That Goddess Hecate,
before and after the
Queen Mother of all the Witches.
In a world of gods and social media,
who makes the most noise is the King... Or the Queen?
I have nothing, absolutely nothing against Hecate as a divinity worshiped by thousands (I begin to believe that thanks to social networks, perhaps millions), but as I am popular for saying what I think, and for writing it too, although they may be opinions Unpopular, I have no fear in writing something that many are thinking but refuse to share for fear of being almost exiled permanently from the metaphysical community.
Hecate, she's the bad girl in the class.
It is popular among men and women, its ambiguity, its triple character (and all of them quite dark in turn), its immense titles (which apparently has much more now than in ancient Greece itself), especially (and I repeat) this triple character as dark goddess, lunar and infernal goddess, is clearly the bad girl in the classroom that everyone wants to be friends with, but yes, many forget that the bad girl in the class is not always as evil as she seems, and often ends up being another girl who doesn't feel pretty enough to be part of the cheerleading club, or smart enough to join the chess club, she feels ashamed, enough to refuse to enter the comedy club or of singing, and simply prefer to put on makeup, be the bulling of the school, and popularize among (obviously) the least popular, minorities, and all those who for one reason or another have felt discriminated against by society, you Does this sound familiar?
Yes, the description fits like a ring to the finger, and I have absolutely nothing against the goddess, quite the contrary, it is one of the deities that my favoritism has, perhaps it is because I began to adore her from a very young age when I read about her for the first time in an esoteric magazine in my native Venezuela (Ronda Magazine, March edition 1999), so after a while it is natural that I don't think it's “the fashion wave”, I think that in a certain way I understood it after working so much with it , and with some coven of "Wiccan inspiration", so growing and learning more, it simply became a divine source in my little and very eclectic pantheon.
The Hecate of my youth
The first time I read about Hecate in that magazine, they mention her as “the Greek goddess of sorcery and the arcane, queen of the night and the witches”, accompanied by a couple of illustrations of her sculptures, and an extensive article on the popularity of this legendary goddess in the growing groups of modern witches of a city (by then entirely unknown to me) of San Francisco in the USA.
After having read the article a couple of times, so as a couple of rituals that accompanied him (one to get back at a lover and another to protect the home), I was quick to find information about Hecate in encyclopedias and dictionaries, I remember having memorized that Pope's illustrated dictionary said "Hecate: Greek goddess of sorcery, triple character, lunar, marine and infernal", while only vaguely mentioned in a couple of books of 'White Magic' and 'Wicca' of those that Mama keeps in her personal library next to the kitchen.
An encyclopedic book of Greek myths, gods and monsters, claimed that she was a wild goddess of Egyptian origin who would later have been worshiped by the Greeks and that her cult would have been transformed into something increasingly large. On the other hand, a couple of family members (Andres and Mary), both historians who had lived several years in Greece, seeing my fascination about the subject when I asked them about it, they only told me:
“The truth is, she had a cult in its time, but it was not as big as the books claim, it would have one or another temple, but at that time people were more focused on worshiping the gods of grain and commerce, or of vegetation and war, because they were subjects from day to day, homosexuality was not persecuted, rather it was quite acceptable, so a goddess like her would not really be revered by any minority who felt despised, and the priestesses more revered the cult of Aphrodite, Hera or Hestia, who they had more to do with the society of that time, if you compare it with the new times, Hecate was the equivalent to some local Santa of some church, if, of course, with many attributes, but in those times of war, where civilization was booming, it would not be as relevant, more than for some travelers who prayed at the crossroads to prevent danger, although most of these travelers were merchants, and they chose to pray to Hermes (god of travelers and commerce) or Athena (which had several temples and statues at the entrances of the most important cities).”
After that explanation I will not deny that I felt somewhat disappointed, although he insisted on keeping a couple of drawings that I made of her next to my altar (Gods! If that altar spoke! What would I not say?), This experience, or a very similar one it was repeated years later when I managed to read Hesiod's "Theogony", and the 1985 book written by Burkert, W. "Greek religion: archaic and classical", because while most of the magic and sorcery books of the moment, insist in making Hecate looks like a kind of 'Saint patron of the mystical arts and sorcery, indomitable queen of the night and mother of all witches, and owner of dozens of attributes', the books of Greek history and paleontology, especially those written by well-qualified Greek authors and academics, they deny most of these attributes and explain it in quite interesting ways.
But it was my professor of 'psychology of marketing', Jonathan Alejandro Goncalves, during my third semester of marketing and advertising at the University, who once asked me about it for the realization of an essay (maybe later I tell you how this discussion arose, because it is a much longer story), and finally he concluded that the cult of Hecate was growing "at all mysterious" at this time and that it was something of common sense very easy to understand, she represented minorities, these minorities that for the Greeks were not important, minorities that today are news daily thanks to newspapers and social networks, but at that time, she was just one goddess outside the twelve Olympians, and today, many teenagers who feel "Out of place" or "not socially accepted" identify with it.
My conclusion in writing in that essay on ‘the evolution of marketing around certain religious figures’ was:
"While all other female deities represented the goods and pleasures idealized by Greek society, Aphrodite symbolizes love and beauty, femininity and acceptance of carnal pleasures, Athena symbolizes wisdom, the firmness of a civilization, philosophy, understanding, and reasoning, Hera represented the complete and complete woman, lover, wife and mother, also a queen of the heavens, and Vesta symbolized that wise, discreet, virginal woman who took care of the home and society, Hecate was On the contrary, it was not even Greek, it was a foreign deity that was passing through, a goddess who crossed the deserts and represented all that which the Greeks feared, such as contempt and social disrepute.
Hecate was a goddess who hid in the night, her temples had no signs with directions (unlike everyone else), her sacrifices were important, but they never became more important than those of Bacchus, the god of wine, or Ares, the god of war, his temples do not even have a decent decoration, only women who did not marry and were not virgins (so they could not be vestal virgins) will seek worship in it, as they were outside the socially accepted stereotype in the time, they were like Hecate, a minority woman to whom other gods refused to invite the festivities, she was not married, nor had children, but worse, unlike Athena, Vesta and Artemis, there was no great myth behind her virginity, she simply had no lovers, any poet could add that her lover was the night, or that she did not find pleasure in men, but for Greek society, where sensuality was as relevant as the art and philosophy, this would not be seen as something healthy, and it is quite strange coming from such an extravagant figure. ”
If you analyze it carefully, it represented not only the immigrant who arrives to conquer others with his hypnotic talents but also, was a sorceress, which would not be well seen by the priests and priestesses of other better known deities, however, they existed a couple of myths that sought to enhance her divine image, such as the fact that she had taken care of Zeus in a cave when she was a child hiding from her father, and in that tradition where she is the mother of the witches Medea and Circe .
After this, Hecate served as a character in several heroic tales of the time, always represented as goddess of sorcery, from the middle ages she is seen as "mother of all the great witches and magicians", especially in several versions of 'The Arthurian cycle', and in much more recent stories, takes the role of Echidna as the mother of many myth monsters, which, far from raising its divine status, rather helps to create greater confusion around the character.
An immortal Sorceress
that we all worship in a certain way.
However, Hecate has this hypnotic power over all of us who read about it, its name carries a huge almost inspiring appeal, and its image is linked to the greatest (and also some of the most important) books of magic and sorcery. In some books she is portrayed as the queen of all witches and wizards, in others, she is a dark goddess of sorcery and magic, in a certain book about transformations she is the main divinity, while in Wicca, it is she who mostly embodies the triple lunar goddess whom witches worship.
Wicca, neo-paganism, some 1899 book entitled "Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches", and its name being mentioned in virtually all television series about witches, wizards and sorcerers, including the mythical 'Charmed' with Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowen, wherein one episode they introduce us to 'Hecate, a female demon who plays the role of queen of the underworld', have made our dark goddess a difficult character to ignore in today's metaphysical society.
The Hecate of now is perhaps much more complex and eclectic than the original, Hecate is seen as the Goddess-mother and queen of all the witches, the Immaculate Sorceress, goddess of the dogs and all the creatures of dark fur, lady of the crows , goddess of cemeteries and crossroads, queen and lady of the night and all her creatures, goddess of keys and doors, as well as of all paths, mother of all seers and psychics, queen of ghosts, and Of course, goddess of magic, divination and sorcery, obviously not forgetting, lunar goddess, and for some modern cults, the goddess who protects the seas during the night.
In the Wicca it is practically an offense not to meet Hecate, it is almost always the first to be mentioned, you can find entire books full of quite idealized information about her. At one point they make me think… “Is that nobody else works in Olympus ???”, but the truth is that it is interesting how our society has changed positively to such an extent, that one that was once an almost irrelevant goddess for many , not even becoming included in the Olympic gods, where (let's be honest at heart) until Bacchus who was a god of wine and the holidays had a chair, Vesta, the goddess of home and architecture, had a chair, Hera , the goddess of marriage, had a chair, Hermes, the messenger of all the gods, had a chair, literally the UPS service of Olympus had a chair !! And Hecate no!
But now times have changed, minorities have begun to unite with each other, and have formed a huge social group of different ethnicities where now, being part of some minority is practically a fad.
The original Hecate
The original Hecate was represented as a simple goddess, sitting on a throne and wearing a crown of flowers on her head, it was thus represented before, and until two centuries after the invasion of the Persians to Greece, contemporary with the myth of the Titanomaquia , where apparently Hecate herself was present providing assistance to the Olympic gods according to some versions such as Hesiod and Pausanias.
It was not until the end of the 5th century BC. C, when Hecate began to be represented as a triple goddess by (the truth very few) artists and sculptors of the time, mostly holding in his hands a torch, a snake or a key, but always maintaining a warm and thoughtful expression in his face, and many times maintaining her crown of flowers, alluding to her minor role as a goddess of nature or a queen of the woods.
The larger animals were dedicated in sacrifice to other seemingly more important Gods, as well as the libations of milk and honey, while to Hecate, the owners of some establishments left pieces of meat at the crossroads to gain their protection (which enhances its dark and almost demonic aspect), or they sacrificed dogs, which was next to the donkey one of the few animals that were forbidden to serve in the banquets and sacrifices of the greater gods, for these being an offense to the presence of Vesta and Ares, Because of this, Hecate simply receives the remains of meat from banquets and dogs that were too old to be useful in the home.
However, despite all the above, in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, this hero offers Hecate a libation of honey at night with blood from the throat of a sheep, performs this ritual by a river dressed entirely in a black robe under the guidance of the sorceress and priestess Medea.
The chthonic symbolism of the previous ritual speaks for itself, representing not only a goddess before the best-known Greek civilization but also a sacred ritual to venerate the first gods since man lived in the caves.
In Thrace, around the 5th century B.C. Hecate was considered a goddess of borders, boundaries, roads, and thresholds, later she would also be revered as a goddess of childbirth and the upbringing of young people, in large part because her priests were eunuchs who must be trained in this labor class It only took two centuries after this to reach the title as "patron" of the city of Estratonicea (now Eskihisar, Turkey) and have a temple in Laguna, where the annual festivities, although they were not the largest, if they attracted people from other cities.
The Goddess of Hesiod
It was the Greek poet, Hesiod, who raised Hecate's status to a point where other philosophers and speakers of the time are debated.
Hesiod seemed to be a great devotee of the goddess, whom she revered without hesitation, filled her entire poetry and stories with references to the enormous power of the goddess, and in response to the 'seemingly unknown greatness of the goddess', which only he seemed to know, this was limited to proclaiming that its power “will come as a gift from and a superior origin ”, referring to the fact that Zeus would have given him divinity, absolute control over all the powers of other gods, being the only one capable of filling humanity with all kinds of gifts.
An increasingly uncertain origin
Hesiod turned Hecate into a goddess of the night and a night walk, a queen of the woods and a sorceress, but it was also the same, who under divine inspiration, affirmed the origin of Hecate, making her the daughter of Asteria, the goddess of stars, which would make her be the sister of Leto (the light of day), aunt of Apollo (the sun) and Artemis (the moon), granddaughter of Febe (primal goddess of the moon).
Another later version of this story states that Hecate was a mortal priestess of the goddess Artemis, and her name was Iphigenia, Iphigenia offends the goddess with insults after being requested in sacrifice by Zeus, and being tired of sacrificing outsiders in the temple by order of the goddess, because of this falls into madness and commits suicide. Before the horrendous spectacle, Artemis, wanting not to repeat what Athena did when turning the body raped by Poseidon of her priestess Medusa, into a horrifying beast, the lunar goddess decorates the body of Iphigenia with flowers and jewels and whispers in her ear looking for the elevation of his spirit, then Iphigenia wakes up in the Elysian fields turned into a goddess, then going to be called Hecate, an avenging goddess of wounded women.
An alternative version that explains its origin as a pre-Olympic chthonic goddess, affirms that she is a titan (a primal divinity before the “gods”), daughter of Perses and Asteria, being a powerful helper and protector of the human race whom she always favors. It was the only titan who helped Zeus during the Titanomaquia, which is why she was not banished to the domains of the Underworld after the defeat of the Titans by the Olympic gods.
A more modern myth and after the invasion of Rome, tells us that it would be a virgin priestess who had stolen her mother's carmine pot, immediately fled to a house where a woman was in labor and helped her to have the baby. Zeus as punishment for leaving the temple and committing a robbery then sent her to the kingdom of Hades to be purified for her actions, once there Hecate enjoyed great authority, as she was known as the queen of the underworld until the arrival of Persephone as a wife of Hades.
From the latter, the Greeks adopted the custom of placing "totems" of Hecate on roads, gates, and roads, because she did not allow ghosts to pass beyond the threshold, the Greeks prayed to this figure as " the queen of ghosts ”and“ goddess of darkness ”, a role she has maintained until our times.
Queen of the witches.
I suppose it is the role that has been won thanks to the efforts of his faithful devotees who have promoted his image throughout the world, Hecate is present on the altars of hundreds of witchcraft and magic practitioners in every corner of the planet, thus becoming one of the most unconditional deities of the pagan pantheon, and one of the most emblematic most divine figures in the society of witches and wizards.
With Love, Light & Blessings always...