Tag Archives: Covenant of Hekate

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.

Jul – Aug
  1. Noumenia
30   Deipnon
Aug – Sept
  1. Noumenia
16   Sacrifice – Kourotrophos, Hekate, Artemis
30   Deipnon
Sept – Oct
1     Noumenia

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

26   Haloa
30   Deipnon
Jan – Feb
1     Noumenia

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

Her Sacred Fires – Redux

It barely seems more than a month or two ago that I travelled through an ever darkening sky from my home in Cheshire to the Brecon Beacons. Unlike other magickal journey’s I have undertaken in the past, this inclement weather bore no omen for me other than a sense of familiarity, more than a few wild and drunken weekends of my misspent youth were passed in the Black Mountains and their temperamental weather systems; so in many ways the journey felt a little like “coming home”.

The journey this time was for a different purpose; I was to spend the weekend with the enchanting Sorita d’Este and her lovely husband David Rankine, with the intention of participating in the inaugural performance of The Rite of Her Sacred Fires, a rite which was initially concieved as a celebration of the release of a unique collection of essays written by Hekate devotees from across the world.

We already knew in our hearts the potential enormity of what we were doing, after all when Hekate has a hand in something it far from inconsequential and she’s been nadgering a lot of folks for a lot of years, myself included. But quite how large, this rite would become had yet to be revealed; thousands of people from across the world working together in harmony for a common purpose, to show devotion to the Goddess Hekate!

Within hours of the final performances of the rites which had been rippling across the globe during the 24 hour time span given, people were asking if it could be repeated again the following year, a new festival for Hekate. It certainly seemed like a good idea, but that was a long time away, a whole 12 months, I had much work to do in the intervening time; even just a fortnight ago it still seemed like an age away, even when fellow Devotee’s & Torchbearers of The Covenant of Hekate started talking about their plans, and how to publicise the event this year it still hadn’t quite sunk in how quickly the time had passed.

On that stormy night we had decorated the altar with Cherry blossom, and it was only this weekend whilst collecting blossom for my newly constructed outdoor shrine that I stopped dead, flowers in hand, the blossoms were out again, it was nearly time, on the 16th / 17th of May 2011 we will again join together across the world to celebrate her mysteries and dance in the light of her sacred flames.

The Covenant of Hekate

On this Halloween day, I sit here typing with a building sense of excitement, something special is about to happen, people across the globe are coming together as a community to work for a common purpose, regardless of background, tradition or religious persuasion.

The Covenant of Hekate (CoH) was born out of the desire to create a community and centre of study for those who share a passion for the history, mysteries and magic of the Goddess Hekate. This desire was dramatically demonstrated on 27th May 2010 when thousands of people worldwide performed the Rite of Her Sacred Fires ritual created by Sorita d’Este as an act of devotion to the goddess Hekate.

I am deeply honoured to announce that I have been invited to be one of the first Torchbearers, who can offer mentoring, teaching, workshops and help facilitate the running of this community. The applications for membership are open on the 1st of November; thats just a very few hours away. I look forward to meeting so many new people who dance in her flames.

Well Ive gone and done it now haven’t I?

I know I’ve been quiet over the last few months, basically since the Hekate: Her Sacred Fires rite, but Hekate has been keeping me very busy, just when I think that I might get a break for a while something new comes up. You get the distinct impression sometimes that no matter how much you do the response is going to be like the proverbial school report of; bright girl but could try harder.

There are two reasons why Ive been so quiet, firstly, and I have alluded to it before, a writing project that has been in the works on and off for some time has been coming to fruition, but seeing as it is now in black and white on the Avalonia web-site under their forthcoming titles see here I cannot shy away from it any longer; this peice of work is a magickal obligation made several years ago, and I had rather hoped I had found a loop hole by contributing to Sacred Fires, but no, apparently I am not going to get away with it that easily, so “Liber Hekate” is currently undergoing severe labour pains. The end however is in sight so watch this space for more information.

Secondly, I’ve been in cahoots with the wonderful author and priestess Sorita d’Este, far too many late night discussions have ensued since the launch of Hekate: Her Sacred Fires, most of them revolving around how the ever growing community of priests, priestesses and devotees of Hekate can best be supported and served. Lovely lady that she is, she has spent many hours deliberating and I think has come up with a wonderful solution, needless to say I can only wholeheartedly support this venture in any way I can, especially as I suspect it is partially my fault anyway. It’s in its early infancy and membership applications will not be open for a few weeks yet, but go and have a look at Covenant of Hekate and have a read about it yourself.