In recent years, I have known an increasing number of witches working with the Greek Goddess Hecate. It is not surprising since she is the goddess of magic and witchcraft and all things dark and taboo. Women looking to break out from under the oppression of a patriarchal society find Hecate especially appealing because she is strong, independent, and sex-positive, and working with an empowering deity can be liberating. So who is this goddess and why exactly is she having a moment now?
A Dark Goddess
The Greek Goddess Hecate goes by many names, such as Torch Bearer, Keeper of Keys, Queen of Night, and Queen of the Crossroads. She is commonly believed to be the only child of the Titans Perses and Asteria. Further back in the family tree, she is the descendant of the primordial personification of darkness, Nyx, Ancient Night at the beginning of time. Hecate was skilled in magic, divination, and fortune-telling, and taught her daughters, Circe and Medea, powerful witchcraft with herbs, enchantments, and shape-shifting.
As women gain more independence, Hecate becomes more relevant than ever. The old ways are dying and the goddess is here to bring forth the birth of a new age. In the ancient Greek, Goddess Hecate was believed to take in the souls of women who died before fulfilling their socially accepted roles of marriage and childbearing. Hecate has a place for the outcast of society and those who do not live up to the social norms and forge their own paths.
Hecate is most popularly known for being Persephone’s escort to the underworld, bearing torches to light the way. In Greek mythology, the underworld is symbolic of the subconscious. As a collective, there has recently been an emphasis on shadow work. Hecate guides you deep into the subconscious to meet your shadow. She is not one to work with if you want to be coddled. When you call on Hecate, be prepared to face the hard truth and do the difficult work befriending the parts of yourself you are ashamed of and try to keep hidden. Once you meet your shadow, follow Hecate’s torch back to the light to expose and integrate your inner demons in order to become whole.
Of the triple moon goddess, Hecate embodies the Crone. She is not the beautiful, young maiden or the nurturing, creative mother. She wants to know who you are and what you want. Do you accept yourself fully? Are you ready to experience the death of ego and your underworld descent? Hecate doesn’t need your worship or your devotion, she wants to know if you are ready to do the inner work. She asks you to embrace the mystery of birth, life, and death.
In later depictions of Hecate, she has three faces, each watching the three paths. If you are at a crossroads, whether it be literal or metaphorical, call on Hecate to light the way. In the later depictions, she also represents the triple goddess, maiden, mother, and crone, the never-ending cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Hecate is a goddess of liminal spaces. She stands at the gate that separates the spirit world from our own and holds to keys to the gate. After death, she guides our souls through the underworld with her torches, like with Persephone, in the liminal space between death and rebirth of reincarnation. She often speaks to her witches in dreams, sending prophetic visions or even astral projection into the spirit realm. Call on Hecate as a mediator of communication to spirits of the dead and the unborn.
The days sacred to Hecate are August 13 and October 31. On August 13, a festival was held in her honor as the Goddess of Storms and Fertility in hopes to gain her favor that she would use her powerful magic to redirect storms that may harm the crops of the second harvest. We know October 31st as Samhain, which is when the veil between the spirit world is thinnest, where she is found guiding the wandering souls and standing at the gateway between shadow and light.
The Wild Feminine
Hecate is often accompanied by wild dogs or wolves, which relate to the spirit of the wild feminine. Since she is related to the moon, she rules the menstrual cycle, especially the time before bleeding. She rules vengeance and can be invoked to bring justice, especially for sexual crimes against women. Because of her pack of barking dogs, Hecate can also be invoked in areas of protection for dogs.
As the Queen of Night, Hecate only accepts offerings and petitions after nightfall. Even better, invoke her at dawn, while it is still dark before the sunrise, which is the time of day she rules: the darkness before the light. Traditionally, offerings to Hecate were left for dogs to consume because of her association with dogs. She favors women, witches, psychics, midwives, herbal healers, and dog lovers.
Often depicted with a serpent or as the serpent itself, Hecate is a goddess who brings about transformation like a snake shedding its old skin. In Jungian psychology, the snake represents the shadow and the subconscious mind, which is a large part of Hecate’s dark goddess archetype. Snakes represent transitions, which shows how Hecate not only favors cisgender women but also transgender women. Serpent energy is also connected to sexuality, especially healing from sexual trauma. The Kundalini Awakening is represented by a serpent, which is a connection of the Divine Feminine sexuality and spirituality.
Hecate has returned to awaken the Divine Feminine in all of us, regardless of the gender you identify with. She is here to show us the way of the goddess in a patriarchal society. She calls you to go within, examine yourself, and emerge reborn. Death is not the end and something to be feared, but the beginning of the cycle of rebirth.
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