the Realm of HECATE : Dark Goddess of Magic and Witchcraft
The Night of Enitharmon's Joy -- The Triple Hecate (Blake, 1795)
Hecate, Dark Goddess of the Underworld. "Be comforted. I am here to guide you through the dark."
November 16th is traditionally "Hecate’s Night," which is a Neopagan/Wiccan celebration the onset of the Dark Half of the year with this dark goddess—the "Queen of the Night." (It should be pointd out that this date is a purely modern invention. There's no modern equivalent to the timing of Hecate's celebration in the ancient world [16th August/September], due to the diffirernce between the old lunisolar and our solar calendars. However, the ancients were known to also observe a Hecate festival on the dark/new moon or at the end of each month.) Hecate appears in poetry as early as Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a Great Goddess. She was among the offspring of Gaia and Uranus, the Earth and Sky, and great powers were ascribed to her. Hecate also holds the honors (like Persephone) in the three realms—heaven, earth, and underworld. Thus, Hecate is a triple goddess.
In the Homeric Hymn To Demeter, the moon-goddess Hecate is the only one to hear Persephone’s cries during her abduction. In searching for Persephone, Demeter is joined by Hecate. When Persephone returns from the Underworld, Hecate vows to serve her as her chief attendant. In later myth and cult, Hecate is strongly associated with both goddesses, becoming at times virtually identical with Persephone, "Queen of the Underworld." Thus Hecate is ideally suited to play the mediating role she adopts in the Hymn between mother and daughter, where she both identifies herself with the mother and promises to serve as an underworld attendant to Queen Persephone. In some versions of the myth, Hecate is said to be Demeter’s daughter or to have gone into the underworld to search for Persephone; in others, she was even identified with Persephone. Her links with the moon and the world below associate her with Persephone, for the moon rises and sets just as Persephone (who later became a moon goddess herself) descends and ascends.
The Goddess Hecate is the wandering "Mistress of the Night" and represents the waning to dark cycle of the Moon, and most particularly the three days of the dark moon and new moon. Hecate symbolizes the dark within us, the part of our psyche we refuse to acknowledge. Many ignore the wisdom, the strength and the truth of Hecate, because our fear of the darkness is so strong. Hecate is associated with the dark side of the moon; in psychological terms, "the wisdom of the unconscious." Through Hecate, one can reclaim the "beautiful darkness" that has been exiled from our overly solar consciousness.
Thematic Images for the Ancient Greek Triple-Goddess Hekate/Hecate
click for Goddess Hecate
Thematic Images for the Neo-pagan Triple-Goddess Hecate
Thematic Images for Triple-Goddess Hecate's Witches
Thematic Images for Neo-pagan Memes of Triple-Goddess Hekate/Hecate
Hecate I am, Dark Mother, the Crone. My skin is old like the ancient stone, My eyes pitch black, my hair snowy white. As I am the dark and moonless night, I lead the Wild Hunt with my dark power Through winter time at midnight’s hour. My reign begins in the Samhain night, And lasts till the day of Imbolc’s Light. For the witches, I am there undoubted Queen, Their mother for centuries uncounted I've been. I teach of them the way to magic and power so strong, To learn and to see the right from wrong. Heed my warning if your intention is ill, For I am vengeful and will unleash it at will.
I’m justice, I’m vengeance, I dispense evil’s doom, I am wisdom and love and I am the Dark Moon. I am the guardian of the crossroads everywhere, Those who travel with evil beware! I shall rip away at the soul and drive them insane, That they will never cross my roads or my path again. I am fearsome, I am gentle, a worst nightmare come true, Remember, for all that you see in me also dwells within you. The hour is upon you to come now with me, Join the Wild Hunt and begin your life’s journey. My precious Witch Daughter stay on the path Of magical power, and fear not my wrath. You have the courage my child within you see, As you will it, so shall it be…
Thematic Images for Hecate's Wild Hunt ("The Game of Diana")
The "People/Phantoms of the Night" are roughly equivalent to the Celtic otherworldly "fairie" folk. Associated with the medieval “Witchcraft” phenomenon, other magical elements accrued themselves onto this folklore complex of the Underworld Goddess Hecate and the “People /Phantoms of the Night,” such as: (1) the legend of the wild “night-riders” (sometimes led by Herne), who could be heard thundering through the countryside on horseback or even through the air; (2) the legend of the pagan goddess of the Hunt, Diana (or, “Holda”), who lured women to “night flying,” or nocturnal travels of riding upon wild beasts— “the game of Diana.”
Samhain Wild Hunt
Hecate of the Wild Hunt
Samhain Wild Hunt
For more information about "The Wild Hunt" in Celtic and European folklore and its phenomenon during the Samhain festival in Celtic countries, click here.
For the more of the spirits of Samhain-Hecate season, go to page # 7, The School of the Night. See, specifically, the section "The School of the Night & the Night-Riders."
Thematic Images for the Neo-pagan "Hecate of the Crossroads"
The Gypsy Scholar honors HEKATE, GODDESS OF THE CROSSROADS, with the Blues
The near the end of the musical essay, “Hekate, The Triple Goddess," the GS discussed her role as “The Goddess of the Crossroads” and “The Three Roads” in ancient Greece and Rome and her celebration near the dark/new moon at the end of the month. However, instead of the thematic tunes he had been playing (straight up Neo-pagan songs in the genre of New-age Folk and Gothic Rock) for the Neo-pagan dark, chthonic goddess of Night, the Moon, Nocturnal Magic and Witchcraft — the spellbinding dark goddess of “magic potent herbs,” who could bestow vision and creative inspiration in her “pagan grove sanctuaries” —, the GS came to a crossroads in the program and ventured into a divergent genre. Into a witch’s magical cauldron was added a foreign element to the GS’s eclectic mix of musical brew — some R&B.
And who would have thought that the same singer-songwriter, who invented the genre of “Celtic Soul” (c. 1980s) with a repertoire ecstatic, romantic (pagan) love songs that sound like they could have come out of W. B. Yeats’ “Celtic Twilight” poems (e.g. “Tir Na Nog”), would put the same transcendent content inside a low-down-dirty R&B song and make it work? But that's what Van Morrison pulled off: the Celtic-Pagan sensibility with a R&B beat! Van’s “pagan heart and pagan soul” took him down to the “crossroads” — Hecate’s Crossroads — where other bluesmen had been before (from Robert Johnson, “Crossroads/Cross Road Blues,” to Eric Clapton, “Crossroads”), but now the archetypal scenery has changed.
My pagan heart My pagan soul Got to move on to the crossroads Got to go to the Arcadian groves Got to move to the crossroads Down by the crossroads, crossroads
My pagan heart My pagan soul Got to go to the holy wood …
By the roads By the roads My pagan heart My pagan soul My pagan soul
I got to go down by the crossroads The moon is rising In the evening time By the crossroads Crossroads My pagan heart My pagan soul …
Put a spell on you Down by the crossroads Put a spell on you Down by the crossroads My pagan heart My pagan soul Pagan heart Pagan soul Put a spell on you Down by the crossroads When the moon was new When the moon was new Put a spell on you Down by the crossroads ...
Hecate's enchanted music
According to Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.143, Hekate, “the night-wandering Queen of the world below,” was called on by Medea to enchant by her song.
According to Ovid (Metamorphoses 7.74), Hekate Perseis had an “ancient shrine … deep in the forest in a shady grove.” There the witch Medea met Jason, who besought her aid and promised marriage. “Then by the pure rites of Triformis [three-bodied Hecate] and by whatever Power dwelt in that grove he swore, and by her father’s father [Helios the sun] who sees all the world, and by his triumphs and his perils passed. Then she was sure; and straight the magic herbs she gave into his hands and taught their use [making him invulnerable to fire]."
Hekate has the power to create or withhold storms: “… my magic song rouses the quiet, calms the angry seas….” (Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.162)
Hekate, through Medea, “chants her incantations. All nature shudders as she begins her song.” (Seneca, Medea 670-843)