I decided to record a conversation with Hekate about her mythology, and mythology in general. It didn’t quite go the way I thought it would.
In my imagination, she figures prominently in the Titanomachy, though I think half the things I remember about the Titan war have no source text I can point to, so I probably made them up.
That, in all, I think, says a lot about how I relate to Hekate. Her mythology takes on a life of its own inside of my head, to the point where it overshadows the written word. Over the next few weeks, I plan to sort that. In the meantime, let me tell you about the Hekate that I know and love.
We can all think of people that are loud, braggy, drive flashy cars, and want to announce to the world that they are awesome, largely because they feel inadequate and insecure. In fact, it is predictable that the more a person talks about themselves, the less they probably have up their sleeve. The more insecure they are, the meaner they tend to be.
Hekate is the exact opposite of that person. She’s silent like death until she has reason to speak. Other deities are easily provoked, or are quick to remind you of their potential wrath. Hekate is not like that.
Hekate has fuck all to prove.
She inhabits some very dark places, but despite this, she is uncontestedly the gentlest goddess I know.
I am calling her because I am about the embark on the process of researching her mythology and writing her a few hymns, and thought it might be helpful to get a sense of her present gripes, values, concerns and voice.
Thenea: Before I get into the serious stuff, though, I really have to know. Wiccans often call you using Golden Dawn techniques which can sometimes include the names of the Hebrew Deity. How do you feel about that?
Hekate: I think I mind it less than the unconscious minds of some of my followers.
[… a long and rather theologically racy section occurred here, about the nature of the Abrahamic god. It was too political for my blog. If you want to know what Hekate said, feel free to message me privately, and I can send you the transcript… ]
Thenea: Alright then, moving on. You are a goddess of magic. I’m very interested in improving the efficacy of my practice. What do you recommend?
Hekate: Well, well. Yes, I am.
You say, “If you ever have a moment where you feel sympathy for an inanimate object, that is a Hekatesian moment.” Yes! Quite right! To truly master the forces of nature, even the very essence of time and matter, you need to realize a single truth: there are no inanimate objects.
Let me go a step further, and teach a spiritual teaching, shall I? There are no unimportant people. There are no people who have no souls. There is no one who simply doesn’t matter. There are no deities who are unimportant. There are no forces of the universe that deserve no pity. There is no force in heaven or on earth that you can’t win over.
Technology allows you to harness electricity, but imagine if electricity itself was your friend. Imagine if you were
electricity’s sole confidante! Just like having a friend in the post office can get you to the front of the line quicker, or having a friend in city hall can cause certain ordinances to disappear, having electricity as a friend means that it may be willing to bend a few rules for you.
Kaos, Void, Night, Day, Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Sky and Earth — befriend these, and power will surely be yours.
Thenea: So, what is your take on why magic doesn’t work as well as it used to?
Hekate: It works fairly well for me, actually. 🙂
You mean to ask me why physical manifestation of deities seems to have gone out of vogue. I think that is what you mean to ask, anyway.
I once knew someone who worked extensively with Dionysos. He manifested for her, and suddenly, she saw all of his warts. She reacted to this by lambasting him in every way possible, and has not since stopped.
Humanity burned us. Literally, in some cases! We tend to be more discrete in modern times, hoping to preserve the mystery. If you pay attention, though, you just might catch Hermes slipping quarters into someone’s bag, or Hephaestus kicking a stubborn machine into gear. We’re still here. We simply avoid your gaze.
Be a person that does not judge even your fellow human unfavorably, and I promise you, you will see us. Hard to swallow, I suppose, since most of you have at least one person whom you think is unworthy of your affections, but there it is. An overweight person on the internet, someone with acne, a “fluffy bunny,” a person you think is expressing a stupid opinion? A lady with a photo-shopped labia? Look down on them. Laugh at them. Go ahead, no one can stop you. But for every person you harshly judge, you push your gods further from yourself. When we say, “pure of heart,” we do not mean one who hasn’t transgressed some arcane set of purity laws. We mean someone who is not presently engaged in being an asshole.
Assume the best intentions of all people. Discard no one. Be charitable to one another. In so doing, you will find a world full of things far more exciting than online drama.
Thenea: Damn. That is some food for thought.
Hekate: Too right. Next question?
Thenea: I notice that there are no traditional hymns written for you. If I were to write one, what would you like it to focus on?
Hekate: Good question. Mythology is all falsity. I’m sure you know that by now. So much of it is simply a record of ancient political machines, now dead. So many gods and goddesses, myself included, were swept aside, minimized, distorted or changed with coming invasions, changes of leadership, and shifting societal values.
I can’t say that there is a “true story” of Hekate out there, somewhere. I think the person I used to be is lost. I’m not sorry to see her go, either. Remember, I was Brimo, an angry goddess. I hate being angry. I hate it when other gods are angry, too. Its the sort if thing you hope to grow out of, and in these times, too often, records prevent us from changing.
I’m old. I’m ageless, but I’m old. I feel old, in my heart. I have seen empires rise and fall, and the affairs of men create and destroy gods. Other deities will make light, or pretend that the myths we have today are the myths we’ve always had. They’ll act the part. I won’t. I’m done. You can take me as I am or not at all.
Thenea: So, you have changed. What kind of goddess are you now, and what is important to you?
Hekate: Feminism interests me, for obvious reasons. The idea that women do not need men is consistent with my beliefs. I’d like to see society be supportive of women who wish to remain single.
I’d like to see power shared equally between the genders, ultimately. Before that can happen, I think the traditions of matriarchal societies need to be uncovered and embraced. They are not a fiction. Minoan society and some of its contemporaries were incredibly matriarchal. So much of the Hellenic rape mythology is a direct response to that. We feel the echoes of that decision even to this very day.
Thenea: What sort of new mythology would you like to see written?
Hekate: Hm. I suppose I am most interested in seeing feminist revisions of mythology, and cautionary tales about mortals which responds to modern moral quandaries.
For example, a story about three people who, under dire situations, each appealed to the gods, but the one who outwardly appears unworthy, yet judges no one, is the one who succeeds in calling a deity to save them. I would also enjoy a story about a mortal who no human liked, but was loved by their gods, and because of that, came to be loved by other humans for the decent person that they are. A tale of “right makes might,” if you will.
Particularly, it would be fabulous if you would fully render the Titanomachy, since we’ve lost so many poems that described it. Hesiod and Orpheus are good sources to examine, but I think you will find them absurdly sparse. I do, anyway. So, please, do, go deeper, and let that ancient story speak to the ills of your day: of treaties made and broken, of the promise of freedom which unifies all men under the banner of war, of the utter corruption of leaders who are no better than the tyrants they overthrow, of how the mighty push aside the wise, and how the powerful victimize the weak. Write me a story of honor and glory that paints with vivid inks the bottomless greed of those who search for power in place of happiness and the sour stench of desolation that settles as a thick cloud over their affairs. Show me the leaders of your time, rendered as gods and titans. It is what mortals do in every generation, and yours should be no different.
Thenea: Thank you. I think I can work with that. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Hekate: Yes. Don’t be afraid, and don’t give up hope. So many of you are afraid of us, but there is no cause for that. Be afraid of people who have something to gain from you. The gods do not actually stand to gain from mortals, at least, not in any material way. We want to be loved, and are old enough not to be foolish.
If we judged you harshly, you would hate us.
If we were cruel and arbitrary, you should hate us.
If we were unfair or partisan, you would certainly be right to hate us.
If we could only solve our problems through cursing you, we would be spiritually foolish, and in demanding honor, we would eventually be demanding your scorn.
Rather, we desire your love, are long-lived, and patient. We love you, and can think of more responses to your childish ways than wrath. Love us, and we will cherish you. Listen to us, and we will teach you. Honor us, and we will give you just consideration. Honor one another, and we will exalt you above your neighbors, and place your generation among the stars. Moreover, and above all of these things, be kind, because your character reflects on us. When you are cruel to anyone, you are cruel to us. When you are kind to anyone, you are kind to us.
In the matter of hospitality, be true, and know that whomever you speak to while in your home, no matter the distance, is your guest. If you think to yourself that you would never have them over your house, then do not speak to them.
Lastly, know that where you build love between you, you build your strength. Where you destroy love, you destroy your strength. If you seek honor and power but deride others, you are like a man who empties his wallet into the street of the marketplace while seeking wealth.
Now, I’ve ranted at length, and I hope you take heed. I, Thenea, shall await your hymns with open ears.
Thenea: Right. No pressure.