Hecate is at the same time a Goddess of
the Moon, of the Underworld, and of
She dwelt in the Underworld,
alongside Hades and Persephone and the
minor deities Thanatos (Death), Hypnos
(Sleep), and Morpheus (Dreams).

But like Persephone, She had power elsewhere
as well; while Persephone, daughter and
other self of the Corn Mother,
fructified the Earth every Spring,
Hecate held sway in the night sky,
and on Earth was a protectress of flocks
and of sailors and,of course,of Witches.

While Persephone was, so to speak, the
bright link between the Underworld and
the Earth, Hecate was the dark link.

One of the reputed entrances to the land
of shades was Lake Averna in Campania;
the hills around it used to be covered
with trees sacred to Hecate and pitted
with caves through which one summoned
the souls of the dead.

The night-calling owl was Her messenger,
and the dark yew and the willow or osier
were Her trees;
Witches' besoms were traditionally
bound with osier - without that,
they were said to be helpless.

Of all the Greek Goddessess, She was the
most markedly triple.
She was at the same time the three-phased Moon
and, in particular, its dark phase;
to the Romans, 'Diana Triformis' consisted of
Diana, Prosperina, and Hecate.
(In Greek terms, Artemis, Persephone, and Hecate.)

She was depicted as three female figures
or as one with three animal heads -
of horse, dog, and boar, or sometimes three dogs.
Dogs were certainly associated with Her
(perhaps from their habit of howling
to the Moon and from their pathfinding ability).

Sometimes She was portrayed as a whelping bitch,
and She shared with Herne of the North
the reputation of leading the Wild Hunt of
ghostly hounds through the night.

She was, to both Greeks and Romans,
especially the Goddess of crossroads,
where travelers face three choices.
Statues of Her stood there, and food
offerings - 'Hecate's Supper' - were
taken there at the dead of night,
on the eve of the full Moon.

One left the food and walked away without
looking back, for none dared confront
the eerie Goddess face to face.

Her annual festival on August 13th in Greece
(and that of Diana on the same date in Rome)
was a propitiary one, to avert the
harvest-destroying storms which the Moon
was apt to send at around that time.

She also haunted graveyards and the
scenes of crimes - as a Goddess of
expiation and purification.

Hecate is the Dark Mother, in both the
positive and the apparently negative sense.
She can send nightmares to torment men's dreams;
she can drive them mad,
if they are not integrated well enough
to cope with Her;
but to those who dare to welcome her,
She brings creative inspiration.
She is Hecate Antea, the
Sender of Nocturnal Visions, and,
typically of a Moon Goddess,
She has a son - Museos, the Muse-man.

For divination, the Greeks used an
instrument called 'Hecate's Circle',
a golden sphere with
a saphire hidden inside it
Her mysterious Moon concealing the
bright seed of understanding.

Her symbol is the torch,
for the Dark Mother also holds the light
which illuminates the Unconscious
and reveals its treasures.

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