Tonight Hecate Walks

The goddess Hecate was worshiped by both the Greeks and the Romans who had their own festivals dedicated to her.

The Romans’ closest match to Hecate is probably the goddess Trivia *. They observed the 29th of every month as her sacred Moon day.

The Greeks were the main worshippers of her and observed two days sacred to Hecate. One celebration is on the 13th of August when she is honored and prayed to in order to not send fierce thunderstorms and ruin crops. They celebrate her again on the 30th of November in thanks for the harvest.

Some pagan and neo-pagan groups observe November 16 as the Night of Hecate which begins at sunset. Hecate worship, especially on her night, was performed at a three-way crossroads. Food left there is known as “the Supper of Hecate.”  The food varies but eggs, fish, roe, goat cheese, and bread are all mentioned online.

Hecate was the Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft. The number 3 is associated with her in many ways.

A beautiful and powerful 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.

Though she is thought of as a “Moon Goddess,” her kingdoms were actually three-fold – earth, sea, and sky. Her power to create or withhold storms made her the goddess who was the protector of shepherds and sailors.

She has been associated with childbirth, nurturing the young, gates and walls, doorways, crossroads, magic, lunar lore, torches, and dogs.

Hecate's Wheel
Hecate’s Wheel – symbol used to represent her three aspects.

Hecate is part of the most ancient form of the triple Moon goddess in mythology. The triple aspect of the goddess is Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

She was known to rule the passages of life and transformation, birth, and death. Her animals were the toad, the owl, the dog, and the bat.

In other posts about Hecate, I have written about her three-headed dogs that can look to the past, present, and future. When she walks on Earth at night, it is said that only dogs can see her and would bark at her. If you have a dog, see if it barks tonight outside at something that doesn’t seem to be there. Then, you can call hello to Hecate.

Hecate was a widely revered and influential goddess, but her reputation has been tarnished over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as a “hag” or old witch stirring the cauldron. Shakespeare’s Macbeth had something to do with that.

In the play, she is seen as the ruler of the Three Witches. In Act 3, Scene 5, Hecate appears before the Witches and tells them Macbeth will be back to know his destiny and she proclaims that he will see apparitions that will, “by the strength of their illusion” lead him to conclude that he is safe. At the end of the scene, she says “And you all know, security / Is mortals’ chiefest enemy.” Macbeth’s belief that he is untouchable will ultimately result in his downfall. Some scholars believe that Hecate’s inclusion wasn’t even Shakespeare’s creation and that the scenes were added after his death.


* Word Wise –  Trivia in Roman mythology was the goddess who haunted crossroads, graveyards, and was the goddess of sorcery and witchcraft. She wandered at night and was seen only by the barking of dogs who told of her approach. The word trivia came from Latin. It is the plural of trivium which is “the place where three roads meet.” The trivium in Medieval English was an introductory curriculum at a university which involved the meeting of the three studies of grammar, rhetoric, and logic.

Published by

Ken Ronkowitz

A lifelong educator on and off the Internet. Random by design and predictably irrational. It's turtles all the way down. Dolce far niente.

2 thoughts on “Tonight Hecate Walks”

  1. I hope you get this, as it is two years later, but this post is a good start. Hecate/Hekate is a much more diverse goddess than what is mentioned here, but I enjoyed the article nonetheless.
    My real question, however, is about the image you have of a statue of Her: do you have any information regarding it? It’s name, or location, anything about it would be highly appreciated.
    Thank you!

    Like

Add to the conversation about this article

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.