The White Moon Gallery Presents

HECATE

Created by Juniper

original collage

(Original Collage)

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Hail, Hecate, Goddess of many titles!

Wise Woman; Crone; Grandmother; Widow; Mistress of the Crossroads; Queen of the Night and the Dark Face of the Moon; Guardian of the Primal Void; Ruler of the Magickal Powers of Regeneration; Torch-Bearing Moon Goddess; Ruler of Mysteries; Heavenly Midwife; Goddess of Magick and Enchantment; Goddess of Fertility and the Harvested Corn; Protectress of Remote Places and the Night Road; Most Potent Sorceress; Archetypal Shaman; Giver of Dreams and Prophetic Visions; Goddess of Nightmares, Lunacy, and Hallucination; Distant One; Most Lovely One; Guardian of the Unconscious Realms; Goddess of Storms; Goddess of Transformation; Illuminator of the Dark Passages; Incubator; Wardress of the Souls of the Dead; Goddess of Addiction, Depression, and Descent to the Underworld; Queen of the Shades; Protector of Laboring Women; Goddess of Prostitutes and Outcasts; Guardian of the Western Gate that leads to the Underworld.

Hail, Hecate!

A little bit of Herstory . . .

Hecate is one of the most ancient embodiments of the Triple Goddess, invariably emphasized in her Crone aspect. Hecate was absorbed into the Greek pantheon, but there is evidence that she is much more ancient, probably Thracian, and associated with Goddess worship in Asia Minor and Middle Europe in the 3rd and 4th millennia. (George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon)

Hecate is most often portrayed as a sinister figure, strongly linked to death, occultism, evil and "black magic," (demonized by the church as an evil Queen of the Witches), and is almost always depicted as the ugly hag of fairy tale witches the worst stereotype of the Crone, although she can appear in any form, even that of an "overtly sexual" temptress (see Trobe, Invoke the Goddess).

Many Greek images of Hecate depict her holding three sacred objects: a key, a rope, and a dagger. The key is the key to the Underworld, unlocking the secrets of the Mysteries; the rope represents the umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal; and the dagger represents the Athame, cutting away delusion. (George, Mysteries of the Dark Moon)

The Voice of Hecate:
Transformative Goddess and Guide to the Interior and Underworld Realms

Hesoid, in Theogony, described Hecate's name as meaning "she who has power far off." Likewise, Hecate has been referred to as "Distant One," and "Far-Darter." (Interestingly enough, she has also been called "Most Lovely One," which is contrary to popular ideas of her as an ugly, frightening, old hag!) Jean Shinoda Bolen (Goddesses in Older Women) gives Hecate the title of "Goddess of Intuitive and Psychic Wisdom." She asserts that the many references to Hecate as "distant" refer to the way she is often experienced through dreams, intuition, psychic experience, or synchronicity.

Bolen's vision of Hecate is as the voice of intuition, a silent presence deep within, and "a witness within us at every juncture, even if the ego denies, represses, distorts, and cannot acknowledge what is happening. This observer makes connections and speaks to us in the symbolic language of dreams and flashes of insight." (Goddesses in Older Women)

Hecate is a goddess of our own underworld, a goddess of the unconscious mind. As such, she is a goddess of dreams, and also nightmares, of our "shadow" side, of the grip of addiction, of depression, of hallucination. Demetra George notes that the truths and insights that Hecate can illuminate may well be more than we are ready or willing to face. "Like hallucinogens to the underdeveloped mind, Hecate poison as well as intoxicate and turn ecstatic inspiration into madness." (Mysteries of the Dark Moon) Hecate stands between light and shadow, the upper world of consciousness and rationality and the underworld of unconsciousness and irrationality, and she may serves as a powerful guide to deep, inner exploration for those who are ready. Hecate is never to be taken lightly.


The Goddess Card Pack, by Juni Parkhurst

Hecate's Incubation:

Accessing, meeting, and working with Hecate most often involves a descent to the underworld. This may be experienced in a number of ways, including: a depression, a period of withdrawal and lethargy, a crisis, bursts of anger, periods of stagnation, intense dreaming, nightmares, etc. Hecate acts as a sort of midwife as we go through the labor pains of deep personal growth, of birthing a more "authentic" self or perhaps these are death pains as we sort through, release, and let go of those things that are not truly of us. Hecate is there whenever we do "inner work," and she has access to all parts of our psyches, conscious and unconscious. At times, she may shed her light on areas that we do not want to see. But when we emerge from the descent, we are changed.

Some of the changes we may experience following a period of incubation and inner growth may be disturbing to others, upsetting the dynamics of our relationships (this is often a good thing). Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson (Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness), state that "when a woman stands her own ground, exercises discipline, or lays down her terms and conditions with "straight talk," she speaks with the voice of the Crone." And, "the Crone speaks with the sharp truth that shocks and alarms others." Hecate demands that we cut through our defenses, falsehoods, and illusions to discover what lies within our own minds, bodies, and spirits.

Finding Hecate, poems
By Juniper, 2001

To find Hecate,
You must be still,
You must be silent,
And you must listen.

She resides in the cave of soul,
In the liminal places below,
In the spaces between light and dark,
Queen of the Shades, dimly seen.

Her voice echoes from the walls of dreams,
In the lay of the cards,
In the throw of the stones,
In the lightening flash of insight.

If you want her to come,
You must open wide,
Turn inside out,
And pay attention.

And the old, dark one says,
"You've called my name, you've burned my candles, you have summoned me.
Here I am."

And she is here, and what a frightful image I have conjured  scary hag!
And she is all that, and she is not all that.
(It won't be easy).

She is buried. I always find her below, beneath, at the bottom of the well,
Deep in the womb of a cave (or is it the cave of my womb?)
These are the places I fear the most  the dark, the beneath places.

And the old, dark one says,
"I shall be your guide, and you shall master these places, and my torches shall light the way, and my key shall unlock the doors, and my athame shall slay demons."


Frog Amulet, from Amulets of the Goddess, by Nancy Blair

Working with Hecate



Correspondences


Candle Colors: black, purples, mauves

Season: Autumn and Winter

Animals: all wild animals, but especially dogs, reptiles, dragons, horses, snakes, the frog (symbol of the fetus) or toad ("toad" in many languages means "witch" or "prophetess")

Numbers: Her scared numbers were 3 and 9

Trees: Funerary trees, especially the yew, alder, and poplar (the yew is associated with immortality)

Tarot Cards: The Moon, the High Priestess, and the Wheel of Fortune

Sacred Days: Samhain, November 30 Day of Hecate at the Crossroads, the Winter Solstice.

Times: Waning moon and especially the dark moon, midnight, dawn and dusk, transitional times, strong link to the menstrual cycle (PMS or during bleeding especially)

Activities: Banishing, releasing of negativity, inner work, dream work, healing, shamanistic journeys, meeting spirit guides, communicating with the dead, divination, spellworking, to increase psychic powers, scrying

Juniper's Altar

A Ritual for Meeting Hecate: A Meditation Journey

Before you begin your ritual, spend some time thinking about what you would like to ask of Hecate. Is there a particular issue that is bothering you, or something that needs your insight? What would you seek from a meeting with this powerful goddess? Consider this for a while before you begin the ritual. Do this meditation when you are feeling stable and calm.

Prepare yourself for ritual with whatever techniques you normally use perhaps a ritual bath. Set up the altar as you like, but include at least one black or deep purple candle, and use whatever incense is most conducive to deep relaxation for you (there is Hecate incense available, but lavender is fine too). Also include an offering for Hecate a "Hecate supper" of bread and water (or juice or wine), or even a small plate of leftovers from your own dinner, and place this on the altar as well.

Cast your circle as you normally do, lighting your altar candles, but not the Hecate candle. Take plenty of time to relax, to center yourself, and to think of the question or topic you wish to bring to Hecate. When you feel ready to begin, light the black (or purple) Hecate candle, saying "Hecate, be with me."

Stare into the flame from the Hecate candle, and continue to chant softly:

"Hecate, be with me, I with thee, ever be. "


Allow your eyes to close, as your chanting dies down, and you feel deeply relaxed and in a light trance state. You see yourself entering a cave, and you feel completely safe as you enter. In the distance, you see the flickering light of a fire, and you walk towards it, knowing that Hecate is there. You approach the fire, and there she is. What does she look like? She asks you to sit and to tell her why you've come. You speak to her, and she gives you a message or a gift of some sort. You accept it. After a period of time, you are ready to leave. You bid Hecate farewell, and rise to leave the cave, back the way you entered. You emerge to find yourself in your own circle, grounded in your own body. Slowly, you open your eyes. As you thank Hecate for what she has given you, you extinguish the Hecate candle. (Re-use this candle if you visit Hecate again).

Spend some time in your circle thinking about your visit with Hecate. You might write about the experience in your journal. Then eat from your Hecate supper on the altar, but save some to take outside later. Be sure you are firmly grounded and out of the trance state before you open the circle and end the ritual.

When the ritual is finished, take the remaining Hecate supper outdoors, and leave it for the wild animals (being sure it is safe for them! If not, bury it in the ground).


The Daughter of the Moon Tarot, by Ffiona Morgan

References:

Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Goddesses in Older Women: Becoming a Juicy Crone. 2001.

George, Demetra. Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess. 1992.

Trobe, Kala. Invoke the Goddess: Visualizations of Hindu, Greek, & Egyptian Deities. 2000.

Woodman, Marion and Dickson, Elinor. Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness. 1996.



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