Most God and Goddesses start out somewhere else and change. Hecate is no different in that matter. Early on, she was part of the Greek pantheon, but may have come from the Carians in southwest Asia Minor. According to the Greek Poet Hesiod, her father was the Titan, Perses, and her mother was the nymph, Asteria, who were minor deities. It doesn’t really fit with Hecate having power over heaven, earth, and sea. She also bestows wealth of all the blessings of daily life.
In ancient Greece, most households had a Hecate statue near the entrance of their home since she was viewed as the protector. Her presence in the home kept all who lived there safe. Hecate was also the goddess who presided over spells and magic. She witnessed the abduction of Persephone and joined in the search for her carrying her torch into the underworld.
Hesiod’s works are some of the few that have endured over time. There is a feeling of Hecate being whitewashed of any dark side. There is no mention of witchcraft or her appearance in the underworld. Even the slight reference of going to search for a friend Persephone goes nowhere. It is as if a censor cut it out. Many women called on Hecate in their rituals, but used names such as The Strong One, The Tri-fold Goddess, or The Remote One. The last can be alluding to Hecate returning to her cave alone to dwell similar to her possible mother, Nyx.
In his poem to Hecate, Hesiod does mention her name was invoked at every sacrifice, which makes her a very powerful deity. He also calls her the nurse to the world that helps every living thing that would call on her.
Why wasn’t more written about Hecate? Most of what was written could have been destroyed since she played such a vital part in daily life. The best way to wipe out a deity is to destroy information or corrupt it. It also could be she liked to being mysterious. The historians and authors could have feared mentioning her name. Since she was born of Titans, she was and is a power to be reckoned with. There is some information that she may have married Porkys, a minor sea god, and had a daughter, Skylla. There is little mention of her daughter, although sometimes she is connected to a monster of the same name who Circe constantly feuded with. In some accounts, Hecate had many children with Hermes. Circe was one of them, which would mean Circe and Skylla would have been sisters.
Samhain is a perfect time to honor Hecate since she is being invoked in so many seasonal rituals along with Cerridwen, the Goddess of Cauldron Magic. Locate a crossroads near you and leave your offerings of food and wine. She is especially fond of garlic, eggs, pound cake, honey, and burnt offerings from your ritual. When you return home, clear your Hecate altar and hang Hecate’s Wheel above your bed.
Remember Hecate is the Goddess of Protection and every daily blessing. She is worthy to be recognized every day by simply lighting a candle and saying her name with reverence as befitting her.
Next blog: Meet Cerridwen.