Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

30 Days of Devotion - 9

Day 9 - Common Mistakes and Worst Misconceptions 

Let's start with the worst misconception about Hekate: She is a evil. Even in Greco-Roman mythology, Hekate has gotten a bad rap. Her association with witchcraft, the Underworld, the waning and dark moons, the dark hounds, darkness in general, has lead to this negative view.

From Hesiod: Hesiod describes the wide-ranging divine powers of the goddess Hekate in the following passage. Hekate was usually regarded as the goddess of witchcraft, though it is unclear whether Hesiod is describing her benefits as being derived from the use of magical incantations or merely general prayers to her divinity. The poet clearly understood that she was a night-time goddess of witchcraft through the naming of her parents. The name of her father Perses (the destroyer) was connected with both Persephone, goddess of the underworld, and Perseis, the mother of the witches Aeetes and Kirke; and her mother Asteria (the starry one) was a goddess of the night.

From the Orphic Hymns:  "Hekate Einodia, Trioditis [Trivia], lovely dame, of earthly, watery, and celestial frame, sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed, pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade...

"Hekate ... pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade ... nightly seen." - Orphic Hymn 1 to Hecate

And yet, She is Kourotrophos, nurse of children. Hekate lead Persephone from the Underworld back to her grieving mother. She lights our way through this spiritual path.  Most of this "goodness" is lost in the pure enjoyment of those who perpetuate and prefer to believe that anything not of Judeo-Christian belief is evil.

In addition to the torches, which give Her an association with "light", there is this fragment:
"[Hekate] the golden-shining attendant of Aphrodite." - Greek Lyric I Sappho or Alcaeus, Frag 23

Here, Hekate offers assistance to those who honor Her:  For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls upon Hekate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. - Hesiod, Theogony

Sorita d'Este describes her thus: "Hekate’s magic was that of death, the underworld, love, oracles, herbs, poisons, protection and guidance", which, in my own experience is a valid and accurate description. Some of these seem negative, but if you consider this statement closely, all of this is a more positive than the fictitious evil goddess.

Another, and probably the most common misconception, about Hekate is that She is a Crone goddess. I wrote about this on the first day of this challenge, how my own introduction to Her was as a crone. I have also written many times that the goddesses and gods present Themselves to us in whatever way They see fit, however we can connect with Them. This, however, does not justify disregarding the myths. When stating that you believe or encounter Hekate as a crone goddess, you should also state that this is not based on historical evidence. Hekate, in Greek mythology, is a maiden. She is clearly described as such in the many depictions and descriptions. 

Ultimately, I never tell anyone how they should see a goddess or god, unless it is so far off the mark. But that mark is really none of my business. And although I know there are plenty of people out there who relish correcting others when that person has a different view of a goddess or god, who is to say what another encounters? Those are the Mysteries.

Blessings Nine!

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