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Hekate
 
Hekate
 

"Then, earth began  to bellow, trees  to dance
And howling dogs in glimmering light advance
Ere Hecate came."

                                                 --Aeneid, Book VL


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Preamble:  A word of caution

For your convenience the preamble appears at the end of this document.  Simply click HERE to go there.  Another link throughout this writing is marked as "TOP" and will bring you to the start of the article.  You are encouraged to read it in advance of the article on Hekate.  It includes important information, legal and otherwise, that you should know.



The symbol of Hekate
The symbol of Hekate

Hekate
(Hehk-ah-tee; Hee-kah-tee never hehk-eight) is probably, if not, the most famous of the Greek deities associated with magick.  Not only a Goddess of magick but a creatrix of it who only granted her mysteries and powers to her favorites which were those who respected and honored her most.  According to tradition, she is either the daughter of Zeus (Zoos; Zyoos) and Demeter (Dee-mee-tuhr; Dehm-uh-tuhr); Zeus and Hera (Hair-uh; Huhr-ah; Hee-rah); or the Titans (Tigh-tanz) Perses (Puhr-seez) and Astria (ass-tree-ah).  The latter being the most likely since she is an ancient Goddess.  Though she is of uncertain pedigree, it is clear that she is a Titaness of Thraycian (thray-see-an) origin.  Her worship was not limited to Thrace as it eventually spread to Troy, Thessaly and Ephesus. Her mystery rites were held on Aegina, and possibly in Idrias which was once called Hekataea.  TOP

From the earliest times she ruled the moon, the earth and the sea.  She is known as Hekate of Heaven, Earth and Hell for a variety, but for mainly obvious, reasons as you will see.  Amongst her blessings were victory, magick, power, queen of the spirit realm, wealth, wisdom, successful hunting and sailing.  However, she only bestowed these treasures upon those mortals whom she deemed worthy and respectful.  Her gifts were not idly handed out and should be graciously received.  She, like the sea she loved, had a raging, quick temper not easily appeased once enraged.  Some sources claim she demands respect for the elderly as well and can be quite unforgiving when this is crossed.  She was the sole Titan/ess who retained full power and privileges under the iron rule of Zeus.  She was honored and revered by all immortals.  TOP

There is some speculation as to why she was so privileged to keep her full potential once the Olympians (Oh-lihm-pee-anz) began their rule. One source suggests that this was because she was not a careless Goddess and was cautious as to which mortals received her blessings and which did not.  It may also be because she assisted the Olympians in the war against the Gigantez (Gigh-gan-teez) or Giants.  Or even due to her refusal to become involved in the war between the Olympians and the Titans (for which Zeus did bestow upon her certain liberties and privileges).  Which ever the case may be, she did not decline in her potency after the Olympians came into power.  TOP

Like many Goddesses who ruled the heavens, earth and under regions, the Moon apparently belonged to her and was as well her own self.  The moon was considered a very mysterious and potently magickal sphere traveling from one realm to another but ever visiting all three planes.  Its phases seemed magickal and it's association with the tides and the menstrual cycle were too obvious to be ignored.  The waning and dark of the moon were particularly associated with her and the final day of each month was dedicated to her.  The day was particularly potent as it was the thirtieth (30th) and three is one of her sacred numbres, though some sources claim the thirteenth of each month was also reserved for her worship.  This is erroneous and strictly stems from the ancient, annual rituals of Marathon (mair-uh-thahn) explained below.  The final day of the month was also reserved for respecting the dead. Some mythologists suggest that Hekate was only made into a triple deity to make her like the majority of other lunar Goddesses as she was not one initially.  TOP

In time Hekate, like Artemis, Athena, and Hera, absorbed the qualities and attributes of a variety of other Goddesses.  These included but certainly may not be limited to: Pheraea (fee-ree-yah), a shepherdess Goddess of Thrace and a hearth Goddess of Attica; some sources include the Arkadian (ahr-kay-dee-ihn) Maera (mee-rah), the faithful dog of Ikarus who was eventually rewarded by being transformed into the Dog Star and thus a  Goddess of the same; as Queen of nature, fertility and plenty she became associated with Demeter, Rhea (Ree-ah; Ray-ah) and Cybele (Sigh-behl-lee; Kigh-behl-lee); as a huntress, protectress of children and Goddess of the moon she was associated with Artemis (Ahr-tee-mihs), Diana (Digh-an-ah; Dee-an-ah) and Selene (Suh-lee-nee; See-leen; See-lee-nee; See-lee-nah; Suh-lee-nah; Suh-leen) to list only a few. With the absorption of other divinities more and more totems and affinities were acquainted with Hekate all of which were female (when applicable). The wolf, horse, snake, and herbs like poppy, mandragora, storax/styrax, and aconite were all gained through absorption according to some sources.  Thus in some stories she was said to drive a chariot drawn by ebony snakes, dragons, horses and some by dogs or wolves.  The owl was credited as being her messenger.  TOP

She became equated with or absorbed many other Goddesses.  Some accounts even credit her as being Persephone / Proserpine / Proserpina (Puhr-sehf-foh-nee, Proh-suhr-pihn-nee,  or Proh-suhr-pee-nah respectfully applied) in her most terrible aspect, though it is most likely this just became one of her many names due to her relationship with the underworld and noted friendship with the queen of the underworld.  Just a little side note, in  pre Christian times the underworld was not the evil place it came to be since Christianization.  In fact, some books that were excluded from the bible illustrates that the Christian ideals of their Hell differed little from those of the Greeks and was likely strongly influenced by them as well.  Even the root word for their unholy nemesis, Satan originates from the Greek word Teitan meaning "adversary."  But the underworld was a place of rest and peace for the dead.  Yes, there were places of torment for the exceptionally wicked but the underworld was segmented and the good never saw those dark and few instances where the Gods had cursed someone for some horrid deed.  So when speaking of the underworld you must realize that that encompasses the Elysian Fields or Elysium as well which was very Heavenly. Hekate and Persephone were supposedly great friends and many reliefs show the two very frequently together and often with Hermes (hur-meez) with whom the latter Hekate has children.  It is not uncommon for such to assume their friend's name simply by association.  All of these things however have lead to a great deal of confusion particularly for the idle researcher as many tend to accept that Hekate is an aspect of one of the other deities rather than an ancient, independent and very potent Goddess within her own right.  All evidence substantiates that she is a very ancient entity which predates many of those whom she has been associated with or had absorbed over the years and is not merely herself an aspected or an absorbed divinity.  She has had many aspects and names, which we will address shortly.  TOP

Originally, it seems that she was a virgin, lunar, sea Goddess.  She was a prophetess to whom travelers, athletes, communicators and fishermen prayed for protection and guidance.  She was protectress of far off places, travelers and all roadways.  It was also believed that she was an embodiment of Fate giving her the power to alter anyone's life as she saw fit or chose. There are many myths regarding her advancement in power and knowledge.  It is clear that she had a ravenous hunger for learning and growing.  In a myth regarding her and Hera, Goddess of fidelity, protectress of women and child birthing.  The young Hekate is said to have grown curious regarding child birthing which disturbed Hera thoroughly.  Hera had once been a vestal (veh-stahl) Goddess herself, until her brother (and later husband) appeared to her in the form of a wounded sparrow which she clutched consolingly to her breast.  Zeus' deception spoiled Hera's purity, and while she retained the title as Queen of the Vestal Virgins, she was not one in the least.  So Hekate's curiosity upset her thoroughly as she new the dangers of such inquiries to a virgin Goddess.  TOP

Hekate's curiosity would not abate, so secretly she spied on Hera while she aided a woman in delivering her childe and Hekate's purity was marred.  It is through this that she became known as Hekate of the earth as well as Goddess of nature and protectress of children.  It is believed Hera never over came her anger for Hekate's actions but could do little about her upset.  According to other reports it was Hekate's arrival in Rome that was the reason for her triplicity (especially where heavens, earth and underworld are concerned) as she was equated with Venus and/or Juno.  Because Hekate was a midwife, moon Goddess and light bringer she was aspected of the two.  Venus is considered the light bringer and has lunar associations while Hera of course is protectress of childbirth.   Your author does not support these notions to the extent that others have.  I do believe that the similarities are clear but not so much so that Hekate became an aspect of Juno/Venus nor vice versa.  It is clear however that she particularly favored women and children and was very prone to protect them even when they simply just left the home for an outing.  Her rites included household purification's for women and similar ceremonies that incorporated incenses, water and of course a broom.  TOP

In later Greek history it is stated that Hekate and Helios (Hee-lee-ohs) were the two sole witnesses of the abduction and rape of Persephone by Hades (Hay-deez), God of the Underworld.  The legend says that she left her cave with torch in hand to aid Demeter (Persephone's mother and according to some legends Hekate's mother also) in her search for the missing Goddess.  It does not say why she did not tell Demeter what she had witnessed, but, it is assumed that she had seen an opportunity for advancement and decided to benefit herself by Hades' actions.  OnceHekate with hounds Persephone had been found, and arrangements made for her to remain in the Underworld with her new husband for part of the year and spend the other part on earth with her mother, Hekate remained in the Underworld as Persephone's friend, confidant and companion.  This eventually gave Hekate formidable powers over the Underworld.  It is through these events that she became known as Hekate of Hell and as a Goddess of purification as well as protection.  However some suggest the actual meaning of this myth has been lost and compound with confusion because of all of the fanciful additions injected into it especially once Hades was included.  According to these sources the story is that of Kore's initiation into either priestesshood or her right of passage in becoming a Goddess.  Hekate was in the story as her guide or psychopomp who's torch and crown of light was leading her on her path rather than snooping.  TOP

It is unclear as to whether her loyal hellhounds were acquired at this time or whether they had simply always been a part of her entourage.  Nevertheless, she did become associated with a vast array of foreboding characters from her connection with the Underworld.  Including spectres, ghosts and ethereal entities in general. Not only did she preside over them, ruling them compleatly, but, she was also their tormentress when the occasion arose.  TOP

The Later, more intellectual Greeks often found it difficult to reconcile the great and mysterious crone Hekate with both the deadly wolfbane (previously called, hekateis) and the notorious healing powers of sacred willow.  However they found with great ease connecting the crone, an elderly, wizened woman with death, the mysteries and so on but not so easily with  regeneration and birth.  To intellectualize Hekate was fragmented.  Her title Helike (hel-ih-kee; hee-lie-kee) was used to form a new maiden Goddess that was still her but an aspect that made more sense to them.  The new, dryadic maiden goddess became gaurdianesss of the willow.  Grain baskets made of willow strips were woven and carried in processions and festivals in her honor.  Still hailing perhaps as well the winnower aspect as well.  'Helike's Axels,' the representing pole star around which everything seemed to correspond and rotate, was named for her as well.  Grain baskets made of willow strips used in processions were also dedicated to her.  TOP

Hekate as earth Goddess ruled the underworld, possibly alternating with Persephone, who was her preferred companion.  The underworld was understood by early Greeks and many pre-patriarchal peoples to be a land of rebirth.  Again, you must abandon all of those post-Christianic ideals of the underworld and envision it through the eyes of the ancient.  Her main area of work in the underworld was as goddess of the dead,  night, darkness and mistress of all witchcraft including the black arts.  She was very likely early on a funerary divinity or involved with funeral proceedings like embalming as one of her sacred products (honey) implies.  During the festival of the dead, Hekate allowed ghosts to leave the underworld to visit their kin, sharing wisdom and oracles. The rest of the year she kept them beneath the Earth, ready for their next rebirth. Her power to drive away malevolent energies was such that women placed her image on their doors to drive away intruders, in company with the family watchdog (perhaps also to watch over the family dog and keep it true in protecting them).  TOP

Hekate is remembered today as a dark Goddess who at night sent out daemons (a word which originally meant "spirits;" neither beneficial nor malefic specifically) and phantoms, taught magick and sorcery to brave mortals and who wandered about after dark with the souls of the dead accompanied by the baying of dogs and hellhounds.  It was believed that only dogs could spy her nocturnal passing, so whenever dogs were heard to howl it was believed that Hekate was near.  She was the Queen of the night, of ghosts and shades as well as other fearsome beings. The bronze clawed Harpies (Hahr-peez) were also under her reign and dwelt in her dominion in the Underworld.  She was said to be the cause of nightmares and insanity.  Perhaps why the moon is said to turn people into "LUNAtics." It is a fact that crime, suicides and other strange occurrences are reported more during the fullmoon than during any other of it's phases.  She was so terrifying and frightening to the ancients that the referred to her as Aphrattos / Aphrottos, (Ah-frah-tohs; Afra-tohs; Af-roh-tohs) "the nameless one" or "the unnamable," as well as Pandeina, "the all-terrible."  TOP

She was the Goddess of the dark of the moon; the destroyer of life.  In one myth, she turns into a bear (or a boar, of which it is never quite clear to me as myths vary) and kills her own handsome and very human son, Mormo, then brings him back to life as a immortal monster, a sort of ghoulish creature who then took up residence in the underworld.  These seemingly were a form of selfless sacrifice and in some Hekatean sects he too is honored and revered for his death and resurrection presumably symbolic of the dying king.  Many refer to him as the first "living dead" and there is some evidence to support this which is discussed at more length further on in this text.  In her dark aspect, she wears a necklace of testicles; her hair is made of writhing snakes which can petrify like the Gorgons.  She was a terrible sight to behold in this form.  Both frightening and viscious.  Very reminiscent of the Hindu Kali.   TOP


"Lord Helios and the sacred flames, weapon of Hekate Enodia, which she bears when leading in Olympos and in her haunts by the sacred three-ways on Earth crowning herself with oak leaves and twisting coils of wild serpents."

The Root Cutters, Sophokles [496-406 BCE]
(Translation by Robert Von Rudloff, from his book, "Hekate in Ancient Greek Religion," Horned Owl Publishing, 1999)

Her hellish revenue included the Empusae (Em-pyoo-sah), a hobgoblin like creature (sometimes these were centaurs of a sort or women with the hind-quarters of a horse); sometimes the Furies who were her close friends also (the Furies sought out and punished those who insulted, disobeyed, or committed violence to their mother), the Cercopsis (Suhr-kohp-sihs), a sort of poltergeist, beautiful women, dogs, cows, sometimes Hermes himself, Circe, Medea and those named for her son, the Mormo (Mohr-moh), a group of flesh eating ghouls or vampiric beings.  Hekate, bi-torched and garlanded with snakes and oak leaves, cracked her whip as her hounds bayed the approach of the nocturnal legion.  She also carried with her a magickal cord used for magickal work, mundane bindings as well and as a tool for measuring.  She may have also at times carried with her a sword or snake instead of the whip and cord (respectfully applied) the latter employed to cut the thread of life still another of her respected provinces.  The innocent happening to unluckily stumble upon this procession of hades might find themselves a savory victim to one of her entourage or she might look kindly on them and divine their future.  In later times a pillar called Hekaterion was created that was composed of the triple Goddess surrounding a column. Each visage bore a torch and three sacred items.  One was the key which unlocked the sacred mysteries of magick, the afterlife and the underworld; the other a cord her tool of measurement, binding and a symbol of the umbilical cord of birth; and lastly a dagger or athame as symbol of death and ritual power.  TOP

However, this is not her only guise.  She is often depicted as a normal woman, usually quite common of dress and appearance, though sometimes lovely.  In such instances she may either be young, mature or elderly but the first and last seem to be the most common.  Sometimes, in her role as earth Goddess extraordinaire she is seen as a comely women with a crown of stars having all of nature at her command.  Another guise may be that of a wild, common woman of elder years wearing oak leaves adhered to her tattered robes and mangled into her hair.  She is also seen as a woman with three heads and with three sets of arms which is the most common visage today's witches ascribe to her.  This later form today is associated by witches as the images of the maid, mother and crone representative of the three lunar cycles.  Though commonly, modern witches primarily view her as the crone alone naming the other two faces as other Goddesses such as Artemis as the maiden and Demeter as the mother.  There was also another triple headed image of her bearing the faces of a lion, dog, and horse; a dog, a ram and a serpent (sometimes a horse replaces the serpent)  or a serpent, a dog and a horse all on the body of a woman.  The combinations do vary but ate typically of those animals.  Each of her three heads represented the seasons of the year making her a major calendar Goddess as well.  She is also mistress of the lunar calendars of recent years. Her home is alternatively described as being a cave, a place amongst tombs or other places of the dead, or a site where blood was shed by a murderer.  She is noted for hanging out in graveyards but most do not understand why.  She wondered the cemeteries looking for discarnated souls who had lost their way so that she might lead them into the underworld.  This is the actual reason for her nocturnal jaunts and makes her both a funerary Goddess as well as a psychopomp.  TOP

Initially her worship was widespread, Hekalesian Rites were practiced widely especially at Samothsrace (Sam-mahths-rayss), Aegina (Ee-gee-nah), her sacred city where festivals were held to her on the eighth of August and the last day of each month; Argos (Ahr-gohs), Hera's sacred city and Athens (A-thenz), Athena's (Ah-thee-nah; Goddess of strategic war, crafts, wisdom and culture) sacred city from which it was named to list only a few.  Many homes displayed statues of Hekate either inside or just outside the home, by the front door hoping to invoke her protection.  Her rites were annually held at Marathon at the House of Storms and Fertility (to pray that the harvest storms be kept from destroying the crops) on August thirteenth (a date honored and considered sacred to her still today) at which her figures were replaced.  New images of her were hung on house front, before gates and temples to invoke her protection and the olde ones left with the offerings at crossroads.  These images also appeared at crossroads (which were sacred to her) and it is believed that one would suffer greatly who harmed a traveler who rested by her image at such a site.  There is some speculation that the Hecataea (Hehk-ah-tee-ah; Hee-kah-tee-ah), crossroad statues or perhaps even actual priestesses, were also consulted as oracles.  The three headed figures often carried an assortment of weapons which included swords, daggers, torches, whips and snakes.  This is a common image still applied to her today.  TOP

At the end of each month (the last day of each month), her worshippers set out dishes of food for her by the statues at crossroads and by their front doors (typically at the statues feet on the ground).  The meal was left in her honor on the eve of the full moon without looking back for fear of meeting the eye of the dreaded but respected Goddess.  This meal, known as 'Hekate Suppers,' typically consisted of fish, honey (an embalming material), onions and eggs, but may have also included garlic which is considered sacred to her.  Just before the meal, a censer that had been made from a clay pot was used to purify the home.  The censer would be left with the offerings later at  one of Hekate's shrines.  The meal itself was held late at night and magic was taught after the supper. The women held sacred moon ceremonies afterwards that included painting their hands and feet with henna, which is sacred to Hekate.   Those seeking to appease her, often made sacrifices of chicken hearts and barley cakes which were left beside there doors.  It was considered to be a good omen should a dog (especially a black one) eat this sacrifice.  TOP

Other sacrifices were also common to her worship and were held at each full and dark Moon.  Offerings of small cakes and candles were left at her shrines, where it was believed that she would come collect them, accompanied by her hellish revenue of dogs and nocturnal terrors on her nightly travels.   Easily differentiated from Artemis by the silvery torch she held in each hand as she made her slow but steady travel through the night.  Blood and human sacrifices held at the full moon occurred and were usually performed at these crossroads as well.  These rituals consisted of the slaughter of female black puppies, she-lambs or goats but human sacrifices of infants were not uncommon or unheard of, these victims were also female.  The animals are typically believed to have been black in colour while the children may have been of either caucasian or negroid.  White children were typically sacrificed face up by cutting the throat while black children were likely offered face down so that their blood might fall to the earth quickest.  This wasn't a racial prejudice but more a colour bias, she was VERY partial to black, and wanted the blood of the dark skinned more eagerly and quickly than the light skinned.  TOP

The entire animal had to be eaten, consumed or else wise used in some way so that it was not wasted, or the participants were tainted with blood guilt for wrongfully ending the animal's life that would require absolution.  Perhaps the Henna's inclusion had something to do with this as a blood on the hands type symbology.  While it is clear that she preferred specific animals over others all animals were precious to her to some degree or other since she was a huntress and earth mother Goddess.  I think this is why the above rule was important to her.  Her prayers were likely performed on ones knees with palms open and facing up with the head raised towards heaven or with the palms down and the head lowered to the Underworld depending on either location of the worshipper or in what way they were praying to her for or in which aspect she was being prayed to.  Modern Witches honor her at Hallowmas / Samhain / Halloween / etc., held on October 31 to honor a time when the veil between the world was the thinnest.  I find no ancient rites directly tied to this modern tradition amongst the Greeks nor in any rites directly attributed to Hekate though I find it no  less appropriate because of this.  To this day, however, the crossroads remain her most enduring symbol.  While her shrines once dotted the crossroads of Greece in abundance it is important to note that the preferred crossroad for her is "where three lanes meet" not where two roads cross as some suggest.  Others have attributed the "plus sign" to her erroneously as a result of this misconception.  But as the title Hekate Trivia so plainly states the true crossroads of Hekate are "three-ways."  TOP

Later on, patriarchal Greeks (perhaps in an effort to soften or weaken her) add that crossroads became sacred to her because she had been abandoned as an infant at a crossroad and left to die there.  A very peculiar addition actually as it sort of gives an acknowledgment of Priestesses and Amazonian travelers well noted for rescues of this sort.  They continued adding that it was shepherds that found the infant Goddess and saved her.  I've never found a source to substantiate these statements though.   Her worship, sadly, had been forced mainly underground by the time the Romans came along.  Some accredit her association with crossroads as a sort of map to find her covens and worship sites.  Others claim it was the Romans themselves who unintentionally gave directions to the informed by their warnings that the fountain of Hekate Trivia should at all cost be avoided midnight.  To do so would make one made with lunacy and draw you there repeatedly until you were totally insane and beyond redemption.  As a side note, initially midnight was not an exact hour rather it was the point at which the moon was at its highest peak.  Later in Italy at the lake of Avernus (a lake the ancients attributed as an entrance to the underworld, also Averno), a dark, scared grove of was dedicated to Hekate.  TOP

She was also the patroness of the medieval witch covens who worshipped her in their secret rites.  This is when she officially became known as queen of the ghost-world and queen of the witches.  She was quickly demonized by the hierarchy of Catholicism who said  the most dangerous to their faith were those who worshipped Hekate in whatever form - most notably this would be the midwives.  Many believe it is this which actually prompted the burning times craze and persecutions.  Midwifery had cut into many areas men intended to and actually were slowly invading for themselves, such as doctoring.  Many believe that fearing the power midwifery gave to women they wanted to root it out before it went too far.  The Catholics thus played a game of, if you cannot beat them join them, and adapted Hekate's triplicity to their own divinity when they added the elusive, holy spirit, which to this day confuses even some priests as to what it means and why it's there.  Furthermore, Mary was named the blessed virgin and mother of god to soothe the angst of Pagans who could not understand a patriarchal religion.  They needed a mother for it to make sense to them.  One source even claims that early statues of the mother and her childe Jesus were actually statues of Diana and Aradia!  This source said the infants, very often even to this day, are female or neutered because they were copies of those Pagan statues.  TOP

Though it is unclear whether it was a revival or survival of her cults that appeared at this time.  It is certain that her cults out lasted those of her fellow Greek divinities.  Her cults were centred originally in Lagina (Lah-gee-nah) and are known to have existed circa 800 BCE through Christianization, circa 400 CE though it is probable that her worship dates much farther back and may have survived longer than recorded.  A great Hekataion Karia once stood at Lagina, presumably a pilgrimage site for her worshippers from Galatia (gah-lay-shee-yah), Lydia (lih-dee-yah), Lykia (lie-kee-ya), Pamphylia (pam-fihl-ee-yah), and Paphlagonia (paf-lah-goh-nee-ya).  The Goddess Herodias is believed to be an aspect of Hekate and others suggest that she strongly influenced (at least Hecuba (Hehk-yoo-bah) and Hepzebah (Hehp-zih-bah) which may even give her biblical associations.  She has been known by many names that have either been hers uniquely, or as mentioned above have been absorbed by her.  These names include Trivia / Trevia (Trih-vee-ah; Try-vee-ah three-roads) as Goddess of the crossways and protectress of travelers, Pandeina (Pan-dee-nah) "the all-terrible," and the names of most any lunar Goddess.  She was called "The Hag of the Dead" and "the most lovely one" (a title of the moon) equally and without prejudice.  However the name, Hekate, itself is of uncertain origins or meaning to the Greeks implying foreign origin (which I'll get to shortly). Some suggest it means simply, "100," referring to the 100 months of the great lunar year.  Others suggest it means "one from afar," "one who stands aloof," or "influence from afar."  There is no actual way of knowing for certain, though we do know that similar words in Greek are ascribe with both meanings.  However, there is also considerable reason to assume that the name may not be Greek in origin at all.  TOP

Gnostic poetry from Alexandrian Aegypt has survived the harsh passage of time, though seriously fragmented, it is clear that it refers to Hekate in which she is venerated as "the Great Mother, life of the universe."  This may suggest that she influenced or perhaps even was the same as the Aegyptian Goddess Hequit, Heqit, Heqet, Hekat or Heket which means, "the great magician."  Hequit's story is a bit less vague.  Early Aegyptians were led by the elder women of the community.  These women called, Heq, were considered the wisest.  They determined the laws and social structures of their tribe; over saw the general health and welfare of the community; insured tradition, skills and wisdom was passed from generation to generation - in short the were the wise, unquestioned leaders of Aegyptian tribes.  It was believed The Heq was sort of the avatar of mortal embodiment of the Goddess Hequit (also Hekit or Hequit).  Hekat was the great mother, the Goddess of midwifery, of magick, giver of wisdom and so on.  Some suggest Heq has been translated unto the more modern, "hag."  TOP

Hequit was an early grain and harvest Goddess as well, predating Osiris.  The mystery of grain's growth and seeming rotting before new growth was like magick, a resurrection to the ancients thus the Goddess of magick should sensibly preside over grain as well since it was clearly magickal.  This made her a Goddess of the cycle of life - birth, growth, death and renewal.  The grain was even measured in what was called heqats which was represented by an eye symbol much like the eye of Horus, though some suggest both symbols are one and the same.  Regardless her power and skill as creatrix was firmly rooted and perhaps a heavy influence in later religious ceremonies and traditions that would become more strongly recognized with other divinities.  TOP

Like Hekate, Hequit too was associated with a key of sort.  The key of life, the ankh, which she (and her priestesses) used to touch the foreheads of the newly born to give them life.  Then the little finger would be used to clear away birth fluids from the mouth.  The latter portion of the ceremony would later become a part of the rituals of death wherein the priests would use an adze in a mouth clearing ceremony for the dead.  The adze is a small, hand shaped device that easily resembles the Big Dipper, which is one of Hequit's sacred constellations.  TOP

Though highly revered by the Aegyptians they did not believe she was from Aegypt, but instead from Nubia.  But any true evidence of this seems to have disappeared into the mists of time.  The Greek historian, Herodotus (often hailed as "the father of history" [484-424 BCE]) believed she came to Greece from Colchis (an Asian country and birth place of Medea) and that they (the Colchians) hailed from Aegypt. Greek writers tried desperately to find some meaning in this very foreign name; striving to connect it to their language.  This led to many variants of the name including Hekatabolos "the far off one" or "one from afar."  But her multiple names and titles (listed below) also stand as a testimonial of her immense popularity.  It is believed that whatever counterpart the Greeks had prior to Hekate she and the name has been totally lost.  They worshipped her with wild dances of ecstasy that may have contributed to the history of the Maenads.  TOP

The farther the word and myth of Hekate traveled the more her mythology and stories were absorbed by other cultures and/or the more she absorbed their divinities into her own mythos.  She is tied or incorporated with many triple divinities in various areas.  Some times she was considered a triple entity while other times she literally was depicted as a tri-headed Goddess.  Evidence suggests she was part of a holy trinity with Helike and Helene that composed the major religious framework of Troy.  Other important trinities composed with Hekate (the harvested corn) included Hebe as maiden/Hera as mother, Persephone or Kore as maiden/Artemis as Crone (sometimes Persephone (the ripe ear) was Crone to Artemis' maiden aspect) and Demeter as the mother aspect.  Though the most common was likely Hekate as the  Crone, Demeter as the Mother and Kore as the Maiden (the green corn).  Hekate's torch was symbolically carried over freshly sown fields in recognition of the fertilizing power of the moon.  TOP

Shakespeare included her in Macbeth as the mysterious patroness of the three "weird sisters" or witches who invoke her.  This has seemingly encouraged the continuance of her worship as well as impressed her in the minds of most people as the reigning omnipotence of witches and magick.  She has since become the subject of many artists, writers and poets.  Most notably she appears in Hesiod's (Hee-sahdz) Theogeny.  Euripides (Yoo-rihp-ih-deez), the Greek poet, calls her "Queen of the Phantomworld."  As well, she has become the subject of many incantations and spells.  She was invoked using a symbol of the crescent with two points up and a third point at it's centre.  One such petition for her patronage (with reference to sacrifice) was recorded in the third century by Hypolitus (High-poh-ligh-tus; High-pahl-ih-tuhs; Hih-pahl-ih-tuhs) in the work Philosophumena (Fihl-ahs-oh-foo-mee-na) as follows: 

 

"Come, infernal, terrestrial, and heavenly Bombo (Bahm-boh; another name for Hekate), Goddess of the broad roadways, of the crossroads, thou who goest to and fro at night, torch in hand, enemy of the day. Friend and lover of darkness, though who doest rejoice when the bitches are howling and warm blood is spilled, thou who art walking amid the phantoms and the place of tombs, thou whose thirst is blood, though who doest strike chill fear into mortal hearts, Gorgo (Hekate, perhaps but certainly referring to the Gorgons), Mormo, Moon of a thousand forms, cast a propitious eye upon our sacrifice." 

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Hekate may have been the source of wicked Witches in fairytales as she clearly fits the mold as far as appearances go.  But that is one of the delights of Hekate who proves that appearances are definitely deceptive.  The frog prince is likely remnants relating to Hekate as the frog, a symbol of the fetus and reincarnation, was sacred to her.  Thus to be turned into a frog was to be reincarnated or reborn.  In some myths she took the form of a frog herself so that each night she might dive deep into the underworld, collect the sun that had fallen there (as a a golden ball, orb or apple) so that she could return it to the sky.  A variant of this appears in several tellings of "The Princess and the Frog."  So nearly all fables hailing to frogs and hags (Heqs) have their start with Hekate.  TOP

Her symbols are varied and broad and differing.  In Rome she became attributed with her most notorious symbol ever perhaps, The broom.  The broom is a symbol of midwifery and marriage and the home.  To this day Wiccan and numerous other Eco-centric religions attest to the power of this association by the broom jumping rites in their hand-fasting ceremonies.  Initially the broom jumping was done in front of the threshold of the home (though I do not think the groom actually carried the bride then) to insure their happiness.  Stumbling over the broom is an ill-omen for the newly weds and the survival of the marriage was not believed likely.  Other means of the  ceremony was to represent the sexual coupling anticipated from marriage (which may have been intended for fertility) as well as an emotional and the future which awaited.  Hekate also used her broom after births to sweep away negative forces, illnesses and any naughty spirits who had been attracted by the blood.  The sweeping particularly was done at the threshold and perhaps the windows as well.  Other symbols and tools of Hekate was her wand which represented her magick and power; a black mirror that represented her visions and foresight; an apple of immortality (later used as the poisoned apple in fairy tales) which she could but seldomly bestowed on mortals and lastly a golden orb with a sapphire that was a great symbol and bestower of power.  The latter may have initially been intended to represent Hekate's apple.  Hekate was also often represented by older priestesses but there were exceptions but it was clear she preferred the elder women as her avatars and representatives.  TOP

These women were very potent high priestesses of Hekate and were often ruling as queens until after the fall of Troy when they seemed to vanish.  This strongly supports the theory that Hekate was a potent part of the religious framework of Troy.  Hekabe ("moving far over the sea") or Hekuba ("moving far of") is believed to have been the final queen of Troy and wife of Priam.  They would have twelve daughters and fifty doomed sons.  Though of uncertain origin she is credited as being the daughter of Telekleia ("far reaching fame"), Eonoe (Phrygian, "good wisdom"), Evagora (Thracian, "good gatherer") or Glaukippe ("grey horse") places known for worshipping Hekate.  She headed a college of priestesses who would become well known female figures in mythology. 

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These include:

Priestesses
Names Meaning & Myth References
Aristodeme "the best of the people"
Kassandra "destroyer of men" (Hecuba & Priam's daughter; Helenus' twin; was the prophetess of doom cursed by Apollo who loved her)
Kreusa "queen" (Hekuba & Priam's daughter; wife of Aeneas)
Laodike "justice of the people" (Priam's favorite daughter; fell in love with Theseus & Phaedra' son, Acamas)
Lysimache "releasing war" (Priam & Hekuba's daughter)
Medusa female wisdom
Medesikaste one who becomes wise through ascetic practice
Polyxena friendly (the daughter Priam sacrifices)


Hekuba was a prominent prophetess and renowned Witch who's curse doomed Odysseus to his travelings.  The curse would never be lifted and Odysseus would not know peace from then on - ah, but that's another story.  Hekebe's life was tragic and ended on no happier note, she was transformed into a black bitch.  TOP

Hekate was most notably a frequent lover of Hermes (Huhr-meez) as well as other Gods. Hekate also had many children most of which were monsters and mostly famous or infamous as it were.  Scylla (Sih-lah, said to mean "puppy") or Petraea (peh-tree-ah, meaning "the rocky one") for example.  Scylla may even be Cerberus (or perhaps he was an avatar or aspect of hers) as she often took the form of a three headed black hound with glowing red eyes.   As only one myths (of which several variants exist) explains, she was once a beautiful sea-nymph (or human) until she became the romantic rival of Circe (Suhr-see) (to name one) who transformed her into a monster.  Others claim she was born a monster and had always been one.  Scylla is also believed to be Kirke a funerary Sun Goddess.  Many agree that she was in fact an Amazonian Goddess who was the keeper of the underworld much like her mother as gatekeeper.  Nevertheless Hekate, as Scylla's mother, was called Cratais or Crataeis (Krah-tay-ihs; Krah-tee-yis).  She is credited (though sources have varying opinions) as being either the grandmother, mother or aunt of Medea (Mee-dee-ah) and Circe, both are prominent sorceresses in Greek history.  Some claim the two sorceress are Hekate's daughters, other say grand-daughters or some other relation.  Medea is credited with worshipping Hekate.  Scylla was, and actually still is, a dangerous stretch of waters near Greece that has long claimed the lives of many sailors and it is this stretch of water that the monster myths are built around.  I suggest that it is no less possible nor plausible that the stretch of treacherous water was named for the Goddess Scylla.  TOP

In modern witchcraft Hekate is associated almost exclusively with the lunar trinity mentioned above.  In this triple Goddess aspect, she appears a lot less fearsome than history paints her.  She rules over the waning and dark of the moon, a two week period that is best for magicks dealing with banishings, releasing, planning and introspection.  Like Persephone, she has become a Goddess of the subconscience and of scrying.  Today she is invoked for justice and protection whereas she was once invoked for revenge and punishment.  She is, as she has always been, a mysterious and complex figure: Goddess of wealth and fortune; mistress of magick and sorcery; protectress of youth and children; queen of the night, the moon and the seas; huntress, protectress, tormentress.  As kind and loving as she can be cruel and unmoveable.  TOP

When Hekate enters your life it is through adversity, chaos, confrontation and challenge.  You can guarantee change is at hand when she confronts you.  She is a Goddess of the female rites of passage leading from birth and regeneration of the newly incarnated spirit through the childhood innocence of the maid, to the awakened warrioress of motherhood and the wizened crone of later years leading into death and rebirth.  Though each door opened and closed may lead one through pain and suffering it is only through these undertakings that the spirit grows and learns.  She challenges you to look not only at the current dissatisfaction or unpleasantries of your life but to study the past so as to learn from it and not relive it while demanding you face the future with not only wisdom but wonder.  She commands you to honestly face not only her darkest side but your own learning the balances and harmonies of nature and that while there is left, right and centre all pathes are needed and valid.  Though a strong teacher she is also a delicate nurturer and joyful friend that can also awaken beautiful things inside of you and your life.  She may appear as a herald of some future coming, good or ill.  She may come and awaken your own intuition with her presence in your life.  TOP

Here is a modern ritual dedicated to Hekate.  While I do not have expressed permission to use this piece I have seen it used numerous times elsewhere and believe it is within the confines of fair use and thereby ok for it to appear here.  However if the owner or copyright holder disagrees all they need to do is notify me for its prompt removal.

Hecate Ritual

from "Moon Magick" by D.J. Conway

Your will need a ritual dagger, small cauldron, an apple, a piece of black cloth, and a small bit of salt, in addition to any other ritual items you use. Put the apple in the cauldron and cover the cauldron with the black cloth. Cast your circle. With the wand tap the cauldron five times and say:

Hecate, Wise one, I ask your blessings.
Lift the Veil for me that I may greet my spirit helpers,
Long-ago friends from other lives, and those who are new.
Let only those who wish me well enter within this sacred place.


Uncover the cauldron. Take out the apple, raise it in offering, and lay it on the altar.


Hecate, your magick cauldron is the well of death and rebirth
An experience each of us under goes again and again.

Let there be no fear in me, for I know your gentleness,
Here is your secret symbol of life in death

Cut the apple crosswise with the dagger. Contemplate the revealed pentagram in the core. Put the two halves of the apple back into the cauldron and cover them again with the black cloth.

Only the initiated may know your hidden Mysteries.
Only the true seekers may find the spiral way.
Only those who know your many secret faces
May find the Light that leads to the Inner Way.

Put a pinch of salt on your tongue:

I am mortal, yet immortal.
There is no end to life, only new beginnings.
I walk beside the Goddess in her many forms.
Therefore, I have nothing to fear.
Open my mind and heart and soul
To the Deep Mysteries of the Cauldron, O Hecate.


Do a meditation on seeking the Dark Moon goddess. Listen to her messages. Be aware of any new guides and teacher who may come through to help you.  TOP

She is credited with the discovery of aconite (POISONOUS), rather than receiving it through absorption, one of her sacred herbs which was once used in flying ointments. It is said that it grew from the soil of the Underworld watered by the fallen froth and spittle of Cerberus (Suhr-buhr-uhs).  It was considered to be the first poison.   TOP


The following associations have been attributed to her
Animals
Fumes
Herbs
Minerals
Bear
All sweet, virginal odors
Aconite
Silver
Boar
Aloes Almond
Dog Camphor Chickweed
Horse Civet Garlic
Lion Honey Hazel
Owl Menstrual blood Mandrake
Ram Myrrh Moonwort
Serpent Opium
Mugwort
Wolf Storax/styrax Oak
Woman Peppermint Onion


Opium poppy


Ranunculus


Storax/styrax


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Stones
Tarot
Tools
Crystal (quartz) Threes Bow and Arrow
Moonstone High Priestess Cauldron
Opal The Moon Key
Pearl
Robe Of Concealment
Sapphire

Torch
Star Sapphire
Yoni

 

The above list is general, in no way compleat and likely bound to meet with contradiction.  My advice is to look for your own associations add and delete as you feel is appropriate.  TOP

Here is a list of alternative names, alias, titles and the like that were used by or in association with Hekate throughout times unknown.  Some are independent Goddesses that she was equated with typically from her attributes like Eileithyia due to her child birthing attributes.  Regardless of her names, to whom she's equated or absorbed this Goddess has ever remained a powerful force, a psychopomp and sorceress.  TOP

Name/Title
Meaning
Adamantea (ad-ah-man-tee-ah)
Unconquerable
Amphiprosopos (am-phih-proh-soh-pohs)
Double faced
Anassan (an-ah-san)
Mistress
Angelos (an-gel-ohs)
Messenger/angel (Spartan)
Antaea (an-tee-ah) Addressed in prayers/Goddess of speeches
Apanchomene (ah-pan-koh-mee-nee)
The all hanging one (likely referring to her as the moon)
Aphrattos (af-rah-tohs)
The unnamable or unspeakable one (Tarrentum)
Argiope (ar-guy-oh-pee)
Frightening visage or savage face
Arkula (ahr-kyoo-lah)
Bear
Astikos (as-tih-kohs)
Of a city
Azostos (ah-zahs-tos)
Ungirt
Basileia (bah-sihl-ee-ah or Bah-sihl-ya)
Queenly, regal (possible reference to the basilisk)
Baubo (boh-boh)
Frog, belly
Bolos (boh-lohs)
Far shooting/throwing
Boukolos (boo-koh-lohs)
Ox herder
Brimo (Bree-moh)
The angry one; the roaring
Chthonia (thoh-nee-ah)
Relating to or of the underworld
Chrusoandeimopotichthonia (kroo-soh-an-dih-moh-poh-tih-thoh-nee-ah)
Goddess of the underworld who wears the golden sandals and drinks of blood.
Eileithyia (ihl-ih-thee-yah)
As child birthing Goddess (a name seemingly used as a title or at least shared with others)
Einalian (ih-nah-lee-ahn)
The marine one
Empylios (em-pihl-ee-ohs)
Of the gate
Enodia (ee-noh-dee-ah)
Gatekeeper (perhaps a confusion on "Erodia"?)
Epaine (eh-pee-nee / ee-pih-nee)
Awesome, awe inspiring
Epipyrgidia (ee-pih-peer-gih-dee-ya)
From the tower (used at the Athenian Acropolis)
Erodia (ee-roh-dee-ah)
Gatekeeper, perhaps the early starts of Herodias?
Eukoline (yoo-koh-lih-nee)
Good tempered
Eurippa (yoo-rih-pah)
Horse finder
Genetyllis (jehn-eh-tihl-ihs)
Protectress of births
Hecate or Hekate (Hehk-ah-tee; Hee-kah-tee) Of uncertain meaning.  Possibly referring to the 100 months of the great lunar year.  Others suggest it means "one from afar," "one who stands aloof," or "influence from afar."
Hecat/Hekit/Hequit (Heh-kiht)
(Aegyptian)
Hegemonen (heh-geh-mohn-ihn)
Guide
Helike (hehl-ih-kee)
Willow
Hersechthonia (huhr-sehk-thoh-nee-ah)
Speaks from beneath the earth, speaker from the Underworld
Hexacheira (Hehk-sah-keer-ah)
Having six hands or six pathes
Hipparete (hih-pah-ree-tee / hih-pahr-eh-tee)
Horse speaker (the original horse whisperer  LOL)
Hippos (hih-pohs)
Horse
Kalliste (kah-lihs-tee/kah-lihs-ta)
Most lovely one (used in Athens)
Kelkaea (kehl-kee-ya)
Wearer of half length boots
Kerket (Kuhr-keht)
Goddess of the powers of night (from Aegyptian Heliopolitan pantheon, another name of Hekit [?] and the source of Hekate's frog head many suggest)
Kleidouchos (klay-doo-kohs)
Guardian of the gates (often a HPS [High Priestess] title), keeper of the keys to the Underworld / pschye
Kore (Koh-ree/Kor-ah)
Maiden (another of Persephone's names Hekate ended up with)
Kourotrophos (Koo-roh-troh-phohs)
Nurturer of youths
Krateis ([also Cratais] Krah-tee-ihs Krah-tay-ihs)
Strength (associated with her sea aspect)
Krokopeplos (kroh-koh-peh-plohs)
Lady of the saffron robe
Kyno (Kih-noh)
Bitch (once a flattering title)
Laginitis (lah-jihn-ih-tihs or laj-ihn-I-tis)
Creatrix of the hare at Idrias (formerly Hekatesia)
Lampadophoros (lam-pah-doh-phoh-rohs)
Torch bearer
Leiana (lee-ah-nah)
lioness
Lilith (lihl-ihth)
Screech owl, lily flower.  Probably used for her due to her similarities with Lilit.
Limenoskopos (lih-meh-noh-skoh-pohs)
Overseer of the harbour
Lochais (loh-kihs / loh-kay-ihs)
A mid-wifery name meaning "aids in childebirth"
Maera (mee-rah  or may-rah)
Glistening
Mageus (maj-ee-uhs / maj-oos / mah-goos / mag-uhs)
She who kneads
Meilinoe (mihl-ih-nee)
She who soothes
Meisopomenos (meh-soh-poh-mee-nohs)
Labourer of the moon
Moera (mee-rah or mair-ah)
Older than time
Monogenes (moh-nah-geh-neez)
Born alone
Munychia (moo-nihk-ee-yah)
Moon Goddess
Nykterian (nihk-tuhr-ee-an)
Nocturnal one
Nymphe (nihm-fee)
Bride
Obstetrix (ob-steh-trihs)

Oistroplaneia (ihs-troh-plan-ee-ah)
She who brings the ravings of madness (perhaps originally "blessing with the power to prophesy")
Oreobazagra (or-oh-bah-zag-rah
Of the mountain of the bards - A moon Goddess title
Ouranian (yoo-ran-ee-an)
Celestial
Ouresiphoites (yoo-reh-sih-phih-teez)
Wanderer in the mountains
Oxythymia (ahks-uh-thih-mee-ah)
quick to anger
Pandeina (pan-dee-nah)
All terrible
Panopaea (pan-oh-pee-ah)
All teaching
Pantos Kosmou Kleidouchos (pan-tohs kahz-moo klay-doo-kohs)
Keeper of the keys of all the universe
Perseian (puhr-sih-an)
As daughter of Perses, the Sun God, (son of Crius and Eurybia) who married his cousin Asteria (daughter of Coeus and Phoebe).
Perseis (puhr-see-ihs)
Destroyer (relating to Perses)
Pheraea (fee-ree-ah)
She who brings forth or produces
Phileremon, Phileremona, Philermonia (fI-lee-ree-mahn or fihl-ee-ree-mahn; fI-leer-ee-moh-nah or fihl-ee-ree-moh-nee-ya and fihl-ee-ree-moh-nah or fI-leer-ee-moh-nee-yah Lover of solitude
Phoinikopeza (phih-nihk-oh-pee-zah)
Ruddy footed one (relates to henna dying)
Phosphoros (fahs-foh-rohs)
Light bringer; used when Hekate carried torches
Phryne (frihn-ee)
The toad
Polyboteira (poh-lihb-oh-teer-ah / po-lih-boh-tee-rah)
Generous nourisher, abundant giver of nourishment
Prokathegetis (proh-kath-eh-geh-tihs)
She who goes down before, the psychopompe (Libyan title possibly relates to Prothegetis[?])
Propulaia (proh-pyoo-lye-yah / proh-pyoo-lih-ah)
She who stands before the gate
Prothegetis (proh-theh-geh-tihs)
Leader (Lycian title possibly relates to Prokathegetis[?])
Prothuraea (pro-thyoo-ree-ah)
Lady before the door
Psychopompe (sIgh-koh-pom-pee)
Guide of souls (shared title though some suggest she was the originator of it)
Purphoros (puhr-phoh-rohs)
Torch/fire bearer
Rhododaktylos (roh-doh-dak-tihl-ohs)
Rosy fingered
Selene (Suh-lee-nee; See-leen; See-lee-nee; See-lee-nah; Suh-lee-nah; Suh-leen) The moon
Skylakitin (skihl-ak-ih-tihn)
Lady of the dogs
Soteira (soh-teer-ah or soh-tih-rah)
Savior (used in Phrygia)
Tauropolos (tor-oh-poh-lohs)
Bull killer/herder
Tergeminus (tuhr-jehm-ih-nuhs)
Triple birth (some suggest "thrice born")
Therobromos (tair-oh-broh-mohs or thee-roh-broh-mohs)
From cry of the beast
Trevia (tree-vee-yah / treh-vee-yah)
Of the three ways (Also Trivia [Roman])
Triaucheros (try-oh-kuhr-ohs / troh-kee-rohs)
Triple necked or having three necks
Triformis (try-for-mihs)
Triple faced like the phases of the moon
Triodotis (try-ahd-oh-tihs)
Of the three ways
Trivia (try-vee-ya or trih-vee-ah)
Of the three ways
Tymbidian (tym-bihd-ee-ahn)
Sepulchral one


Hekate was a reasonably common subject for ancient sculptors and appears in many forms of art especially but not limited to reliefs.  In modern art Hekate is a seldom but not uncommon source or subject.  TOP



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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Copyright 1995-2004 by Endora@iglou.com
All rights reserved.
Created: 12:49 AM 2/4/1995
Updated: 3:50 AM 11/18/2006
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Preamble:  A Word of Caution

    Though sources are numerous they are scattered and sometimes conflicting and varied and often requiring more research to verify or simply to decide whether I agree enough to include it or not if some bit does not ring true to a valid source.  This is done before I place any tidbit of information on this page.  Thus updates to this page have taken as long as years in the past, most only days though.  I have made every effort possible to research this data, to verify or discredit or at the very least annotate when it is an opinion rather than a proven fact (including my own opinion).  However, while I do try my hardest to verify and cross-reference, I am only human and am prone to human errors.  If I botch somewhere, somehow, let me know - I swear I won't curse you.
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    Some of the historical information regarding this Goddess (as with any Goddess of her ilk) is dark, disturbing and if practiced in today's society illegal or at least a question of ethics.  I accept no responsibility for the actions of the reader nor does the appearance of this information here constitute agreement with, practice of, encourage behavior of or intend to imply the reader should do any of, these ancient practices.  What you do with that information and how you use it is strictly up to you.  It appears here strictly on a historical basis and not in anyway as an indication or advocation of how the reader should honor this divinity today. 
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    Likewise, some of the details may be disturbing and I caution the reader of this fact in advance.  Hekate is a dark Goddess in one aspect and often that makes for a dark, bloody and often brutal history.  No matter how delicate I've tried to be with some details they may still prove to be upsetting to some individuals.  Again, I accept no responsibility for any upset, bad dreams or what you will from anyone choosing to read this material. 
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    Understand it is entirely, unavoidably loooooong and ever growing and as aforementioned it takes quite a bit of time and work to install a new fragment.  Spell checking alone is a hassle because all of the enunciations (which I've been so generously complimented on in the past) stops the spell checker every time, not to mention many of the unique and ancient names of people and places that are in this writing do the same.  In short, please understand the amount of effort involved in this work and remain reasonably patient for the updates.  But if you have sent me a piece and have not heard back from me in a few weeks chances are something has gone a foul and you should write me again. 
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    I've contemplated breaking it up into several pages however upon consideration that didn't seem practical for the serious student who may come here often as a resource.  It would make information for these folkes nearly impossible to find and at the very least unnecessarily time consuming.  Likewise, new entries are not merely added into the end of the work but edited into an appropriate paragraph, read and rewritten as needed.  The best means for the serious student of finding if new information has been added is to consult the update information at the end of this file.
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