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William Blake's depiction of Hekate reflects a lot of the cultural baggage she's been assigned. 1795 {{PD}}

William Blake’s depiction of Hekate reflects a lot of the cultural baggage she’s been assigned. 1795 {{PD}}

This is an excerpt from a post previously seen at ‘Been There, Done That’ Have a great Wednesday!

Originating in Asia Minor, Hekate began as a powerful ‘Mother Goddess,’ but she steadily gained a narrower field of responsibility with each culture she entered. In many instances, figures such as Hathor and Demeter/ Ceres took on many of Hekate’s early characteristics (and of course, she was known by other names before the Greeks bestowed the one we call her by today), with Hekate carrying fewer and fewer of the ‘mother and nurture’ traits; if we combine this narrowing of responsibilities with the later influence of Christian elements on the scenarios of the gods and goddesses, we see that Hekate became a figure who carried unflattering and unwanted projections about the dark and ‘dangerous’ qualities of women. In Greek and Roman myth Hekate was demoted to be under Ceres’/ Demeter’s command, and was sent to accompany Persephone/ Proserpina on her journeys back and forth to the Underworld. Eventually Hekate was deemed ruler of witchcraft (in its most negative definitions), sorcery, demonic activity, and the darkness. This was a simple response of the patriarchy to the female connection to life-giving energy and the female alignment with the rhythms and cycles of the Universe: gestation and childbirth, a woman’s receptive sexual energy (which through the years has been portrayed as evil by its ‘seductive’–another word for receptive–nature) and a determination to keep women as powerless within the social set-up as possible, all contributing to the negative ‘stash’ Hekate has been assigned to carry.

Hekate’s true nature is as a way-shower, in all the many guises this can take. She stands at crossroads both literal and figurative, straddles the border between conscious and unconscious, light and dark, life and death, and translates energy between the two. She is said to be present at crime scenes, to guide travelers on their way, and to be present during the Dark of the Moon, with the Dark period association a good example of the narrowing that has occurred over time–originally Hekate was a Moon goddess, not confined to the Dark phase. It also makes sense that her connection to all forms of darkness would make her a conduit for the unconscious, and so her prominence in the chart or in relation to a particular energy or life area can alert us to the presence of unconscious material in that particular expression or venue. She echoes Pallas as well, as both a wise guide and a guardian–specifically of gateways and other points of ingress or egress (and both goddesses share similarity to Moon goddess Artemis/ Diana, the Huntress, in terms of all three having a martial/ guardian quality). And her characterization as a Crone makes sense when we consider that, ideally, with age comes wisdom–and that should tell us that we can learn from Hekate as well as be guided by or protected by her.

Hekate’s wisdom has unfortunately been trivialized, quite literally; she is the goddess of trivia! This comes from the retired Roman soldiers who were stationed about the city and at crossroads, available to answer questions concerning the area and what lay down each road. Hekate as a way-shower naturally came to be seen as the goddess of these question-answerers, and due to the spoke-like pattern of many Roman via connections there were often at least three roads leading from one point, thus tri three, via road or way, came to be associated with being able to answer any question presented. It’s important to see this as simply reminiscent of Hekate’s store of knowledge having a great span, a span that covers light and dark, and that reaches not just the into the profound life and death arenas but that also includes the minutiae of culture, tradition, and occurrences and changes of the past and present.

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