Goddess Hecate and her Magickal Wisdom
Goddess Hecate is the personification of Magick, darkness, the crossroads and anything that is mysterious. She is both the mystery itself, and holds the key to the mysteries. Anyone involved in the exploration of the esoteric pays homage to her, knowingly or unknowingly.
In this article, we shall explore the magickal wisdom of the goddess and how to effectively work with her.
Hecate, Deities, the Triad and Psychic Transformation
Here, we shall not go deep into the origins and myth of the goddess Hecate because it will simply be a regurgitation — there are several sources all over the internet that one can refer to.
Instead, what we shall focus here shall be on the underlying idea of the archetype of the dark sorcerer goddess and how one can most effectively get in tune with her.
Firstly, it shall be useful to consider what “Gods" or “Goddesses" are. This is especially true, because the functions of various gods and goddesses often intersect.
While Hecate is the goddess of Magick and witchcraft, she is not the sole goddess that has the functions she has.
This is not only true if you consider deities and mythologies from other cultures, but also within the Greek universe itself.
Circe for example, is also revered as a goddess of Sorcery, and in some accounts, considered as the daughter of Hecate and Helios (as opposed to Helios and Perse the nymph in other accounts). Hecate isn't the only goddess that is associated with the moon, the underworld and darkness either.
I have already covered a useful way of thinking about deities and idols in the article on idol worship and deity veneration, and it may be of particular help for those who are facing a dissonance whilst working with different gods and goddesses that often share intersecting functions.
To describe it briefly here, it may be helpful to think of deities as anthropomorphic representations of abstract, universal concepts.
Just as mathematical symbols (such as plus, minus, “2“, "3" etc) are used to represent abstract mathematical concepts that can then be used to perform operations that give "results", deities can be thought of as symbols that represent abstract psycho—physical concepts that can be then used as an interface for our limited human minds to interact with, producing "results".
In the case of deities, they often encapsulate multiple different abstractions into a human-like form. The goddess Hecate encapsulates the abstract concepts of Magick, Sorcery, Crossroads, and the “coming of the night“.
The combination of these abstract concepts are given a human or humanoid form, because such forms are what our psyche can relate to personally.
In such a manner then, we are able to perform psychic "transformations" of those abstract concepts within our own minds affecting it in a deep way, which would then affect the world around us as a consequence of "selection" of experience.
The power of our subconscious to put ourselves into situations through selection filters shouldn't be overlooked, but one needn't stop there.
If you consider pansychism — that consciousness is the fundamental base of reality (not to be mistaken with animism) — then the mind itself can be thought of as one of the "triad" of creation, along with the objective world and the platonic, abstract world where abstract concepts, and therefore deities live.
The basic triad of existence can be thought of as the perceiver (the mind) , the perceived (the objective world) and the perception (which is the abstract concept).
In the Western Qabalistic traditions, this triad is the top three spheres (Kether, Binah and Chokmah) of the Sephiroth. They are represented by Aleph, Mem and Shin that the "one reality" splits into. In the Tantric traditions, this is referred to as the Pramatr (experiencer or the mind) , Prameya (experience or the objective world) and Pramana (process of experiencing, which is the abstract).
The mind here doesn't refer to the individual instance of mind but rather, the abstract concept of a "mind" itself — the ingredient without which experience of the objective world and the process of experiencing is impossible. All of this can be thought of as "happening" within the underlying canvas of consciousness or "one reality".
The individual instances of minds can be thought of as responsible for "generating" the instances of the experience (objective existence) for that particular mind depending on it's contents, interfacing with it with the process of experience.
In this way, there are countless universes in a multiverse that corresponds to each instance of the mind that it "selects" into.
Working with deities, which is fundamental to Magick, can be thought of as a way to interface with the mind part of the triad affecting and altering it, thereby affecting the experience, through the process of experiencing.
Perhaps the three heads (triad) of Hecate itself also represent this fact, among other things!
The triad or "three" is perhaps the key to understanding the secret mysteries of the universe.
So is Hecate simply the concoction of our minds?
Absolutely not, although our minds can be said to be involved in her manifestation in the physical world.
It is just as mathematical objects of the numbers such as "4" or the operation of "plus" — they exists independently of our minds in the platonic space and seem to have a life on their own. For example, we can define what "4", "5" and "+" represents, but the result of 4+5 will always yield a result independently of our minds. Our minds are then simply "channels" and physical world, the interface.
If the deities are representations of abstract concepts that live in the platonic space, and the myths represent interactions between them, then they are actually more "real" than you or I, and manifest themselves throughout the ages in the collective lives of humanity, and even in our individual lives.
It is perhaps most useful to think of them as ineffable intelligences in the abstract "spaces" that use our minds as vehicles to manifest themselves in the objective world through the process of experience.
This knowledge of the triad — not just the theoretical knowledge, but also the experiential knowledge that alters one's perception of reality — is perhaps the fundamental key to the doorway of Magick that the goddess Hecate holds.
The Goddess Hecate and Her Relationship to Magick, Darkness, Crossroads
Magick and Darkness
If we think of Magick as the alteration of the mind and the deep psyche, thereby changing the objective world by the process of experiencing, then journeying and accessing the deep, sub conscious recesses of our minds become fundamental.
This part of our mind that is unexplored can be thought of as the darkness and "coming of the night" that Hecate represents.
If the physical world is analogous to the type or structure of the individual instance of the mind that produces it and therefore experiences, then the subconscious is analogous to darkness and night in the physical, and the “underworld“ — all of which can be said to be represented by the Goddess Hecate.
It now becomes clear as to why Magick and Sorcery is associated with darkness. Magick is not for the faint of heart or for the "layman", precisely because it involves the opening up of the pandoras box of the underworld of our deep psyche.
Madness is not uncommon for those that dabble in the occult, because of how stuff from within the repressed subconscious often vomits out into mundane, "stable" reality. Even Carl Jung, one of the most eminent psychoanalysts and the founder of analytical psychology describes his personal journey into the subconscious, and the razor's edge path of near madness. The Red Book is a recommended read, which documents his journey through the deep psyche.
Hecate is often represented as the light bringer to the darkness by her wielding of torches. Interfacing through her, it becomes possible to have a devotional and personal interaction with this space of darkness, thereby dodging the pitfalls that one may have otherwise.
Magick and the Crossroads
A crossroad usually symbolizes a situation where a choice has to be made between multiple options.
If Magick is also the doorway through which the mind is altered and then the appropriate reality is "selected", then it can be well represented by the “Crossroad“.
This crossroad IS then the doorway and the intersection between the different multiverses. It is the central axis point where the controls of all the different possible configurations of the deep mind, and therefore different universes, exists. Therefore it is no surprise that it also the place where "spirits" from other "places" are said to be encountered. Hecate also encapsulates within her this abstract "doorway".
The triad, the moon and the hound
The triad of Hecate has multiple layers of meaning, one of the primary ones which we already discussed. For example, Hecate is said to hold power over three worlds within mythological accounts. The triad can also be observed in different stages of consciousness — waking, sleep and dreamless sleep. It manifests itself in almost all aspects of creation, possibly because of how it is indeed what makes up the ingredient of life itself possible (experience, experiencer and the experienced). Hence, it can be said to be the key to secrets of the universe, an idea that even Nikola Tesla shared:
Even if some may refer to some of Tesla's ideas as being far out there, the importance of the triad is undeniable.
In the Sri Vidya Tantras, the Trikona at the center of the Sri Chakra is the Symbol of Shakti or the universal mother. It refers to the Ichha Shakti, Jnana Shakti and Kriya Shakti, which fundamental powers of the supreme mother -- the power of will, the power of knowledge and the power of action.
Hecate is also the moon goddess. The moon can be thought of as indicative of the cyclical nature of existence (one analog can be observed in a woman's menstruation cycle), but it also represents the mind. The mind is exactly that — cyclical. One need only observe one's own mind throughout the course of the day to find out how it operates not too differently. The machinery of all three ingredients of life can be said to operate like the moon, in a cyclical fashion.
Hecate is portrayed as being accompanied by hounds. The hound has a particular relationship with the moon, which is perhaps indicative of our base desires that are often both triggered and controlled by the power of the mind. Desires are also cyclical, for what we desire today may be something that we loathe tomorrow and vice versa.
Hecate's hounds are said to be the guardians to the underworld — our desires often have it's source from within the deep recesses of our subconscious. They drive us forward in life, but can also be the cause of great pain and misery, which may be what hell represents.
Interfacing with Hecate, it can be said that the hounds become our "pets" instead.
Invoking the goddess Hecate and working with her
As we discussed earlier, it may be helpful to think of deities as anthropomorphic representations of abstract, universal concepts.
Therefore, while working with Hecate, it is important to consider every aspect of her symbolic representation — the moon, the triad, the torch, the crossroads etc. and deeply contemplate the different layers of meaning that they convey every time before a ritual. This applies to every deity that you may work with, and the particular variations of a deity that one chooses to work with will help channelize the particular "side" of the deity. Myths, in addition, serve to understand the interactions between the abstract universal concepts that the deities represent.
It is also of importance to observe the deity's actions in your daily life, for it is primarily how they communicate. For example, when you manage to observe a desire pop up in your mind, you see Hecate's hounds being shed light on, by her torch. One starts seeing Hecate in all three aspects of existence — the mind and self, the experience and in the process of experiencing.
Altar and devotion
If Hecate is the primary deity that you are working with, it may be very useful to build an altar space dedicated to her in your residence.
Even if you don't particularly believe in spaces getting physically "charged" with energies that everyone else can also experience, creating an altar space will most of all, help your mind get in the "Hecate zone" whenever you are close to the area.
To begin with, one needn't even have a fancy idol — a simple picture of Hecate that includes all her "components", and perhaps sigils that are anchored to her, setup in a clean corner of a room where you can meditate unperturbed, should be enough.
Perhaps the most important aspect of working with any deity is devotion and the type of relationship. Especially working with a deity like Hecate who encapsulates darkness, the underworld and magick, this becomes even more paramount. One shouldn't simply mess with darkness to stroke one's ego if sanity and health is to be maintained.
Deities seem to respond how you relate with them. If you form a romantic relationship with them for instance, they often tend to reciprocate with both the pros and cons of such a relationship. Similarly, the degree to which one develops emotional affection and love is also reciprocated.
If you treat Hecate as a business transaction partner with no affection involved, then expect admonishment when you fail to hold up your end of the bargain. Perhaps this is the reason why many people experience such phenomena while working with a particularly dark goddess of Magick. Remember, you are turning abstract universal energies and concepts into a humanoid form in order for your mind to relate to them and interface with them. Why not fully utilize the opportunity to fully channel the gift of your emotions?
Your own preferences may vary, but my own personal approach with Hecate is that of a helpless toddler seeking guidance from its mother, placing full trust in her. In this fashion, my ego is kept in check (because I can be fairly confident it will be taken care of by her), and the affection is reciprocated manifold. My voyage towards the darkness and magickal is confident not because I bet on my egoic self identity, but because of my trust in the mother herself. My will is hers. More often than not, there is also no need to strike a deal and ask her for anything, because the limited mind cannot conceive of the best things to ask. Eventually, it will not be surprising to you when you get something more and better than what you initially thought of.
While working with Hecate, one must consider offering articles that "please" her. This can be made mentally, if it's not possible physically in your altar space. Still, it is highly recommended to start with physical offerings because it will help in making things easier to visualise further down the line, should you choose to graduate to a wholly mental endeavor of Invoking.
It is important to consider what the Goddess Hecate likes, but just like how you'd consider each component of her symbolism, and what universal concepts they signify before meditating on her each time, consider also what each offering signify. For example, while offering wine to her, consider the multiple layers of meaning of what wine signifies. Contemplate on the abstract meaning behind each article before proceeding with the ritual.
Ambience and setting
The right ambience and setting can make a huge difference to produce the right mood. Having the right mood is very important to help the mind to connect with the apropos energies involved. In the case of Hecate, the right setting would be a dark, dimly lit room. Music can assist tremendously to attune to goddess, particularly a dark ambient one or something that evokes a sense of mystery. Of course, it is also important to strike a balance with personal preference.
Hecate is mother nature herself in her dark, occult and sorcery aspect. Inviting her into your life and worshipping her is analogous to opening up the doorway to the magickal. On the other hand, whenever you are exploring darkness — whether it be a physical place or the recesses of your subconscious, and whenever you are "magicking", you are calling upon Hecate.