Hecate was originally said to be the daughter of Titans, Perses and Asteria. At a later time her parentage was given as Zeus and Hera. The Greeks called her "The Hag of the Dead." She was also called "the most lovely one" which is a title for the moon.
Hecate’s home is in the Underworld, but she has power everywhere. She is a goddess of the Moon, of the Underworld, and of magic. Also she is considered the protectress of flocks and of sailors.
The owl is her messenger, and the willow, her tree. It is said that she rides a chariot pulled by dragons.
Hecate is also considered the goddess of crossroads. She belongs to the class of torch bearing deities, and is conceived as carrying a burning torch to suit the belief that she is the nocturnal goddess of the moon and a huntress who knew her way into the realm of spirits. She is depicted wearing a gleaming headdress of stars. All the secret powers of Nature are at her command. She has control over birth, life, and death. Because of her power in the three areas of nature, heaven and earth she is represented as a triple form. She is called the triple goddess. She is often depicted as three female figures or as one with three animal heads, of horse, dog and bear, and sometimes of three dogs. All wild animals were sacred to her.
She is considered goddess of the world of the dead, of night and darkness, and mistress of all the witchcraft and black arts. It is important to remember that before Christianity the underworld was not the evil place it is considered today, but rather, the resting place of the dead.
During the Middle Ages, Hecate became known as Queen of Witches. She was especially diabolized by Catholic authorities who said the people most dangerous to the faith were precisely those whom Hecate patronized: the midwives.
Hecate is looked upon as a goddess of fertility, whose torch is carried over freshly sown fields to symbolize the fertilizing power of moonlight.
In figurines of Hecate, she takes on the form of a pillar called Hecterion. One statue shows her with three heads and six arms, bearing three torches and three sacred emblems, a key, rope, and dagger. With the key to the underworld, Hecate unlocks the secrets of the occult mysteries and knowledge of afterlife. The rope symbolizes the umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal. The Dagger or Athame is a symbol of ritual power.
Hecate is the protectress of far off places, roads, and byways. At night during the dark moon, Hecate can be seen walking the road with her howling dogs and torches. In Greece, statues of her stood at crossroads where the traveler faced three choices. Food offerings called "Hecate's Supper" were left there late at night on the eve of the full Moon. The person leaving the food walked away without looking back, for they were afraid to confront the goddess face to face. This was a way of honoring the threefold goddess where one could look three ways at once.
In stories of Hecate, she is often accompanied by her dogs, by Hermes, and her priestesses, Circe and Medea who it is said in some histories were Hecate's daughters. Her dog who is her sacred animal, was offered to her as a sacrifice. The appearance of black howling dogs at night meant that Hecate was near, and their barking announced her approach.
Hecate and her dogs are said to journey over the graves of the dead to search for souls of the departed and they carry them to refuge in the underworld.
Hecate also enjoys the company of the Furies. It is said that the Furies hound and punish offenders who broke the taboo of insult, disobedience, or violence to a mother.
The Three Way Place Hecate as originally from Thrace and Anatolia. Also known as Hecuba, Her name means "influence from afar". She has been seen sometimes to have three bodies, allowing her to be all-seeing and all-knowing. She has also been depicted with three heads, those of a lion, a horse, and a dog. Let us see if we can come to know Her!
Ah - OO - OO - OO !
"We must seek Hecate at dusk for dusk is Her time - all transition times are Her times. It is time to greet Her! Let us welcome Her."
"Come Hecate, Beloved of all Grandmothers! Goddess of Transformation. Goddess of all Sacred Changes!"
Welcome, Mother of all magical, healing words! Beloved Grandmother! Bringer of life - too short but never ending."
Hecate is The Three Way Place, the Crossroads, the Fork in the Road, the Place of Change, Death, and Rebirth.
She is also our guardian, our old Mother, Hekat!
Seek Her, Women, at the Three Way Place, seek Her where the road forks! Seek Her in times of flux, at times of change, always shifting, always changing, the Y that marks the road!
Call on Hecate when you wish to lose something of yourself, when you wish to end something: a stage ... a phase ... a relationship ... an apprenticeship ... a period of mourning ... a dream that has died ... an attachment... an old idea about yourself... a role you play, say, say, perhaps that of victim?
Call on Hecate and prepare for a death, for Hers is a Death dealing place! Plan what it is that you need to rid yourself of. Search for what it is that keeps you from your bliss!
As you call on Her, use your dark wisdom which is Her gift to you and look straight at the Truth. Prepare to kill whatever stands in the way of your Becoming!
Pause, and reflect and listen to your deepest voice. Listen ... and She will speak ....
Hecate, the Old Wizened Crone, She is the Mother of Death and Rebirth. It is She who allows you to age with dignity!
You must laugh when you see Her wrinkled old face! She reminds us to live our lives in the here and now! Smile at Her and find your joy! Laugh! Look at Her and ask yourself what those wrinkles, what that shriveled skin means, anyway! Are you afraid others will hate you for your wrinkles? For your sagging breasts? For your aging skin? For your wirey, graying hair?
Know when you look at Old Hekt, when you see those wrinkles, and those sagging breasts ....
...they are our marks of wisdom!
Sing praises to Old Women and Hags!
Glory be to Crones! Sing praises to Old Hekt!
***From Virgin, Mother & Crone, by Donna Wilshire