Goddess Hecate: queen of witches, symbols, mythology, prayer and more!

Who is the Goddess Hecate?

According to Greek mythology, Hecate is the goddess of magic, witchcraft, night, nature, the moon, ghosts and necromancy (a kind of magic capable of establishing communication with the dead).

The Goddess Hecate was the only child of the Titans Perses (the god of destruction) and Asteria (the goddess of shooting stars and astrology). There are still other versions of the origin of the Goddess Hecate that describe her as the daughter of Zeus (the God of climate, fate and law) with Demeter (the Goddess of agriculture).

In the most established versions of Greek mythology, Hecate was a virgin goddess, who left no children. In some scriptures, however, Hecate is the mother of the sea monster Scylla, a twelve-footed creature with six hideous heads with sharp teeth.

In this article you will learn more about the goddess Hecate, her characteristics, the mythology surrounding her, her symbols, and much more. Read on to know everything about this goddess.

Characteristics of the goddess Hecate

The Goddess Hecate is described as a virgin goddess, similar to Artemis, the goddess of hunting. Were you interested in knowing more characteristics of this deity? Below you will have access to its main characteristics, including its meaning, mythology and representations.

■ Meaning of the name Hecate

The etymology, that is, the origin of the word, of Hecate is not known to history. However, there are three known hypotheses for the meaning of the name Hecate. Let’s see what they are:

1 – According to the studies of the work of Hesiod, Hecate corresponds to the Greek word that means “will”;

2 – The best known version of the meaning of the name Hecate associates it with the masculine word “Hekatos”, an epithet of the God Apollo (the God of music). In this conception, her name can be translated as “one who works at a distance”, “one who removes or moves”, “one who has a long reach” or even “one who throws darts at a distance”;

3 – The name Hecate can also be a correspondence to Heket, the Egyptian goddess of birth.

Mitologia

The Goddess Hecate starred in two important episodes in Greek mythology: the Abduction of Persephone (the queen of the underworld) and the War of the Giants.

The Abduction of Persephone:

The Abduction of Persephone narrates the episode in which Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus, is kidnapped by the god Hades to the dimension of the underworld, which he ruled. Their cries and cries for help were not heard by any deity, not even their powerful parents. The only deities who heard Persephone’s lament were Hecate and Helium (the personification of the Sun).

Desperate over her daughter’s disappearance, Demeter wandered the Earth for nine days and nine nights in pursuit of Persephone. Without pausing for a moment, the Goddess did not eat, drink or sleep, until Hecate appeared before her holding two torches and bearing news.

Hecate heard Persephone’s pleas for help and, along with Demeter, they went to Helios, the one who watched over all men and all the gods, who informed them of Persephone’s location. Hecate and Demeter went into the Underworld to rescue Persephone from Hades’ hands. Since her return, Hecate has become Persephone’s companion, protecting her at all times.

The War of the Giants:

Legend has it that Gaia (the Earth goddess) was so enraged by Zeus’ actions that she decided to imprison all the Titans to ensure her ultimate power as God. To get revenge on her own son, Gaia and Uranus (the God of Heaven) gave rise to the Giants. These creatures were unsurpassed both in their size, as in their strength and power. With invincible bodies, the Giants had a frightening appearance, with long hair and serpent scales covering their legs.

The Giants started a war against the gods, hurling stones and fireballs towards the sky. According to the oracle of the gods, the defeat of Zeus was certain. The only way the gods could win this battle was through an alliance with a mortal, Hercules. Thanks to Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom), Zeus managed to forge an alliance with Hercules before Gaia could do anything. Thanks to the unparalleled strength of the mortal, the mightiest Giants were destroyed.

In this war, the Goddess Hecate was an ally of Zeus and also battled the Giants. She was responsible for the death of Giant Klytios, burned by her flaming torches.

Representações

Representations of the Goddess Hecate were common in both ceramic painting and sculpture. In the paintings, Hecate was often depicted as a woman holding two identical torches, one in each hand. She wears a knee-length skirt and hunting shoes, just like the goddess Artemis.

In statues, Hecate was often carved in her triple form, with three female bodies facing away from each other, in which one body held torches, the second held a rope, and the third held a dagger.

Qualidades

The Goddess Hecate possesses a set of qualities that can be grouped between positive and negative. The positive qualities of the Goddess Hecate include independence, compassion, justice, courage and wisdom.

She is one of the few goddesses who does not depend on men to guide her on her journey, nor does she allow herself to be threatened by the authorities and forces of the unknown, pushing human beings towards knowledge and freedom.

Your negative qualities are found in your mood and loveuality. There is no mention in the ancient texts about his temperament and his love relationships. Most likely, Hecate was an apathetic and virgin deity who was not swayed by passions and fun.

Ensinamentos

Most teachings associated with the Goddess Hecate dialogue with the virtue of charity. In some traditions, offering a supper in their honor is actually an invitation to practice the act of charity, so that their faithful feed the most needy.

■ Distortion of Hecate’s Image

Throughout history many distortions have been made about the image and meaning of the Goddess Hecate, most of them due to the expansion of Christianity and the Middle Ages.

The main confusion is that Hecate was an evil goddess, because of her popularity in the ancient world. The church was forced to associate its worship with evil practices, as people should worship only their One God, omnipotent and omniscient.

Since the idea of ​​the underworld became synonymous with hell, Hecate has suffered the consequences of this confusion, being associated with evil and obscure practices. The immature associations of night, death, and ghosts with evil things also contributed to the distortion of their true power and meaning.

Legacy of the Goddess Hecate

The Goddess Hecate left us an important legacy for the practices of witchcraft, sorcery and magical rituals. Furthermore, its characteristics are one of the theological bases for various mythologies around the world. Check out Hecate’s legacy from three important perspectives below.

■ Hecate, triple deity

The triple deities, or trinities, are goddesses from different mythologies around the world who share a common characteristic: although they are divided into three deities, they are generally worshiped as one. In Greek mythology, the Goddess Hecate is the representative of this phenomenon of tripartition of the goddesses.

Some studies point out that the triple deities are one of the bases for all the religions that exist. As such, all variations of the trinities would have a common origin that branches out into various cults over time.

In classical tradition, Hecate represents the goddess of the hunt, the goddess of the moon, and the goddess of the underworld. Its Roman counterpart is the Goddess Diana, who was worshiped as the union of Luna (Heaven), Diana (Earth) and Proserpine (Hell).

Examples of triple deities are also:

  • Tridevi, the trinity in Hinduism formed by the goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati;
  • The Matras, the Celtic trinity formed by the goddesses Ériu, Fóbla and Banba.

■ Hecate, goddess of the crossroads

The Goddess Hecate is the mistress of all spells and spells. She witnessed the kidnapping of Demeter’s daughter Persephone to the underworld and, armed with two torches in her hand, helped Demeter in her search for her daughter. As a result, pillars in his honor were built at the crossroads and at the gates, to ward off evil spirits.

So that the Goddess Hecate could look in all directions from a crossroads, her representation as a triple deity, in which each of their bodies turned their backs to each other, holding flaming torches, became commonplace. Also according to mythology, Hecate was always accompanied by a pack of dogs.

■ Hecate, magic and sorcery

Hecate is the goddess of magic and sorcery. In view of this, there are many ways you can establish a link with this deity, one of which is through the rituals of magic and incantations.

The rituals you can do to honor Hecate should always take place at night, in the phases of the new, full and waning moon. Rites involving divination, healing, banishing, and spiritual cleansing are most effective in the realm of the Goddess Hecate. 

Be sure to leave your offerings at the entrance, as Hecate is the goddess of doors. Having a permanent altar near the door dedicated to Hecate will allow her to examine her visitors. It will banish those with bad intentions and welcome those who bring good energy to you.

The ancients held large parties in honor of the Goddess Hecate and offered foods associated with her, such as chicken hearts and honey buns.

Items connected to Goddess Hecate

Many natural elements, dates and even other deities are connected to the Goddess Hecate because of the many mythological traditions that occupied her narrative. Below you will find the complete list of these elements.

■ Natural elements

There are some animals commonly linked to the Goddess Hecate, such as the bull, horse, goat, dog, black sheep, bat, snake, lizard, owl, dragon and fish.

Of these animals, lizards and sheep were used for sacrificial purposes. The rest were part of some pagan representations of Hecate, which imagined her with a woman’s body and an animal’s head, especially a dog’s head, her most common attribution.

■ Stones and colors

The main stones and minerals associated with the Goddess Hecate are bronze, gold, iron, lapis lazuli and any other stone and crystal that has a black color (onyx and tourmaline, for example). As for colors, the Goddess Hecate is linked to shades of black, red, silver, gold and white.

■ Day of the week and month of the year

There are a few days of the year set aside for services and rituals for the Goddess Hecate. The first of these takes place on August 13th, when the witches hold a festival asking Hecate not to send nasty storms to Earth.

Hecate’s second date is October 31, Halloween. While Halloween festivals are traditional in Celtic culture, there are tributes for Hecate on that day because of her hold on the underworld.

Hecate’s third date is November 30th. It is a modern commemoration in honor of Hecate, in which people perform rituals at the crossroads asking for protection from this deity.

Lua

As it is a deity linked to the night, all phases of the moon appear at some point in ancient texts and among the magical rituals offered to the Goddess Hecate. However, the two most mentioned phases of the moon are the new moon and the full moon.

Associações

The Goddess Hecate has been associated with several other deities. See below the list of the main correspondences that some ancient texts have already established around the name of Hecate:

  • Artemis, the goddess of hunting;
  • Selene, the Moon goddess, a Titan;
  • Despoina, the goddess of the seas, sister of Persephone;
  • Krataeis, the goddess of sea creatures and monsters;
  • The goddesses Bendis (Moon) and Kotys (Jungle), Thracian deities;
  • Several nymphs, like Maira, Eleusia and Hercyna.

Symbols connected to Goddess Hecate

The mythology surrounding the Goddess Hecate is full of connections between this deity and countless objects, plants, images and places. Check below all the symbolic associations created for the Goddess Hecate.

Chave

The Goddess Hecate is the guardian of the keys of the universe, according to ancient writings. She often uses the keys as messages to her witches. The keys lead people to encounter the unexpected and then unlock its meaning.

Tocha

Hecate is the torchbearer who lights the way through the darkest times, guiding us back to her cave for our spiritual rebirth. Through their torches, Hecate managed to defeat a Giant and also managed to save Persephone from the Underworld.

Punhal

The dagger is a symbol of power linked to rituals. Its use by the Goddess Hecate indicates her role as a midwife, in cutting the umbilical cord, as well as in severing the connection between body and spirit at the time of death. The dagger, in its curved knife form, is also a weapon capable of cutting through the illusions of the world in a display of power and judgment.

■ Whip or rope

The whip is one of the instruments linked to the Goddess Hecate, related to the functions of the underworld. She used the whip to deal with spirits who are aware of suffering and who fear her person, so they can be tamed and guided by her. These are confused spirits, who have experienced a painful life to the point of transforming them into vindictive and dangerous beings.

■ Roda de Hécate

The Wheel of Hecate, or Strophalos, is a symbol formed by the image of three circles, one inside the other, with the second circle opening into serpentine shapes. The symbol contains six more central lines, which create the perfect visual effect of a maze. It is an image that represents intertwined paths that disorient the individual, causing indecision and confusion.

The design of the Wheel of Hecate can symbolize some virtues, such as protection, opening, changing cycles, transformation and changes. This image can have several ritualistic functions and can be used in space-time wheels, oracles, meditation, astral projection, necromancy, evocation, healing activities and curses.

Corrente

The Goddess Hecate is associated with the one who breaks the chains, breaking the link that souls had with the material world and directing them to the underworld, where she reigns and is revered by the dead and spirits.

Máscara

Most likely, the triple representations of the Goddess Hecate arose as a result of the use of three masks around a central pillar, at the intersections of three ways, where each mask was positioned in front of each of the directions. Thus, Hecate’s spiritual place was indicated, as well as the paths that were under his protection.

Ervas

The Goddess Hecate has a deep connection with nature and witchcraft. Because of this, there are many herbs associated with this deity. Generally speaking, all poisonous plants and all medicinal plants compose its symbology.

Among all of them, garlic is the main plant symbolically linked to Hecate. This bulb is responsible for protection, nullifying negative energies and protecting against people and spirits without light. You can use garlic for exorcisms, spiritual cleansing, and as a protective amulet. Goddess Hecate loves to receive offerings of garlic in exchange for blessings.

There are other herbs and plants associated with Hecate, such as oak, yew, cypress, aconite, belladonna, dictamne and mandrake.

■ Magic spell

The magic mirror corresponds to one of the Goddess Hecate’s associations with her oceanic powers. Hecate takes on all aquatic aspects of mythology and all beings that can come with him. This includes emotions, the feminine side, loveuality, dreams, creation, life and death.

Encruzilhada

The crossroads is the spiritual home of Hecate and her witches, symbolizing the space between the physical world and the spirit world. Three-way crossroads are especially powerful portals for connecting with the Goddess Hecate.

A little more about the Goddess Hecate

The Goddess Hecate had her history consolidated in the fields of witchcraft, spirituality and femininity. See below for some additional information about this deity so important to modern witchcraft.

■ Hecate and the sacred feminine

Hecate is an independent goddess, never married and childless. She was an example of what the vast majority of women in the ancient world failed to be. In her triple form, Hecate incarnates the child, the mother and the old woman.

She carries with her the image of a strong, hunting, barren woman capable of doing all the things that only men were supposed to do. Whether she likes it or not, Hecate played an important role in the sacred feminine and to this day is considered one of the most important deities for modern witches.

■ Hecate and Hermes

In some Greek cults, such as those held in the cities of Pherae and Eleusis, the Goddess Hecate was considered the wife or companion of the God Hermes, who among all his attributions, was also responsible for taking the dead to the underworld.

In view of this, both gods were considered the lords of the ghosts and the dead and both Hecate and Hermes would have rescued Persephone from Hades’ domain of the underworld.

■ Oração in Deusa Hécate

There are many known versions of prayer to the Goddess Hecate. Below is an example of these chants, contemplating the main characteristics and elements of this deity:

Glory to you, O Hecate
Goddess who guards our opportunities
Queen of magic and circumstance
Keyholder, dear mother of witches
Hecate, guide me through the blessed portals
Close those who may lead to my destruction
Hecate, she who holds the keys of realms of time
Hecate, the goddess of wisdom and fate
Who hears the whisper of prophecy
Goddess of mysteries
Take my hand, O Goddess
Put all your knowledge in my palm
And let your magic flow through me.

How can the goddess Hecate be present in our lives?

The Goddess Hecate was a very powerful deity to ancient Greek mythology, making herself an equally powerful role model for modern women and witches. She is an essential goddess for the sacred feminine and for the entire mystical culture around motherhood and femininity. She can protect your home and your family members when properly respected and worshiped by you.

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