Once a widely revered and influential goddess. Sadly the reputation of Hecate has been changed over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as an ugly hag. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. Hecate is a beautiful and powerful goddess. Hecate was given the power of giving anything she wished (or withholding if it pleased her).
Classified as a “Moon Goddess”, she ruled 3 kingdoms . . . the earth, sea, and sky. She was also considered the protector of shepherds and sailors.
It is said that Hecate was a “virgin” because of her unwillingness to give up solitude and her independent nature for the sake of marriage.
Walking, traveling at night or visiting cemeteries during the dark phase of the moon, the Moon Goddess Hecate was described as shining or luminous. Some tales say she is invisible or simply a quick glimpse of light…maybe it’s because she always carried a torch to light her way.
Hecate and her sacred dogs were said to have three heads so that they could see in all directions. Usually pictured as a beautiful woman having three human heads, on occasion she was pictured with one snake head, one horse, and the third a boar’s head. Other opinions are that the three heads gave her the ability to see the past, present, and future. It is said that Hecate was often accompanied on her travels by an owl, a symbol of wisdom.
Hecate also played an ongoing important role in the life of Persephone (Hades wife), becoming her confidante when she was in the Underworld. Hades, because he was thankful for their friendship,had the effect of promoting her reputation as a spirit of black magic with the power to conjure up dreams, prophecies, and phantoms.
It not surprising that a woman who needed to make a trip alone at night would say a short prayer to Hecate for protection.
Known as a protector of women, especially during childbirth. Not only was Hecate called upon to ease the pains and progress of a woman’s labor, but especially to protect and restore the health and growth of a child.
Hecate played a role that, in contemporary times, we would describe as “hospice nurse”, helping the elderly make a smooth, painless transition into the next life even staying with them if need be. She also helped in the otherworld to prepare them for their return to the earth in their next life. Familiar with the process of death and dying as well as that of new birth and new life, the goddess Hecate was wise in all of earth’s mysteries.
The Greek Goddess Hecate reminds us of the importance of change, helping us to release the past, especially those things that are slowing our growth, to accept change and move comfortably into transitions. She sometimes asks us to let go of what is familiar, safe, and secure and to travel to the uncomfortable places of the soul. Changes of any kind no matter if they are spiritual or mundane, aren’t easy. But Hecate is there to support and show you the way.
She gives you the needed tools to see what’s been forgotten, lost or even hidden, and helps you set your feet upon your path. At times she “shines her torch” to guide you while you are dreaming or meditating.
Hecate teaches us to be just and to be tolerant of those who are different or less fortunate, yet she is hardly a “bleeding heart”, for Hecate dispenses justice “blindly” and equally.
Although her name may mean “The Distant One”, Hecate is always close at hand in times of need, helping us to release the old, familiar ways and find our way through new beginnings.