Hecate and Witchcraft Saved Me

hekate hecate

 

Hecate is perfect for me and I’ll tell you why.  At some point in your witchcraft journey, you will come across deities.  Whether you decide to devote your work to any particular deity/ies, there’s a possibility that they will reach out to you.  This is what happened to me in the case of my glorious journey so far with Hecate.  She met me in my darkness and lit up my way and She can for you, too. 

She whispered to me when I was at my lowest.  I was sick, depressed, had nothing to live for (in my mind), and spiraling.  I used to think it was cliché when people would say that they felt like they were in a black hole or falling into one.  But that’s where I found myself.  I felt like I could be in the brightest room but it was still dark.  I would look within myself but just felt lost.  I don’t know how She did it but one day, I looked up witchcraft.  She kept popping into my head.  Looking up witchcraft led me to meditation, self-care, and inner power; inner strength that I hadn’t accessed up until that point.  In one of my meditations, I asked if She was trying to connect with me.  In that meditation, it seemed like all the dogs in the neighborhood started barking.  They sounded scared and excited at the same time and after about a minute, they stopped.  My wind chimes started sounding with no palpable wind.  I also heard and felt a presence behind me and upon turning around, nothing was there.  It also felt like a gentle hand touched my cheek.  I knew after this experience that I was called to work with Her.  

 

But who is She?  The earliest known mention of her in literature was the Theogony of Hesiod that dates back to the eighth century BCE.  She is most commonly associated with the Greeks and Romans but there is evidence to indicate that Her presence may have been around long before that.  We may not be sure of her precise origins but it’s not important to me anyway.  I think our human minds want to make sense of everything so we must label, differentiate, and trace origins before we feel like we understand something.  How can we pinpoint the source of all things?  We can’t, it just is.  In the case of witchcraft, I give myself creative license; I go with what feels right to me.  She is there and always has been and Her energy is every place, every person, everything.  What matters to me is She guided me through the darkness and showed me light. 

 

Anyone and everyone can work with Hecate.  She is the maiden, mother, and crone.  She is the mysterious darkness but also the light and she demonstrated this to me by guiding me out of my depression.  She rules the night, sky, earth, and sea.  She’s the bringer of power and healing, of magick, medicine, mystery, herbology, necromancy, and sorcery so it’s no wonder some witches are drawn to her.  She is also known as the sender of ghosts and dreams.  She is the torch bearer that lights our way and if you choose to work with her, she provides you with “keys” to unlock certain aspects of your life as you move along your journey. 

There are times in life where we feel lost, we feel like we don’t have a direction.  It’s at these times more than any that we need something to hold onto.  She often comes to us in these times as they are when we are “in-between”.  We aren’t here but not quite there either.  She’s perfect for this as she is master of liminal spaces.  She rules transition and change and isn’t this what life is anyway?  One long string of coming and going, growing, being, and adapting.  She’s the ultimate guidance counselor and this is how She presented herself to me.  

There are many things that can symbolize Hecate.  Items associated with Her include the key, fire, wheel or strophalos, torch, knife, star, moon, crossroads and entrance ways (She is a liminal goddess) and the athame.  She is also symbolized by the black or dark moon and the waning moon.  These are great times to do any work to connect with Her.  

Colors associated with Her are gold, yellow, green, or purple but black, red, and white are the primary colors that I use to represent Her.      

 

She has some animal symbolism, also.  It is often said that Her presence is announced by the barking of dogs (now you know why I considered the barking dogs during my meditation significant).  Other animals that are associated with Her are horses, snakes or serpents, bees, bulls, cows, dragons, goats lions, owls, pigs, cats, and crows.  You can choose to also work with or visualize these animals while working with Her.  You can “borrow” their energies if you wish to take on one of their characteristics or you can just use a statue or image of them to symbolize Her.    

Crystals you can use to represent or work with Her are Lapis lazuli, clear quartz, red jasper, obsidian, smoky quartz, moonstone, black tourmaline, black onyx, jasper, opalite, garnet, pearl, or other stones that are black, red, or white. 

I also like to use some of Her favorite herbs and spices when working with Her.  These include garlic, mint, sandalwood, lavender, rose, apple seeds, pepper, allspice, basil, dragon’s blood, eggshells, eucalyptus, jasmine, lemon balm, vervain, cannabis, sage, bay laurel, and mugwort.  Trees are cypress, yew, and oak.  She is known for being a master of working with natural ingredients.  She’s also very familiar with poisonous materials like opium poppy, deadly nightshades, hemlock, aconite, datura, mandrake, and belladonna. 

  

When I work with Her, I will gather any of the above ingredients or anything else that I feel called to work with and do some sort of ritual.  It depends on what my intention is but I can call upon Her for assistance (petitioning) or just Her presence or I will do a spell for devotion to Her.  She has helped and guided me in more ways than I can count and I want to show my appreciation to Her.  This can simply be a prayer or affirmation.  I may also make offerings like cakes, wine, beer or a sweet beverage, almonds, pomegranates, plums, dates, plant or herb offerings, or any of the items above.  You can even include a piece of your hair to make it more personal.  I will leave my offering on my altar and dispose of it at the end of the evening.  You can use whatever you have that you like and have on-hand. 

Your relationship with Her will be different from mine and everyone else’s.  Some say She is demanding and requires your complete and utter devotion; others (like me) think that She is more forgiving and understands that we are human.  What She rewards though, are the people that help themselves.  She demands personal development and wants those that will do the work.  She also has many characteristics referred to as epithets.  These are specific attributes about Her that you can choose to work with.  If you are more interested in learning about epithets, “Keeping Her Keys” by Cyndi Brannen is a great read.   

She also has her own celebratory days.  Hecate’s Night is August 13th.  She is also honored on Samhain/Halloween when the veil is thin.  It’s a perfect time for divination and the unknown as this is part of what She represents.  But days are not enough because the whole month of November is considered Hecate’s month and November 30th is the Day of the Crossroads.  These are the days that I associate with Her but I’m sure there are more.   

So, should you be working with Her?  What if She or any other deity hasn’t made themselves known to me?  That’s ok.  What is for you will come to you in due time.  You may work with a deity and you may not.  You may wish to just think of the source of all things as just energy.  That’s ok, too.  What is important is to do what feels right for you.  But if you’re interested in working with a deity, read about them.  Start with a pantheon that interests you and just read about the different gods and goddesses and see if one keeps popping up or if you keep thinking about one in particular.  You don’t have to decide on one.  You can work with many; they don’t mind. 

I couldn’t possibly include all of my experiences with Hecate.  Now that I have opened my eyes to see, She has shown me more than I thought possible for myself.  My experiences have been happy and sad, light and dark, and I’ve sacrificed and have been rewarded.  It’s a journey that I am still on and will continue to pursue because She has showed me the way.  These are the things I have learned about Her up until this point.  I’m excited for what’s next.