Saturday, June 21, 2014

Before I move on to the next point… Hekate

Before I move on to the next point in the star, I want to take a few posts to talk about Hekate.
I am, of course, somewhat familiar with this Goddess, as she is well attested in Hellenic literature, but her origins are murky and her place in the pantheon nebulous. Not an Olympian Goddess but a Titan, her power remained hers in the great mythic cycle because of her aid against the Titans. She retained her divine honors on Earth, in the Sky, and in the Seas, and her place in the realm of the Underworld is well known, for it is through this connection that her current role among some neo-pagans as a Goddess of Dark Magic and such is drawn.

But I am not going to lecture you on what Hekate is in the myths, but rather what she means to me. Which is how you should assume all my posts work.

I acknowledge four main aspects of Hekate.

1: Moon goddess.
2: Protector
3: Avenger
4: Psychopomp

Lunar Deity:

The first, lunar deity, is an aspect she shares with others, especially Artemis and Selene. You should know that I don’t think the Moon is a deity, nor the Sun, nor the Earth. These are physical bodies in a physical universe governed by the rules of how that universe works. But the Moon (and Sun and Earth) are symbols of divine powers. Symbols that come down to us from our ancient ancestors. They saw the moon as something mystical, magical, or divine, and as such, we do too, even if we do so from a different perspective brought about by a greater knowledge of what it actually is.

Moon deities seem to have some aspects in common. The bring light, they change, they signal the passage of time, they are dark and light, bringing with them aspects of something fearful that the light of the moon either sheds light on or drives away. It would be a gross simplification to say that the Moon deities are all one deity, that would be to give the Moon itself the central role of deity, but it is not, it is just a small planetary body in orbit around a much larger one.

Lunar deities are deities whose power we are affected by in day and night, but more so at night, because just as the light of the sun tends blind us to the moon’s presence, so too does day often, with all the hustle and bustle, blind us to the things that worry us. Lunar deities tend to be more mellow seeming, yet fierce and even dangerous in truth. Again, an aspect of the night, which seems so calm, yet can hide many dangers. 

I’m crazy, you say? Look at Artemis, she is wild and motion and the fierce huntress, but remember, in her common guise as daughter of Zeus, she is often seen as a very young woman, a girl even, and who hasn’t seen a pretty little girl and thought “how cute” never once considering she may hold in her pocket the knife that might end your life. 

To me, Lunar deity means ever changing, ever in flux, ever to be careful of. 


All deities, in one aspect or another, have aspects of protection. It only makes sense, but Hekate is indeed a goddess of protection. Whether she protects by shedding light upon your path, or is called upon by women to protect them in times of vulnerability, or by witches who seek her blessing upon their amulets of protection, she is a protector. Like Artemis, she is also a protector of children, and as a Goddess of women, this is to be expected. If there is anything women seek protection for, it is their children. 

Interestingly enough, her role as protector can also be a dangerous one. Like Athena, how far will that protection go? To the destruction of entire nations? You just never know with a power like Hekate, because hers is a power that stretches far into the other realms of the world and is even Titanic in nature. Titans were not subtle. 

I think that Hekate is a power around which one must tread lightly, not because she is indifferent or prone to attack, but because we mortals are often too quick to call upon Gods and often, if a God were to lends said assistance, it can come with unforeseen consequences. And while it is one thing to seek the protection of your children from harm, it is another to seek their protection through the destruction of another.

I, personally, seek her out as a lighter of my path, protecting me by illuminating my mind to danger, never seeking to invoke her name in vengeance. 


This is linked to the above in that, as we would see in the story of Medea, Hekate, who was Medea’s Goddess, aided her and it lead her to ruin. 

Vengeance, you see, is very destructive, but more so to the one seeking it than to the one who is being targeted. But there is something different about Hekate as Avenger of wrongs, and that is Justice. But Hekate is an overwhelming power, and if you seek her strength in your act of vengeance, do be careful, for as Medea showed us, the cost of that vengeance can be horrific indeed.

But as avenger of wrongs, Hekate is a useful deity to include in your prayers, and like others, such as Zeus and Athena, it is perhaps left up to them and fate what that Justice is rather than seeking to enact it yourself. 


It is my firm belief that like Hermes, Hekate is a psychopomp, a guide of souls. Now, considering I don’t actually believe in an afterlife, what does that mean to me? I believe that Hekate and Hermes are powers of transition. That as Hermes allows for the transition of the living into the dead, that instant when one becomes the other is his, and that in turn, that moment when dead things become living, that belongs to her. That part of her power, part of her domain, is that spark, that moment, that little reaction between disparate elements that produces something that is actually alive. In a sense, she brings the animating spirit across the divide between the divine and the physical into the world just as he takes it out again. 

To be honest, I hadn’t given it that much thought until just now, when the basic idea that has always been in my head, that Hermes and Hekate formed part of a chain of events that resulted in life and death, came head long into my head and actually flourished. (This is partly why I do this blog, it helps me think, focus my thoughts) And now I must meditate on it, see how much further the idea goes. 


Unknown said...

A god or gods who cannot offer an afterlife are pretty weak sisters, and not worthy of worship.

Hector Lugo said...

Perhaps it is you who is weak in your need to have promises made to you in order to feel a spiritual connection to something bigger than you, or perhaps selfish is the word.

I should also point out that your assumption is both wrong and utterly asinine as the mythos of the Hellenic religion obviously offers an afterlife, I just don't happen to believe in an afterlife for mortals.