Hecate/Hekate : An Introduction by Sorita d’Este

Hekate is a Goddess of great antiquity. She is primordial, powerful and sometimes animalistic – and yet also sophisticated, modern and capable of adapting to different cultures. She is the Torchbearer, the Cosmic World Soul, the Guide and Companion. She is Mistress of the Restless Dead, who rules over the Heavens, Earth and Sea. She is the Keybearer who stands at the crossroads of life, death and initiation. Her devotees today, as throughout the ages, include philosophers, poets, sorcerers, theurgists, witches, root-cutters, enchantresses and ordinary people.

She has been loved, feared and hated throughout the millennia of her known history. Depicted variously as three-formed facing in three directions, as well as sometimes with the heads of animals – and at other times as single bodied standing bearing torches, or enthroned like the depictions of the goddess Kybele, Hekate has and possibly will always remain one of the greatest enigmas amongst the gods.

It is easy to believe that, like many of the other gods, her mysteries were forgotten, only to re-emerge and be reconstructed at the hands of the modern Pagan revival, but even just scratching at the surface of the available evidence soon provides us with a different story. She was never forgotten, and maybe just maybe, there has never been a time in which fires weren’t kept burning for her somewhere, nor a time in which offerings were not made in her name.

Today her worship has spread through diverse magical traditions and to all six of the inhabited continents of the world. This magical and geographical diversity is reflected in the essays and other contributions in this work. So what if anything has changed about the Torch-bearing Goddess of the Mysteries? Certainly the diversity of practices which have developed during the last few decades, many of which are based on older practices, others created from channeled material, from visions or through enthused creativity, means that Hekate is venerated, invoked and evoked using methods which sometimes would have been quite alien to those who knew her in the ancient world. However this reflects a change in her devotees rather than Hekate herself.

Culturally, and socially we are very different today in comparison to the Hellenic Greeks who honored her, but then they were also very different from the cultures which preceded them and honored Hekate, and those which subsequently continued to honor her through the centuries in their own unique and diverse ways. So it is important when considering the history of Hekate to do so with at least some empathy for the social and cultural context from which it emerged.

[ Source : Hekate Her Sacred Fires by Sorita d’Este ]

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