At night, particularly at the dark of
this goddess walked the roads
of ancient Greece,
accompanied by sacred
dogs and bearing a blazing torch.
Occassionally she stopped to gather
left by her devotees where
three roads crossed,
for this three-fold
goddess was best
honored where one could
look three ways at once.
was even said that
Hecate could look
three ways because she had three heads:
a serpent, a horse, and a dog.
While Hecate walked outdoors, her
gathered inside to eat
Hecate suppers in her honor,
at which magical knowledge
and the secrets of sorcery whispered.
The bitch-goddess, the snake-goddess,
ruled these powers
and she bestowed them
on those who worshipped her honorably.
When supper was over, the leftovers were
placed outdoors as offerings to Hecate
and her hounds. And if the poor of
gathered at the doorsteps of
to snatch the
offerings, what matter?
Some scholars say that Hecate was not
her worship having
traveled south from her original
Others contend that
she was a form of
the earth mother
yet another of whose forms was
the maiden Persephone.
claim, of Persephone's abduction
later residence in Hades give clear
prominence to Hecate,
who therefore must
old wise woman, the crone,
the final stage of woman's growth
aged Demeter herself,
just as Demeter is
the mature Persephone.
In either case, the antiquity of
was recognized by the
Greeks, who called
her a Titan, one of
divinities whom Zeus
and his cohort had ousted.
also bowed to her antiquity
to Hecate alone a power shared
Zeus, that of granting or withholding
from humanity anything she wished.
Hecate's worship continued into
both in the private
form of Hecate suppers
and in public
sacrifices, celebrated by "great ones"
or Caberioi, of honey, black female
lambs, and dogs,
and sometimes black
As queen of the night, Hecate was
to be the moon-goddess in
her dark form,
as Artemis was the waxing
moon and Selene
the full moon. But she
may as readily have been the
for she ruled the spirits
of the dead
humans who had been
returned to the earth.
As queen of death
she ruled the magical
regeneration; in addition, she could
hold back her spectral hordes from the
living if she chose. And so Greek women
evoked Hecate for protection from her
hosts whenever they left the house,
they erected her threefold
their doors, as if to tell wandering
spirits that therein lived friends of
who must not be bothered
with night noises
From The New Book Of Goddesses and Heroines
by Patricia Monaghan..