Hecate is a Greek goddess of witchcraft, magick, the underworld, necromancy, the moon and the night .

Hecate History, Mythology, and Lore

Hecate has a long pedigree. That insufferable busybody and gossip Hesiod is the first to mention her in written form in his Theogony, the cornerstone of Greek mythology as a powerful goddess in her own right.

Hesiod claims her domains are earth, sea, and sky. She would later acquire, in some form or another, power over light, entrances, night, witchcraft, botany, necromancy, keys and of course, crossroads. 

She apparently has a fondness for dogs, fitting given her association with the underworld and dog’s fondness for unburied bodies and trash. Polecats—bigger meaner wild cousins of domestic ferrets, basically—were also closely associated with Hecate. So were snakes, lions, the red mullet, boar, horse and cows. Hecate is also said to be fond of garlic, yew and oak trees, and of course aconite, mandrakes and belladonna.

The Romans, being Romans, called Hecate Trivia (‘Three-Ways’) which really makes looking for signs advertising a trivia night at your local dive bar acquire different casts and layers of meaning. Later Christian sects would attempt to incorporate Hecate into Christian tradition, giving her the epithet “Mother of Angels”.

All that being said, of course, Hecate is most famous as a patron of witches, sorcerers and people who seek forbidden knowledge. To be fair, one doesn’t fall into the occult or arcane to find ordinary knowledge. The triple goddess is often portrayed as a woman with three heads (sometimes human, sometimes not).

She was associated with boundaries (and liminal spaces), the underworld, the moon, and witchcraft, among other things. As a deity that existed prior to Zeus (and was folded into the Greek pantheon like Poseidon and others) Hecate has considerable independence from the formal layout of Greek gods.

She has a multitude of old titles clinging to her—here are some of them (in no particular order):

  • Three-formed

  • ‘Savior’ (this can also be linked with her saving the city of Byzantium, according to legend, from the unkind attentions of Philip of Macedon by putting lights in the night sky ahead of his attack which leads to our next nickname/title)

  • Light-bringer

  • ‘She-on-the-road’

  • Cthonia (of the caves, of the underworld)

  • One-that-turns-away

  • Nurse of Children

So a pretty varied and interesting array of names and associations. Later in human history, Hecate would be merged/associated with Diana in the European Renaissance in art and statuary. She’s been painted by William Blake in the more modern era, and even been grafted into some Germanic iconography like the Wild Hunt.

Even the word ‘jinx’ may have a link to Hecate. According to the Byzantine scholar Micheal 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 especially powerful/popular with modern witches/Wiccans/modern practitioners


Working with Hecate

Hecate is a Greek goddess of witchcraft, magick, the underworld, necromancy, the moon and the night .

I created a Hecate playlist on YouTube of meditation music, meditations, and mantras for Lilith to help you in your journey working with her.

Hecate’s Enn: Anana Hecate Ayer

Hecate’s Correspondences:

  • Botanical and Aromatic: Aconite, Amber, Belladonna, Copal, Cypress, Dandelion, Dittany of Crete, Lavender, Lemon, Lotus, Mandrake, Mugwort, Mullein, Nutmeg, Oak, Orris Root, Patchouli, Pomegranates, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver

  • Crystals and Stones: Amethyst, Obsidian, Onyx, Quartz, Selenite, Smoky Quartz

  • Animals: Black Dogs. Serpents, Wolves

  • Offerings: Keys, crossroads dirt, graveyard dirt (for underworld workings)

References & Further Reading

Books & Web Links

  • Entering Hekate's Garden: The Magick, Medicine & Mystery of Plant Spirit Witchcraft by Cyndi Brannen, Leslie Howard, et al. 2020

  • Hekate Liminal Rites: A Study of the Rituals, Magic and Symbols of the Torch-Bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroads - Sorita d'Este , David Rankine, 2009.

  • Hecate: Witchcraft, Death & Nocturnal Magic by Asenath Mason, 2021.

  • Hekate: Goddess of Witches - Courtney Weber, 2021.

YouTube Videos

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