Hekate, also spelt Hecate, is a complex and fascinating goddess from Ancient Greek mythology. In Greek her name is spelt Ἑκατη and means “worker from afar” from the Greek word hekatos. Though there are many aspects to her character and worship, three significant things stand out about Hekate:
Goddess of Magick, Witchcraft, and Crossroads: Hekate is associated with magick, Witchcraft, necromancy, and the knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants. She is believed to have the power to grant or deny the use of magical abilities of her devotees. Hekate is closely linked to crossroads, symbolising the intersection between the ordinary world and the psychic reality. Pillars of Hekate, called Hecataea, stood at crossroads and doorways to offer protection and guidance for travellers.
Triple Form and Associations: Hekate is often depicted in a triple form, representing her dominion over the earth, sea, and sky. And more importantly, the parts of time—the past, the present and the future. This three-fold aspect is also linked to her connection with the lunar phases, specifically the new moon, full moon, and waning moon. As a result, she is associated with the personification in modern Witchcraft as the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, archetypes of feminine divinity.
Connection to Persephone and the Underworld: In the myth of the abduction of Persephone, Hekate plays a crucial role. She aids Demeter, Persephone's mother, in her search for her missing daughter, who Hades, the god of the Underworld, abducted. Hekate later becomes a close companion to Persephone during her time in the Underworld. This association with the Underworld has led to Hekate being considered a chthonic deity, representing the darker, hidden aspects of life and the mysteries of death and rebirth.
How is a ritual to the goddess Hekate performed?
For modern Witches, Hekate holds a special place, not least because she is the patron goddess of Witches. While specific rituals to honor Hekate may vary depending on the practitioner, their tradition, and their personal relationship with the goddess, there are some general practices that can be included in any ritual to Hekate. While the following description is not exhaustive and there's plenty that you can use in your own practices.
9 Parts to Creating a Ritual
Choose a suitable location: As Hekate is often associated with crossroads, you might consider performing the ritual at a physical crossroads or a metaphorical one, such as the meeting point of different environments or the juncture of different life paths.
Cleanse and prepare the space: Cleanse the area to remove any negative or unwanted energies. This can be done by smudging with sage or other purifying herbs, using incense, or by visualizing cleansing energy enveloping the space.
Set up an altar: Create an altar or shrine dedicated to Hekate, using symbols and items that represent her. This may include representations of her triple form, keys, torches, lunar symbols, or images of animals associated with her, such as dogs, snakes, or owls. Additionally, you can place offerings on the altar, like garlic, pomegranates, honey, wine, or freshly baked bread.
Cast a circle: Many rituals begin with the casting of a circle to create a sacred space and protect the practitioner from negative energies. This can be done using a wand, athame, or simply your hands while visualizing protective energy forming a circle around you.
Invoke Hekate: Call upon Hekate to be present in your ritual. You can do this by reciting a prayer, poem, or hymn dedicated to her, or by speaking from the heart and inviting her to join you. Speak her names, titles, and attributes to establish a connection with her energy.
Perform the ritual: Once you have invoked Hekate, you may perform the specific ritual you have planned. This could be a spell, meditation, or simply a conversation with Hekate to seek her guidance, wisdom, or protection.
Offer thanks: Express your gratitude to Hekate for her presence and assistance during the ritual. This can be done through words, song, or a simple gesture of respect, such as a bow or offering of incense.
Close the circle: When the ritual is complete, close the circle by thanking and releasing any energies or spirits that were invoked, and then visualize the protective energy dissipating.
Clean up: After the ritual, remove the offerings and clean up the altar or shrine. Some practitioners choose to leave offerings at a crossroads or another appropriate location as a final gesture of gratitude.
Remember, it is important to research and respect the traditions you are drawing from, and adapt the ritual to your own practice and beliefs.
Black spirits and white, red spirits and grey, Come thee and come thee and come thee that may. Round and around throughout and about, A world within, a world without.
Join us for a Strange Brew in the Witch Circle for a discussion about the rites and magicks of Hekate.
A Coven Dark Moon Ritual
The following ritual is a deeper exploration of the ritual practices of Nuit's Veil coven. During the dark moon cycle, our coven regularly gathers to honor the spirit of Hekate, the enigmatic Goddess of animal powers and witches' familiar spirits. These spirits represent the primal instincts we have lost touch with, and through our ceremonies, we seek to rekindle those innate abilities within ourselves.
Both metaphorically and psychically, these forgotten powers are symbolized by the hidden phase of the moon's cycle—the Dark Moon. On this night, the absence of visible moonlight accompanies us as the Moon reaches its lowest point in its monthly orbit. Our ritual leads us into these profound, introspective realms. The lunar journey through each zodiac sign adds an overarching astrological dimension to our ceremony, while personal psychic reflexes also influence our experience of the Dark Moon ritual.
Our coven's Dark Moon ceremonies typically involve the following elements:
An initiation rite, welcoming participants into the sacred space
A dedicatory rite, invoking and evoking the presence of the enigmatic goddess Hekate
An invocation and evocation of our familiar spirits, connecting us to our primal instincts
And finally, the casting of spells aimed at manifesting our heartfelt desires.
Subscribe and download your free digital copy of Covina Noctura, a coven dark moon ritual
Know Her Name
The many names of Hekate
Hekate is ancient, and many see her as a pre-Ancient Greek goddess, but always associated with Witchcraft, Magick, the night, the moon, ghosts, crossroads, and the underworld. She has a long and complex history and is known by many names and epithets throughout the ages.
Hekate Triformis: This epithet means "three-formed" and is a reference to Hekate's triple aspect as the goddess of the underworld, the earth, and the sky.
Hekate Enodia: This name means "Hekate of the roads" or "in the way," and is a reference to Hekate's role as the goddess of crossroads and the protector of travellers.
Hekate Phosphoros: This name means "Hekate the light-bringer," and refers to Hekate's association with the moon and the night, which she illuminates with her torches.
Hekate Soteira: This epithet means "Hekate the saviour," and is a reference to Hekate's ability to guide souls through the underworld and bring them to safety.
Hekate Propylaia: This name means "Hekate of the gate," and is a reference to Hekate's role as a guardian of gates, doorways, and thresholds.
Hekate Chthonia: This epithet means "Hekate of the earth" or "underworld," and is a reference to Hekate's association with the realm of the dead.
Hekate Kourotrophos: This name means "Hekate the nurturer of children" and refers to Hekate's role as a protector of infants and young children.
Hekate Agriope: This name means "Hekate of the wild face," and is a reference to Hekate's untamed, primal nature.
Hekate Brimo: This epithet means "Hekate the terrible," and refers to Hekate's dark and fearsome aspect as a goddess of magic and witchcraft.
Hekate Epipyrgidia: This name means "Hekate of the tower," and is a reference to Hekate's role as a protector of fortresses and strongholds.
Hekate Ioulis: This name means "Hekate of the violet light," and is a reference to Hekate's association with the moon and the night.
Hekate Kleidouchos: This name means "Hekate the key-holder," and is a reference to Hekate's role as a guardian of keys and locks.
Hekate Nympheuomene: This name means "Hekate of many loves" and is a reference to Hekate's supposed marriage to the god Hermes.
These are just some of the many names and titles associated with Hekate.