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Hecate: Goddess of witches

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Hecate is known as the goddess of witches due to her association with magic, crossroads and the underworld. She is an ancient deity who may have originated in Thrace, Greece, Anatolia or Egypt. However, she later evolved into an important figure in Greek mythology. More recently, she has become an influential figure in contemporary witchcraft and neopagan practices.

Goddess of Magic

As the goddess of magic and the patroness of witches, Hecate can offer us support with spells, divination and the mysteries of the occult. Additionally, when we develop a relationship with her, she may grant us access to ancient wisdom and knowledge. Her association with magic encompasses both its light and dark aspects, allowing us to access her transformative power in our spellwork and helping us to navigate the unseen realms.

Goddess of crossroads

Hecate is the guardian of crossroads, guiding travellers along our chosen life paths and bestowing her wisdom upon those who seek it. In addition, she presides over the in-between spaces, connecting the mortal world with the spiritual realm. You can request her help in making decisions or when facing important transitions.

In ancient Greek mythology, Hecate was often depicted as a goddess with three faces. For this reason, she was known as the “Triple Hecate” or “Hecate Triformis’. As she stood at the Y crossroads where three roads meet, she could see in all directions and so act as a guide in making decisions. Her three faces are also thought to represent the aspects of mother, maiden and crone which are potent symbols of the cycles of life in witchcraft. The three-headed depiction of her also symbolizes her association with the realms of Earth, Heaven and the Underworld.

Hecate and the underworld

As a goddess of the night and the underworld, Hecate possesses knowledge of the mysteries beyond the veil. As such, she can provide guidance and protection for those of us venturing into the depths of the psyche or exploring otherworldly realms.

Hecate as guardian of the home

Hecate is revered as a powerful protector of the home, safeguarding households from negative energies and malevolent forces. She stands as a guardian at the thresholds of the home, ensuring the safety and security of the dwelling. Through rituals and offerings, we can seek her guidance and assistance in creating a harmonious and protected living space. Her protective energy creates a sacred sanctuary within the domestic realm surrounding us with her guiding presence.

Hecate mythology

The myth of Hecate and Persephone is a significant tale in Greek mythology. In this myth, Hades, the god of the underworld abducts Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. Demeter is devastated by the loss of her daughter and searches frantically for her. In her grief, she withdraws her blessings from the earth, causing a devastating famine.

Hecate assists Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her to Helios, the sun god, who reveals the truth of Persephone’s abduction. Together, they approach Zeus, who negotiates Persephone’s return to the surface world. Armed with a pair of blazing torches, Hecate ventures into the underworld to bring Persephone back. However, while in the underworld, Persephone eats a pomegranate seed and because of this, she is required to spend a portion of each year with Hades.

This myth symbolises the changing seasons with Persephone’s time in the underworld with Hades representing the winter months when the earth lies dormant and her return to her mother, Demeter, signifying the rebirth of spring. 

Why work with Hecate?

Many witches worship Hecate, drawn to her unique and powerful qualities. As the guardian of the crossroads, she is particularly helpful when we are struggling with change, loss or other transitions. She can also be relied on to guide us through important decisions.

As a goddess of magic and witchcraft, we can seek her assistance in spellcasting, divination and accessing mystical knowledge. Furthermore, her association with the moon and its cycles resonates with those who embrace lunar energy.

Additionally, she is a nurturing figure, offering her guidance and support during times of transition and personal growth. Worshipping her allows us to tap into her unique powers to find strength, wisdom and spiritual connection in our lives.

Offerings for Hecate

If you would like to make an offering to Hecate she will appreciate gifts of food, drink, artwork, candles and incense. You might also like to place various symbols on a shrine or other sacred space. Here is a list of suitable offerings to get you started, however as you develop your relationship with the Goddess feel free to go with your intuition in choosing offerings for her.

Food and Drink

Food and drink are offered to deities as a gesture of nourishment and gratitude. Traditional offerings for her include pomegranates, garlic, honey, eggs, or dark chocolate. You can also offer can offer wine or herbal teas. Alternatively, you can give food to a charity or food bank as an offering.

Herbs and Plants

Hecherate also appreciates dried herbs and plants, such as lavender, mandrake, dandelion, or garlic. These plants are believed to hold protective and magical properties and are closely tied to her worship.

Incense

You may like to burn incense to create an atmosphere of reverence and invoke her presence. Frankincense, myrrh, mugwort and patchouli are commonly associated with her.

Colours

Hecate is most commonly associated with the colours black, white and red. Black symbolises her association with the underworld, while red symbolizes the ancestral bloodline that flows within each of us, connecting us to the divine feminine. White represents Hekate as the universal force of creation and destruction, as well as being connected with the higher self. You may like to light candles in shades of black, white or red to honour her.

In the Orphic Hymn to Hekate, she was described as a “saffron-cloaked goddess of the heavens”, so saffron yellow is also associated with her.

Crystals

You can place crystals on your shrine as offerings or carry them with you as a personal talisman. Crystals often associated with her include obsidian, moonstone, amethyst and labradorite.

Symbols

There are various symbols associated with Hecate.

  • The triple moon – this symbol represents her three faces and the phases of the moon
  • Keys – Hecate is known as the keeper of the keys as she can open the doors to hidden and sacred places
  • Torches – torches are often used as a symbol for her as she carried two blazing torches when she entered the underworld to bring Persephone back to Demeter
  • The Stropholos, –  also known as Hecate’s Wheel, is an ancient Greek symbol embodying the three aspects of the Goddess. This sacred symbol takes the form of a visually intricate maze composed of three distinct whirls that converge at the centre.

Animals and birds

There are several animals and birds associated with Hecate. You can add images or ornaments, featuring her favourites, to your shrine or sacred space. There are examples of her as Triformis having a dog, horse and serpent head so these would be excellent symbols. Other animals associated with her include owls, ravens, crows, bats, and black cats because of their association with the underworld.

Divination Tools

If you are seeking Hecate’s guidance or wisdom, you may offer your divination tools, such as tarot cards, runes, or scrying mirrors. Place them on your shrine or dedicate a special space for them as an offering.

Acts of Service

Offer your time and energy by performing acts of service in Hecate’s name. Volunteer in your community, support causes related to women’s rights or animal welfare, or engage in acts of kindness that reflect her nurturing and protective qualities.

Personal Offerings

You can connect with Hecate on a personal level by offering something that holds significance to you or is relevant to your spiritual practice. It could be a poem, a song, a piece of writing, or a heartfelt prayer expressing your devotion and gratitude.

When choosing appropriate offerings, consider your personal relationship with the Goddess and take the time to find offerings that align with your intentions and connect with her energy.

Hekate and the moon

Hecate is a lunar deity associated with the phases of the moon and the cycles of life. She is often depicted as carrying a torch, guiding souls through the darkness, much like the moon illuminates the night sky. Her association with the moon represents her ability to access hidden knowledge, intuition and the depths of the unconscious mind. She is a guardian of the liminal spaces, where the boundaries between worlds blur, mirroring the ever-changing nature of the moon. In honouring her lunar aspects, we can tap into her transformative power, embracing the cycles of growth, release and renewal that the moon symbolizes.

Deipnon

Deipnon is a significant ritual in the Hellenic tradition, observed as part of the worship of Hecate. The word “Deipnon” translates to “evening meal” or “supper,”. it refers to the meal offered to the Goddess on the last day of the lunar month. During this sacred time, we can offer her food, such as eggs, garlic, onions and cakes. The Deipnon serves as a way to show gratitude and seek the Goddess’s blessings and guidance. By offering sustenance to the goddess, we may receive her protection, wisdom, and assistance in navigating life’s crossroads and mysteries. Celebrating the Deipnon creates an opportunity to deepen our connection with Hecate and participate in a centuries-old ritual.

Ritual: Seeking Hecate’s Guidance

If you would like to work with Hecate I have included an introductory ritual below. You can use this ritual to start building a relationship with her. You may like to adapt this practice to suit your needs, desires, values and practice.

Preparation

  • Find a quiet and secluded space outdoors, such as a garden, park, or crossroads. Alternatively, you can do this ritual indoors at your altar, in a sacred space or a quiet room.
  • Gather three candles. Ideally, use one black, one white, and one red. You can substitute white candles or LED candles if necessary. Place them in a triangle formation.
  • Have a bowl of offerings ready, including offerings associated with Hecate such as herbs, food, incense, crystals or keys.

Ritual Steps

  • Begin by taking a few deep breaths and entering a calm and centred state of mind.
  • Light the black candle, representing her connection to the underworld and the mysteries of life.
  • Reflect on Hecate’s presence in your life and the guidance you seek from her. Speak your intentions aloud.
  • Light the white candle, symbolizing her association with light, wisdom, and protection.
  • Offer your words of gratitude and reverence to Hecate, acknowledging her as the torchbearer and guardian of the crossroads.
  • Light the red candle, signifying her role as the goddess of transformation, magic and feminine empowerment.
  • Place the offerings into the bowl, one by one, speaking your intentions and expressing your appreciation for Hecate’s presence in your life.
  • Spend a few moments in silent meditation, opening yourself to her energy and guidance.
  • Close the ritual by extinguishing the candles in reverse order: red, white and black.
  • Express your gratitude once more and conclude the ritual with a heartfelt farewell to Hecate.

I hope this article has been a good introduction to working with Hecate. In my experience, she is a powerful Goddess to work with and can boost your development both as a witch and in other areas of your life. If you would like to work further with her there are many great books available that go into more detail about ways to work with her. A particular favourite of mine is Hekate: Goddess of Witches by Courtney Weber.

Eva May Baker
Eva May Baker
Hello, and welcome to The City Witch, your portal into the magical world that exists within the hustle and bustle of city life. My name is Eva Baker and I am an urban folk witch, author and your guide on this magical journey.

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