Deities

The Origins of Hecate

 

Hecate (Hekate)

Known as Hecate or Hekate, she is the Goddess of Witchcraft, but where did she come from and how did she acquire such a reputation? On this page we look at the origins of the goddess we call Hecate.

The Origins of Hecate

Where did Hecate (Hekate) come from?

Introduction

Hecate’s origins are shrouded in myth and the mists of time. Far older than the gods of the monotheists – Yahovah (Yahweh) of the Jews, Christ of the Christians or Allah of the Muslims – she has held many divine offices and been worshipped and invoked for many different reasons.

‘Hecate’ from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica

The following information is an edited version of the ‘Hecate’ entry appearing in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. There has been much new research since its publication and serious students are directed to Leo Ruickbie, Witchcraft Out of the Shadows (2004).

HECATE (Gr., ‘she who works from afar’), a goddess in Greek mythology. According to the generally accepted view, she is of Hellenic origin, but Farnell regards her as a foreign importation from Thrace, the home of Bendis, with whom Hecate has many points in common. She is not mentioned in the Iliad or the Odyssey, but in Hesiod (Theogony, 409) she is the daughter of the Titan Perses and Asterie, in a passage which may be a later interpolation by the Orphists (for other genealogies see Steuding in Roscher’s Lexikon). She is there represented as a mighty goddess, having power over heaven, earth and sea; hence she is the bestower of wealth and all the blessings of daily life. The range of her influence is most varied, extending to war, athletic games, the tending of cattle, hunting, the assembly of the people and the law-courts. Hecate is frequently identified with Artemis, an identification usually justified by the assumption that both were moon-goddesses. Farnell, who regards Artemis as originally an earth-goddess, while recognizing a genuine lunar element in Hecate from the 5th century, considers her a chthonian rather than a lunar divinity (see also Warr in Classical Review, ix. 390). He is of the opinion that neither borrowed much from, nor exercised much influence on, the cult and character of the other.

‘Hecate’ from Wikipedia.com

The following information is an edited extract of the ‘Hecate’ entry appearing on the Wikipedia.com website, which is in part derived from the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, as well as other sources. Wikipedia is a user-contributed online encyclopedia, which means that it lacks scholarly rigour and editorial control, and should therefore be used with caution. For a scholarly discussion of Hecate serious students are directed to Leo Ruickbie, Witchcraft Out of the Shadows (2004).

Despite popular belief, Hecate was not originally a Greek goddess. She is unknown to Homer and in fact the earliest written references to her are in Hesiod’s Theogony. The place of origin of her cult is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular cult followings in Thrace. Her most important sanctuary was Lagina, a theocratic city-state in which the goddess was served by eunuchs. Lagina, where the famous temple of Hecate drew great festal assemblies every year, lay in the originally-Macedonian colony of Stratonicea. In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal points and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night-walking crone. Additionally, this led to her role of aiding women in childbirth and the raising of young men.

There are two versions of Hecate that emerge in Greek myth. The lesser role integrates Hecate while not diminishing Artemis. In this version Hecate is a mortal priestess (commonly associated with Iphigeneia) who scorns and insults Artemis, eventually leading to her suicide. Artemis then adorns the dead body with jewelry and whispers for her spirit to rise and become her Hecate, and act similar to Nemesis as an avenging spirit (but solely for injured women). Such myths where a home god sponsors or ‘creates’ a foreign god were widespread in ancient cultures as a way of integrating foreign cults. Additionally, as Hecate’s cult grew, her figure was added to the myth of the birth of Zeus as one of the midwives that hid the child, while Cronus consumed the deceiving rock handed to him by Gaia.

The second version helps to explain how Hecate gains the title of the ‘Queen of Ghosts’ and her role as a goddess of sorcery. Similar to totems of Hermes—herms— placed at borders as a ward against danger, images of Hecate, as a liminal goddess, could also serve in such a protective role. It became common to place statues of the goddess at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association of keeping out evil spirits, lead to the belief that if offended Hecate could also let in evil spirits. Thus invocations to Hecate arose as her the supreme governess of the borders between the normal world and the spirit world.

Further Reading

 

 

Article Taken from 

Witchology, the history of Wicca & Witchcraft
by Dr Leo Ruickbie

 

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Hecate, Goddess of the Witches

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Deity of the Day for Sept. 3rd – Yemaya

Deity of the Day

Yemaya

Mother Water, Star of the Sea, Yemaya is the protector of women. Her healing powers are carried in the great waters, her energy powerful during the ebb and flow of life challenges.

MANTRA

  • Nourishment

GEMSTONES

  • Lapis lazuli, aquamarine, turquoise (light blue stones), pearl, coral, mother-of-pearl (ocean-sourced)

ESSENTIAL OILS

  • Goddess-ence Ishtar* blend for the crown chakra

AFFIRMATIONS

  • I voice my needs
  • Freedom is a birthright I enjoy
  • I release my anger, I embrace joy
  • Others recognise my needs and honour them
  • I connect with my needs, and let them be known
  • My body is a temple, and oh what a temple it is!
  • My body is a pleasure, a temple and a treasure

Her Story

West African, Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean goddess Yemaya is Mother Water, orisha of the oceans. She represents mother love and the affairs of women – fertility, children, birthing, the home and family. She is the merciful goddess of creation and protector of women during conception and childbirth, and of children during their childhood. She is the deep ocean of comfort for those in need.
African deities (orishas) are usually represented by flowing, swirling images of colour and movement, depicting the elemental energies rather than an anthropomorphised image. Yemaya’s energy is depicted with sky blue, white and silver swirling colour. In other images, she is a mermaid or a beautiful woman.
Yemaya brings forth and protects life through all the highs and lows, even during the worst atrocities that can be suffered. She reminds women to take time out for themselves, to nurture their own needs and to respect their deserved position in life.

Her Modern Energy

If Yemaya is speaking to you today, ask yourself, who or what is it that is taking all your time and energy? Whose problems are you trying to fix at the expense of your own vital energy? And why are you trying to fix them? (For approval?) Yemaya does not ask that you conquer your problems nor dominate the source of your problems, but instead to learn how to dance with the ebb and flow of the inevitability of the life cycle.
Yemaya gives you permission to pamper yourself, and for one week at least, to retire from being the “fixer”, the “nurturer”, the “servant”. The world will not end if you withdraw to take care of yourself for a while.

Reconnect With Your Inner Yemaya

Spend some time this week building a shrine to Yemaya, with ocean-sourced items (especially the conch shell), crystal and silver objects, and symbols to represent the moon and stars.
On a Saturday, enjoy watermelon and brew your own raspberry leaf tea (this will take around two weeks to prepare).
Raspberry leaf tea: Tie organically grown raspberry leaves in a bunch and hang in a warm, dark area until dry. Strip the leaves, crumble them into your favourite tea-pot or cauldron, and brew Yemaya’s tea. Take your time to drink this – cancel appointments and other demands for your time, and let yourself truly, purely, “be” in the moment!
Alternatively, on a full moon, invoke Yemaya’s energy by “drawing down the moon”. Here is a suggestion that is in Ffiona Morgan’s book, “Goddess Spirituality”. This ritual can be done as a private ritual with yourself, preferably outside under the full moon. (If it is not possible to go outside, you can sit or stand facing a window in view of the moon, with the moon’s rays shining in on you.)
Start by chanting ‘Ma’, ‘Yemaya’, or ‘Luna’ for five or ten minutes, to raise energy for the drawing down. Then place your hands with palms facing the moon, index fingers and thumbs touching, forming the sacred triangle, or sign of the yoni. Spread your fingers as wide as possible, so they are receptors for moon energy. After you chant to raise power, focus all your energy and vision on Mother Moon and draw her energy down into your body. Move your hands, if desired, back and forth, from arms-outstretched position to your heart and back again. After a few minutes of holding your hands up to the moon, you can feel them tingle. This is magical energy. This can take 15-20 minutes, but you may take more or less time, there are no rules. Here are some songs and chants to the moon:

“Yemaya, O Lo Do, Agua Lo Do Mi O” (repeat over and over again) “Moon, Moon, Moon on my mind, think I’ll fly” (repeat over and over again)

Simple Shower Ritual
First, gather your shower and ritual tools. You will need a bar of soap (pick one that is special to you because of the scent or whatever), a big, fluffy white towel, 3 white votives or pillars and your favourite incense. Pick a soothing CD to put on.
Next, arrange the candles, put on the CD and light the incense. Hang your towel nearby. Take 5 deep breaths, centre, and ground yourself before beginning.
Take the soap and carve a pentagram on both sides of the soap. Ask for the sense and presence of the Goddess. Hold the bar in the air and say these words:

O Mother Goddess,

Bless this soap that you have seen Soap to make me pure and clean. Clear away all dirt and grime Protect my body all the time.

Blessed be.

Place it in the soap holder.

Lastly, take each candle and carve a pentacle or protective rune on its side. Grab all three candles in your hands and repeat these words:

Candles that I light this day, Keep all evil thoughts away. As the water washes me, Burn out all negativity. Blessed be.

Kiss each candle then light it. Now you are ready for your shower.
As the water runs over you visualise all your stress, sadness and worries rinsing away, the bubbles cleaning off dirt and leaving your skin glowing with a radiant white glow all around you. This will keep you feeling strong and protected all through the day. Thank the Goddess for her presence and put all tools away for next time.

 

 
Originally Posted in the Old WOTC Site On Yuku
by TipsyCad147
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Deity of the Day for Aug. 28th is Nut, The Egyptian Goddess

Deity of the Day

 Nut

The Egyptian Goddess

 

Nut or Neuth; also spelled Nuit or Newet) was the goddess of the sky in the Ennead of Egyptian mythology. She was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth, or as a cow.

Nut is a daughter of Shu and Tefnut. She is Geb’s wife as well as sister. She has four or five children: Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys, and sometimes Horus. Her name is translated to mean ‘sky’ and she is considered one of the oldest deities among the Egyptian pantheon, with her origin being found on the creation story of Heliopolis. She was originally the goddess of the nighttime sky, but eventually became referred to as simply the sky goddess. Her headdress was the hieroglyphic of part of her name, a pot, which may also symbolize the uterus. Mostly depicted in nude human form, Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow whose great body formed the sky and heavens, a sycamore tree, or as a giant sow, suckling many piglets (representing the stars).

A sacred symbol of Nut was the ladder, used by Osiris to enter her heavenly skies. This ladder-symbol was called maqet and was placed in tombs to protect the deceased, and to invoke the aid of the deity of the dead. Nut and her brother, Geb, may be considered enigmas in the world of mythology. In direct contrast to most other mythologies which usually develop a sky father associated with an Earth mother (or Mother Nature), she personified the sky and he the Earth.

Nut appears in the creation myth of Heliopolis which involves several goddesses who play important roles: Tefnut (Tefenet) is a personification of moisture, who mated with Shu (Air) and then gave birth to Sky as the goddess Nut, who mated with her brother Earth, as Geb. From the union of Geb and Nut came, among others, the most popular of Egyptian goddesses, Isis, the mother of Horus, whose story is central to that of her brother-husband, the resurrection god Osiris. Osiris is killed by his brother Seth and scattered over the Earth in 14 pieces which Isis gathers up and puts back together. Osiris then climbs a ladder into his mother Nut for safety and eventually becomes king of the dead.

A huge cult developed about Osiris that lasted well into Roman times. Isis was her husband’s queen in the underworld and the theological basis for the role of the queen on earth. It can be said that she was a version of the great goddess Hathor. Like Hathor she not only had death and rebirth associations, but was the protector of children and the goddess of childbirth.

Nut was the goddess of the sky and all heavenly bodies, a symbol of protecting the dead when they enter the after life. According to the Egyptians, during the day, the heavenly bodies—such as the sun and moon—would make their way across her body. Then, at dusk, they would be swallowed, pass through her belly during the night, and be reborn at dawn.

Nut is also the barrier separating the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in the world. She was pictured as a woman arched on her toes and fingertips over the earth; her body portrayed as a star-filled sky. Nut’s fingers and toes were believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions of north, south, east, and west.

Because of her role in saving Osiris, Nut was seen as a friend and protector of the dead, who appealed to her as a child appeals to its mother: “O my Mother Nut, stretch Yourself over me, that I may be placed among the imperishable stars which are in You, and that I may not die.” Nut was thought to draw the dead into her star-filled sky, and refresh them with food and wine: “I am Nut, and I have come so that I may enfold and protect you from all things evil.”

She was often painted on the inside lid of the sarcophagus, protecting the deceased. The vault of tombs often were painted dark blue with many stars as a representation of Nut. The Book of the Dead says, “Hail, thou Sycamore Tree of the Goddess Nut! Give me of the water and of the air which is in thee. I embrace that throne which is in Unu, and I keep guard over the Egg of Nekek-ur. It flourisheth, and I flourish; it liveth, and I live; it snuffeth the air, and I snuff the air, I the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, in peace.”

 

Source:
Wikipedia

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Deity of the Day for August 26th is Athena

Deity of the Day

Athena

The Greek Goddess

Areas of Influence: Athena Goddess of war and wisdom

Unlike the war God Ares, she was not known for her brutality and bullying behavior. She was more of a strategist and a diplomat and was called upon to mediate in several disputes and wars amongst the Gods.

This Greek Goddess was also associated with domestic crafts.

In Greek mythology she taught Prometheus architecture, astrology, mathematics, medicine and navigation. She is credited with the invention of spinning, weaving, the plough and rake.

She is the Patron Goddess of the city of Athens where her most famous statue is situated in the Parthenon.

Athena assisted many of the Greek heroes in their quests including Perseus, Hercules and Jason.

Goddess Athena’s Family: This Goddess had a very unusual birth as she sprung fully grown from the head of her father, Zeus. Her pregnant mother, Metis a nymph, was swallowed whole by her father. This was because like his father before him he feared that his position would be usurped by one of his children.

Athena the Greek Goddess was Zeus’s favorite child, he entrusted her with his shield the Aegis.

She had lots of half brothers and sister’s including: Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Hephaaestus, Hebe, Hermes, Persephone, the Fates, the Graces, the Muses, Tityus. The number would be even greater if I included all of the children from her father’s affairs with mortals.

She herself never married. There are several myths where Athena defends her virginity when she receives unwelcome male attention. This is why the temple dedicated to her is called the Parthenon as the word means temple of the virgin in Greek.

Despite being a virgin she had a child named Erichthonius. He was born after a failed rape attempt when his father’s seed fell upon the fertile earth.

Strengths: Rational, intelligent, a powerful defender and arbitrator.

Weaknesses: Too ruled by her head and out of touch with her emotions and femine side. Unapproachable and lacking in compassion.

Roman Equivalent: Minerva

Athena’s Symbols

The Archetypal female Warrior, she is usually depicted wearing a helmet and a goat skin breastplate known as the aegis. On the breastplate she mounted the terrifying head of the Goddess Medusa.

This Greek Goddess was referred to as the Goddess with bright eyes. Some scholars suggest that this supports the theory that in earlier times she was also a storm and lightening Goddess. For pictures of Athena please follow this link

Sacred animals: Snakes form part of her famous statue.

Sacred birds: The owl is linked with Athena the Greek Goddess as it represents wisdom and watchfulness.

Mulberry, oak and olive trees.

Athena The Greek Goddess’s Archetypes

The Warrior:

This Archetype represents physical strength, and the ability to protect and fight for your rights and those of of others.

The shadow side of the Warrior reflects the need to win at all costs, abandoning ethical principals to prove your supremacy.

The Greek Goddess main Archetype is that of the female Warrior. This is illustrated by her role of patron and defender of Athens. She also became involved in the war against the giants and the siege of Troy.

The Teacher/ Inventor:

The Teacher and Inventor communicates knowledge, experience and wisdom.

In it’s shadow aspect, the Teacher may manipulate and mislead their students by indoctrinating them with negative beliefs and destructive behaviours.

In Greek mythology this Goddess is the protector and advisor of the heroes Hercules, Perseus and Ulysses.

As an Inventor this Goddess teaches mankind how to spin and weave, however it is in this role that we see her need to control her “students” and she will not allow anyone to surpass her accomplishments.

 

How to Work With These Archetypes.

The Warrior:

If you are drawn to work with this Goddess you may require her Warrior spirit to help you to stand up for your rights and set firm personnal boundaries. This Goddess can be a great stereotype to work with if you want to take control in your life, and wish to no longer play the role of the victim.

You may also wish to call upon this Goddess to champion the cause of others.

Conversely this Goddess may appeal to you if you have a very strong sense of self and are proud of the victories you have achieved. The shadow side of this Goddess may be asking you to reflect honestly on the cost of these victories. Have they been at the expense of others or your principles?

The Teacher/ Inventor:

This Archetype may suggest a love of passing on wisdom and learning to others.

This Goddess wise counsel can also be called upon to help you see a way through any present difficulties or to help you to master a new skill.

The shadow aspect of this stereotype is also a reminder that whenever we find ourselves in a teaching or mentoring role we must aim to be a positive role model, encouraging others to reach their full potential.

 

Source:
Goddess-Guide.com

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Dedicating Yourself to the Service of a Patron Deity – Step 1, 2 & 3

Dedicating Yourself to the Service of a Patron Deity – Step 1, 2 & 3

This is not a step to be taken in haste

, Squidoo

Dedicating Yourself to the Service of a Patron Deity – Step 1

Several days, or weeks, in advance

Sit quietly and meditate on the following questions. Write your answers as they come to you in your personal journal or Book of Shadows.

  • What gifts can I bring to (your chosen God/dess)?
  • Why do I want to dedicate myself to (your chosen God/dess)?
  • What can I pledge to (God/dess)?

Create your own Book of Shadows, if you have not done so already. Within it, record spells, rituals, prayers, and any other relevant magical material. This book will support you serving as a platform for exploring your thoughts and feelings over time.

Important!

STOP!

If during your meditation and seeking why you wish you dedicate yourself, your answers include desires to impress your friends, scare your neighbours, freak out your parents, or other words to this effect then you are not ready to dedicate yourself to anything. Continue your studies and learning, but leave the dedications for another time.

If you are doing it as a joke, you are not ready. You may take it lightly, but the Gods tend to take these things very serious.

Dedicating Yourself to the Service of a Patron Deity – Step 2

On the Day

Take a special bath, meditate, abstain from eating specific foods, or do whatever you are drawn to do to prepare yourself for your dedication.

Gather together the following representations of the elements:

  • Salt
  • If all you have is store bought table salt, then by all means use it. If you can get a larger crystal sea salt such as for salt grinders, then use that.

  • Incense
  • Chose an incense which appeals to you, or one associated with your chosen Deity.

  • Holy water
  • Create Holy Water by whispering a blessing over the water.

    This is a simple blessing to create holy water:
    Hold your hand over the water and state,
    “I cast out from you, all hatred, all fear, all anger
    In the Name of (your chosen Deity) So Mote it Be.”
    Pause briefly, then holding your hand over the water again, state,
    “I fill you with love, with hope, and care and understanding
    In the Name of (your chosen Deity) So Mote in Be.”
  • Candle
  • Chose a candle type and colour which best represents the Deity you are dedicating yourself to. Inscribe it with the Name of the Deity, or anoint with oils to further forge a link between that Deity and yourself.

Dedicating Yourself to the Service of Your Patron Deity – Step 3

The Dedication Ritual

Create a sacred space by whatever means feels most comfortable

Sitting within the space, say as follows:

“It is my desire, of my own free will, to dedicate myself to (your chosen God/dess) this night.

I bring with me the gifts of … and speak aloud of the gifts can bring as you have meditated upon them previously.

I put these gifts now to the service of (God/dess).”

Take up the salt and sprinkle a few grains on yourself.

State:
“This is the blessing of Earth, may it strengthen me as I dedicate myself to the service of (chosen God/dess). Through the element of Earth I will walk in balance. “

Take up the incense and left the smoke drift around you.

State:
“This is the blessing of Air, may it inspire me as I dedicate myself to the service of (chosen God/dess). Through the element of Air I go forth seeking knowledge and the wisdom to use that knowledge wisely and with love for all things.”

Take up the candle and hold the flame in front of you.

State:
“This is the blessing of Fire, may it purify me as I dedicate myself to the service of (chosen God/dess). Through the element of Fire, I forge new things, giving expression to creative energies.”

Take up the water and sprinkle a few drops on yourself.

State:
“This is the blessing of Water, may it cleanse and renew me as I dedicate myself to the service of (chosen God/dess). Through the element of Water I live in love, trusting my emotions and intuition.

Sit quietly for a moment, then state:

I, (your name), do dedicate myself to the service of (chosen God/dess), by my own free will. This is my pledge towards that service… speak aloud of the pledge you are willing to make as you have meditated upon it

Sit quietly and reflect for a few minutes, then finish in whatever manner seems right to you.

Some may be led to take on a new name at this time, of you wish to do so, add this to the dedication ritual.

“I have received the blessings of the elements. I have pledged myself to the service of (chosen God/dess) and S/He has received me as Her/His own. In this sacred space and time, I am changed. (Your birth name) has been transformed. I ask to be given a new name to reflect that change.”

A name may come to you immediately, or it may appear to you gradually over time. Let yourself be open to receiving a new name, from where ever it may come.

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My own Patron Gods and Matron Goddesses over the years

My own Patron Gods and Matron Goddesses over the years

A study in world deities

, Squidoo

 

I have worked with several different Gods over the years, mostly Goddesses. Early in my ventures into Witchcraft and Paganism my focus was on the feminine side of things and I tended to ignore the masculine side.

The first I found myself drawn to was Nimue, The Lady of the Lake, in her younger Maiden aspect.

Around this time I changed jobs and began working in the critical care unit at the hospital. In my role as a nurse I was constantly surrounded by death and dying and more and more I found myself working with the Hindu Goddess, Kali, or noticing that she was hanging around in the background of my mind as I worked. I only ever asked for her assistance once, and that was at a particularly harrowing time with a very ill patient.

Lilith and Blodeuwydd both showed up about the same time in my life at a time when I was rediscovering my own femininity and strength.

The two who have stuck around longest have been Herne and Modron.

Currently, I am being “courted” once more by the Gods as I move forward through life. The Norns have been showing up a lot lately in dreams, shamanic journeys, and during energy healing work. I have been looking more closely at them, but have not yet decided if I am willing to dedicate myself to them as they are requesting.

Didn’t I tell you? You are allowed to say no to a God’s request.

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Once a God Tries to Contact You

Once a God Tries to Contact You

What do you do next?

, Squidoo

 

When you start getting these messages however they may come it is time to start your investigations.

If you have a clear idea on who it is, then find all the information you can on that particular God and study Him, or Her, in depth. Look in books, on the internet, record your dreams if He is coming to you in that way. Meditate. Ask questions and listen for His answers.

If these messages are coming to you as symbols, then you have a bit more work to do. You’ll need to pull out your reference books and websites and find out what you can about the symbolism of what you are smelling, seeing, or otherwise sensing or experiencing. Listen to your gut instincts here as well. If you find yourself being drawn towards one particular Pantheon over another then look that direction.

For instance, when I was smelling cinnamon everywhere I began by looking at where cinnamon had been used in ritual and what deities were associated with it. That led me to information about the early Babylonian and Sumerians and from there to Judaism, all of which led me to Lilith. Cinnamon was burnt in the Jewish temples and was associated with Lilith.

Other people have reported seeing a particular bird a lot, in situations where they wouldn’t normally expect to see that bird. Or hearing a particular sound, or having repeating dreams.

While you can seek guidance from outside sources such as books or by asking questions of other people, the ultimate answer of Who it is trying to contact you will come from within your own heart.

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