Hecate (or Hekate) is the Goddess of the Gates, so before we descend to the next one, we will need to get to know this Goddess a little bit better. Getting to know her though is challenging. Hecate still feels like an enigma to me, even after reading about her and wondering about her nature for the past ten years. Scholars struggle to understand her origin and nature as well as her role seems to overlap those of Artemis or Demeter and Persephone. Many think she is an older Goddess from another culture that became later incorporated into the Greek pantheon. As Hecate rules the intersections of our lives, maybe it's no wonder that she remains mysterious to us; it is she who invites us to explore the edges of what we know to be true and she is the guardian Goddess of the other realms of which we do not yet know.
As far back as 300 BCE statues and pictures of Hecate show her as one in three forms. It seems that one of the earliest forms of the trinity belonged to Hecate, who was also known as the triple Goddess. Anyone who has preached on the trinity knows how difficult this divine concept is to grok, which also adds to Hecate's mystery. Because she tipped off Demeter on where she could find her daughter Persephone and because Hecate accompanies Persephone's return to earth, these goddesses seem to hold together three divine aspects of the feminine: the daughter, the mother and the wise (possibly old) woman, the crone.
Hecate's triple nature teaches us how to interface with different realms. She is associated with animals, with the deep instincts, and the wisdom of the night. As a military child, I learned that each culture I lived in had it's own unspoken rules. These secret rules revealed a lot about what a particular group of people collectively valued and feared. Every place was different. Every place required careful listening to learn how to interact in each realm. I learned early on that what worked well in one place, didn't always translate to the next. Hecate is the energy and wisdom that helps decipher the structure of the many different realms that we rule or move through in our lives.
Often people left Hecate offerings at crossroads. She is the one who can see all of the different realms at the same time, so she can help us transition from the familiar to the strange. Sorta like Jesus stands at the door and knocks, Hecate stands at the threshold and guides us to new realities. Because she is able to see all of the realsm that war against one another, Hecate was often called upon in battle and at sporting events. One of her triple statues stood outside of Nike's temple. It is Hecate who can weigh the opposing forces, and she who can guide us through the realms for the highest good of all beings.
Hecate also helps us navigate the realms within--which are sometimes even farther away than the stars. She can keep her many eyes on the many pieces of us we have yet to discover and integrate into our consciousness. As we are learning and acquiring new skills, she guards the gates that we are not ready yet to open, and opens to us the gates that are most needed to lead us to deep healing. Following her energy through the unknown is like experiencing a river of "ah ha!" moments.
Because Hecate traversed the realms, she knew her way around the underworld. Her many faces mirrors the many faces of the moon. She rules the dark feminine realm like a wise grandmother. Often boundary making is seen as a masculine energy, but Hecate reveals how the feminine also makes boundaries with the power to open or close her many secret gates at her command.
As we unveil many illusions learning wisdom, Hecate lovingly guides us to new discoveries like a caring mother or school teacher guiding a child. She is also a Goddess to the children and she helps them through their rapid transitions and dangerous rites of passage.
Ancient Greek Invocation to Hecate
You encompass the vast world at night,
You make the Daemones shudder and the Immortals tremble,
O Many Named Goddess who brings glory to men,
Whose children are fair,
O Bull Eyed One, Horned One, Nature, All Mother,
Who brings forth both Gods and men.
You roam around Olympus and traverse the wide and fathomless Abyss,
You are the Beginning and the End, and
You alone are Mistress of All:
For from You are all things,
And in You, Eternal One, do all things end.
Translated from the Greek Magical Papyri
Yoga Pose: Triangle
For Hecate I chose Triangle pose which reflects her triple nature. Stand with your legs apart and arms out wide. Line up your feet underneath your wrists. Now turn the right foot forward so that the heel points at the back arch of the left foot. The left foot is angled at about 45 degrees, so that the heel is the farthest point back. Place the left hand on the left hip and square your hips to the front right foot. Now reach with your right arm straight in front until you come to your edge. Then place the right hand underneath your right shoulder, on the ground, your shin, or a block. Keep turning the left hip down to the ground as the heart is turning up towards the sky. Lengthen the spine on the inhale, and on the exhale engage your core and squeeze out any toxins and old ways of being in the world that no longer serve you and your highest good. Stay here for about 5-8 breaths and then use your core to bring your spine vertical again. Repeat on the other side.
Download the mandala coloring page for Hecate. This also supports Episcopal Relief and Development: Gender Issues and Women's Development.