Who Is Hecate?

Who Is Hecate?

At night, particularly at the dark of the moon, this goddess walked the roads of ancient Greece, accompanied by sacred dogs and bearing a blazing torch. Occassionally she stopped to gather offerings left by her devotees where three roads crossed, for this three-fold goddess was best honored where one could look three ways at once. Sometimes, it 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 worshippers gathered inside to eat Hecate suppers in her honor, gatherings at which magical knowledge was shared 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 Greece gathered at the doorsteps of wealthier households to snatch the offerings, what matter?

Some scholars say that Hecate was not originally Greek, her worship having traveled south from her original Thracian homeland. Others contend that she was a form of the earth mother Demeter, yet another of whose forms was the maiden Persephone. Legends, they claim, of Persephone’s abduction and later residence in Hades give clear prominence to Hecate, who therefore must represent the old wise woman, the crone, the final stage of woman’s growth- the aged Demeter herself, just as Demeter is the mature Persephone.

In either case, the antiquity of Hecate’s worship was recognized by the Greeks, who called her a Titan, one of those pre-Olympian divinities whom Zeus and his cohort had ousted. The newcomers also bowed to her antiquity by granting to Hecate alone a power shared with Zeus, that of granting or withholding from humanity anything she wished. Hecate’s worship continued into classical times, 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 human slaves.

As queen of the night, Hecate was sometimes said 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 earth-goddess, for she ruled the spirits of the dead, humans who had been returned to the earth. As queen of death she ruled the magical powers of 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, and they erected her threefold images at their doors, as if to tell wandering spirits that therein lived friends of their queen, who must not be bothered with night noises and spooky apparitions.

The New Book Of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan..

BELIEFS OF GODDESS WORSHIP

Christianity teaches that God is transcendent, is separate from nature, and is represented to humankind through masculine imagery. Witchcraft holds a pantheistic view of God. God is nature, therefore God is in all things and all things are a part of God. However, this God is in actuality a goddess.
A fundamental belief in Goddess Worship is the idea that the goddess predates the male God. The goddess is the giver of all life and is found in all of creation. The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be overstressed. The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy, and our anger as purifying. Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength, enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.

 
The modern Goddess movement is an attempt to integrate the feminine back into the world as we know it. This means bringing the Goddess out of the shadows and back into the limelight where she belongs. Part of most modern Goddess traditions is the idea that Goddess exists within and around everything in creation. Therefore, if Goddess is sacred, then so is the Earth, so our bodies, etc. Moreover, the relationship between all of these things is equally sacred. Therefore, not only do we need to revere the creations of the Goddess, we must revere the relationship and the systems that Goddess has created, for they each have their purpose. The problem is that we don’t always know what the true system is anymore because our society is so corrupted by the patriarchy. For example, if we only examine the system as it exists today, we might come to the conclusion that women’s place within the system is necessarily subservient to the men in the system. Naturally, eco-feminists would laugh at this idea. First of all, eco-feminism maintains that the natural order of things is not linked by hierarchical value, so the very notion of men governing women is absurd. The nature of things would require reciprocal communication and integral networking.

 
In light of this, then, Goddess religion asserts that Goddess and God cannot be viewed separately, but rather as a network of energies that work together to better the entire network.
Goddess Archetypes:

 
THE MAIDEN The Maiden is the first aspect of the Goddess, presented to us as a young woman, blossoming into womanhood, exploring her sexuality and learning of her beauty. She is most often depicted as a teenaged girl or a woman in her very early twenties.

 
Unlike the images of young women in many patrifocal religions, the Maiden is not necessarily depicted as a virgin in most Goddess traditions. In Catholicism, Mary is depicted not only as a virgin maiden, but continues to be a virgin throughout the duration of her lifetime, regardless of the fact that she was married and gave birth to a child. This has more to do with the taint patrifocal religions assign female sexuality than anything else. But because women’s sexuality is not denigrated in Goddess traditions, there is no need to associate virginity with the Maiden Goddess.

 
In fact, the Maiden Goddess is seen as a particularly sexual being. Because she has just bloomed into her womanly form, she is particularly interested in her body and what it can do. She is interested in her beauty, and she learns to manipulate the affections of other’s based upon her feminine wiles.

 
Some might take offense at my use of the word manipulate in the preceding sentence, but in fact, that is what sexuality is about, both on the part of the male and the female. Flirtation, courting and other manners of getting the attentions of the opposite sex is certainly a form of manipulation. It is not manipulation with malicious intent, to be sure, but when you attempt to curb the attitudes or thoughts of others through your own appearance or behavior, this is a form of manipulation, and by no means negative.

 
Because the Maiden is associated with the first blossoming of womanhood, adulthood and sexuality, she is associated with the Springtime. Just as her body develops breasts and she becomes sexually capable, so too does the Earth mimic her development. Flowers bloom, the Earth awakens from the deep sleep of winter and begins to procreate again. Animals lie with one another, flowers are pollinated. Spring is a time for new beginnings. It is the counterpart to the winter of Death.

 
Just as Spring is the counter to Winter, so too is the Maiden the counter to the Crone. The Crone is the embodiment of death, and subsequently rebirth, and it is through the aspect of the Maiden that the Crone is able to pass from this world and be reborn. As the young Goddess delves into her sexuality, and eventually becomes pregnant, the Elder Goddess may pass away and give her life that the Maiden may become Mother, and one day, Crone. The cycle is never ending.

 
The Maiden takes the Green Man (Horned Lord, many other names in many other cultures) as her consort. In some cultures, the Green Man may be her brother or even her son. At first glance, the courtship between the Maiden and the Sun God seems ripe with incest, because he is always somehow related to her. But if you read the myths associated with the Mother Goddess and how it came to pass that she became pregnant, you will usually find that she became pregnant by her husband, who has to give his life for one reason or another, and she agrees to bring him back into he world as the child in her womb. In essence, she gives birth to her husband, rather than taking her son as her lover. This is even true in the Catholic goddess vision: Jesus was the son of God, but he was also God. Because this idea is confusing and can lead to ideas of incest much like I discussed above, the Christian church left Mary a virgin, thus bypassing the whole sexual encounter, and thus the issue of incest altogether.

 
Maiden Goddess of Note include: Diana, Persephone, Kore, Bleudowedd, Artemis, Ariadne, Hestia, Athena, Aphrodite, Minerva, and Venus.
THE MOTHER The aspect of the Mother Goddess is probably the most widely known and most widely envisioned in most cultures. Because the Earth nourishes and replenishes us, most goddess cultures did pay reverence to the Earth as the Mother, and therefore the Goddesses that are most prominent and about whom stories are most prolific are the goddesses that are the representation of the Mother.

 
She is, in virtually every aspect, a divine or celestial representation of our earthly mothers. Everyone has an earthly mother, or at least did at one point, so we readily understand the relationship between mother and child. The mother is the protector, the care-giver, the kisser of wounds, and the disciplinarian. The Divine Mother is no different.

 
Many of the most ancient goddess figures that archeology has uncovered are goddesses depicted as round, pregnant women. They feature large breasts and full, meaty hips. Some archeologists (patriarchal, close minded fellows, to be sure) have written these goddess figures off as nothing more than prehistoric “porn” figures. However, the generally accepted opinion is that these figures, found in such places as France, modern day Turkey, and Egypt, are actually representations of a mother goddess. There is some speculation that perhaps these figures are not goddesses at all, but rather figures used in fertility rites to enable women to conceive children. This too is a possibility, but when combined with other information that we have (such as other evidence of prehistoric goddess worship, and the fact that the connection between sex and pregnancy was not made until much later than the dates associated with these figures) leads most scholars to believe that these statues are indeed goddess representations.

 
Although the depiction of the Mother Goddess as a pregnant woman is prominent, she is certainly not always seen that way. The Mother aspect may be seen with small child in tow (most often a boy, who later becomes her consort, as is discussed in the section on the Maiden). This aspect of the Mother Goddess plays on the care-giving, sweet, loving aspect of the Goddess. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the Goddess as Mother is a pussy cat. She can also be a warrior.

 
Like earthly mothers, the Goddess is fiercely protective of her children, and in order to provide that protection she will often don the face of the warrior. The Warrior Goddess most probably gained popularity among people who had begun to adopt a more patriarchal (or at least patrifocal) structure. It might be presumptuous to say that matrifocal cultures were not particularly warlike, but it is safe to say that patriarchal cultures were more so. In either case, the warrior Goddess did become popular. In this aspect she is Amazon, fierce and strong, and able to take on any man to protect what needs protection.

 
Just as the maiden is represented by the season of Spring, the Mother aspect is present in Summer. By summer, berries and fruits are ripe, ready for the plucking. Vegetable gardens are mature and harvest is close at hand. The sun is high in the sky, and even though the sun is typically seen as a Male Deity, some cultures did associate the sun with the Goddess, (most notably the early Egyptian culture) and thus the high sun of summer was associated with the Mother, who was also seen as the pinnacle of the cycle of life.

 
In western traditions, the Goddess remains pregnant until the Winter Solstice, at which time she gives birth to a sun god of some kind. (Note the adaptation of the Christian church …Christmas, anyone?) The Catholic Goddess Mary also falls into the category of the Mother Goddess, because she does give birth to King at Solstice. (At least this is how the Christians celebrate the holiday, even though biblical scholars suggest Jesus was very likely born during a warm month)

 
Mary is a curiosity though, because she is a Dual Goddess, and not a Triple Goddess as most multifaceted Goddesses are. She is a maiden because she remains a virgin (and though not all maidens are virgins, all virgin goddesses are maidens), and yet because she gives birth, she is also a Mother. However, there is no reference in the Catholic tradition of Mary as an older woman. Therefore, Mary’s development ended with her at the Mother phase.
Mother Goddesses of Note include: Demeter, Isis, Cerridwyn, Kali, Gaia, Oceana, Brigit, Nuit, Hera, Selene, Anu, Dana, Arianrhod, and Epona
THE CRONE The Crone is the final aspect of the Goddess. The Crone is most often depicted as a Grandmother, a SageWoman, or a Midwife. She is the keeper of Occult Knowledge, the Mysteries and the Queen of the Underworld. It is through the Crone that knowledge of magick, the Dark, and other secrets of the ages are passed down.

 
The Crone is, in some ways, a Triple Goddess herself. She has lived through the tender, sensual age of Maidenhood, suffered the birth pains of Motherhood, and now carries with her the memories of these passages into her old age. But though she has experienced these events, these are not the things she represents, and therefore she is not revered for these traits. Nevertheless, having endured these experiences makes her the wise woman that she is, and enables her to guide us through the dark.

 
Her role as Midwife is both symbolic as well as actual. Traditionally, it is always the older women of the tribe who facilitate the birth of children, most likely because they themselves had gone through, but also because the role of midwife was a sacred position, and thus suitable for an older tribeswoman. Certainly the Crone fulfills this aspect in that she is the midwife to the Queen of Heaven when she gives birth to the Oak King at Yule.

 
But symbolically she is the midwife in our lives as well, guiding us from one phase of life to the next. If you see progression from one phase of life to the next and can see it as a rebirth process, then envision the Crone as the aspect of the goddess that guides you through that time. Transition is very difficult, and for most people it is a time of darkness. It is a time where we have to rely on our intuition, because we are unfamiliar with the territory. But according to the myths and ancient lore, we receive our intuition from the Crone. It is she who guides us, and it is she who facilitates our birth.

 
The Crone Goddess is often times the least seen, because she does represent death, and with death comes fear: fear of the unknown, fear of losing our loved ones, and fear of being alone. But we must remember that with death always comes rebirth. The Crone always brings with her promises of the Maiden, and the cycle never ends

 

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The Mother aspect of the Goddess is discussed as being a Warrior Goddess, but the Crone can be a Warrior Goddess as well. Where the Mother Goddess is the blood of battle, the War Cry incarnate, the fighting Amazon, the Crone is the Strategy, the ability to see what cannot be seen. She is the seer, the General. The Crone Goddess does not don the face of the warrior to shed blood, but she will provide the courage to walk through the dark, the ability to seek and destroy the enemy, whether the enemy is actual, or internal.

 
In many respects, the Crone Goddess is the aspect of the Goddess that is most called upon to conquer inner demons. This is due to the fact that as the keeper of mysteries, the Crone is also the Keeper of the Underworld. With her help, we are able to travel into the Underworld and fight whatever demons haunt us. Likewise, once we are ready to be reborn, she again acts as the midwife and guides us once again into the light.

 
Crone Goddesses of Note include: Hecate, Kali, Cerridwyn, Badb, Cailleach, Macha, and the Morrigan

 
written by susan lucas

Deity of the Day for June 14 – Apollo

Greek all-rounder. The son of ZEUS and LETO, he has his Godly fingers in every pie.

Sun God. Music God. Archery God. Poetry God. Painting God. Prophecy God. Plagues and Healing God. Animal Welfare God. God of Radiance. God of Ploughing. And much much more!

Send for free brochure with no obligation. See him conduct the Holy Choir of MUSES, tickets available at the box office. Book now for Apollo Space Mission.

 
Also, he has undiminished Beauty and Virility. You name it, he has it. Thoroughly sickening to us mere mortals.

 
But he is not entirely the Mr Nice Guy he would have us believe. There are women he pursued who won’t talk due to transformation or worse. Daphne is now a laurel tree and Clytia is a sunflower.

 
Sudden deaths are not uncommon when he is around — and don’t try to compete with him musically. It’s all very well to be played alive but not flayed alive like poor old Marsyas. Or to be given the ears of an ass like poor old King Midas. CASSANDRA never got another chance either, nor was he very pleasant to the SIBYL-OF-CUMAE, granting her immortality but leaving out the age clause.

 

His son ASCLEPIUS was the result of another unfortunate lapse. Having had an affair with the mortal daughter of a king, APOLLO was consumed with jealousy when he discovered she had another suitor, and, out of control, he killed her. In a fit of remorse he was just in time to rescue her unborn child and have him brought up with the best education to be ASCLEPIUS, the Deity Doctor.

He met his match in ZEUS, and a tussle for power earned him a period in exile; but as ZEUS had zapped his son ASCLEPIUS, zapping the Cyclope thunderbolt makers seems justifiable. It can be very tough at the top and all in all APOLLO handles it very well what with ZEUS being his dad, having ARTEMIS for a twin sister, etc.

Your Magick Spell for Sunday, June 3 – Solitary Moon Rite

Solitary Moon Rite

Since there is a Full Moon on the horizon, I thought this would be very appropriate and useful. Enjoy!

This rite may be used for either New or Full Moon. The difference is in your meditation and mental attitude in preparation. Remember that the New Moon is a time of outward work and thought, building to the peak which is the Full Moon.

At the Full Moon, you should be preparing to lessen the outward flow of energy, bit by bit, until the period before New Moon, during which you are passive, building a pool of energy within you, in preparation for the New Moon.
The altar should be placed in the center of the ritual area. On it should be placed a rose or stick of incense on the eastern side, a red votive candle to the South; a cup of water on the West, and a bowl of salt or living plant on the North. Around your ritual area, you should place an unlighted candle at the cardinal point of each direction.
To begin your rite, enter your darkened temple, carrying one burning candle, white or lavender, with you. Place it on the center of your altar, sit, and meditate on the meaning of the rite. When you feel the time is right, stand, and go to the eastern point, carrying with you, the burning taper. Light the votive at the eastern point and go to the southern, picturing, as you do, an arc of pure strong light curving from one candle to the next. Continue to the West, and then to the North, lighting the candles as you go, and then walk to your eastern candle again, having formed a circle of protective light surrounding the area in which you worship. Return to the center of the circle, replace the candle on the altar, and say:

“My Lady of the Moon, who is called Diana,
Artemis, Levanah, Isis and by any other names,
I come to you to bring you my love and my devotion.
May you grant me the joy of your presence.”

Mentally divide the room into four quadrants by visualizing a line of silvery moonlight from the southeast to the northwest, and from the northeast to the southwest. Go the East, taking with you the rose or incense. Say:

“Sweet Goddess,
the gentle breeze is the touch of your loving hand,
the wind of storm a reminder of your strength.
The sound of the trees in the wind is your voice,
and the fragrance of flowers borne on the wind is your gift of beauty.”

Place the rose next to the votive candle, then stand there as you picture the quadrant filling with moonlight. See the moonlight streaming quietly and gently into the room, filling the quadrant from center point to the edge of your circle. When this is complete, take the red candle to the South. Place the gift and see the quadrant fill with moonlight. Say:

“Most loved Lady,
the light of the candle is a guide along our path leading to you;
its warmth the reassurance of your presence and your love.
The light of the Sun is the knowledge you impart to us,
driving out ignorance and those things which can survive only in darkness.”

At the West:

“Lovely One,
the quiet pool is the serenity of your being.
The vast sea where life began on this planet
is the vast sea of your being whence all life came;
its waves are the ebb and flow of the universe you rule.”

At the North:

“Goddess of all,
the fertility of the earth is a sign of your fertility, whence all life rose.
The solidity and permanence are still of it are still less than yours.
The Earth’s fertility feeds our bodies, and your fertility feeds our souls.”

Go to the center of your temple, which is now filled with moonlight. Everything in the circle is touched by it, blessed by it, including you. Sit down and feel this moonlight around you. Know that it is the Goddess. Realize that you are in the center of a sphere of light that is half above and half above and half below where you sit.
Begin to breathe slowly and evenly, deep breaths that penetrate your whole body. When this rhythmic breathing becomes natural, imagine that the moonlight by which you are surrounded enters you, fills you entirely. With each exhalation of your breath, some of the essence of yourself leaves your body, and with each inhalation, the light enters you. You are being filled ever so gently with this beautiful light. This light, which is the presence, the being of the Goddess, is within you as well as without. With each breath, you are less yourself and more the Goddess. When you are filled with light, filled with the Goddess, the shell of your body fades away. You have no body; there is nothing to separate you from the entire being of the Goddess. Nothing exists but the being of which you are apart. You have ceased to be a separate entity. You are nothing and everything. All that was, that is, and all that will be, you are. Enjoy this feeling as long as you like.
When you feel it is time, picture the outer shell of your physical body reforming, becoming solid again. It is being built out of the Universe of which you are a part. Now, as you continue your slow deep breathing, see the moonlight flowing out of your body, as gently and slowly as it entered. As it flows out, realize there is a difference. Because you have become one with the Goddess, with the Universe, your being has changed. As the moonlight flows out of your body, it takes with it a part of that which was yourself, now part of the Goddess, and leaves behind a part of the Goddess, forever now part of you. You become yourself again, solid as you were, but changed. You are surrounded by the presence of the Goddess, which now contains a part of yourself . Move again to the East. As you speak, and after, picture the moon- light in that quadrant flowing back to its source, leaving that quadrant as it was. Do this at each quadrant, until all the moonlight has returned to the Moon.
At the East:

“My Lady, guide my thoughts.
Let them lead always closer to you.”

At the South:

“Gracious Goddess, guide my actions.
Let them always help and never harm others or myself.”

At the West:

“Lovely One, guide my emotions:
Let them be healing and touched always by you.”

At the North:

“Sweet Goddess,
let my mind always be fertile and strong,
that I may grow always toward you.”

Return to the East to complete the circle and say:

“Queen of Heaven,
I thank you for your presence,
both now and always.
My love and devotion are yours.
Blessed be!
All spirits who have joined me tonight may depart,
with my love.
Return to your proper places.”

Walk again around your circle, but this time counterclockwise, extinguishing the quadrant guards as you go, and at the same time, mentally erasing the white line which surrounded your circle. When the candles are out and the circle gone, rap on your altar and say:

“So mote it be!”

By: Ellen Reed, Coven of Sothistar

The Goddess Hecate

The Goddess Hecate

Hecate or Hekate (ancient Greek Ἑκάτη, Hekátē, pronounced /ˈhɛkətiː/, in Shakespeare /ˈhɛkət/) is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads. She is attested in poetry as early as Hesiod’s Theogony. An inscription from late archaic Miletus naming her as a protector of entrances is also testimony to her presence in archaic Greek religion.

Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, “she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition.” She has been associated with childbirth, nurturing the young, gates and walls, doorways, crossroads, magic, lunar lore, torches and dogs.

Hecate may have originated among the Carians of Anatolia, where children were often given variants of her name. William Berg observes, “Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens.” But he cautions, “The Laginetan goddess may have had a more infernal character than scholars have been willing to assume.”

In Ptolemaic Alexandria and elsewhere during the Hellenistic period, she appears as a three-faced goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, and curses. Today she is claimed as a goddess of witches and in the context of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. Some neo-pagans refer to her as a “crone goddess”, though this characterization appears to conflict with her frequent characterization as a virgin in late antiquity. She closely parallels the Roman goddess Trivia.

Mythology

Hecate has been characterized as a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess. She appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. The place of origin of her following is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular followings in Thrace. Her most important sanctuary was Lagina, a theocratic city-state in which the goddess was served by eunuchs. Lagina, where the famous temple of Hecate drew great festal assemblies every year, lay close to the originally Macedonian colony of Stratonikeia, where she was the city’s patroness. In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal regions (particularly gates) and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night-walking crone she became. Additionally, this led to her role of aiding women in childbirth and the raising of young men.

Hesiod records that she was esteemed as the offspring of Gaia and Uranus, the Earth and Sky. In Theogony he ascribed great powers to Hecate:

[…] Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honored above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honor also in starry heaven, and is honored exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favor according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honor comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favorably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth and Ocean amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea.

According to Hesiod, she held sway over many things:

Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother’s only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.

Hesiod emphasizes that Hecate was an only child, the daughter of Perses and Asteria, a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto (the mother of Artemis and Apollo). Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe the ancient Titaness who personified the moon.

Hesiod’s inclusion and praise of Hecate in the Theogony has been troublesome for scholars, in that he seems to hold her in high regard, while the testimony of other writers, and surviving evidence, suggests that this was probably somewhat exceptional. It is theorized that Hesiod’s original village had a substantial Hecate following and that his inclusion of her in the Theogony was a way of adding to her prestige by spreading word of her among his readers.

Hecate possibly originated among the Carians of Anatolia, the region where most theophoric names invoking Hecate, such as Hecataeus or Hecatomnus, the father of Mausolus, are attested, and where Hecate remained a Great Goddess into historical times, at her unrivalled[30] cult site in Lagina. While many researchers favor the idea that she has Anatolian origins, it has been argued that “Hecate must have been a Greek goddess.” The monuments to Hecate in Phrygia and Caria are numerous but of late date.

If Hecate’s cult spread from Anatolia into Greece, it is possible it presented a conflict, as her role was already filled by other more prominent deities in the Greek pantheon, above all by Artemis and Selene. This line of reasoning lies behind the widely accepted hypothesis that she was a foreign deity who was incorporated into the Greek pantheon. Other than in the Theogony, the Greek sources do not offer a consistent story of her parentage, or of her relations in the Greek pantheon: sometimes Hecate is related as a Titaness, and a mighty helper and protector of humans. Her continued presence was explained by asserting that, because she was the only Titan who aided Zeus in the battle of gods and Titans, she was not banished into the underworld realms after their defeat by the Olympians.

One surviving group of stories suggests how Hecate might have come to be incorporated into the Greek pantheon without affecting the privileged position of Artemis. Here, Hecate is a mortal priestess often associated with Iphigeneia. She scorns and insults Artemis, who in retribution eventually brings about the mortal’s suicide. There was an area sacred to Hecate in the precincts of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, where the priests, megabyzi, officiated.

Hecate also came to be associated with ghosts, infernal spirits, the dead and sorcery. Like the totems of Hermes—herms placed at borders as a ward against danger—images of Hecate (like Artemis and Diana, often referred to as a “liminal” goddess) were also placed at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association with keeping out evil spirits could have led to the belief that if offended, Hecate could also allow the evil spirits in. According to one view, this accounts for invocations to Hecate as the supreme governess of the borders between the normal world and the spirit world, and hence as one with mastery over spirits of the dead. Whatever the reasons, Hecate’s power certainly came to be closely associated with sorcery. One interesting passage exists suggesting that the word “jinx” might have originated in a cult object associated with Hecate. “The Byzantine polymath Michael Psellus […] speaks of a bullroarer, consisting of a golden sphere, decorated throughout with symbols and whirled on an oxhide thong. He adds that such an instrument is called a iunx (hence “jinx”), but as for the significance says only that it is ineffable and that the ritual is sacred to Hecate.”

Hecate is one of the most important figures in the so-called Chaldaean Oracles (2nd-3rd century CE), where she is associated in fragment 194 with a strophalos (usually translated as a spinning top, or wheel, used in magic) “Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecate.” This appears to refer to a variant of the device mentioned by Psellus.

Variations in interpretations of Hecate’s role or roles can be traced in 5th-century Athens. In two fragments of Aeschylus she appears as a great goddess. In Sophocles and Euripides she is characterized as the mistress of witchcraft and the Keres.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hecate is called the “tender-hearted”, a euphemism perhaps intended to emphasize her concern with the disappearance of Persephone, when she addressed Demeter with sweet words at a time when the goddess was distressed. She later became Persephone’s minister and close companion in the Underworld. But Hecate was never fully incorporated among the Olympian deities.

The modern understanding of Hecate has been strongly influenced by syncretic Hellenistic interpretations. Many of the attributes she was assigned in this period appear to have an older basis. For example, in the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the ‘she-dog’ or ‘bitch’, and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs. In late imagery she also has two ghostly dogs as servants by her side. However, her association with dogs predates the conquests of Alexander the Great and the emergence of the Hellenistic world. When Philip II laid siege to Byzantium she had already been associated with dogs for some time; the light in the sky and the barking of dogs that warned the citizens of a night time attack, saving the city, were attributed to Hecate Lampadephoros (the tale is preserved in the Suda). In gratitude the Byzantines erected a statue in her honor.

As a virgin goddess, she remained unmarried and had no regular consort, though some traditions named her as the mother of Scylla.

Although associated with other moon goddesses such as Selene, she ruled over three kingdoms; the earth, the sea, and the sky. She had the power to create or hold back storms, which influenced her patronage of shepherds and sailors.

Goddess of the crossroads

Cult images and altars of Hecate in her triplicate or trimorphic form were placed at crossroads (though they also appeared before private homes and in front of city gates). In this form she came to be known as the goddess Trivia “the three ways” in Roman mythology. In what appears to be a 7th century indication of the survival of cult practices of this general sort, Saint Eligius, in his Sermo warns the sick among his recently converted flock in Flanders against putting “devilish charms at springs or trees or crossroads”, and, according to Saint Ouen would urge them “No Christian should make or render any devotion to the deities of the trivium, where three roads meet…”.[

Animals Associated With Hecate

Dogs were closely associated with Hecate in the Classical world. “In art and in literature Hecate is constantly represented as dog-shaped or as accompanied by a dog. Her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog. The dog was Hecate’s regular sacrificial animal, and was often eaten in solemn sacrament.” The sacrifice of dogs to Hecate is attested for Thrace, Samothrace, Colophon, and Athens.

It has been claimed that her association with dogs is “suggestive of her connection with birth, for the dog was sacred to Eileithyia, Genetyllis, and other birth goddesses. Although in later times Hecate’s dog came to be thought of as a manifestation of restless souls or demons who accompanied her, its docile appearance and its accompaniment of a Hecate who looks completely friendly in many pieces of ancient art suggests that its original signification was positive and thus likelier to have arisen from the dog’s connection with birth than the dog’s demonic associations.”

Athenaeus (writing in the 1st or 2nd century BCE, and drawing on the etymological speculation of Apollodorus) notes that the red mullet is sacred to Hecate, “on account of the resemblance of their names; for that the goddess is trimorphos, of a triple form”. The Greek word for mullet was trigle and later trigla. He goes on to quote a fragment of verse “O mistress Hecate, Trioditis / With three forms and three faces / Propitiated with mullets”. In relation to Greek concepts of pollution, Parker observes, “The fish that was most commonly banned was the red mullet (trigle), which fits neatly into the pattern. It ‘delighted in polluted things,’ and ‘would eat the corpse of a fish or a man’. Blood-coloured itself, it was sacred to the blood-eating goddess Hecate. It seems a symbolic summation of all the negative characteristics of the creatures of the deep.” At Athens, it is said there stood a statue of Hecate Triglathena, to whom the red mullet was offered in sacrifice. After mentioning that this fish was sacred to Hecate, Alan Davidson writes, “Cicero, Horace, Juvenal, Martial, Pliny, Seneca and Suetonius have left abundant and interesting testimony to the red mullet fever which began to affect wealthy Romans during the last years of the Republic and really gripped them in the early Empire. The main symptoms were a preoccupation with size, the consequent rise to absurd heights of the prices of large specimens, a habit of keeping red mullet in captivity, and the enjoyment of the highly specialized aesthetic experience induced by watching the color of the dying fish change.”

The frog, significantly a creature that can cross between two elements, also is sacred to Hecate.

In her three-headed representations, discussed above, Hecate often has one or more animal heads, including cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse.

The Goddess Diana

 

Research on the Goddess Diana

Part 1

“Goddess Of The Hunt”

Diana (lt. “heavenly” or “divine”) was the goddess of the hunt, being associated with wild animals and woodland, and also of the moon in Roman mythology. In literature she was the equal of the Greek goddess Artemis, though in cult beliefs she was Italic, not Greek, in origin. Diana was worshiped in ancient Roman religion and is currently revered in Roman Neopaganism and Stregheria. Dianic Wicca, a largely feminist form of the practice, is named for her. Diana was known to be the virgin goddess and looked after virgins and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, Diana, Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.

Along with her main attributes, Diana was an emblem of chastity. Oak groves were especially sacred to her. According to mythology, Diana was born with her twin brother Apollo on the island of Delos, daughter of Jupiter and Latona. Diana made up a triad with two other Roman deities: Egeria the water nymph, her servant and assistant midwife; and Virbius, the woodland god.

Diana (pronounced with long ‘i’ and a’) is an adjectival form developed from an ancient *divios, corresponding to later ‘divus’, ‘dius’, as in Dius Fidius, Dea Dia and in the neuter form dium meaning the sky. It is rooted in Indoeuropean *d(e)y(e)w meaning bright sky or daylight, from which also derived the name of Vedic god Dyaus and the Latin deus (god), dies (day, daylight).

The Greek αδει(αν)ός (adei(an)os) means empty, because Aeneas’s mother, Venus, in the form of a hunting woman was very similar to the goddess Diana and because the Aeneid describes that since Paris (mythology) the temples hallow an empty name and she went down the empty sky when Eurytion held the arrow ready on his bended bow.

Theology

The persona of Diana is complex and contains a number of archaic features. According to Dumezil it falls into a particular subset of celestial gods, referred to in histories of religion as ‘frame gods’. Such gods, while keeping the original features of celestial divinities, i.e. transcendent heavenly power and abstention from direct rule in worldly matters, did not share the fate of other celestial gods in Indoeuropean religions – that of becoming dei otiosi, since they did retain a particular sort of influence over the world and mankind.

The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connexion with light, inaccessibility, virginity, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. Diana therefore reflects the heavenly world (dium) in its sovereignty, supremacy, impassibility, and indifference towards such secular matters as the fates of men and states. At the same time, however, she is seen as active in ensuring the succession of kings and in the preservation of mankind through the protection of childbirth.

These functions are apparent in the traditional institutions and cults related to the goddess. 1) The institution of the rex Nemorensis, Diana’s sacredos in the Arician wood, who held its position til somebody else challenged and killed him in a duel, after breaking a branch from a certain tree of the wood. This ever totally open succession reveals the character and mission of the goddess as a guarantee of the continuity of the kingly status through successive generations.The same meaning implying her function of bestower of regality is testified by the story related by Livy of the prediction of empire to the land of origin of the person who would offer her a particularly beautiful cow. 2) Diana was also worshipped by women who sought pregnancy or asked for an easy delivery. This kind of worship is testified by archeological finds of votive statuettes in her sanctuary in the nemus Aricinum as well as by ancient sources, e.g. Ovid.

According to Dumezil the forerunner of all frame gods is an Indian epic hero who was the image (avatar) of the Vedic god Dyaus. Having renounced the world, in his roles of father and king, he attained the status of an immortal being while retaining the duty of ensuring that his dynasty is preserved and that there is always a new king for each generation. The Scandinavian god Heimdallr performs an analogous function: he is born first and will die last. He too gives origin to kingship and the first king, bestowing on him regal prerogatives. Diana, although a female deity, has exactly the same functions, preserving mankind through childbirth and royal succession.

Dumezil’s interpretation appears deliberately to ignore that of James G. Frazer, who links Diana with the male god Janus as a divine couple. Frazer identifies the two with the supreme heavenly couple Jupiter-Juno and additionally ties in these figures to the overarching Indoeuropean religious complex. This regality is also linked to the cult of trees, particularly oaks. In this interpretative schema, the institution of the Rex Nemorensis and related ritual should be seen as related to the theme of the dying god and the kings of May.

Physical Description

Diana often appeared as a young woman, age around 12 to 19. It was believed that she had a fair face like Aphrodite with a tall body, slim, small hips, and a high forehead. As a goddess of hunting, she wore a very short tunic so she could hunt and run easily and is often portrayed holding a bow, and carrying a quiver on her shoulder, accompanied by a deer or hunting dog. Sometimes the hunted creature would also be shown. As goddess of the moon, however, Diana wore a long robe, sometimes with a veil covering her head. Both as goddess of hunting and goddess of the moon she is frequently portrayed wearing a moon crown.

Worship

Diana was initially just the hunting goddess, associated with wild animals and woodlands. She also later became a moon goddess, supplanting Titan goddess Luna. She also became the goddess of childbirth and ruled over the countryside.

Diana was worshipped at a festival on August 13, when King Servius Tullius, himself born a slave, dedicated her temple on the Aventine Hill in the mid-sixth century BC. Being placed on the Aventine, and thus outside the pomerium, meant that Diana’s cult essentially remained a ‘foreign’ one, like that of Bacchus; she was never officially ‘transferred’ to Rome as Juno was after the sack of Veii. It seems that her cult originated in Aricia, where her priest, the Rex Nemorensis remained. There the simple open-air fane was held in common by the Latin tribes, which Rome aspired to weld into a league and direct. Diana of the wood was soon thoroughly Hellenized, “a process which culminated with the appearance of Diana beside Apollo in the first lectisternium at Rome”. Diana was regarded with great reverence by lower-class citizens and slaves; slaves could receive asylum in her temples. This fact is of difficult interpretation. Wissowa proposed the explanation that it might be because the first slaves of the Romans must have been Latins of the neighbouring tribes.

Though some Roman patrons ordered marble replicas of the specifically Anatolian “Diana” of Ephesus, where the Temple of Artemis stood, Diana was usually depicted for educated Romans in her Greek guise. If she is accompanied by a deer, as in the Diana of Versailles this is because Diana was the patroness of hunting. The deer may also offer a covert reference to the myth of Acteon (or Actaeon), who saw her bathing naked. Diana transformed Acteon into a stag and set his own hunting dogs to kill him.

Worship of Diana is mentioned in the Bible. In Acts of the Apostles, Ephesian metal smiths who felt threatened by Saint Paul’s preaching of Christianity, jealously rioted in her defense, shouting “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:28, New English Bible). After the city secretary (γραμματεύς) quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what person is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the keeper (guardian) of the temple of the great Diana and of her image that fell from heaven ?” (Acts 19:36)

Sanctuaries

Diana was an ancient goddess common to all Latin tribes. Therefore many sanctuaries were dedicated to her in the lands inhabited by Latins. The first one is supposed to have been near Alba before the town was destroyed by the Romans.

The Arician wood sanctuary near the lake of Nemi was Latin confederal as testified by the dedicatory epigraph quoted by Cato.

She had a shrine in Rome on the Aventine hill, according to tradition dedicated by king Servius Tullius. Its location is remarkable as the Aventine is situated outside the pomerium, i.e. original territory of the city, in order to comply with the tradition that Diana was a goddess common to all Latins and not exclusively of the Romans.

Other sanctuaries we know about are listed here below:

Temple of Diana, in Evora, Portugal.

Colle di Corne near Tusculum where she is referred to with the archaic Latin name of deva Cornisca and where existed a collegium of worshippers.

The Algidus Mount, also near Tusculum

At Lavinium

At Tivoli, where she is referred to as Diana Opifera Nemorensis

A sacred wood mentioned by Livyad computum Anagninum(near Anagni).

On Mount Tifata, near Capua in Campania.

In Ephesus, where she was worshiped as Diana of Ephesus and the temple used to be one of world’s seven wonders.

Legacy

In religion

Diana’s cult has been related in Early Modern Europe to the cult of Nicevenn (aka Dame Habond, Perchta, Herodiana, etc.). She was related to myths of a female Wild Hunt.

Wicca

Today there is a branch of Wicca named for her, which is characterized by an exclusive focus on the feminine aspect of the Divine. In some Wiccan texts Lucifer is a name used interchangeably for Diana’s brother Apollo.

Stregheria

In Italy the old religion of Stregheria embraced goddess Diana as Queen of the Witches; witches being the wise women healers of the time. Goddess Diana created the world of her own being having in herself the seeds of all creation yet to come. It is said that out of herself she divided into the darkness and the light, keeping for herself the darkness of creation and creating her brother Apollo, the light. Goddess Diana loved and ruled with her brother Apollo, the god of the Sun. (Charles G. Leland, Aradia: The Gospel of Witches)

Since the Renaissance the mythic Diana has often been expressed in the visual and dramatic arts, including the opera L’arbore di Diana. In the sixteenth century, Diana’s image figured prominently at the Château de Fontainebleau, in deference to Diane de Poitiers, mistress of two French kings. At Versailles she was incorporated into the Olympian iconography with which Louis XIV, the Apollo-like “Sun King” liked to surround himself.

There are also references to her in common literature. In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, many references are made to Diana. Rosaline, a beautiful woman who has sworn to chastity, is said to have “Dian’s wit”. Later on in the play, Romeo says, “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun, and kill the envious moon.” He is saying that Juliet is better than Diana and Rosaline for not swearing chastity. Diana is also a character in the 1876 Leo Delibe ballet ‘Sylvia’. The plot deals with Sylvia, one of Diana’s nymphs and sworn to chastity and Diana’s assault on Sylvia’s affections for the shepherd Amyntas.

In Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et la Bête it is Diana’s power which has transformed and imprisoned the beast.

In literature

In Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre Diana appears to Pericles in a vision, telling him to go to her temple and tell his story to her followers.

Diana is also used by Shakespeare in the famous play As You Like It to describe how Rosaline feels about marriage.

Diana is used by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night when Orsino compares Viola (in the guise of Cesario) to Diana. “Diana’s lip is not more smooth and rubious”

Speaking of his wife, Desdemona, Shakespeare’s Othello the Moor says, “Her name that was as fresh/As Dian[a]’s visage, is now begrim’d and black/As mine own face.”

There is also a reference to Diana in Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing where Hero is said to seem like ‘Dian in her orb’, in terms of her chastity.

In All’s Well That Ends Well Diana is seen again, not only as a figure in the play, but also where Helena makes multiple allusions such as, “Now, Dian, from thy altar do I fly…” and “…wish chastely and love dearly, that your Dian/was both herself and love…” The Steward also says, “…; Dian no queen of virgins,/ that would suffer her poor knight surprised, without/ rescue in the first assault or ransom afterward.” It can be assumed that ‘Dian’ simply a shortening of ‘Diana’ since later in the play when Parolles’ letter to Diana is read aloud it reads ‘Dian’.

The Goddess is also referenced indirectly in Shakespeare’s player A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The character Hippolyta states “And then the moon, like to a silver bow new bent in Heaven”. She refers to Diana, Goddesse of the moon, who is often depicted with a silver hunting bow. In the same play the character Hermia is told by the Duke Theseus that she must either wed the character Demetrius “Or on Diana’s alter to protest for aye austerity and sinle life”. He refers to her becoming a nun, with the Goddesse Diana having connotations of chastity.

In The Merchant of Venice Portia states “I will die as chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of my father’s will”. (I.ii)

In Romeo & Juliet, Romeo describes Rosaline, saying that “She hath Dian’s wit”.

Carlos Fuentes’s novel entitled, Diana o la cazadora solitaria (Diana or the lone huntress), was based on The Goddess. Diana Soren was also a character that being described as having the same personality as the goddess.

In “The Knight’s Tale” in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily prays to Diana to be spared from marriage to either of her admirers Arcite or Palomon.

In “To Science”, the sonnet by Edgar Allan Poe, science “dragged Driana from her car” (9).

In language

Pomona (left, symbolizing agriculture), and Diana (symbolizing commerce) as building decoration

Both the Romanian word for “fairy”, Zână and the Leonese word for “water nymph”, xana, seem to come from the name of Diana.

In Arts

Diana had become one of the most popular theme of arts. Painters like Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, François Boucher, Nicholas Poussin had made her as a major theme. Most of stories that being exposed are the stories of Diana with Actaeon, story of Callisto, and when she rested after hunting. Some famous work of arts with Diana theme are :

  • Diana and Actaeon, Diana and Callisto, and Death of Actaeon by Titian.
  • Diana and Callisto, Diana Resting After Bath, and Diana Getting Out of Bath by François Boucher.
  • Diana Bathing With Her Nymphs by Rembrandt.
  • Diana and Endymion by Poussin.
  • Diana and Callisto, Diana and Her Nymph Departing From Hunt, Diana and Her Nymphs Surprised By A Faun by Rubens.
  • Diana and Endymion by Johann Micheal Rottmayr.
  • The famous fountain at Palace of Caserta, Italy, created by Paolo Persico, Brunelli, Pietro Solari told a story about when Diana being surprised by Acteon.
  • A sculpture by Christophe-Gabriel Allegrain could be seen at the Musée du Louvre.
  • A sculptural mascot on the Diana car manufactured by the Diana Motors Company.

In Beaux Arts

Beaux Arts architecture and garden design (late 19th and early 20th centuries) used classic references in a modernized form. Two of the most popular of the period were of Pomona (goddess of orchards) as a metaphor for Agriculture, and Diana, representing Commerce, which is a perpetual hunt for advantage and profits.

In Parma at the convent of San Paolo, Antonio Allegri da Correggio painted the camera of the Abbess Giovanna Piacenza’s apartment. He was commissioned in 1519 to paint the ceiling and mantel of the fireplace. On the mantel he painted an image of Diana riding in a chariot pulled possibly by a stag.

In Film

Diana/Artemis appears at the end of the ‘Pastoral Symphony’ segment of ‘Fantasia’.

In his 1968 film La Mariée était en noir François Truffaut plays on this mythological symbol. Julie Kohler, played by Jeanne Moreau, poses as Diana/Artemis for the artist Fergus. This choice seems fitting for Julie, a character beset by revenge, of which Fergus becomes the fourth victim. She poses with a bow and arrow, wearing white.

Other

  • In the funeral oration of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, her brother drew an analogy between the ancient goddess of hunting and his sister – ‘the most hunted person of the modern age’.
  • William Moulton Marston used the Diana myth as a basis for Wonder Woman.
  • For the album art of Progressive metal band Protest the Hero’s second studio album Fortress, Diana is depicted, protected by rams and other animals. The theme of Diana is carried throughout the album.

 

“Hail Diana”

Hail Artemis Diana
Blessed Lady of the Beasts
I dedicate myself to You

May my path honor Thee
May my spirit celebrate Thee
May my life force magnify Thee

These things I pray
Be fulfilled this day
Goddess Mother help me
To know what is right.”
– Goddess Prayers and Invocations

Research on the Goddess Diana

Part 2

Diana . . . The Roman Goddess was known by many names including Queen of Heaven; the Great Goddess; Lunar Virgin; Mother of Animals; Lady of Wild Creatures; and the Huntress. Diana as the Roman Moon-Goddess was originally worshipped on the mountain Tifata near Capua and in sacred forests. Later she was given a temple in the working-class area on the Aventine Hill where she was mainly worshipped by the lower class (plebeians) and the slaves, of whom she was the patroness. She is often depicted carrying a bow and arrow and wearing animal skins or accompanied by animals.

When the Greek city of Ephesus fell to Roman rule, Goddess Diana was merged with the Greek Goddess Artemis. This is most likely due to the fact that around the time of the Roman empire, Romans would allow the places they over took to continue worshipping their own Gods and Goddesses, incorporating those Goddesses into the Roman Pantheon. Artemis and Diana were worshipped at the same times historically and when the Great Greek Temple of Artemis was destroyed the Romans rebuilt it in honor of Diana and the myth of Goddess Diana of Ephesus began.

Stories of Goddess Diana are told form the beginning of Troy to the Christian Bible of King James in the scriptures of Acts and the gospels of Paul.

Ephesians.”

The multi-breasted statue of Diana at Her Temple in Ephesus displayed her capability to nourish all creatures and provide for them. Worshippers adored Goddess Diana so much that the only way the Christians could rid the people of their Goddess was by assimilating her into their new religion. Thus Ephesus became a place of Mary, Mother of God. The church even invented stories of Mary living at Ephesus and being entombed there.

In Babylonia, and in the nation of Assyria, she was known as “ISHTAR” The Phoenicians called her “ASTARTE”. The Israelites knew her as “ASHTORETH”.

Diana was also the goddess of the Latin commonwealth where She rule with Her brother Lucifer. Lucifer being a Latin word for “Light Bringer”.

In Italy the old religion of Stergheria embraced goddess Diana as Queen of the Witches. Witches being the wise women healers of the time. Goddess Diana created the world of her own being having in herself the seeds of all creation yet to come. It is said that out of herself she divided into the darkness and the light, keeping for herself the darkness of creation and creating her brother Lucifer, the light. Goddess Diana loved and ruled with her brother Lucifer, the god of the Sun and Moon.
As time went on, the Earth was created and Diana descended to Earth, as did her brother Lucifer. Diana taught magick and witches were born. One night using witchcraft in the form of a cat, His most beloved animal, Diana tricked Lucifer. She gained entrance to His chamber where She seduced Him. From this union a daughter was born. Goddess Aradia.
In other versions of this myth we find the similarities the Christain tales take as their own in attempts to dispel the Goddess.
The first being, Lucifer who is so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride is driven from the Paradise of Goddess as is the tale of Lucifer falling from Gods grace.
The second being Goddess Diana also sends Her daughter Aradia to live as a mortal and save the misfortunate people of Earth as does God send His son Jesus to live as a mortal and save the people.

As pagans my sisters, Goddess Diana is the eternal Mother of all creation, the first that is and the last that will be. She is the Huntress of the forest seeking means of survival. She is the call of the wild, the beating heart of the forests, the animal spirit within, urging us to remember our origins. She awakens nature within us that we remember to feel the rustling wind through our hair, to hear the howling of a wolf or the echo of a voice in the forest. Goddess Diana calls to us to let our animal essence out and hone our inherent sensibilities. Dance and sing to the moon, run until our heart pounds to the top of a hill, to take a swim in a creek, roll around in the grass as we once did as a children, or just gaze upon the stars in wonderment; knowing all the while that Goddess Diana is within us, sharing sharing our journey.

As with the Christian invasion into the old religion , we too are told as women what is right and wrong. We are told what is the correct thinking to blend into a society that denies us our truth. Not tonight my sisters, tonight we pray to the Goddess Diana that you never forget the wonders of creation, the joy of being alive, and the importance of being a woman. Tonight we pray to Goddess Diana to be filled with Her strength to survive the challenges that would steal our dreams. under Her Full Moon we are alive in Her reflection. As a Circle of women we pray to Goddess Diana to grants us development and change within ourselves. As we embrace Her energy that is the vibrations of the universe that lives within us let the hunt begin. Let us seek out and tame the resources that is the beast and the forest of our lives. As goddess Diana let us be the huntress of our path. Tonight as women we say “Great is the Goddess Diana and Great is the Goddess in Me”.

Research on the Goddess Diana

Part 3

Ode to Diana

I am Diana

Know me

I have many names, many faces

You know me as the Queen of Heaven, The Huntress, Lady of the Wild Creatures, Lunar Virgin, Daughter of the Moon,

My name has been Ishtar, Astarte, Artemis, Ashtoreth.

I am mother to Aradia. Sister to Lucifer. Daughter of Zeus, most high.

You will find me in Tifata, nearCapua.

My temple is atEphesus, before the time of others that stole.

My temple is in your heart.

My name is your name.

My life is your life, our hearts beat as one.

I am Diana

Celebrate me

When I am a maiden on Ostara, call me by name…

Diana, Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Venus, Cybele, Freya, and Rhiannon.

When I am the mother on Litha, call me by name…

Amaterasu, Hestia, Juno, and Sunna

When I am the Crone on Samhain, call me by name…

Hecate, Inanna, Machi, Mari, Ishtar and Lilith.

Call me down when the moon shines full.

Embrace me when the moon is dark.

Caress me when the moon waxes and wanes.

I am Diana

Honor me

In the night sky as the Great She Bear.

In the phases of the moon,

In nature, the beauty of a sunrise

The mystery of the moon rise.

Speak to me at dawn, at noon when the sun’s heat warms your face

Whisper to me at dusk when purple fingers of nights stain the sky

Sing to me at midnight as you dance beneath my silvery luminescence.

Light a white candle and I am there

Use jasmine and breathe in my spirit.

Place a moonstone in your pocket and I walk with you.

Carry me within your heart and we shall be together

Always.

Written by Ladyhawke. Copyright 2008

Diana in prayer, magic and divination.

Hail Diana

Hail Artemis Diana
Blessed Lady of the Beasts
I dedicate myself to You

May my path honor Thee
May my spirit celebrate Thee
May my life force magnify Thee

These things I pray
Be fulfilled this day
Goddess Mother help me
to know what is right

~ Abby Willowroot © 1999

 

Charge of the Goddess

CHARGE OF THE GODDESS

By Charles Leland, Gerald Gardner, and Doreen Valiente.

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, She who of old was also called among the people Artemis, Astarte, Cerridwen, Hecate, Demeter, Danu, Ishtar, and man other names:
Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the Moon is full, then shall ye asssemble in some quiet place and adore the Spirit of me, who am Queen of all Witcheries, and thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery:
That if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.
For behold! I have been with thee from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

Author: Horizons Coven
The Maiden

There was once a time in your life that everything was filled with wonder and hope. Everything was brand new, colorful and the world immense and full of beauty. We were young and innocent. Life was the priceless pearl we discovered by opening the shell. There were Fairy Tales with happy endings where everyone lived happily ever after, and we believed in this possibility. Dandelions were just as lovely as roses and we gathered them as offerings of love to our mothers. We were imaginative; our creative spark took us anywhere we wished to be. Strangers were exciting and mysterious, but were not to be feared. Instead they were heroes with make believe talents and abilities. Clouds became a never-ending parade of circus animals. Unicorns danced in our dreams. We were open to possibilities. We could be anything we wanted to be. We knew without a doubt that some day we would meet our prince charming. We would live happily ever after.

Over time, we were taught to be strong and capable. We were taught that dreams were okay, but we needed to keep our feet on the ground. Our heads were filled with ideals that weren’t our own. We learned to be afraid. The world wasn’t what we imagined, but a place where danger lurked at each corner.

Childlike and innocent is the Maiden. Her hopes and dreams are as certain as truth. Loving and gentle, her world is very fragile as her trust rules over fears. She dreams of a loving relationship that will outshine any tale. Yet she blushes easily when admired. She has not experienced the ways of the world. She is the eternal optimist. Her spirit cannot be crushed and hope reigns eternal. The world is enchanting and magickal. She resides within each of us as the innocent one. She dances with us in a field of wildflowers and tumbles to ground next to us in ecstasy. She whispers her secret desires to the winds and they tickle our ears as the find their place in our heart. We are the oysters and she is the pearl contained within. She is the beauty emanating from within our being for the world to see. She is pure, untouched by the harsh reality of the mundane world.

I can see her as if standing before me, her long hair flowing about her as she dances with the Fae in a circle beneath the crescent moon. Her graceful, lithe body moves gently in the rhythm of lunar energies. Her spirit glows, the radiant light emanating from her heart. Her long flowing gown cannot hide the young woman’s frame beneath. Her laughter is like chimes in my ears. Her smile lights the universe.

Growing in strength and brightness each night, the Maiden, known as Diana and Artemis in the Mediterranean area, is usually depicted carrying a bow and quiver. She is the first aspect of the triple Goddess. Sometimes called the virgin or huntress, she represents the spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction. She shows the way through the inner labyrinth to the divine center where the greatest of spiritual mysteries lie. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. She is a shape shifting Goddess who drives a chariot pulled by silver stags. She helps women who are threatened or harassed by men.

She rules over animals, singing, enchantment, psychic power, fertility, purification, magic, sports, mental healing, dance, forests, and healing. She carries the seeds of all potential: anything is possible and all possibilities are within her. She does not limit herself by the needs or beliefs of others. She is in love with the mystery of life. The Maiden represents expansion, the female principle, and promise of new beginnings, youth, and excitement. The Maiden is associated with the colors white, light pink and light yellow. She symbolizes youth and anticipation of life. Associated with purity and nature, She is usually seen in the company of animals. In the aspect of the Maiden we see the world with child-like wonder, and also huntress and warrior, as Athena and Artemis are known to be.

The Mother
There is nothing like being pregnant. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was happier than I had ever been in my life. Knowing that a life was growing inside me was amazing. I felt more alive than ever before. I could not wait to hold this little miracle of love.

Okay, there are times where you are so sick you want to die. When the baby decides to try to use your rib cage to score a touchdown it doesn’t feel great. You have weird cravings for food.
You are swollen and can’t see your toes and feel like a blimp that swallowed a blimp.

When a child is born, we always want to count fingers and toes and to know once and for all, girl or boy. We have such great expectations for this tiny bundle of joy. Perhaps he will be president. Perhaps she will be a ballerina. We cannot wait to dress them, to show them off and to take pictures of everything from their first diaper change to the first smile.

Fear sets in once you get home. You call the doctor often. Is this the best formula? Are these the best diapers? She/He spit up, is she sick? Do I need to bring the baby to the hospital! The baby gets colicky and cries all the time. You can’t sleep because you worry excessively. You can’t sleep because the baby is crying. Is she hungry or sick? You have to go check and make sure she is breathing! Our maternal, protective instinct has kicked into high gear.

Now, imagine for a moment, we may have a few children; some families have 13 or more, think how many the Goddess has! We are all children of the Goddess, no matter our age. Our child learns to speak and says Mama so many times we want to pull our heads off! Imagine all of the voices and prayers going out at any given time to our Mother, the Goddess.

Our Goddess Mother has our best interest at heart. She wants for us to be happy and healthy. She never turns away because she is tired and wants some peace and quit. She loves us unconditionally. She understands our hopes and desires and dreams. She lives within our hearts. You can lean on her when you need strength and patience with your little one. You can place your child and yourself within the love and light of the Great Mother and trust that she will always be there for you.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother, the archetype involved in active creation. She represents the summer, blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and the high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and of life itself. She is the great teacher of the Mysteries. The Romans named her Ceres and the Greeks named her Demeter. A virgin of the oldest sense, independent and unmarried, this Goddess gives birth to a son. Called the Grain Mother, the Eternal Mother, and the Sorrowing Mother, she is the mother of Persephone, who wed the lord of the Underworld. Her power extends over protection of women, crops, initiation, renewal, fertility, civilization, law, motherhood, marriage, and higher magic.

The mother devotes herself to “other”: people and things outside of herself. Though the archetype of the mother often makes one think of a woman giving birth to or devoting herself to her children and family, here we are speaking of all of the possibilities of creation. She is a selfless soul whose devotion and love are unconditional. It is here that responsibility and commitment is established.

Some of the symbols of the goddess in the Mother aspect include the serpent, the poppy, and the symbol of Underworld Goddesses, the torch. The Mother also represents fulfillment, stability, and power. The color associated with the Mother is red, the color of blood and the life force, and green, a fertile color. In ancient societies, the pregnant Mother was a metaphor for the fertile fields that sustained the people of the land. The menstrual blood of the Mother has been associated with magick and ritual since Paleolithic times and was thought to have power for healing and fertility.

The Mother is a pillar of grace under pressure. She is capable, strong, and loving. She smiles as the young child plays, joy flooding her heart as her offspring giggles in delight at some new discovery. She keeps the fear and panic hidden when we are sick, be it in body or in spirit. She continually prays for us. She wipes the tears from our eyes, chases us down to give us medicine, and helps to build a pretend fort with blankets. She watches you while you are sleeping and love fills her heart. She is like a tree in that she is able to bend, but is has a strong foundation supporting her.

Climb into the Mothers arms and be nurtured. Within her embrace we are ever safe and loved. Share your dreams with her. She will do all things possible to help you to achieve them and more.

The Crone

We have all seen the little old woman, her hair thin and sparse, her skin aged with wrinkles, her smile crooked as her false teeth lay in a glass to the side. Many associate this image with the Crone. Her hands tremble as she brings food to her mouth. She looks like a baby with food dripping down her chin. Time isn’t always kind to us in that our bodies betray us. But if you were to take some time with this woman, you would find a font of wisdom, a history of love, of sorrow, of experience.

Her spirit still shines. Her face is soft and compassion flows from her heart. Though she appears weak, her essence is strong and sure. She understands your dreams and desires. She has shared them and she has experienced them. She knows what is important in life. She no longer rushes about headstrong seeking. She delights in the memories of all she has seen and known. Some think she has endured. The truth is, she has lived. That is what is important, the living and loving.

Pain causes a momentary tremor in her voice. She will tell you truths. Will you be willing to listen, to hear her words? Can you sit and hold her hand and experience the journey she is willing to share with you? Can you look at her with respect? Can you look beyond the fears of your body aging?

I see my grandmother, gentle and soft spoken, holding me close in her lap. Beside her lays some yarn and knitting needles. She always has time for me and my questions. She receives great joy in watching the young ones at play and reminiscing about her life as the children begin their lives. There is depth to her heart and eyes that show the years of learning the importance of compassion. There is understanding well beyond that of the dreamer’s hopes.

She moves a little slower now and can no longer bare children. In this day and time, people tend to cast the elderly aside. This is heartbreaking. There is so much love and wisdom they have to share. It may be a time of rest, but it isn’t a time to be tossed away. They should not have to live through memories, as they are still able to give so much to this world!

Most cultures cherished their grandmothers and counted them as wise ones once upon a time. They had seen things and done things to survive in new worlds. Once upon a time they were maidens. Once upon a time they were mothers. They know the mysteries of womanhood.

As I entered into the stage of the Crone, I realized that all I have seen and done helped me to become whom I am today. I am a little slower, but I have more patience, more love, and more compassion. I know there are times to sit quietly and say nothing. I know there are times I should offer my wisdom. What others think of me isn’t important, as I know self-love. I know how precious life and time are. I have found that worry does not save me from sorrow or pain. I have found that life isn’t about satisfying the ego. Life is about acknowledging the blessings we have received from joy and from pain, from fear and from faith. I realize that I cannot change the past but that what I have learned from it provides comfort. She is a fount of wisdom, untapped by a modern world. Not because she isn’t willing to share her wisdom, but because we are so self-involved. I cry for the Crone because so many have forgotten her value.

The Crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the hag, represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death, reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. She is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her traditional color is black and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the initiator into the Mysteries. This aspect symbolizes death and dissolution. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. The souls of humans are recycled by the Crone and her cauldron, into a new incarnation.

The embodiment of the Crone, Hecate, Queen of the world of spirits, Patron of Priestesses, and the Goddess of Witchcraft, has keys and cauldrons as her symbols. She has power over enchantments, averting evil, dark magic, riches, wisdom, transformation, purification, limits, incantations, and renewal. She is not detached from the world; just not involved in the ways she was before. She can be completely honest because she has nothing to lose. She holds the wisdom, teaches and shares stories with those who will listen.

The crone was once revered as an old woman embodying wisdom and for her knowledge of the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were known as healers, teachers, way-showers, and bearers of sacred power. They knew the mysteries, were mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom held healing power. The crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Our appearance may show a lot about our lives. Weathered hands showing our hard work. Our skin weathered like tanned hides show we spent a lot of time outdoors. These outward appearances don’t begin to show the person beneath the surface. They don’t show the entire journey. Look beyond the obvious and you will discover the treasures of life, the joy, the sorrow, all blessings, to the Crone. Don’t sorrow for her because her time draws nigh upon this plane. Rejoice with her. Embrace what will come, accept what has been, and dare to experience all.

From my manuscript – From My Pagan Heart by Lady Kiya

Herb of the Day for June 30 is Date Palm

Herb of the Day

Date Palm

Gender:  Masculine

Planet:  Sun

Element:  Air

Deities:  Taht, Apollo, Artemis, Hecate, Isis, Ra

Powers:  Fertility, potency

Magickal uses:  The date palm is a celebrated fertility tree, owing to the tremendous amount of fruits produced by it. Thusly, dates or pieces of palm leaves are worn or carried for this purpose dates are eaten to increase fertility, and the pits are carried by men who wish to regain sexual potency.

Herb of the Day for May 10th is MYRTLE

Herb of the Day

Myrtle

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Deities: Venus, Artemis, Aphrodite, Hathor, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Marian.

Powers: Love, Fertility, Youth, Peace, Money

Magickal Uses: Myrtle has long been considered a “love” herb. A chaplet of fresh leaves and flowers worn on the head while performing love spells is highly appropriate. Myrtle is added to all love sachets and spells, especially those designed to keep love alive and exciting.

Myrtle is also worn to increase fertility, but interestingly enough it is also worn at weddings by brides to ensure that they do not quickly become pregnant!

Myrtle wood, when carried, preserves youthfulness. A cup of myrtle tea, drunk every three days, will doo the same, but it must be drunk every three days without fail.

When carried, myrtle preserves love. If grown on each side of the house, love and peace will reside within, and it is a lucky plant to grow in window boxes, if it is planted there by a woman. Myrtle is also used in money spells.