Pocket Guide to Witchcraft

Pocket Guide to Witchcraft

Copyright Frater FP 1999

Last Modified 17/Oct/99

 

Pocket Witchcraft

1.Go for walks in the country and town (nature is everywhere)

2.Learn about the phases of the moon

3.Learn about the agricultural cycles and festivals

4.Learn about the astronomical cycles and festivals

5.Learn about herbs and healing

6.Practice candle magic

7.Intuitively develop your concept of a God and Goddess to represent Nature

8.Spend time outdoors or indoors making a shrine to these divinities

9.Worship these divinities in a suitable manner

10.Practise the healing and spellcraft you have learnt in the community

 

Notes

Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism; you’ll need to decide what aspect to follow. In my view, Paganism

encompasses all aspects of a pagan lifestyle, and suits those with a view to bringing their entire life,

family and career into a pagan (country-dwelling) perspective. Witchcraft is the magical aspect of the

pagan lifestyle, and can be studied independently of becoming a Pagan – although many Pagans are

Witches, you don’t have to be a Witch to be a Pagan! Wicca is a more generic term for a modern angle

which takes from both Paganism and Witchcraft to make a blend more suited to a modern lifestyle and

modern mindsets. Many people become Wiccans before becoming Witches or Pagans! There are many

ways of looking at these definitions, of course, but the important thing is to establish your own personal

relationship to nature and the environment, and the courses of time and seasons – this is the heart of

the tradition. Having a representation of the God and Goddess is also a matter of personal orientation.

Some prefer Pan, an all-begetting, all-devouring masculine God, whilst others prefer Hecate, who can

be cruel and severe, or take the aspect of a gracious grandmother!

 

In Real Life …

The book ‘Drawing Down the Moon’ established in a survey that many following Pagan Paths were

working in the technological or educational sphere of work. There are many ways of integrating your

personal beliefs about paganism into your daily life, no matter how urban it might be. Remember, there

are now often as many foxes roaming towns as there are in the countryside! At my desk at work,

wherever I have worked, I have always had a bowl into which instead of paperclips or pot-pouri I have

placed items to remind me of the season. At the moment, approaching Samhain, I have an autumn leaf,

a small twig, a horse chestnut (conker) and a slightly rusting nail I found on a walk. The nail represents

the passing of summer, of course, but the whole piece is a small altar, where the bowl is the Pentacle,

the twig the Wand, the Horse Chestnut the Cup (it’s a hollow ).

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Three

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Three

 

Stage 3: Raising or increasing the power

This is the most active and powerful part of the spell, and involves building up the speed and intensity of the action you started in stage 2.

Raising the power is especially easy out of doors as you connect, especially if barefoot or wearing thin-soled shoes, with the natural spiraling energies or straighter ley flows beneath the earth.

Grass or sand near a river or seashore is also energized by the water flow, especially around the week of the new and full moons. On a safe beach you can dance through the shallows.

There are many ways of raising power, limited only by your imagination. When working alone and in a potent natural setting, perhaps at a power time like sunrise, you will sing, away or move quite without prompting or run along the beach or through long grass round in circles or spirals like a dog let off the leash. Watch children playing for inspiration.

Most effective is a combination of words or sound and movement in such a way that your conscious mind is carried along by the power, like riding a carousel when everything blues except for the music. The purpose of this stage is not only to empower the symbol but also to empower yourself, since you are the vehicle to carry the magickal energies from the thought (mental) and spiritual (astral) planes to actuality (earth). This is the same process used by shamans to trigger their out-of-body or out-of-everyday consciousness.

Enchant the symbol with a pair of lighted incense sticks, one held in each hand, a few centimeters/an inch above the symbol. Move the right one clockwise and the left on anticlockwise. Move them faster and faster and chant faster and faster in order to draw in all four elemental powers.

Increase the speed and intensity so the incense sticks cross and uncross over the symbol. As you move the sticks rhythmically, recite your elemental chant continuously.

Alternatively you can move your wand clockwise in flourishes or a spiral, a smudge stick in your power hand in huge circles allowing it to dictate its own pathway and shapes. You can move the other hand anticlockwise in rhythm if you want.

A very simple chant is:

Air, water, fire earth,

Bring, I ask, this wish to birth.

 

You can continue over and over again at increasing intensity and speed, adding variants or weaving your own simple four- or five-word chants, around the natural surroundings and the elemental associations.

Other spells chant include goddess names, the most popular being Isis, Astarte (Ass tart-ay), Diana, Hecate (Hekart tay), Demeter (Dem eat-er), Kali (Karly) and Innana (In-arn-a).

Isis is the Ancient Egyptian mother Goddess; Astarte is the supreme female divinity of the Phoenicians, Goddess of love and fertility, associate with the moon and all nature; Diana, the Graeco-Roman Goddess of the moon and hunt and queen of the witches; Hecate, the Ancient Greek Crone Goddess of the underworld and waning moon; Demeter, the Ancient Gree Corn mother; Kali, the Hindu creatrix/destroyer Goddess and Innana, the Sumerian fertility Queen of Heaven and Earth Goddess in the Middle East area of modern Iraq. Feel free to substitute your own goddesses/gods.

You could instead move round and round the altar or circle, chanting and clapping, while stepping, stamping or whirling and twirling. Sufi spiritual whirling dancing has been eagerly adopted by the New Age as a way of altering consciousness. Trust your feet to follow the spirals of the Earth energies.

You can add the beat of a hand drum using your hand or a striker or use a tambourine. We can all play these, without training or a natural ear for more formal music. Just let your hands and feet set the beat and if you chant along they all harmonize. The simpler and more repetitive words and actions, the better.

Move and chant until you feel that the power has reached its height, like revving a car with the hand brake on or a plane whose wheels are starting to life off the tarmac.

Through visualization, individuals and groups can create a cone of power with the circle as the base, picturing a mass of stars or swirls of rainbow light collecting a light cone above you. Imagine the cone getting higher and brighter as the apex gets taller and the cone denser with rainbow light. As you swirl you may even see it.

When the psychic power peaks in intensity it is released through the apex as shooting stars. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a firework display.

Today We Honor The Goddess Hecate

Hecate – Dark Goddess of Magic & Sorcery

By Patti Wigington

Hecate (sometimes spelled Hekate) was originally a Thracian, and pre-Olympian Greek goddess, and ruled over the realms of earth and fertility rituals. As a goddess of childbirth, she was often invoked for rites of puberty, and in some cases watched over maidens who were beginning to menstruate. Eventually, Hecate evolved to become a goddess of magic and sorcery. She was venerated as a mother goddess, and during the Ptolemaic period in Alexandria was elevated to her position as goddess of ghosts and the spirit world.

Much like the Celtic hearth goddess Brighid, Hecate is a guardian of crossroads, and often symbolized by a spinning wheel. In addition to her connection to Brighid, she is associated with Diana Lucifera, who is the Roman Diana in her aspect as light-bearer. Hecate is often portrayed wearing the keys to the spirit world at her belt, accompanied by a three-headed hound, and surrounded by lit torches.

The epic poet Hesiod tells us Hecate was the only child of Asteria, a star goddess who was the aunt of Apollo and Artemis. The event of Hecate’s birth was tied to the reappearance of Phoebe, a lunar goddess, who appeared during the darkest phase of the moon.

Today, many contemporary Pagans and Wiccans honor Hecate in her guise as a Dark Goddess, although it would be incorrect to refer to her as an aspect of the Crone, because of her connection to childbirth and maidenhood. It’s more likely that her role as “dark goddess” comes from her connection to the spirit world, ghosts, the dark moon, and magic. She is known as a goddess who is not to be invoked lightly, or by those who are calling upon her frivolously. She is honored on November 30, the night of Hecate Trivia, the night of the crossroads.

 

The Unfinished Journey .. The Best Is Yet To Come ?

The Unfinished Journey .. The Best Is Yet To Come ?

Author: Crystal Crone

As I sat in the quiet of my sitting room last week, my mind drifted back over the years of my earth journey. I wondered to myself if this could be because I was now comfortably at ease in my life as the ageing crone. I tried to shake myself out of my mauling by focusing on all the things that were pressing my mind for attention.

Dinner lay uncooked on the kitchen unit, birthday cards lay unwritten on the table, and my journal had thrust itself under my nose as I had gone to my cupboard for candles, as if crying out for attention. Well, dinner can wait until I am good and ready, the pen is not my exclusive right in this house full of people and so what if I hadn’t made an entry in my journal for four days!

No one would know that except me and as nothing ritualistic or momentous had happened during those days, why should I worry?

Now old girl, I thought wryly, is this you doing what you said would never happen and kicking back against this ageing process you have found so comfortable? I soon made up my mind that there was far more going on than this!

Life for Pagans is fairly disciplined by the very nature of our beliefs and for me to slip outside of what is the norm for me is both unusual and quite a shock to this fragile system.

So with all this in mind, I took myself off to the chopping board to redesign what was to have been a heartily cooked meal, to a hastily prepared salad. All the while my mind was ticking over, trying to establish what was going on here and why the rebel I never knew existed, was pushing its way to the front of my mind in an effort to be heard.

I hope I can be believed when I say that my life as a crone has never held any fears or regrets for me. In fact, I have never really noticed the transition in many ways as, following the passing of my daughter, I became both substitute mum and nan to my grandchildren. I guess there has never been time to notice those lines forming on smooth skin, or the vision that seemed slightly impaired, or the feet that ached at the end of a long day.

No, in all honesty my life seems to stretch down the years with fun, laughter, discipline of devotion and of course, tears of loss from my life of those who were part of me.

Thinking all this, I banged the hastily prepared salad onto plates (just to make it look as if some thought had gone into the preparation really) and returned to my chair in my now sun bathed sitting room, to mull over these new and disturbing thoughts in my head.

My long journey hasn’t always been easy, or even good in parts, but is has been mine to make. Along the path, I have met many people who have left their mark on my life, made a few mistakes, or errors of judgment had one or two regrets to I guess. Being me, I have never really focused on my destination (if you but knew my ability to get lost on a journey I may have made many times before, you would understand why that is :)), but my journey has been very important to me in terms of personal life satisfaction. I never ever got everything I tried to do right … why should I have done so, I am mortal after all, not some divine creature.

So with this in mind, I got to thinking about life in general and the world in particular!

To say it has changed beyond belief since I was a child is to state the obvious. After all, many rivers and streams have run under proverbial bridges since that time of old! I guess that the safest thing to say is that changes came, I complained, or rejoiced, as the case may be, that so much change was surely unnecessary, then continued to walk my path in a way that suited me and my way of life best.

I was always mindful of cause and effect, always as careful as I could be that my actions did not impact in a negative way, on the lives of others. Mostly, I was able to live as maiden, mother, and now crone, according to my own will.

I have had blessings, to many to recount, these were no doubt balanced in some way by my losses, which were fewer, but raw to my soul. I have reveled at Sabbats, danced at celebrations, performed my rituals and spells with honor and devotion and tried to point young seekers of paths to where the knowledge, or help, for their intent lies. All very satisfying one might think, so why this sudden departure from the norm, to the world of the ageing rebel?

Does this happen in the lives of everyone approaching a time in their lives when the end of the road is far more visible in the distance than the beginning ever was? And why is it that I had never given any thought to this before, I wondered?

As I grappled around my mind for something to blame for these phenomena (the human side of me looking to blame something again), I was consumed by laughter that bordered on hysteria almost! Of course this time will come upon all who are walking the path of life toward end destination, I was willing to bet that each and every one had reached the same impasse as I at some stage to.

The revelation it was to me to finally acknowledge the end destination should not have been the cause of my hysterical laughter for sure, so from that I had to assume that it must be my blessed peace that awaited me in the Summerlands, or that the “rebel” had been born, so to speak. I decided it was neither … I am as yet unprepared for journey’s end and nor am I about to rebel against that which has formed the foundations of my life.

My bemused sister, returning from a hard day at work, looked at me with something in her face close to an intention to call on the men in white coats, bearing a straight jacket. It took a very hastily thought up explanation to allay the fear I saw in her eyes for sure!

After she and the children had feasted on my oh so carefully prepared salad, we sat and spoke about the way she had found me when she came in from work. She has four years to catch up to this day in my life and I would like that she, or anyone else that may come to this, will realize as I did that it isn’t negative to think journey’s end, especially if you have tried to fill your life with all you wanted to do.

Being human, we will always find things we would like to have done, there will be many things we will wish we had thought more carefully before we did, but at end stage it was our journey to make whatever.

I can’t say this world is a good place to be; who could with all the abuse we make of the precious gift the Mother gave us to care for. People are feared for their safety as fundamental Islamists attempt to impose by terror, their beliefs on others who want nothing more than the freedom and peace to follow whatever faith they choose believe in.

Our wildlife is threatened by climate change and civil liberties we always took for granted are stripped away at an alarming rate these days. But even with all that, we live in a world that is so precious, we can choose to learn or not, we can follow a path we choose for ourselves because we are basically all spiritual beings living a human existence. This ageing crone has many of years of devotions under her belt (well maybe a skirt as the waistline has not been compatible with belts for some time now :)), so I am prepared to listen in reflective silence these days.

The people I have met have been there for a reason, a season and hopefully, many for a lifetime. I have hopped on and off “the bus of life” many times on my journey … on occasion I would have to be dragged back on board kicking and screaming, but all in all it has been good for me and mine.

I would say to young Pagan pathwalkers that if the experiences of an old crone count for anything, it is to say that the future lies in their hands now. There is much to be done, many voices to be heard, the young amongst us are our hope for the future. They must never forget that the best of learning comes from the voice of experience, so the elders amongst us must be heeded as they draw on those experiences.

But they are the absolute future.

We who travel on to journey’s end will do what we are able to save for them the wonders of our precious world, as we draw on their youth and strength to give power to our tasks yet to do.

The Mother never said it would be easy, no bump free ride was ever promised, but she did give us gifts in life that were ours to use, or not.

As I said, I have met many learned people who have inspired and enlightened me; I have thought at times that I know all the answers because of my age. I know now that we are never meant to have all the answers and that is not to be regretted, but rejoiced in, as it means that the best may still be yet to come.

My heart tells me that it is, even if the signs are not so good at this precarious time for our planet.

I wish all, Pagan or otherwise, a journey without fear, a life full of fun, laughter and adventure with the promise that age is interesting and not at all as bad as it may seem. For myself, I will journey on in the same manner I have lived my whole life, the destination may be over the horizon, but I have far to much to do to approach it willingly.

After all, I shall become a great grandmother of yet another soul needing the loving arms of this old crone I feel :).

My Goddess in My Life

My Goddess in My Life

Author: Frostig

My eyes wander up to the sky and back to the earth, my mind drifting as my body slows. I feel her around me. My heart quickens. A light sweat forms on my brow but still knowing she is near calms my muscles. All at once, I am ready to move or ready to relax. I know she helps guide my path in this world. I asked her to help me make decision with me, not for me.

She is Freya, the Goddess whom I love with all of me. By profession, I am a soldier and have been for 18 years, but I enjoy a softer side of life as well in writing and poetry. She is my muse; she is a lover and a warrior, a strong woman who knows what she wants and is willing to make sacrifices to meet her goals, inspiring me to do the same: to look at the world through another’s eyes, from a different point of view, to see things with a glowing halo of light.

I feel her presence in the love of my wife. The tender care she gives me. Her understated strength; I can feel it in her words. She helps me and guides me. We are a team and accomplish things as one.

I have written before here and some of you may remember that this is my third tour in Iraq. I have never asked to given anything from her, but for advice and guidance only. I ask for safe journeys and if I must fight that, I do so with honor and integrity. That if I die it is on my own terms and that I may do so with respect and honor and in the aid my friends.

In my life, I have always felt the strength in a feminine power. A mother watching over me keeping me safe, a lover holding me in her arms letting my soul rest in her tender hold. In the presence of women I feel refreshed.

When I feel the presence of my Goddess near I feel as if the world will bow to me. I ask her to guide me and help the things in my life have fall into place. I trust in her and knowing that as long as I uphold the promises I have made, not only to myself but to her as well.

The devotion I have for my Goddess feels more like a relationship than worshipping. We seem to have a give and take. Sometimes if I get too full of myself she lets me stubble a bit to remind me I need to have humility.

When I am living clean and doing the right thing, I have found that for no reason things fall into my lap and gifts both mental and physical appear in my path for me. I know at that time I need to share them, not hold them all for me. True gifts are not yours to keep they are yours to share; it is a great responsibility and not one to be taken lightly. Even if the gift is a part of you, we must learn to give our time and our knowledge to help others.

I carry with me a few things at all times. One is a copy of the Nine Noble Virtues the other is a picture with a memorial poem of a friend, killed last year by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. The virtues are a constant reminder to me of the guidelines I work to live by each day. The picture of my friend reminds me that we can be taken at anytime and to live your life by touching and enriching the lives of others.

So here I sit, the middle of Iraq again. I know I am here for a reason; something started but left undone. I have begun by strengthening the position of the Pagan Open Circle here and with the help of other friends’ state side I am working towards a higher level of religious awareness in the military. I know if I trust in her and make sound decisions our goals will be met, together.

I know she will not do everything for me, I would never ask that, if she did the goals that are met would not feel as sweet and I would feel a lacking inside of me. I need to earn my accomplishments.

I have learned that you must have honesty with yourself before you can have a trusting relationship with anyone else. Feel the honesty deep with in your soul. When I first felt it, I was scared, scared because of the raw truth I told myself. I instantly had to be with others; solitude was not what I felt I needed.

Nevertheless, it is exactly what I needed, the time to go over things in my mind to see that this is what I needed; it was the truth in my soul.

This is when I first felt her with me, I did not know who “She” was it was my first time with this emotion, this feeling, this presence. I started asking questions in the dim light of a campfire, seen flickering through the nylon of a tent. Speaking with a woman, a Goddess in her own right, her answers led me to more questions. I began reading and reading and reading.

Then a day came while reading, I saw her name and it felt good inside me when I said it, I know now it was her. She came to lift me up, to show me who I could become; the man I was meant to be. I thank her everyday for holding me safe for all these years, always there holding me but never wanting me to know she was there.

Now I’ve seen her in my heart and I feel her smile upon me.

By living a good life, acknowledging my weaknesses and my strengths, knowing my limitations, and pushing them a little further everyday, this is how I honor her. To show I am worthy of her graces, this is how I live. I thank her and every woman who has the Goddess in her — you know who you are –

You have touched my life and prepared me to be the man I am to become.

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.

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 11th

Calendar of the Sun
11 Wolfmonath

Hecate’s Day of the Midwives

Colors: Red and black
Element: Water
Altar: Upon a black cloth lay many long red cloths, three red candles, a clay bowl of well water filled with stones, and a knife.
Offerings: Give aid to a midwife.
Daily Meal: Bread and soup.

Hecate’s Midwife Invocation

Call: Hail, Hecate, Three-Faced Goddess!
Response: Hail, Hecate, Lady Underground!
Call: Hail Maiden Moon-Pale, leader of the Hounds!
Response: Hail Grandmother of Wolves and Toads!
Call: Hail Old Woman, Witch who stirs the cauldron!
Response: Hail Hecate, Midwife Crone who aids those in need!
Call: It is by this title that we call you today, Lady!
Response: For you are the friend of every mother in labor…
Call: But especially those who have been cast away.
Response: The homeless, the husbandless, the scorned…
Call: Those whose children will not be born into happy homes…
Response: Those whose children may be taken from their mother’s arms…
Call: Those whose children are born in anguish of the heart…
Response: Those who did not wish to see their bodies swell…
Call: Those who did not wish to open the door of life…
Response: Those who find themselves torn with pains unwished.
Call: It is to you that they turn, Old Grandmother…
Response: It is your hands that soothe them, Mistress of Underground Rivers!
Call: It is you who casts no judgment upon them.
Response: Teach us, Grandmother, how to keep from judging!
Call: Teach us how every chance for life is sacred…
Response: No matter how ambivalent the circumstances.
Call: Teach us how every moment of birth is worth assisting…
Response: No matter how unworthy the vessel.
Call: We are all bound by the thread of blood shed at our birth.
Response: We are all bound by the pain of our entry into this world.
Call: Hail Hecate, Grandmother of Blood and Pain,
Response: Challenge us to think beyond our own simple labors.
(Take the red cloths and pass them through your hands until all are joined together.)
Chant: Hecate, Cerridwen, Dark Mother Let Us In
Hecate, Cerridwen, Let Us Be Reborn

Earth Witch Lore – Crossroads

Earth Witch Lore – Crossroads

 

Crossroads are considered sacred in almost all magical traditions. A crossroads is a universally accepted place to hold rituals, leave offerings, or dispose of items you wish to be rid of. While this is not a natural creation but one that is homemade, it still falls in the realm of earth.

 

It is believed tat Hecate rules over the three-way crossroads. She can see the past, present and future, It is said that if you should approach a three-way crossroads at night, you would hear her black dogs howling. Her altars have been erected at such places for centuries.

 

The four-way crossroad are considered to be powerful because all four directions meet at one point. Dirt, rocks and sticks gathered from such a crossroads are said to have powerful spiritual connections, albeit tricky ones to master. In Greek myths, Oedipus met his fate at the crossroads. From the Yoruban people we have Legha (a god known for his clever tricks) ruling the crossroads.

 

Ancient people were afraid of what it meant when one direction met another direction. All manner of folklore is available concerning the crossroads. Fairies are said to hand about there, along with ghouls and goblins. Even the Christian Satan is said to roam the crossroads.

Earth Witches know that a crossroad is actually a place of sacred transformations, manmade or not. Frequently they see them as a metaphor for transformational points in our lives. In such a capacity the crossroads relate to time.

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.

“Demon” Summoning Hecate (1)

Hecate, Queen of Witches,  pre-eminent deity of the ancient nation of Caria, Matron of Midwives, and psychopomp maintains office hours only at night: formal petitions and invitations must be offered after dark. A particularly ancient spirit, the only source of illumination she favors is fire.

Summon Hecate at night by a three-way crossroads. Ideally, light your way with a mullein torch. Offer her garlic, lavender, and honey. If you have a dog, bring it with you. Keep an eye on the dog; it’s likely to perceive Hecate, who adores dogs, before you do. Why would you wish to contact Hecate? Because she can teach you to do anything you can imagine. Because she can grant you enhance psychic powers, fertility, romance, protection, freedom from illness, and magickal restitution for any crime committed against you.