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A modern statuette of Hekate in bronze-finished resin.

Hekate, also spelled Hecate, is an ancient Greek deity associated with darkness, mystery, and spirits. Ruler of the night, she is a gatekeeper of the spiritual space between life and death and she holds the keys to all three realms. Her complicated and complex history and origin is hotly contested, even among scholars, and some of the conflicting evidence makes her even more mysterious today. The general consensus is that she comes from Anatolia which is modern day Turkey, although some believe her beginnings might actually be rooted further back in history in the Mesopotamian goddess Ereshkigal. Earliest written works referencing Hekate go back in time to the 7th or 8th century BCE in Homer’s “Odyssey.” In the ancient spells of the Greek Magical Papyri, Hekate is referenced more than any other goddess, most often in relation to her association with spirits. Hekate has long been syncretized with other goddesses, especially Artemis, Selene, and Persephone. She is both an ouranic deity and chthonic deity, meaning she is of the heavens but also of the earth and underworld. As a goddess of darkness, her feasts are held at the Dark of the Moon.

Hekate’s in-between nature is reflected in her history, for aspects of her are found in Judaism, Gnosticism, Paganism, and witchcraft. Besides being linked to other goddesses, in some traditions Hekate is also linked to angels, to King Solomon, to the demiurge, and to the World Soul. In some Gnostic oracles she is considered the soul and essence of everything. A powerful ally in spell-casting and spirit work of all types, and for a variety of conditions, she also rules over the dead. Her worship has been deliberately revived as a specifically Hellenic Neo-Pagan Tradition. Devotees conjure Hekate at a three-way crossroads on the night of the Dark Moon with offerings of candles and incense. Other traditional offerings include water, wine, honey, garlic, barley, fish, and eggs. Make the offerings in her name, although many of these offerings are also for the unquiet dead who follow in her wake. The offerings help to soothe these restless spirits and also show respect to Hekate as she ferries these souls to their rightful place after death.

As a goddess of magic, witchcraft, and mediumistic necromancy, Hekate is the quintessential crossroads spirit. Venerational images depict her at the three-way crossroads or whye, holding the keys to the mysteries. Her three faces represent the realms she has power over, and which are manifested at the whye. Some of the iconographic symbols associated with her are torches, keys, daggers, dogs, and serpents. The Deipnon, also called Hekate’s supper, has been performed in Greece since ancient times, evolving into the Hellenic Neo-Pagan practice used today. This religious ritual, held to honor and connect with Hekate as a magical ally, is traditionally performed at a three-way crossroads, but modern practitioners may conduct a Deipnon on a home altar, using dirt from a whye, on the night of the Dark Moon.


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