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It has also reached my hearing that Gale was her name then; that she was a dealer in spells and a sorceress Pharmakis ; that she was extremely incontinent, and that she was afflicted with abnormal sexual desires. Nor has it escaped my notice that the anger of the goddess Hekate transformed it into this evil creature. May the goddess be gracious to me: fables and their telling I leave to others.

Athenaeus of Naucratis , drawing on the etymological speculation of Apollodorus of Athens , notes that the red mullet is sacred to Hecate, "on account of the resemblance of their names; for that the goddess is trimorphos , of a triple form". The Greek word for mullet was trigle and later trigla. It 'delighted in polluted things,' and 'would eat the corpse of a fish or a man'.

Blood-coloured itself, it was sacred to the blood-eating goddess Hecate. It seems a symbolic summation of all the negative characteristics of the creatures of the deep. The main symptoms were a preoccupation with size, the consequent rise to absurd heights of the prices of large specimens, a habit of keeping red mullet in captivity, and the enjoyment of the highly specialized aesthetic experience induced by watching the color of the dying fish change.

The frog , which was also the symbol of the similarly-named Egyptian goddess Heqet , [70] has also become sacred to Hecate in modern Pagan literature, possibly due in part to its ability to cross between two elements. In her three-headed representations, discussed above, Hecate often has one or more animal heads, including cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse. Hecate was closely associated with plant lore and the concoction of medicines and poisons.

In particular she was thought to give instruction in these closely related arts.


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Apollonius of Rhodes , in the Argonautica mentions that Medea was taught by Hecate, "I have mentioned to you before a certain young girl whom Hecate, daughter of Perses, has taught to work in drugs. The yew in particular was sacred to Hecate. Greeks held the yew to be sacred to Hecate Her attendants draped wreathes of yew around the necks of black bulls which they slaughtered in her honor and yew boughs were burned on funeral pyres. The yew was associated with the alphabet and the scientific name for yew today, taxus , was probably derived from the Greek word for yew, toxos , which is hauntingly similar to toxon , their word for bow and toxicon , their word for poison.

It is presumed that the latter were named after the tree because of its superiority for both bows and poison. Hecate was said to favor offerings of garlic , which was closely associated with her cult. It has been suggested that the use of dogs for digging up mandrake is further corroboration of the association of this plant with Hecate; indeed, since at least as early as the 1st century CE, there are a number of attestations to the apparently widespread practice of using dogs to dig up plants associated with magic.

Hecate was associated with borders, city walls, doorways, crossroads and, by extension, with realms outside or beyond the world of the living. She appears to have been particularly associated with being 'between' and hence is frequently characterized as a " liminal " goddess. As a goddess expected to avert harmful or destructive spirits from the house or city over which she stood guard and to protect the individual as she or he passed through dangerous liminal places, Hecate would naturally become known as a goddess who could also refuse to avert the demons, or even drive them on against unfortunate individuals.

It was probably her role as guardian of entrances that led to Hecate's identification by the mid fifth century with Enodia , a Thessalian goddess. Enodia's very name "In-the-Road" suggests that she watched over entrances, for it expresses both the possibility that she stood on the main road into a city, keeping an eye on all who entered, and in the road in front of private houses, protecting their inhabitants.

This function would appear to have some relationship with the iconographic association of Hecate with keys, and might also relate to her appearance with two torches, which when positioned on either side of a gate or door illuminated the immediate area and allowed visitors to be identified. Hecate's importance to Byzantium was above all as a deity of protection.

When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to the legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions. Watchdogs were used extensively by Greeks and Romans. Cult images and altars of Hecate in her triplicate or trimorphic form were placed at three-way crossroads though they also appeared before private homes and in front of city gates. In what appears to be a 7th-century indication of the survival of cult practices of this general sort, Saint Eligius , in his Sermo warns the sick among his recently converted flock in Flanders against putting "devilish charms at springs or trees or crossroads", [87] and, according to Saint Ouen would urge them "No Christian should make or render any devotion to the deities of the trivium, where three roads meet Like Hecate, "[t]he dog is a creature of the threshold, the guardian of doors and portals, and so it is appropriately associated with the frontier between life and death, and with demons and ghosts which move across the frontier.

The yawning gates of Hades were guarded by the monstrous watchdog Cerberus , whose function was to prevent the living from entering the underworld, and the dead from leaving it. Hecate has been characterized as a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess. The first literature mentioning Hecate is the Theogony c. And [Asteria] conceived and bore Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea.

She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion.

The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people.

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And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will.

She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother's only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honours.

Hesiod's inclusion and praise of Hekate in the Theogony has been troublesome for scholars, in that he seems to hold her in high regard, while the testimony of other writers, and surviving evidence, suggests that this may have been the exception. One theory is that Hesiod 's original village had a substantial Hekate following and that his inclusion of her in the Theogony was a way of adding to her prestige by spreading word of her among his readers.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter composed c. Subsequently, Hekate became Persephone's companion on her yearly journey to and from the realms of Hades; serving as a psychopomp. Because of this association, Hekate was one of the chief goddesses of the Eleusinian Mysteries, alongside Demeter and Persephone.

Variations in interpretations of Hekate's role or roles can be traced in classical Athens. In two fragments of Aeschylus she appears as a great goddess. In Sophocles and Euripides she is characterized as the mistress of witchcraft and the Keres.

Witches of Venus: The Sacred Dagger (Book 2)

One surviving group of stories [ clarification needed ] suggests how Hekate might have come to be incorporated into the Greek pantheon without affecting the privileged position of Artemis. Here, Hekate is a mortal priestess often associated with Iphigeneia. She scorns and insults Artemis, who in retribution eventually brings about the mortal's suicide. In the earliest written source mentioning Hekate, Hesiod emphasized that she was an only child, the daughter of Perses and Asteria , the sister of Leto the mother of Artemis and Apollo.

Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe the ancient Titaness who personified the moon. In various later accounts, Hekate was described either as the daughter of 1 Deo Demeter [97] , 2 daughter of Night [98] , 3 Zeus and Asteria [99] , or lastly of Aristaeus []. Hecate is the primary feminine figure in the Chaldean Oracles 2nd-3rd century CE , [] where she is associated in fragment with a strophalos usually translated as a spinning top, or wheel, used in magic "Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecate.

Hecate - Wikipedia

In Hellenistic syncretism, Hecate also became closely associated with Isis. Some call me Juno, others Bellona of the Battles, and still others Hecate. Principally the Ethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Egyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustomed to worship me, do call me Queen Isis.

In the syncretism during Late Antiquity of Hellenistic and late Babylonian " Chaldean " elements, Hecate was identified with Ereshkigal , the underworld counterpart of Inanna in the Babylonian cosmography. In the Michigan magical papyrus inv. Strmiska claimed that Hecate, conflated with the figure of Diana , appears in late antiquity and in the early medieval period as part of an "emerging legend complex" known as " The Society of Diana " [] associated with gatherings of women, the moon, and witchcraft that eventually became established "in the area of Northern Italy, southern Germany, and the western Balkans.

He adds that such an instrument is called a iunx hence "jinx" , but as for the significance says only that it is ineffable and that the ritual is sacred to Hecate. Shakespeare mentions Hecate both before the end of the 16th century A Midsummer Night's Dream , , and just after, in Macbeth : specifically, in the title character's "dagger" soliloquy : "Witchcraft celebrates pale Hecate's offerings He noted that the cult regularly practiced dog sacrifice and had secretly buried the body of one of its "queens" with seven dogs.

As a "goddess of witchcraft", Hecate has been incorporated in various systems of modern witchcraft , Wicca and Neopaganism , [] in some cases associated with the Wild Hunt of Germanic tradition, [] in others as part of a reconstruction of specifically Greek polytheism, in English also known as " Hellenismos ". Hecate is also the namesake of the hundredth numbered asteroid , which was discovered by American astronomer James Craig Watson on July 11, Its adopted name alludes to it as being the hundredth named asteroid 'hekaton' being the Greek for 'hundred'.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Hecate disambiguation. Ancient Greek goddess of magic and crossroads.


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Arete Hubris Xenia. Daphnephoria Dionysia. Sacred places. Mycenaean gods Decline of Greco-Roman polytheism Julian restoration. Edwards in the American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. Retrieved 24 September Oxford, Blackwell. The Oxford Classical Dictionary Third ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Hesiod's Cosmos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Clay lists a number of researchers who have advanced some variant of the association between Hecate's name and will e. Walcot , Neitzel , Derossi The researcher is led to identify "the name and function of Hecate as the one 'by whose will' prayers are accomplished and fulfilled.

Metaphor and Reality. A Classical Dictionary. Beekes , Etymological Dictionary of Greek , Brill, p. Leiden: Brill. Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book Seven. Shakespeare, William c. A Dictionary of the English Language 10th ed. Rules for pronouncing the vowels of Greek and Latin proper names", p. Shakespeare seems to have begun, as he has now confirmed, this pronunciation, by so adapting the word in Macbeth And the play-going world, who form no small portion of what is called the better sort of people, have followed the actors in this world, and the rest of the world have followed them.

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable : " Hec'ate 3 syl. Griechenland Heidelberg Berg's argument for a Greek origin rests on three main points: 1. Almost all archaeological and literary evidence for her cult comes from the Greek mainland, and especially from Attica—all of which dates earlier than the 2nd century BCE. The supposed connection between Hecate and attested "Carian theophoric names" is not convincing, and instead suggests an aspect of the process of her Hellenization.

He concludes, "Arguments for Hecate's "Anatolian" origin are not in accord with evidence. Sterckx explicitly recognizes the similarities between these ancient Chinese views of dogs and those current in Greek and Roman antiquity, and goes on to note "Dog sacrifice was also a common practice among the Greeks where the dog figured prominently as a guardian of the underworld. Oldest ever trace of Hekate cult found. In the course of this beleaguerment, it is related, on a certain wet and moonless night the enemy attempted a surprise, but were foiled by reason of a bright light which, appearing suddenly in the heavens, startled all the dogs in the town and thus roused the garrison to a sense of their danger.

To commemorate this timely phenomenon, which was attributed to Hecate, they erected a public statue to that goddess [ Hecate had a cult in Byzantium from the time of its founding. Like Byzas in one legend, she had her origins in Thrace.

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Since Hecate was the guardian of "liminal places", in Byzantium small temples in her honor were placed close to the gates of the city. Hecate's importance to Byzantium was above all as deity of protection. When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to the legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever-present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions. Her mythic qualities thenceforth forever entered the fabric of Byzantine history. A statue known as the 'Lampadephoros' was erected on the hill above the Bosphorous to commemorate Hecate's defensive aid.

His works survive only in fragments preserved in Photius and the Suda , a Byzantine lexicon of the 10th century CE. The tale is also related by Stephanus of Byzantium and Eustathius. Byzantium and the Bosporus. Oxford University Press. Rohde, i.

See Heckenbach, p. Plato, Com. Schmid and O. Beck, , , vol. Later authors speculated that Triple Hecate was the goddess of the moon with three forms: as Selene, the moon in heaven; Artemis, the huntress on earth; Persephone, the destroyer in the underworld and queen of hell. Harry E. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD 3. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift.

Witches of Venus: The Sacred Dagger

Overview Four people have a gift, the power of an element. Product Details About the Author. Show More. Average Review. Write a Review. Genevieve Lilith Vesta. Witches of Venus , 2.