Standing at the Crossroads, Part IV: Hekate’s Images

Posted by

“Take a lodestone and on it have carved a three- faced Hekate. And let the middle face be that of a maiden wearing horns, and the left face that of a dog, and the one on the right that of a goat. After the carving is done, I clean with natron and water, and dip in the blood of one who has died a violent death.” (PGM IV: 2880-2890)

“Hekate with three heads and six hands, holding torches in her hands, o n the right sides of her face having the head of a cow; and on the left sides the head of a dog; and in the middle the head of a maiden with sandals bound on her feet.”  (PGM IV: 2120)

In my most recent post, I decided on a good counterpart to building a Herm in the ritual which I am crafting: I will design a set of images which will be invisibly placed, corresponding to the, “earthly, wat’ry, and celestial frame”
described in the Orphic Hymns. (0. To Musaeus, Orphic Hymns as translated by Thomas Taylor). I expounded on how the Dog, Cow/Goat and Maiden indeed corresponded, in a somewhat sensible way, to the Land, Sky and Sea, drawing from the myths of Hermes (wherein he cattle-rustles), Iphigenia and Io. I also decided on a color scheme.

My next step is to create the images that I will use, or at least a rough approximation, for testing purposes.

The Maiden

I decided to go for the maiden, “wearing horns.” Readings elsewhere lead me to believe that Hekate, like Artemis, has moon-like stuff in her portfolio. The horns, therefore, I believe, should be the crescent moon.

I started with this image:


This, or a variant of this, was drawn by Stephane Mallarme in roughly 1880.


I isolated her, and reduced the complexity of the lines. I removed a great deal of shading. My recent experiments with creating images for “unseen work,” as I shall call it, have shown that sticking to just a few bold lines and broad planes of colors (no more than three) make for images that are easy to memorize and that have better staying power on the etheric plane. The blue and white are meant to be reminiscent of the sky. The torches, which will be held in a similar way by all of the figures which I will create, will link them. The pose is identical, showing that this is one Hekate with three faces, rather than three separate Hekates.


The Dog

For the dog, it was important to me to create an image that reflected what dogs looked like in ancient Greece.


This Apulian red-figure rhyton is from a Greek colony in what is today southern Italy, ca. 350-300 B.C. This begins to give us an idea of what the ancient greek dog might have looked like. I suspect, however, that the ears may have been reduced in size for practicality’s sake.


I think this is the same dog. The statue is a part of the Vatican Museum. The ears are much bigger.



This dog struck me as a reasonable facsimile. It is called a “Pharaoh” dog.


Here she is, in green. It occurs to me that I left the feet white. The image needs to be cleaned up anyhow. I’m fairly satisfied with the overall look.


The Cow

I decided to go for the cow, rather than the goat.


I tried to pick what I deemed a very pretty, feminine looking cow. This is mainly because the myths which helped me to understand the meaning of the cow to the ancient Greek were Women-Who-Became-Cows.


This picture, and others like it from vases depicting Io, as pointed out by a fellow blogger, and general Hekate person, shows the female cow with horns.



Ultimately, very little of the original cow’s prettiness came across, but I’m fairly satisfied with the overall impression she gives. I may choose to increase the size of the horns, later.


  1. Can i ask why Hekate’s cow head has no horns? is there a deeper reason for it? I thought about it since some days- i know there are some breeds of cows where the female have no horns (or they get removed) but if you look to old images of Zeus and Europa- Europa has horns for sure. This is not meant as critic- i just wondered about it.

    1. I could easily add them, I suppose. But you are right. With the dog, I tried very hard to find one that looked like an ancient Greek dog — perhaps because the plethora of modern dog breeds, and my awareness of them, led me to ask, “Well, what kind of dog?”

      I did not have that same awareness with cows. When I asked myself, “What kind of cow?” The choices that sprang to mind were male and female.

      I see myself revising these last two articles in the coming days. 🙂

  2. i really like the dog you chose for Hekate- in my inner view she has quite similar dogs around her. They look a little bit like the ancient statues of Anubis.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s