Hekate, Witch or Goddess?

The Abduction of Persephone

Tuesday’s March Tale   March 30, 2021

Springtime is hardly known as the season of witches, but if you are a lover of supernatural stories—and like me you are fascinated by the myths, history, and fiction about witchcraft—every month is the season for witches. Also, since my birth date is on Halloween, I have both a fear and an attraction to witches. And while witches (associated with the word wicked) are traditionally thought to possess evil powers who communicate with spirits and underworld realms, acting out their powers of womanhood, I am wondering if there is much more to discover about witches than just their dark arts.

Today we are exploring the Titaness deity known as Hekate, or Hecate (pronounced Heck-ah-teh), an ancient witch-priestess. You may have seen images of this well-known witch, deemed the queen of witchcraft, black magick sorcerer, as a three-headed figure (she sees in all directions), standing at crossroads, holding torches or keys, with a black dog at her feet. She is revered as the goddess of magick of the night and the underworld, the moon, ghosts, and necromancy. Pretty hot babe, wouldn’t you say? She is among other dark goddesses like Kali, Morrigan, Brigid, Hel, Baba Yaga, Aradia, Isis, Persephone. 

In the story for this month’s reading, The Abduction of Persephone, Hekate makes a brief appearance in this tale of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of the earth) who have lost their daughter Persephone. Hades has abducted the girl. Hekate hears her screams from the Underworld. When Persephone eats the food of the dead, Zeus and Demeter must make a deal with Hades to get their daughter back.

This is an enchanting flash fiction (10-minute read), totally enjoyable, which symbolizes our shifting earth seasons, grief and loss, and brings meaning to mother/daughter love relationships. Reading myths can answer timeless questions about the value and insights of life, love, trust, good and evil. In the art of storytelling, these human experiences are everything.

Read the myth at Muses Realm:

http://www.musesrealm.net/stories/abductpersephone.html

Hekate has a much more powerful and impressive role in The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius (Chapter 47). In this myth, Hekate speaks to us and identifies her qualities. When the narrator Lucius is turned into an ass, it is Hekate who shows him how to return to his human shape.

Read Chapter 47 at Gutenberg.org

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1666/1666-h/1666-h.htm#link2H_4_0061

In my research about Hekate (for a short story I’m writing and my upcoming supernatural novel Draakensky) I found a mix of good and evil in her mythical history. Hekate knows she has powers to both destroy and create and uses that power wisely. Many believe her to be an intuitive goddess, soul-knowing, who holds both darkness and light within her powers. Hekate favors the color black, lavender, and the Yew tree. She is said to be the Dark Mother. I can’t help align her with Mother Nature who brings us fruit, grain, herbs, flowers, the beauty of sunrise and sunset, but also brings us hurricanes, drought, poisonous plants, pestilence and disease.

Other reports of Hekate are less flattering. She is said to be the high witch of the underworld Hades, her rituals and rites associated with death and secrecy, and she can banish or produce a ghost or ghosts infestations. She holds the ultimate skeleton key to unlock the gates to all realms, including Hades. Does she cast spells? Probably. Does she invoke the devil? Some say yes, some say no. There is a clear uncertainty about Hekate. But truth is like the sun, it eventually shines.

If you are in the season of the Crone, on the wise woman’s journey to deeper self-discovery, or curious to experience the cave of feminine power, Hekate is a woman you might like to explore. The archetype of “the witch” is a seeker and bringer of ancient secrets if not deeper knowledge. Witch, goddess, priestess, queen, crone, healer, medicine woman, warrior, shaman, leader, mentor, whatever you call her, feminine power is on the rise in our society.

For more on Hekate, stop by Keeping Her Keys website by Dr. Cyndi Brannen, a psychologist, author, and teacher who writes from the crossroads of psychology, spirituality, and traditional wisdom merging ancient knowledge with modern practices.

https://keepingherkeys.com/

Interested in reading more about the Dark Goddess?

https://thegoddesscircle.net/dark-goddess-magick/

Also, here is a post about Lilith: Ancient Diety: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/lilith-ancient-demon-dark-deity-or-sex-goddess-005908

At this point, I cannot help but wonder where the crossroads meet between wicked witch vs. good goddess and what we might discover there. Is the shadow side of the Crone archetype the wicked witch? Or maybe it’s something else. What is the Dark Mother really about? You can read about The Dark Mother here: https://thenephilimrising.com/2017/06/22/the-dark-mother-lessons-from-lilith/

Do you think the patriarchy is losing power? These days the Divine Feminine is becoming stronger and more visible every day. There are legendary stories inside all of us. What is yours at this challenging time in our world? Is there a warrior woman inside of you?

Please feel free to add your thoughts to this page. I would love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.

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8 Comments

Filed under dark fantasy, dark literature, fairy tales, fantasy, fiction, fiction bloggers, flash fiction, free short stories, free short stories online, horror blogs, literary short stories, literature, Mythology, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories online, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural tales, Women In Horror

8 responses to “Hekate, Witch or Goddess?

  1. Cynthia Wetzler

    I found this fascinating! I once did an article for the NYT on Wicca, the Goddess religion. I went to many Circles (meetings) and found it all very magical, filled with love, the Good Goddess, and the Feminine face of God. They teach their children to love all humanity and animals and to connect very strongly to the natural world. It was lovely–filled with Magick (Wiccan spelling for Magic)

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad to hear that, Cynthia. I wondered if Wicca was more like a nature spirit, as you point out, or shaman type rather than the old wicked witch that is commonly known. Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  2. In England, white witches are a thing – they tend to be healers, using natural remedies, etc. And in Britain, black cats are considered good luck, unlike here in the US. Make of that what you will!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cynthia, that must have been an extraordinary experience. I’m fascinated by all of this. Thanks for your comment!!

    Like

  4. And of course Hecate has a minor part in “Macbeth,” because how can you not have witches, even Scottish witches, without Hecate. Sure hope she didn’t use an EU passport to enter Scotland!

    Midcentury sci-fi/fantasy author Henry Kuttner (who married fellow author C. L. Moore), wrote a short novel, “The Mask of Circe,” in 1948, no doubt for one of the pulps of the era. In a parallel universe to which one of our people travels, only two of the Greek gods remain: Apollo and Hecate. And they are at war with each other! It’s not one of his best stories, but it has an interesting take on Hecate to explain her role in the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Brian, thanks for this comment. The Mask of Circe sounds perfect for my next read. You’ve inspired me. Yes, she is in MacBeth, which I figured most people know. I did have a time finding how to pronounce her name correctly. Apparently there are two correct ways to say her name “Heck – AH – teh” or “Heck – AH – tee.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I hope you can find it; I see it’s on Kindle. (And in the process, I learned the complicated history of my ACE paperback copy: the story was first published in the pulps, a paperback with interior art was published in 1971, and then the ACE edition is a reprint of the latter except for new cover art. Whew!)

        Liked by 1 person

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