunar trinity, the Triple Goddess. She rules over
the waning and dark moon, a two-week period that is best
for magic that deals with banishing, releasing, planning
and introspection. She is invoked for justice.

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Categories:   Paganism and Witchcraft

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