Astarte, Aphrodite, Ashtoreth-
Giver of life and bringer-in of death;
Hera in Heaven, on earth Persephonbe;
Levanah of the tides and Hecate –
All these I am, and they are seen in me.
As we approach Samhain, it is the time of death and the time of the dark crone and triple Goddess Hecate.
We revere her existence and fierce but maternal qualities. She is to be loved and feared. Revered and respected. Awesome… yet approachable. But, only call upon Her with true humility in your heart and your ritual!
Hecate: Ancient Greek. Thracian and pre-Olympian; at the same time a Moon Goddess, an Underworld Goddess and a Goddess of magick. Daughter of two Titan, Perses and Asteria (a later tradition says Zeus and Hera). She protexcted both flocks and sailors. Associated with the crossroads, where her three faced image was placed, called Triple Hecates; offerings were left there on the eve of the Full Moon to propitiate her. 777; Tarot, Threes, High Priestess; gems, star sapphire, pearl, moonstone, crystal.
Plants; cypress, opium, poppy, almond, mugwort, hazel, moonwort, ranunculus; animals; woman, dog; minerasl; silver; perfumes: myrrh, civet, menstrual blood, camphor, aloes, all sweet virginal odors; magickal weapons: yoni, outer Robe of Concealment, Bow and Arrow.
Witchcraft celebrates pale Hecate’s Offerings: Lady Macbeth
Hecate is at the same time a Goddess of the Moon, of the Underworld and of magic. She dwelt in the Underworld, alongside Hades and Persephone and the minor deities Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep) and Morpheus (Dreams). But like Persephone, she had power elsewhere as well; while Persephone, daughter and other self of the
Corn Mother fructified the Earth every
Spring, Hecate held sway in the night sky, and on Earth was a protectress of flocks and of sailors - and of course, of witches.
While Persephone, was, so to speak, the bright link between the Underworld and Earth, Hecate was the dark link. One of the reputed entrances to the land of shades was Lake Averna in Campania; the hills around it used to be covered with trees sacred to Hecate and pitted with caves through which one summoned the souls of the dead.
The night-calling owl was her messenger, and the dark yew and the willow or osier were her trees; witches’ bessoms were traditionally bound with osier – without that, they were said to be helpless.
Of all the Greek goddesses, she was the most markedly triple. She was at the same time the three-phased Moon and, in particular, its dark phase; to the Romans. Diana Triformis consisted of Diana, Proserpina and Hecate (In Greek terms, Artemis, Persephone and Hecate).
She was depicted as three female figures or as one with three animal heads – of horse, dog and boar, or sometimes of three dogs. Dogs were certainly associated with her (perhaps from their habit of howling to the Moon and from their path finding ability). Sometimes, she was portrayed as a whelping bitch, and she shared with Herne of the North the reputation of leading the Wild Hunt of ghostly hounds through the night.
She was, to both Greeks and Romans, expecially the goddess of the crossroads, where the traveler faces three choices. Statues of her stood there, and food offerings – “Hecate’s Supper” were taken there at the dead of night, on the eve of the full Moon. One left the food and walked away without looking back, for none dared confront the eerie goddess face to face.
She also haunted graveyards and the scenes of crimes – as a goddess of expiation and purification.
Hecate is the Dark Mother, in both the positive and apparently negative sense. To those who dare to welcome her, she brings creative inspiration. She is Hecate Antea, the Sender of Nocturnal Visions, and, typically of a Moon goddess, she has a son – Museos, the Muse-man.
For divination, the Greeks used an instrument called “Hecate’s Circle” a golden sphere with a sapphire hidden inside it – her mysterious Moon concealing the bright seed of understanding,
Her symbol is the torch, for the Dark Mother also holds the light which illuminates the Unconscious and reveals its treasures.
Shakespeare,as usual, knew what he was talking about. His witches deity was not Satan, as contemporary authority claimed, but the Dark Goddess, whose paradoxical function is to pierce that darkness, bring visions, call back the past, illuminate the present and give warning or promise of the future – the goddess of the moonlit crossroads, Hecate of the Three Faces.
FROM: THE WITCHES’ GODDESS by Janet and Stewart Farrar