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Hecate and symbols

Hecate and symbols

Postby Ashrend » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:06 pm

A while ago I asked about symbols I can learn as a second language, and although it was helpful and I'll be using it in the future, I also want to know of more symbols. This is probably a childish way of saying this but I lack another descriptive medium. I want to learn symbols like in books that have different meanings, that can be stringed together to make a bigger and greater spell. To learn symbols that I wouldn't use unless in dire circumstances and to make paragraphs of lesser symbols to make complex spells.

Along with this, I want to learn about Hecate, a fellow witch has mentioned her before but I am clueless to what she represents, is or does. My friend who is a solitary witch and usually peaceful, but has a very powerful dark side to him. I feel I am similar but I haven't got an outlet for that darkness. They have said Hecate is neither light nor dark, but from what I have learnt from my friend is that she is at least part darkness.

Any thoughts on either thing?
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby RyukaAscendant » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:31 pm

Specifically she is a goddess of doorways and magic. She is sometimes depicted as the crone, but she also is depicted as the lady, the mother, and the crone at times. The symbol below was often carved into doorways to repel evil but some evidence suggests was a general symbol of Hecate. She is also represented by the torch, dagger, and key in an overlayed position.Image
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Ashrend » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:39 pm

Ooo, I like that, thank you that's interesting.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Lady_Lilith » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:29 pm

I'd like to say the idea of Hekate being a crone is a modern idea. She is simply a maiden in Greek myth. Her triple goddess form has to do with the crossroads, as well, and not the "maiden, mother, crone" ideal that is projected on her in modern lore.

Her symbols are dogs, the torch or two torches, keys, snakes, the underworld, owls, bats, crossroads, polecats, frogs, -- to name a few. (Basically, animals associated with witches. This symbolism for her is especially prominent in medieval art.) She is also rather associated with ghosts and evil spirits. She tends to send those on people while also protecting them from them.

http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Hekate.html

As for the darkness ideal, she is a rather mysterious and dark goddess. Her devotees are wrapped in old stories of being witches, her cult being filled with them. Witches were to be feared back then. It is also said, that these witches favored the superior position of women on top during sex which was a big deal to patriarchal Greece. For this, she is likewise compared to Lilith later on.

I think she was a foreign goddess from Asia minor who became Hellenized. To me, though on the darker spectrum, Hekate is about balance. Hence how she can protect people from evil whilst sending evil spirits on them. She tends to have a few monster daughters too, but their names escape me at the moment.

There is also a lot to be said of how she lights the way, and I think it's important to remember that Hekate is often "the light in the darkness."
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Ashrend » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:01 am

Thank you, that was extremely helpful.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Chris Fox » Wed May 10, 2017 3:09 pm

Hi,

"I'd like to say the idea of Hekate being a crone is a modern idea. She is simply a maiden in Greek myth. Her triple goddess form has to do with the crossroads, as well, and not the "maiden, mother, crone" ideal that is projected on her in modern lore."

I tried to find verification for this, I ran into this:

Origins and Genealogy: Hekate was the daughter of Perses and Asteria, she never married or had a regular consort. The monster Scylla was said to be her child.

http://www.goddess-guide.com/hekate.html

We might say she has some disinclination to erotic magic, so to speak.... perhaps to retain her prana in the spirit world.

I was wondering about astrological correspondences, I suppose the Moon and Lilith are both tied to her, but Saturn, Chiron and Uranus too, as they are the real trinity/crossroad - crack in the fabric, where real becomes unreal, and vice versa. The threshold.

"the mind ends where the symbol begins"

Until the mind breaks through to the other side.
Does Hekate dance?
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Lady_Lilith » Wed May 10, 2017 6:23 pm

Oh yeah, that sounds about right. I need to add this because my initial post isn't clear. In ancient ideals, a "maiden" is simply an unmarried (usually young) woman. This is similar to early myths of Lilith. So while Hekate may have "children", she is not normally consider under the old adage of a crone or mother. Though I could see someone making her into a dark mother of sorts.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Siona » Wed May 10, 2017 9:55 pm

Chris Fox wrote:I tried to find verification for this, I ran into this:


You can see how she is shown in ancient Greek art. In many cases, she looks extremely similar to Artemis, and in fact the two are similar in many ways, and were often closely associated. Also, like many Greek deities, the family tree isn't always clear cut. Sometimes she is a mother, either to Scylla as noted, or to Kirke and/or Medea in some other myths, and in many myths she is one of the virgin goddesses, having no children at all. Complex beings and regional variants are a heck of a thing, I guess.

But if you want to understand Hekate and her status as maiden/virgin, as was sometimes emphasized in classical Greece, you really need to look through the cultural content. It's a complex subject, but a big part of it was that in Greece men were thought of as completely projecting, and women completely receptive. So when a woman had sex with a man, she took part of him into herself, and whenever she spoke or did anything, part of it would come from him. There was also an element of ownership at play. This is why it was important for so many of the Greek goddesses to remain virgins in myth, why you see so many in that pantheon.

As far as dance, classically there's no mention of that, that I am aware of, and in my own personal experience it's not really something that comes through. Although Artemis was a goddess of maiden-dance, and again, they're often linked...

But if you want to look at the 'bigger picture' Hekate, Hekate as world soul, you might look into a book called Hekate Soteria: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Lady_Lilith » Thu May 11, 2017 3:01 am

Siona: I read somewhere Hekate's cult of witches were feared and this links her to Madea and Kirke.

This is on a discussion of Lilith but under author's commentary (7): http://gnosis.org/lilith.htm

Isn't Hekate also connected to Lamia? Anyway, Hekate, for being a goddess with little mythology and maybe has her origins as a foreign goddess from Anatolia, she is very complex and seems to be usurping some trad Greek gender roles. (Hence her association with powerful females that were feared like Dido and Kirke.)

You say she is associated with Artemis but I am not clear on this. Though I have seen it many times in later lore. She also had an association with the moon, did she not? I always thought her more lunar ideals came from medieval art.

I find it interesting because in discussions of the medieval myths of Diana, in such literature as Aradia, that Diana eventually seemed to take on nearly all of Hekate's previous traits, including witchcraft and having a cult of witches. Do you know exactly how this came to be? I've seen academics comment on it, just not the origins.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Siona » Thu May 11, 2017 11:52 am

Lady_Lilith wrote:Siona: I read somewhere Hekate's cult of witches were feared and this links her to Madea and Kirke.


Yes, it's possible the links either comes from her being described as their mother in some places, or perhaps the other way around, but the both of them were said to serve Hekate at any rate, so the tie was there. Like a lot of ancient deities, she was thought to have power over something, and so was thought to be able to ward it away, as well. A lot of Athenian homes had little shrines to Hekate by the door to ward off witchcraft and evil.

Isn't Hekate also connected to Lamia?

Yep, she sure is. They're one of the groups of spirits that are said to wander with her from the underworld. Ghosts in general, but often restful or vengeful dead in particular were in her company. Lampades are another group, they're underworld nymphs who carry torches with her, and they and Hekate had a role in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Empousa is another monster-spirit which is sometimes said to be in the company of Hekate, and could change shapes... usually into a pretty woman to catch men.

Actually I quite like this little bit of a play...
Xanthias : And now I see the most ferocious monster.
Dionysos : O, what's it like?
Xanthias : Like everything by turns. Now it's a bull: now it's a mule : and now the loveliest girl.
Dionysos : O, where? I'll go and meet her.
Xanthias : It's ceased to be a girl: it's a dog now.
Dionysos : It is Empousa!

You say she is associated with Artemis but I am not clear on this. Though I have seen it many times in later lore. She also had an association with the moon, did she not? I always thought her more lunar ideals came from medieval art.


Artemis and Hekate are both often shown as maidens wearing short skirts, carrying a torch or twin torches, in the company of hounds, and helpers in childbirth. There are some texts where Artemis-Hekate is mentioned. In some places, Hekate was even the creation of Artemis. (http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/HekateGo ... Iphigeneia)

Then in later times, Roman era Greece, Selene was added and you'd sometimes see the full triad of Artemis-Hekate-Selene. Artemis had already been identified with Selene for some time... it's speculated that this came about more because of Apollon's association with Helios, so of course Apollo's sister (Artemis) would fit with Helios' sister (Selene). But that is where many of Artemis' lunar ties originate from, they weren't really there otherwise, and didn't start getting emphasized as a main thing until much later (like, after the rise of Christianity). Then, in a really roundabout way, this is where Hekate's lunar ties probably originate from, as well. Hekate being associated with Artemis, who was associated with Selene, who then became associated with Hekate. It's all a bit of a mess really, lol. Alone, earlier, Hekate would have been thought more to be tied to moonless nights, when witches would often practice (and I believe it is Medea who had the power to remove the moon from the sky so she could practice on any night?), as well as being linked to the night in general, and to the stars like her mother. But she did come to have some of those mild lunar ties in classical times, and would sometimes be described as the moon.

I don't really know why Diana sort of took over Hekate's role in later times specifically, but if I had to guess it would be because of similar things as above. Mixing and merging of deity traits over time, and maybe mixed with information being lost and shuffled around.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Chris Fox » Thu May 11, 2017 4:42 pm

Thanks very much, Siona. That makes a lot of sense.
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Re: Hecate and symbols

Postby Lady_Lilith » Thu May 11, 2017 11:29 pm

Yeah thanks Siona, this was real informative. Hekate is such a complex figure for not having so much mythology around her. I guess it doesn't help that in the Golden Ass Lucius ties her to Isis (the mistress of magic) either! xD
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