In Conversation With Hekate

A modern image of Hekate. From: http://www.philhine.org.uk

A modern image of Hekate. From: http://www.philhine.org.uk

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.

Hekate & Cerberus, Apulian red-figure krater C4th B.C., Antikensammlungen, Munich

Hekate & Cerberus, Apulian red-figure krater
C4th B.C., Antikensammlungen, Munich — Found on Theoi.com

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.

Our Conversation

Hekate dished on this guy. It proved to be far too exciting for my blog.

Hekate dished on this guy. It proved to be far too exciting for my blog.

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.

quote1Here is the thing that is most commonly overlooked in magical practice: in order to influence the world, you need to talk to it.

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

Friends forever!

Friends forever! “Guess who gets a day off from school whenever there’s a rain storm? This girl.”

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.

quote2

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?

distorted_face2

It is an open secret that the mythology we have now is just a small, politically distorted sampling.

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.

quote3

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.

titanomachy

The Battle Between the Gods and the Titans, Joachim Wtewael

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 quote4childish 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.

Hekate: 🙂

27 comments

  1. Eireann

    Oh Thenea, this is beautiful. Did you “Interviewed” Her through channeling? oracular work?
    It surely does sounds like her, even though Brimo has been very kind to me.

    • magickfromscratch

      Thank you very much.

      I generally use automatic writing as a technique to get the “first draft” if you will, then use visual evocation techniques to set up an open channel to allow a second pass. In other words, I let the deity revise their own content.

      I did likewise with Apollon in an earlier entry. Glad to see that you enjoyed it!

  2. Pingback: Consecrating a Guardian Stone | Magick From Scratch
  3. Caleb

    I really enjoyed this, in particular. Hekate certainly has a lot to tell those willing to listen about magic and witchcraft!
    I would like to hear what she had to say about Yahweh, though. Please dish on the gossip!

  4. zephygure

    I’d like to hear the conversation about Yaweh as well. For some reason I remember hearing that Hekate was competition to the Christ because of her association with angels…? Would love to hear more

    • magickfromscratch

      Hekate and Hermes can both rightly claim the title “Angelos,” or “angel.” This is because the word means, “messenger” and both Hermes and Hekate serve as messengers, at various times. Hermes most often brings messages from the gods. Hekate is more likely to bring messages from the dead.

      Deities who occupy the same domain are more often helpmates than competitors. Competing with a deity from another culture who does the same job implies a certain degree of insecurity and immaturity that I think the Theoi have outgrown. Success is not a zero sum game. People that believe that it is are the least likely to succeed. See this info graphic here: http://prafulla.net/wp-content/sharenreadfiles/2013/01/385361/TheSuccessIndicator-Infographic-Poster.jpg

      Indeed, the entire premise of this conversation, Hekate’s premise that is, is that true power comes from winning over the powers of heaven and earth, that is to say, be friending them. If Jesus and Hekate aren’t friends, that’s all on him.

      I posted the question that I edited out in the comments.

  5. magickfromscratch

    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. By no means do I feel qualified to comment on Hebrew culture, but to my perception, their deity is a trickster.

    Not unlike Hermes, who is also a god of shepherding, YHVH (or Adonai, as the Jews more commonly call … It?) lies. He pretends to take offense when not offended, pretends to like people who are good at the religion when sometimes, he finds them abhorrent. He claims to hate sin when he actively prefers the company of sinners. Absurdly, he is twice as likely to answer the prayers of a Wiccan than answer the prayers of a Jew or Christian. He treats oaths like the Fae treat oaths. I work with them, too, sometimes in the same Rite.

    He’s a weird and uncanny fellow who presents an image that abides in defiance of euclidian geometry simply because he can. He’s contrarian, and creative. He is as likely to present himself in drag as Dionysos. Or herself. Or Itself. His followers have no idea what or who he is, and he likes to keep it that way. The fastest way to cause him to lose interest in your existence is to obey him, and all the while, he demands obedience.

    He says he’s against idolatry, but he says a lot of things. It certainly doesn’t stop him from coming when called in an idolatrous ceremony.

    The best way to deal with him is not to treat him like a god at all. I once heard a Jew say, “We can no longer talk to Him because we are no longer capable of looking that low.” More than any other god, more than even Dionysos, the best way to his heart is to assume an attitude of indestructible independence, and unshakeable personal conviction.

    Naturally, therefore, he and I get along quite well. 🙂 I think he has a crush on me.

    • Thenea

      Aware of this is retrospect. I have a feeling that you are going to find a few more of these before we’re done, so I’ll wait until you’ve finished before correcting all of the factual errors.

    • Thenea

      Also, I do want to thank you for the effort. I’m no scholar. I just do my best to work through the material and to formulate intelligent ideas.

      • Thenea

        She is saying no. She is saying that you should turn to no seer and no medium to speak with her, but to meditate deeply on your desire to hear her. In so doing, you can forge a connection. If you want that.

        I feel like this quandary brings up a deficiency in my writing: I write a great deal about what to do when gnosis blows up in your face, but very little about how to forge gnostic connections to deities to begin with.

        Read up on the former, and then contact me, and I might be able to help you with the latter.

  6. Ashley Nicole Hunter

    This is one of my favorite pieces of writing, and I like to turn to it every now and again when I’m afraid that what I’m doing isn’t enough to please Her. I feel like a woefully inadequate follower at times, easily scared as I am, but I try to Do Good Works. I hope that’s something, at least.

    • Thenea

      That’s everything. When you do good works in the name of a deity, you spread their name, and make others think well of them. Not all deities are like that. I mean, some people worship Chthulu or whatever, but Greek deities, and I think Middle Eastern deities too, really, really care about being well thought of.

      Good Works > Libation Offerings/Ritual/Sacrifices

      IMHO, anyway.

  7. zephygure

    I’m pretty sure the first time I wrote this comment it deleted itself so here goes again.

    Hi, I keep coming back to your material year after year and I’m glad you’re doing what you’re doing!
    I worshipped Her throughout high school, inconsistently, during the most immature period of my life. So I haven’t approached Her in a long time because I’m afraid I do not meet Her standards. That being said I do not have the tools to converse with Her as you do so some of the things that bother me I can’t ask Her about myself.

    Some people use notions such as ‘love everyone’ and ‘no one deserves punishment’ as a way to say violence is not the answer. So when controversial movements such as BLM come around you will hear (I have heard) politically moderate people say that their movement is illegitimate because they consider those movements violent. This concerns me be because I’m not seeing anywhere in history where an oppressed people won the right to be treated like people via peaceful, convenient negotiation with the oppressor. Like some folks use ‘violence is not the answer’ to maintain the status quo. Do you know what I mean?

    I know that no one knows what they’re doing. That humanity is ignorant, scared, confused and we hurt each other while we struggle with these things. I don’t know how to reconcile that with the reality of the overwhelming cruelty that we exhibit towards each other. I am afraid of being one of those aforementioned complacent people. I hope none of that came across as an attack, this is just something I’ve been struggling with recently. I respect your opinion and your methods so I thought I would ask you to help me understand how to be compassionate with peoples mistakes while taking a strong stance against those mistakes. Can you help me with this? Does She have anything to say?

    • Thenea

      Thanks for commenting and reading. It’s a tough question you ask, and not all deities are going to have the same perspective on the question. I’m not an all-knowing guru or philosopher king, so my answer on this might not be any better than yours. But I do have some thoughts on the matter.

      I want to start here: If you say that violence is seldom the best answer, racists will use it to try to discredit people of color by saying that their efforts for freedom should be conducted exclusively through peaceful means, no matter how oppressive and intractable the systemic racism and those enforcing it might be. If you say “sometimes violence is justified” the self-same racists will decide that the occasion of silencing people fighting oppression is the exact occasion where violence is justifiable. They want what they want. If they can use our own words against us in the process, so much the better. There are no words and no philosophies we can choose that will stop tyrants from being tyrants. We can only choose our own behavior.

      Insofar as living up to Hekate’s standards, there are two things to bear in mind:

      That Hekate may be the Goddess of the Midden, and Patroness of those society casts aside, but she is also the Goddess of the Firebrands, who, when certain Titans needed to be dealt with, had no qualms about burning the establishment to the ground.

      That when Hekate speaks to magicians, she speaks as one giving guidance to the powerful, and modeling how power should appropriately be used. That is to say, she is simultaneously saying, “Power is generated and maintained through friendship” but also, “use fear and force from your divine office or use your power as a hammer against the weak at your own peril, fool.”

      Not even for ten seconds would she contemplate telling an oppressed minority that they should remain silent and stay oppressed rather than cause an uproar.

      However:

      Consider Hitler. If someone had shot him, would that have prevented the Holocaust? No. Hitler was a focal point for growing discontent and bigotry which brewed in that atmosphere as a result. Shooting Hitler would have just caused a different leader to take command and do the same. However, if a powerful thinker and pedant had redirected the dialogue away from bigotry and toward constructive efforts to fix the economy, like public works, we might have seen a very different outcome.

      Violence isn’t wrong. It’s just not the most powerful tool in all situations. We get distracted asking ourselves whether or not violence is justified. That’s the wrong conversation to have. The correct conversation to have is about what our specific aims are, and what the best tool for those aims might be. In some cases violence might be the right tool, in my opinion. But then, I am a daughter of Ares.

      Her message for you:

      “Anger clouds the mind. A blow dealt in anger is wild, and seldom hits the mark.

      Remember that the powerful in your country are able to enact their will through non-violent social contests. It’s only by building consensus with an army that a general may strike. This is the secret of becoming the Power. Look at your government. No one got into office by using guns.

      Empathy is neither light nor dark, neither good nor evil. It is the discernment to know what makes another person tick. What they want. What motivates them. Where their buttons are.

      Remember, too, that you cannot escape a future of eating potatoes by boiling more potatoes than your neighbor. Neither can you escape violence through an application of greater violence.

      Do not think that I judge you. It is, I suppose, common for humans to look down upon one another for the wisdom or material possessions which they lack. This has no purpose and changes nothing. I seek to teach. If you already knew the path to power, if you already knew all that I know, you’d have no purpose for me.

      Never have I seen a person learn faster or more effectively by inwardly denigrating themselves for not having already finished the effort before they’ve begun. Never have I seen a teacher become more effective by reviling her students.
      If you wish for greater patience, always ask — what am I trying to bring about, and what is the most effective means to that end?

      You will seldom find that fear and force give you the best and most enduring results. Doubt me, if you will, but try your hand at violence, and you will quickly grasp the truth of it. There is no power there.

      Do not mistake me — a war is being fought. There will be casualties. But ask yourself which blade cuts the deepest? Is it the literal sword, or is it the metaphorical sword of public opinion? In my time, I have heard men bewail their shame and pray for a death that was too slow in coming.”

      • Thenea

        It’s also important to understand the difference between her comments on leaders in our United States government, and the comments she makes about building community and gaining power within Paganism. There are, and should be, different ways of thinking of those two things.

  8. Rz Naz

    Just to reply to what you channeled about Hekate:
    “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.”

    Hekate in my experience, is very supportive of relationships, and I see Her as a goddess of marriage. She was one of the protectors of the home and family in Ancient Athens and Her most sacred of animals, the dog, is a loyal family companion. I guess She has different sides but there were times when I thought ” No wonder She is ‘single’ in most mythologies or has an unclear partner ( She is sometimes said to be quite sexual with Hermes )….She’s so independent and encourages that.” I can definitely see Feminism interesting Her – a lot of the things She has taught me I have seen echoed in feminist writings about empowering yourself as a woman. Another goddess who I think is quite close to Hekate and I sometimes wonder if She’s an aspect of Her is Artemis. She is pretty much a modern day girl who had to ‘live’ in a patriarchal Ancient Greek society.

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