Wait for the Bright Constellation of the Bear to Decline

I have spent the last few days immersing myself in the folklore and magic of Brittany. My main intention was to visit some sites renowned for their Fairy lore and others for their Arthurian connections. Both are topics I am currently writing about for various projects and I often find that visiting a place connected with my work can spur my imagination and get my creative juices flowing, and it has certainly been the case with this visit, but not always in the way that I have imagined.

Today I took the time to visit the Tumulus of Kercado. A tumulus is a burial or ceremonial mound normally of the megalithic or Neolithic period which has maintained its earth work, where as a Dolmen is normally the menhirs (standing stones) and table-stone covering it without the earthwork which would have originally covered it. The Tumulus of Kercado according to the leaflet I procured at the gate is dated to around 4500BCE and is considered to be one of the most complete of its kind, and although it isn’t as big or impressive as the Tumulus of St Michel which I visited yesterday, it actually had a stronger atmosphere, possibly this could be attributed to not having a ruddy great Christian Chapel built on the top of it.

But I digress.

Carved upon the roof of the table-stone, inside the chamber is a “double headed axe” a symbol quite common both in the Megalithic monuments of Brittany and else where in the world. Some scholars have argued quite persuasively that these Axe engravings were a method of stellar and solar time keeping which automatically got me thinking of Hekate. Firstly her connection to the stars through her mother Asteria. But more importantly her potential connection with the Snake Priestess. In Minoan myth, Priestesses were said to carry into ritual the Labrys, another form of double headed Axe.

Whilst there is no proof that the Minoan Snake Goddesses statues dating from 1600BCE and found on Knossos during excavations in the early 20th Century, were either images of Priestesses of Hekate, or even Hekate herself, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that leads many (myself included) to believe there is a connection of some form. One of our most famous descriptions of Hekate comes from Apollonius of Rhodes who claimed that when Jason called upon Hekate Brimo she arrived “garlanded by fearsome snakes that coiled themselves round twigs of oak; the twinkle of a thousand torches lit the scene; and hounds of the underworld barked shrilly all around her”. And her connection with snakes continues for some of the infamous lead/curse tablets found around ancient temples call upon Hekate who is depicted upon the lead strip with snakes. And Medea who depending upon the myth being told was either a Priestess of Hekate or possibly even a Granddaughter had the ability to charm the snakes, and called them forth to aid her in her creation of poisons and also as offerings to the Goddess herself.

But what is very curious about the quote by Apollonius is that he claims that Jason has to wait until for the “bright constellation of the Bear to decline, and then, when all the air from heaven to earth was still” before he could perform his rite to Hekate. Which leads me back to where I started, the Double Axe in Kercado is believed by some to be a form of Astrolabe, circling around Polaris just as the great Bear constellation does. This carvings dimensions allow for calculation of the Equinoxes, the Solstices, as well as moonrise and sunrise. How clever is that, now I wonder is this why the Minoan Priestesses were carrying Labrys’ too? Would it be amazing if we could prove that?!

Though Jove loved Asterie, daughter of a Titan, she scorned him.

We know considerably more about Asteria than her partner Perses, the most common recurring story being that she is the daughter of the Titans Coeus and Pheobe, the wife of Perses, mother of Hekate and the Goddess of Oracles, dream incubation, and the night sky. Her name meaning starry or falling star is quite possibly a homage to her father who was considered the axis of the Heavens around which the constellations revolved. Whilst her mother was the Goddess who presided over the axis of earth and was considered a Goddess of Oracles, being the last female divinity to preside over Delphi before she passed it onto Apollon.

Although Asteria was the wife of Perses, her love life is not one that ran smooth, and as such I would never consider asking her for help with relationship issues. Except maybe in the case of fleeing an inappropriate or abusive relationship or to get rid of predatory sexual advances. The reason for this being that after the Titanic war she was pursued by Zeus who was positively infatuated with her; although he was a bit of a Lothario so this wasn’t uncommon behaviour. Anyway, Asteria refused his advances and a good old chase scene ensued with Asteria choosing to take the form of a Quail to escape the Gods advances. Finally in desperation she threw herself into the sea where she transformed into the Island that became known as Delos.

But things weren’t over yet, for years the Island of Delos was said to float around the Aegean with no fixed location, the reason for this being that whilst Zeus gave up the hunt, his brother Poseidon took up the chase also becoming completely infatuated with the beleaguered Goddess. The Island is said to have finally rested in its current location when the Goddess allowed a Temple to Apollon to be built upon her shores.

There is no Orphic Hymn dedicated to Asteria that I know of, but an adaptation of the hymn “To the Stars” would be a very appropriate invocation when calling upon the goddess to honour her or to aid you in prophecy.

TO ASTERIA

With holy voice, I call to thee, oh starry one on high

Pure sacred light and Goddess of the Night

Celestial Star, progeny of Earth and Sky

In silver ribbons beaming far your light

Brilliant rays around the heaven ye throw

Eternal Fires, the source of all below

With flames significant of Fate ye shine

And aptly rule for men a path divine.

Hail, glittering, joyful, silver streaking fires!

Propitious shine on all my just desires,

These sacred rites regard with conscious rays

And aid our word devoted to your praise.

© Tara Sanchez 2015

And Perses who was preeminent among all men in wisdom!

Following on from yesterday’s post, it is only logical to now spend some time getting to know Perses. This isn’t easy because he’s a bit of an enigmatic character, even the fabulous resource Theoi is a little light on information. And I think this is why some people shy away from him. I have heard people argue that he should never be invoked under any circumstance, but why should that be?

I suspect mostly this is because he is an unknown quantity, and those who are perhaps a little faint of heart are put off by his epithet “The Destroyer”. But I would argue that this very title alone is why we should be calling upon him alongside Hekate in many of our rituals, but more of that shortly.

So what do we know about him? Well we know that he is one of three children born to the Titans Krios and Eurybia. He married the Goddess Asteria and his only child is the Goddess Hekate. We know that some considered that he presided over the constellation Perseus (although others associated him with the Dog Star Sirius). He is often thought of as a God of war, presiding over the start of the campaign season, and he was known as The Destroyer, his name possibly stemming from a root word which means to lay waste.

And yet according to Hesiod he was also known as being preeminent among all men in wisdom, what a contradiction! A bit like his wonderfully complicated offspring. What is it they say? Like father like daughter!

So here we have a Titanic God, father of the Goddess Hekate, and he is wise, and he is a warrior and he is capable of destroying and laying waste to all around him, I can think of a whole host of reasons why I would want to invoke him, not least because, you know, he’s Hekate’s dad and it might be nice to just say thanks for making such a cool daughter. Anyway here are a few ideas:

 

  • Cursing and Retribution*
  • Removal of Blockages
  • Aid in overcoming addictions and/or bad habits
  • Guidance in difficult situations
  • Clarity in quarrels or confrontational situations
  • Aid in making fair assessments and judgements
  • Help in healing and getting rid of serious illness*

 

*Disclaimer 1 – Yes I am aware there is the rule of three, and karma and a whole host of other very good reasons why we shouldn’t curse, not least that we are supposed to be evolved human beings. But the ancient world was full of defixiones (curse tablets), petitions for retribution and binding spells, it was a recognised practise and one quite regularly associated with his daughter. Morals were different then and actually the moral compass for some still sees retribution as a valid path now. So why wouldn’t we want to call on a God called the Destroyer, sort of makes sense if you’re that way inclined doesn’t it?

*Disclaimer 2 – Petitioning Gods and Goddess for help in healing is no substitute for consulting a fully qualified medical professional. It should be considered as a complement rather than an alternative to modern medical techniques. You must also be very careful about wording of these petitions, the universe has a wickedly twisted sense of humour, if you ask for help healing a cancer in your hand, be very careful to ask that your limbs stay intact and with full recovery to rude health, you really don’t want to get cured by having an amputation now do you? And this is another reason why people possibly shy away, it doesn’t do to be slap dash in situations like this.

Asteria of happy name, whom Perses once led to his great house to be called his dear wife. And she conceived and bare Hekate.

A trip to the Sierra Nevada to honour the goddess during the Perseids.

For quite a few years now I have made a day in August special to Hekate. Normally choosing a date sometime during the Perseid Meteor Showers. The reason for doing this is primarily that not only do some sources believe that Hekate’s father Perses presided over the constellation of Perseus from which the Perseid Meteor showers appear to originate, but also her mother Asteria can be associated with meteor showers as her name quite literally means falling star.

These meteor showers occur every year at approximately the same time starting around the 9th and finishing around the 16th, with the climax varying anywhere between those dates. They are known as some of the most prolific meteor showers that we know with a frequency that can be in excess of 60 meteors an hour at their peak. This may not seem like an awful lot but believe me, with a clear sky away from light pollution this is more than enough to make for a particularly spectacular event.

I find it rather ironic that the peak for the storm this year is predicted to be around the 13th as it is a date I normally shy away from. I have discussed this aversion before but I think it serves to revisit it again. And it all boils down to a failure by many to understand how the Attic (and other historical Greek calendars) actually work.

Basically the simplest way to explain it is that on the 16th day of Metageitnion, there was the Sacrifice of Kourotrophos, Hekate , and Artemis. This month falls roughly between July and August but due to the Attic calendar being one that depends upon the lunar cycle rather than set dates, the actual date for the 16th day of Metageitnion can vary and does as a result sometimes fall on the 13th of August. Somewhere along the line somebody did the research found the festival, worked out that the 16th day that year was on the 13th, wrote it in their book and thus history was made. And far be it from me to stop Hekate from getting herself a new festival, just as long as we recognise that it is a new festival. And this is where I become unstuck, too many people now approach it as historical fact, so hence my desire to avoid it because I feel sometimes I am propagating and lending support to a myth.

But this year I am excitedly venturing into the fray of a new feast day, even if it is no longer movable. And I’m also embarking on a great adventure, I am going to be travelling through France and Spain stopping enroute at various sacred sites to arrive in time to join one of the Covenant of Hekate (http://hekatecovenant.com) Torchbearers at her Sanctuary to partake in a Perseids rite which we are working together to create and hope to share with the community in the days to come so that if any others wish to join us we can all look up to the same sky, and know we are all staring at the same falling stars with the same purpose in mind , how wonderfully delicious.

In our ritual we will of course be invoking Hekate, Asteria and Perses, but more on that tomorrow 😉

1er Congreso Isadora

I am starting to get just a little bit excited, tomorrow I travel to Lugo in Spain as I have been invited to talk at the 1er Congreso Isadora, a new venture aimed at respectful discourse and sharing of knowledge between different magickal and spiritual practitioners. I have chosen to speak on the Importance of Balance within our daily lives and in sacred ritual. I was rather hoping it might be Hekate free, but as per usual she has managed to sneak her way into the proceedings, I probably shouldn’t have expected anything else really seeing as the conference has been organised by a Torchbearer of the Covenant of Hekate and I think more than a few of the attendees are also members. I am so looking forward to meeting people who I’ve only ever had the chance to interact with online, I am sure its going to be the most wonderful experience. I am also going to get the chance to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long while, seeing that Lugo is only 120km from Santiago de Compostela, I intend to take a day and a rather long bus journey to Santiago and walk the last couple of miles of the Camino Primitivo.

I am a bit of a pilgrimage junkie and the energies that are generated by so many sincere souls all walking with a common spiritual purpose should not be sniffed at regardless of which faith presides over the act of devotion. Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan or any other path, I believe that everybody should make at least one pilgrimage in their lives, obviously you can chose a destination that is meaningful to your own faith, you don’t have to be a complete spiritual floozy like me.

Anyway there is still time to book into the conference if you fancy listening to me talk about different energetic techniques and how to create your own. Details can be found either on the website:

http://www.portalisadora.es/congreso-isadora/

or through the Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/congresoisadora

Maybe I will see you there 😀

Our Lady Hekate

At Yule I had the distinct pleasure of being able to meet for coffee with a very talented lady and member of The Covenant of Hekate. An organisation that I have spoken of before here. The lady in question was Mima Cornish and we spent a lovely afternoon putting the world to rights, thinking about where our lives will take us in the coming year and how many of our activities seem to be influenced by our work with the Goddess Hekate.

One of the topics we discussed was a project of Mima’s which had recently come to fruition in rather a spectacular manner, as it was launched at one of the biggest Mind Body & Spirit events in the UK, which rather amusingly is held at Olympia. It is collection of guided meditations on CD which focuses on working with different aspects of “Our Lady Hekate”. I know this has been a labour of love for Mima and musician Paul Landry and so I was very honoured when as we parted she gave me a copy of her CD as a gift and I am even more delighted to give it a glowing review.

The CD is split into 4 tracks each one dedicated to a specific aspect of the Goddess. They are as follows:

  • Hekate Soteria – The Saviour
  • Hekate Phosphorus – The Light Bringer
  • Hekate Einalia – Of the Sea
  • Hekate Chthonia – Of the Underworld

I like that all the meditations are drawn together in a central location around an image of the Goddess, with repeating phrases in each meditation, that allows moving in and out of the different meditations to occur easily and smoothly. The symbology of the rose garden and the Alkamenes style multifaceted statue gives a Graeco-Roman feel to the meditation but I do not think that this detracts from the overall experience if you are a hard core Hellenic.

Also the continuation of the rose symbology in the form of an offering to the Goddess during each mediation also is reminiscent of the ancient practise of hanging a rose as a sign of privacy and secrecy and harkens to the old idiom of “to know, to will to dare and to stay silent” which I am sure will appeal to many; as will the thought that Mima has put into the symbology of each aspect of the Goddess during the meditation.

From a more practical point of view the sound reproduction is excellent, and Mima’s voice is very gentle and calming and her words are well enunciated. The imagery she creates is enough to build a picture without being too detailed or prescriptive, allowing the listener to genuinely have their own experience.

I’ve immersed myself over the last few weeks using this CD as the basis for my meditations and I can heartily recommend it to anyone either beginner or old hand. So support a fellow Hekatean and go buy one right now!


Who are Mima Cornish and Paul Landry?

Mima Cornish is a healer, an artist and Oracle living in Cheshire. She has been working through artistic trance and meditation for a number of years and was recently inspired to produce this collection of guided meditations about the Goddess Hekate which can be purchased from her website : www.hedgerosehealing.com

Paul Landry is an independent musician and composer of new age and ambient music. His collaboration with Mima is sensitively done providing an excellent backdrop for her spoken word. All Paul’s work is available on CD or downloadable from: www.newagemusicgarden.com

Cover and Artwork is also by Mima Cornish and the packaging is made from recycled materials.

The Scent of a Goddess

I am aware of how certain smells can evoke very powerful images and the use of fragrance is something that fills both my everyday and my devotional life. It doesn’t even have to be smells you particularly like very much. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful workshop entitled “Sacred and Ritual Perfumes” held in Glastonbury by the wonderful Marina.

Marina is a fantastic natural perfumer who owns The Perfume Garden and as part of the workshop we had to discuss smells we did and didn’t like. I expressed my deep disgust at the scent of  unadulterated Patchouli, it has such negative connotations. My first clear memory of it was in the late 1970’s. I cannot have been more than 7 years old and we were eating in the Vegan cafe in our local town, a treat I normally relished. But his particular day the person who was waiting table smelt terribly of body odour overlaid with another smell, the combination was so sickening that it stayed with me all day hanging around under my nose and I was physically ill on the bus ride home. The other smell as I discovered later was Patchouli.

I can recall the clothes the person was wearing, the gaudily painted walls, the ethnic hangings and the beaded curtain that separated the kitchen from the customers. I can even feel the wooden table under my hand and recall swinging my legs from the seat which was too tall for me; so strong are my memories. And every time I have smelt Patchouli on its own since then, those memories come flooding back so strongly that I have to take a moment and centre myself.

The connection with smell and the ability to recall memories is not a new concept and it is a phenomena we can use in our work with Deity. After all if smell can quite literally summon up a memory so strongly that it can physically make us sick, then imagine what we can do with our primal mind and smell, what we can connect with when we use the right smell and let our conscious minds go.

This is one of the primary reasons in my opinion, for using incense during ritual or path-working. Yes of course you can use it as an offering of sorts as we tend to blend incenses that are aligned with whichever entity you are working with and there are of course many historical references to using fine perfumes and smoke as offerings to the Gods. But when we work we want to align ourselves with and summon up an aspect of something. And there really isn’t a quicker way to evoke an image of something than through our sense of smell.

I tend to blend a lot of my own incense and I have provided recipes for a few of my own in my book but from time to time I venture into the world of prepared blends from skilled artisans, and I have to say that the Hecate Oil from Rosarium Blends is possibly one of the best ritual scents I have come across in a very long while and to me it evokes the very essence of Hekate. It is deep and rich and earthy, with a sweet undertone which stops the combinations of Oakmoss and Myrrh and Frankincense making the smell too masculine. And funnily enough, it contains Patchouli 😉

Beautiful Things

 

I recently read a friends Facebook status declaring that they would start posting about the small beautiful things in their life. The idea I suppose is that perhaps if we all looked for more beauty in the world then the world would, to us, effectively become a more beautiful place.

I have in ages past considered this desire by many to always see the *good* and the *beautiful*, to be a big pile of new age clap trap. After all the world is not always beautiful, nature is not always beautiful and people most certainly aren’t always beautiful in either body or deed. I felt that this opinion of mine was even further validated because what one finds beautiful another may find abhorrent. In essence beauty is so strongly in the eye of the beholder how can the world be full of beautiful things that satisfy every perception.

Something drove me however, to contemplate and try to re-evaluate this opinion, dare I say it to find the beauty in this viewpoint so I started exploring it and came across possibly one of the earliest written forms of this belief.

“Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.”
-Plato, Symposium

In my opinion Plato here is actually saying, look if you contemplate and embrace things that you perceive to be beautiful, you will be able to create a subjectively beautiful reality and in doing so you will achieve true excellence (the word virtue in Ancient Greek is actually arete which is more akin to the word excellence). By finding those beautiful things, you will further your physical and spiritual well being and in turn achieve your true purpose, your own specific union with the divine and a state of Henosis.

Something so many of us are striving to achieve. Wow would you look at that, this whole idea of beautiful things isn’t New Age at all, its very very Old Age and something I rather approve of. Well fancy that!

The Dance of the Horae

Not all the material I wrote made it into my book some bits didn’t make the grade and were left out, one of them was the concept of a Hekate related calender, after a debate with a fellow Covenant of Hekate member this evening, I thought it was time to post up one of the sections that didn’t get included as it may help others in thier journeys, I do hope you enjoy it.

The Attic Calendar

“All-coloured Horae, rich increase your care, circling, forever flourishing and fair”

We briefly touched upon the subject of the Attic Calendar in the chapter for divination, as it is the Hellenic calendar which has survived in the most complete format, it is appropriate to use this upon which to base a ritual year.  The months as has been explained before do not correlate directly to the months in the modern calendar as we understand it, and it is this common misconception that leads to comments like “the 13th of August is sacred to Hekate”, which undoubtedly came a about as a result of the 30th of the Month (Deipnon) falling upon August  13th rather than the actual date of the 13th being sacred.

The Dance of the Horae
The Horae or seasons of ancient mythology were originally just two, spring/summer & autumn/winter, however over the centuries this grew, the a large majority of writers named them as three and artwork of three seasons is quite common, these seasons correlating to Spring and new growth after a fallow period, Summer when the fruits and beans were in season and Autumn when the grain crops were ready for harvest. This can also cause some confusion for the seasons in the Mediterranean do not correlate accurately into a Celtic Northern European wheel of the year, the fallow period was considered to be during what we would know as midsummer, for this was a time of drought, with the planting of wheat happening later in the year when the first rains arrived sometimes as late as November or December by our reckoning, and then harvested in May or June, as a result Persephone’s decent into the underworld for example would be most fitting on or around the summer solstice, not the winter, and rites that you may choose to create around this mythology involving Hekate should reflect this.

Provided below is a list of the Attic months, and other information such as known dates of festivals to Hekate or associated deities which can be used to create a more complete ritual cycle2, in cases where a festival or mystery rite took longer than one day, such as the lesser mysteries during Anthesterion, a shorter 2 day period has been indicated for modern usage; Also for convenience sake modern seasons have been included but traditional festivals have retained their rightful place in the dance of the Horae as it would have been.

Attic
Gregorian
Festival
Hecatombaion
Jul – Aug
  1. Noumenia
30   Deipnon
Metageitnion
Aug – Sept
  1. Noumenia
16   Sacrifice – Kourotrophos, Hekate, Artemis
30   Deipnon
Boedromion
Sept – Oct
1     Noumenia

20   Greater Mysteries
21   Greater Mysteries
30   Deipnon
Pyanopsion
Oct – Nov
  1. Noumenia
30   Deipnon
Maimakterion
Nov – Dec
  1. Noumenia
30   Deipnon
Posiedeon
Dec – Jan
1     Noumenia

26   Haloa
30   Deipnon
Gamelion
Jan – Feb
1     Noumenia

27   Sacrifice – Kourotrophos, Hera ,Zeus, Teleius, Poseidon.
30   Deipnon
Anthesterion
Feb – Mar
  1. Noumenia
12   Anthesteria Khoes
20   Lesser Mysteries
21   Lesser Mysteries
30   Deipnon
Elaphebolion
Mar – Apr
  1. Noumenia
30   Deipnon
Mounichion
Apr – May
  1. Noumenia
6     Didymeia
30   Deipnon
Thargelion
May – Jun
  1. Noumenia
19   Bendidea
30   Deipnon
Skirophorion
Jun – July
1    Noumenia

3    Sacrifice – Kourotrophos, Athene, Polias, Aglaurus, Zeus,  Polieus, Poseidon, Pandrosos.
30   Deipnon


Noumenia – The first day of the new moon and of the new month, this was associated with Hekate through the works of Pindar who said that Hekate gave omens of victory on the 1st day of the Month, this day is a particularly fortuitous day to perform works of divination at dawn, oracular work and skrying can also incorporated into the rite. As the start of a new month this is a good time to perform devotional work and a reaffirmation of your dedication to the Goddess in the coming month.

Sacrifice to Kourotrophos – This sacrifice happens during 3 months of the yearly cycle, Metageitnion, Gamelion, Skirophorion, and although only one specifically names Hekate, the epithet of Kourotrophos appears in all these festivals which make them appropriate to celebrate for you can evoke Hekate in that aspect, in addition you may wish to also evoke, Artemis and Zeus as appropriate. As they are relatively evenly spaced throughout the year and are an excellent time for topping up defences around the home petitioning the Goddess to protect it, and its inhabitants, particularly children, records show that a suitable sacrifice for the Goddess at these times were pigs, as many today may not wish to handle pork (or any meat) products creating a votive offering in the image of a pig and immolating it would be another alternative to consider, do however make sure you inscribe it and dedicate it to Hekate. If at all possible try and make this rite in the month of Metageitnion coincident with a clear night when it may be possible to witness the Perseid meteor showers, which are named after Hekate’s father.

Greater Mysteries – These are the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, in which not only was Hekate perceived to guide the Mystai with Iakkos, but also when she became companion and guide to Persephone. This is a most fortuitous time for rites of self dedication and initiation, it should be marked annually with a day of fasting (or abstinence) followed by a night time vigil or procession celebrating Hekate in her aspect of torchbearer and light bringer. This is also a time for making reparations over past wrong doings, and offering the olive branch to would be enemies, clearing the slate and stating anew.

Haloa – Whilst for a us a midwinter festival, this would have been a festival of growth in the Mediterranean world, it was considered a time of feasting and thanks marked with bonfires and banquets and an all night vigil to greet the rising sun, as this falls so very close to Yule and Christmas, it would be more than acceptable to perform this rite on a solstice night, evoking Hekate and inviting her to attend a feast in her honour which should be contained within the ritual circle, Reif3 does suggest that this may have been a “women’s only” rite of a rather bawdy nature, think hen party and then some, so you may like to consider telling the males in your group to find a quiet pub to spend the night in for this one, after all we don’t really wanting them to know “all” the women’s mysteries now do we girls?

Anthesteria Khoes – The Attic equivalent of the day of the dead, the God Hermes in his role of psychopomp was honoured on this night, when the spirits of the dead were said to wander abroad. This is an excellent night to honour both Hermes and Hekate together as well as honouring ancestors and those who have passed with a dumb supper rite, the records note that casseroles with root vegetable were offered most probably because they grew underground.

Lesser Mysteries – All initiates of the Greater mysteries first had to undergo the lesser mysteries and these took place every four years, the gods honoured during these rites were traditionally Demeter, Persephone and Dionysus and was considered by some to be the nuptial celebration of the divine couple; this is an excellent time for performing rites of blessing, both upon relationships, but also new ventures, homes and welcoming family into the fold both magickal and physical. Within that remit it is worth evoking Hekate alongside the deities mentioned above, especially considering her close connection with the greater mysteries. This would also be a time for prospective initiates to request initiation at the following Greater Mysteries and dedicate to the period of study required to undergo such a rite.

Didymeia – This was an annual Pythian rite to Apollo held in the town of Miletus in Caria, the date is ambiguous, but some academics have surmised that it took place in the Milesian month of Taureon, which is believed to have occurred some two months after Anthesterion, this date would correlate for the rite was sacred to Apollo and this date ties in with the Attic date which is recognised as Apollo’s birthday. During this rite two large stone cubes were placed before “Hekate at the Gate”; during this ritual, temples both astral and physical should be cleansed, magickal protections should be reinforced and divination should occur to ascertain the direction of your work (or groups work) during the following year.

Bendidea – The annual rite of the Thracian Goddess Bendis mentioned by Plato in his work Republic, it was considered quite a spectacle and involved horseracing by torch light through the streets of Athens. Whilst it appears that the original rites were one of purification and solemnity, they eventually because fairly bawdy raucous affairs, if working in a group, this might be a suitable ritual for the gentlemen to get all down and dirty with the men’s mysteries, you know, beer, wine, song, curry etc. etc. Competitions both physical and mental could also be incorporated into this rite.

Deipnon – Performed monthly during the dark moon the Deipnon was primarily about cleansing, and petitioning Hekate to keep the house safe during the coming months, because of the offerings given it eventually became a time for charity for the poor it was said, fed from the suppers laid out on the crossroads for Hekate.  Suitable offerings would be eggs, garlic, fish, honey and cheesecakes, which should be placed outside separately from the cleansings of the home. It is a good time to perform physical cleansing as well as magickal cleansing, make sure all tasks that need to be done such as any outstanding obligations, household or work related paperwork etc. In fact any ends you want to tie up should be done so before performing this rite.

————————-

1 Orphic Hymn to the Horae
2 Festival Dates taken from http://www.numachi.com/~ccount/hmepa/
3 Reif, J. Mysteries of Demeter 

The Temple of Hekate

Exploring the Goddess Hekate Through Ritual, Meditation and Divination
 
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Well it has been a long time in the coming, but my book is finally here, I got a copy in my hands a week or so ago, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little taken with it. The journey to the completion of this project has been a difficult one, yet another example of how Hekate always asks for more than you think you can give, but never more than you are capable of.As per usual, I always foolishly hope that when I complete a project in her name, it will allow me some breathing space, and as always, she always finds a way of getting just a little bit more from me, and always in the most unusual ways, but that is another post for another time.

The reason this book means so much to me, is that I am not a natural writer, it does not always come easily or readily to me; and in a world full of aspiring writers many of whom you can now find inhabiting social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter promoting thier skills, the idea of writing down what I had learnt and what I knew was, well just a little overwhelming, to be honest. The only thing that I clung onto to preserve my sanity was a fragment of something I had read years earlier, although where I cannot now remember; the fragment was, “there is one book in everybody”. And apparently this adage may be true.

I do hope people will enjoy my work, and I look forward to hearing peoples stories and experiences from the exercises that I have included; I always feel that we never stop learning and I hope to learn as much from those who read my work as I hope they will learn from me.