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 Hecate

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Silver Wind
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PostSubject: Hecate   Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:16 am

Hecate is another Goddess whom has been embraced and adopted popularly in the Wiccan/Neo-Pagan tradition. She has beem embraced as a goddess of magick, and often called upon to aid in rituals and spellcasting, as well she has been adopted in the Tripple Goddess, portrayed as a Crone figure.

Hecate is the Greek goddess of the crossroads. She is most often depicted as having three heads; one of a dog, one of a snake and one of a horse. She is usually seen with two ghost hounds that were said to serve her. Hecate is most often mispercepted as the goddess of witchcraft or evil, but she did some very good things in her time. One such deed was when she rescued Persephone, (Demeter's daughter, the queen of the Underworld and the maiden of spring), from the Underworld. Hecate is said to haunt a three-way crossroad, each of her heads facing in a certain direction. She is said to appear when the ebony moon shines.

Hecate, Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft -- once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as a "hag" or old witch stirring the cauldron.

But nothing could be further from the image of Hecate's original glory.

A beautiful and powerful goddess in her own right, the Greek goddess Hecate was the only one of the ancient Titans who Zeus allowed to retain their authority once the Olympians seized control. Zeus shared with Hecate, and only her, the awesome power of giving humanity anything she wished (or withholding it if she pleased).

Usually classified as a "moon goddess", her kingdoms were actually three-fold . . . the earth, sea, and sky. Having the power to create or withhold storms undoubtedly played a role in making her the goddess who was the protector of shepherds and sailors.

A lover of solitude, the Greek goddess Hecate was, like her cousin Artemis, a "virgin" goddess, unwilling to sacrifice her independent nature for the sake of marriage. Walking the roads at night or visiting cemeteries during the dark phase of the moon, the goddess Hecate was described as shining or luminous.

In other legends she is invisible, perhaps only glimpsed as a light, a "will-o-the-wisp". Perhaps it was this luminous quality that marked Hecate as a "moon goddess", for she seemed quite at home on the earth.

Hecate's ability to see into the Underworld, the "otherworld" of the sleeping and the dead, made her comfortable and tolerant in the company of those most would shun out of fear or misunderstanding.

In her role as 'Queen of the Night', sometimes traveling with a following of "ghosts" and other social outcasts, she was both honored and feared as the protectress of the oppressed and of those who lived "on the edge". In Rome many of the priests in her sacred groves were former slaves who had been released to work in her service.

Hecate's farsightedness and attention to detail, combined with her extraordinary interest in that which most of us discount as irrelevant or arcane, gave her tremendous powers.

She knew what the rest of us did not.

Not surprisingly, the people thought it best to give the goddess Hecate (and any friends that might be accompanying her) a lot of honor and a fairly wide berth. When darkness descended they wisely retired to the fireside for supper, but put the leftovers outside as an offering to Hecate and her hounds.

In a similar fashion, food was often left at the crossroads to honor Hecate, especially at junctions where three roads converged --what we often call a "Y-intersection".

It is hardly surprising that a woman who needed to make a trip alone at night would say a brief prayer to Hecate to seek her protection. The goddess Hecate, like her cousin Artemis, was known as a protector of women, especially during childbirth.

Not only was Hecate called upon to ease the pains and progress of a woman's labor, but especially to protect and restore the health and growth of a child.

Similarly, Hecate played a role that, in contemporary times, we would describe as "hospice nurse", helping the elderly make a smooth and painless passage into the next life and staying with them, if need be, in the otherworld to help prepare them for their eventual return to the earth in their next life.

Familiar with the process of death and dying as well as that of new birth and new life, the goddess Hecate was wise in all of earth's mysteries.

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