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The Goddess Hecate

The Goddess Hecate (Hekate) is a Goddess that holds great importance within the pantheon of Greek mythology for quite a few important reasons which I plan to cover in this blog post. I myself have not personally worked with her much but have read about her quite a lot and even researched the well know Wheel of Hecate. So knowing how important this Goddess is to so many, I took great care in putting this together so as to make sure I did her justice in honoring her importance and assisting in educating others about who she is, her origin and how to connect with her power and magick.

Everything You Need To Know About Hecate (Maiden, Mother, Crone)

By Danielle Mackay, BA Classical Studies and Linguistics, MA Classical Studies

The goddess Hecate is one of the lesser-known goddesses of the Greek pantheon. Child of Perses and Asteria, she was the only Titan to retain her control under Zeus’ reign. Hecate’s powers transcended the boundaries of the sky, the earth, the seas, and the underworld.

Although there are few myths about the goddess Hecate, her tales reveal a lot about her spheres of influence. During the Roman era, many of her attributes fell in the realm of the underworld. Yet, she also controlled elements that placed her firmly in the light. The goddess possessed extensive powers, which were later assimilated by other deities. Hecate could bestow wealth and blessings on her worshippers, yet she could also withhold these gifts if she were not adequately worshipped. This article will explore who Hecate was and what her attributes and symbols were.

Classical scholars dispute the origins of Hecate’s worship in Ancient Greece. For many, the goddess’ worship has a pre-Greek origin, while for others, it originated in Thrace. Among the theories, the most popular is that Hecate was accepted into Greek religion from the Carians in Asia Minor. According to scholars, it is believed that the goddess came to Greece during the Archaic age. The presence of Hecatean worship in Caria is attested by the number of cult sites dedicated to the goddess. The most prominent of these was in Lagina. However, due to these Anatolian cult sites’ late dates, other classicists argue that an Anatolian origin is impossible for the goddess. Continue reading HERE.

Hekateion (little votive column to Hecate). The triple-body goddess is surrounded by three dancing Charites. Attica, ca. 3rd century BCE.

To those at the forefront of Pagan scholarship, the rise of Hekate is neither coincidental nor surprising. Sorita d’Este, author of Circle for Hekate and over a dozen other titles, is a researcher whose work is rooted in mysticism and mythology. She is also the founder of Avalonia, an independent publisher of Pagan and esoteric books.

“In the ancient world, Hekate was a goddess of many names and many faces,” said d’Este. “She was also worshiped by people from many nations and places, so her continued ability to adapt and be relevant today should not really come as a surprise. Hekate is relevant and present in the 21st century. This is evident in the surge of interest in her but also the number of appearances she makes in pop culture, the number of books written about her, and the way that she has a place in the worship and work of polytheists, as well as Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens, ceremonial magicians, and even Buddhists and Hindus.”

In 2010, d’Este produced Hekate: Her Sacred Fires, an anthology in which nearly 50 individuals from around the globe share their own personal visions of the goddess. Shortly thereafter, she created The Rite of Her Sacred Fires, an international devotional event celebrated every year during the May full moon. d’Este then formed Covenant of Hekate, a “network of devotees from different traditions and backgrounds who share their works with one another.” SOURCE

Hekate Her Sacred Fires is an exceptional book for an extraordinary, eternal and universal Goddess. It brings together essays, prose and artwork from more than fifty remarkable contributors from all over the world. Their stories and revelations are challenging, their visions and determination in exploring the mysteries are inspirational, and their enthusiasm for the Goddess of the Crossroads is truly entrancing and sometimes highly infectious.

“Hecate’s themes are the moon, beginnings and magic. Her symbols are serpents, horses or dogs (Her sacred animals), light (especially a torch), myrrh, silver and moonstone. This Greco-Roman Goddess rules the moon and opportunities. Tonight She opens the path through which the old year departs and the new enters. People customarily worship Hecate at crossroads, where worlds meet, which may be why She became a witch’s Goddess. On this, Hecate’s Day, She bears a torch, lighting the way to the future.

At the eve of a New Year, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for a full of Goddess-centered thinking and action. Note your achievements, and thank Hecate for helping you find the way when your vision seemed clouded. An additional benefit here is that speaking this Goddess’s name today banishes unwanted ghosts, including those figurative ghosts of past negative experiences. Let Hecate take those burdens so your new year will begin without anything holding you back.

To accept this Goddess’s powers in your life throughout your celebrations today, wear white or silver items, and light a white candle in Her honor. For a token that will emphasize Hecate’s magic and lunar energies whenever you need them, bless a moonstone, saying something like:

‘Hecate, fill this silver stone
keep your magic with me where ever I roam.’

Carry this, keeping the Goddess close to your heart and spirit.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.) SOURCE

The Wheel of Hecate

Greek Goddess Hecate Wheel

The Hecate’s Wheel is a powerful symbol that represents the goddess Hecate. It is also referred to as the Strophalos of Hecate. Hecate’s Wheel is a circle that has a circular maze surrounding a spiral. This symbol draws its inspiration and power from the Moon, Earth, Sea, and Sky. This is more so because the deity Hecate is the ruler of these spheres of the Universe.

Hecate’s Wheel draws attention to the 3 phases of the triple Hecate, the goddess of the moon. It accentuates the 3 phases of the female cycle. The female life starts as a Maiden, graduates to a Mother, and later to a Crone. Hecate’s Wheel indicates the immense blessings and goodwill this goddess provides for the family.

Those with this symbol as their religious icon find it easy to attract prosperity, growth, and progress in their families. Traditionally, Hecate has been seen to be the guardian of the crossroads. This evolved with time, and she became the guardian of magic and witchcraft. Hecate’s Wheel aptly captures the evolution displayed by the goddess Hecate throughout history.

Up to 500 BCE, physical representations of Hecate indicate her evolution through the various phases of womanhood. Hecate’s Wheel started inculcating these images as early as 100 AD. Some of the earliest images of Hecate’s Wheel also depicted the influence of Aphrodite in the affairs of Hecate. In modern times, Hecate’s Wheel has become an important pagan spiritual symbol. It has gained a lot of traction amongst modern pagans. Continue reading HERE.

“Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods…. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea”.

Her gifts towards mankind are all-encompassing, Hesiod tells:

“Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less”.

Hecate was carefully attended:

“For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her”. SOURCE

How to work with Hecate through deity communication, altar building, offerings, etc is definitely a little rough. Hecate being the deity of witchcraft can be overwhelming to those who she has called out to who don’t have much info on her. This video will hopefully fill in some of the gaps for some. Goddess Hecate within Greek mythology has a very interesting history, but also a very small mythology. But don’t let that fool you because Hecate is full of mystery and there is still a lot when working with her.
Hello dear friends, today the video is different! Talking about a Greek goddess – Hecate. I truly hope you enjoy the video.

Further Resources

The Covenant of Hekate (CoH) was born out of the desire to create a community and centre of study for those who share a passion for the history, mysteries and magic of the Goddess Hekate.

Hecate: Greece’s Dark Goddess of the Crossroads

Hecate: Holding Court Over Ancient Greek Witchcraft, the Moon, and Ghosts

Hecate Greek Goddess of Witchcraft : The Complete Guide

The Greek Goddess Hecate

The Functions of the Greek Goddess Hecate – by Lucy Moore

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Jarnsaxa – The Wolf Riding Jötun

There are a lot of lesser known Goddesses and Þurs, Giants and Giantesses which I consider Gods and Goddesses as well, in the tales of Norse Mythology. One of my favorites is the tale of Jarnsaxa, lover of Thor and mother of Thor’s son, Magni the Norse God of strength. Now many would argue that she is not a Goddess and only a Jötun from the realm of Jötunheimr. However I have always said that all of the Þurs are indeed Gods and Goddesses because of the complex and close relations they have with the tribes of the Vanir and Æsir but we can leave that for a future blog post. So now let us dive into Jarnsaxa and her lesser known great importance within the Norse pantheon.

Jarnsaxa or Iarnsaxa was mother of Magni and Modi (Refer to Note 1), by the Aesir Thor. Not much is known about Jarnsaxa, except that she was Sif’s rival for Thor’s love. All references to Jarnsaxa have to do with either Thor being her lover or Magni being her son. Her parents are unknown. Her name means “iron sax”. Her name appeared in Sturluson’s list of giantesses, and in a couple of Eddaic kennings.

Every difficulty increases Jarnsaxa’s wind in Olaf’s father, so that praise is due. Here, Jarnsaxa’s wind means “courage”. He reddened with gore the chops of the dark-looking steed of Jarnsaxa…. In this kenning, the dark-looking steed of Jarnsaxa indicates her steed was a wolf. SOURCE

NOTE 1: Some believe that Modi is actually the some of Sigyn but it is also said that his mother is unknown.

We know a little bit about her and what she does. Her name is a portmanteau of the Swedish words for iron, axe, and scissors (jarn, yxa, and saxa, respectively). In the Poetic Edda (considered one of the oldest texts of Norse culture), we learn that she is one of The Nine Mothers (Refer to Note 2) of Heimdall. These Wave-Maidens were responsible for turning the mill which runs the wind and the waves. After Heimdall leaves his mothers to seek his fortune, Jarnsaxa disappears from the Eddas for a while.

She reappears as Thor’s lover. Like before, as a Wave-Maiden, she is a giantess. We learn that she is a Jotun, the same race as Loki. She is also the mother of Thor’s sons, Magni and Modi [Refer to Note 1](respectively named for physical strength, and the desire to fight and kill). It is prophesied that Modi and Magni will eventually inherit Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer, when it is thrown at the end of Ragnarok (the Old Norse apocalypse). We also know from other places in the Eddas that Thor’s official wife is Sif, the goddess of fertility. Read full blog post HERE.

NOTE 2: There are actually two theories on who the “Nine Mothers” of Heimdall are and the other is that his nine mothers are actually the Nine Daughters of the sea Goddess Rán. I will expand on this in a future blog post.

Járnsaxa “Iron-cutlass” is often depicted riding her giant Wolf and carrying a sword. Credit: Artist unknown

Further Resources:

Jarnsaxa the lesser known Giantess

SKÁLDSKAPARMAL

The Nafnathulur in English Translation (Nafnaþulur)

Trollkvinna

Völuspá: The Völva’s ProphecyA Study Guide

The parentage of Magni and Modi with brief mention of Jarnsaxa by Norse Magic and Beliefs
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Nehalennia: Dutch Goddess of the North Seas

A couple of years ago I learned about the little know Dutch Goddess of the North seas, Nehalennia. Since my main deities are Gods and Goddesses of the seas I had to dive into who this Goddess is and her importance. Nehalennia is the Goddess of the North seas, Sailors, fortune at sea, safe passage at sea and sometimes considered a Goddess of life and death. She is also considered to be a Mothergoddess. So in many ways you can see similarities between Nehalennia and the Norse God Njordr, Ægir and the Goddess Rán. I always like to give lesser known Gods and Goddesses the spotlight they deserve and Nehalennia definitely deserves such honor.

In 1645 a large part of the Zeeland Dunes in Domburg were eroded due to a huge storm. What they found were altarstones or votive stones dedicated to the Goddess Nehalennia. These stones dated back to the second and third century BC. They also find the remains of a Temple. Which suggests that there once was a Temple dedicated to Nehalennia there. Although it is still not known whether this Goddess was Celtic or Germanic, it is known that the Romans in the area worshipped this Goddess. The texts on the votive stones are in Latin. Therefore it is thought that Nehalennia is the name the Romans gave to the Goddess. The stones found in Domburg were displayed in the church, which turned into a sort of museum. However in 1848 lightning struck the church tower, burning it to the ground. Most stones were destroyed.

In 1970 a fisherman at Colijnsplaat in Zeeland noticed four large stones in his fishing net. He decided to take them to shore and showed them to a lot of people. They recognized the name Nehalennia, which was still readable on one of the stones. In the years after this discovery they excavated more of these votive stones, together with pieces of building materials. Suggesting that here too, once a Temple dedicated to the Sea Goddess stood. SOURCE.

Nehalennia Dutch Goddess Statue, Colijnsplaat. Date
ca. 100 CE–ca. 250 CE
Nehalennia, a Dutch Goddess Kindle Edition
by Ingrid de Haas

Further Resources:

Nehalennia (Celtic: “she of the sea”): ancient goddess, venerated in the Roman age at the mouth of the river Scheldt.

A Dutch Goddess, Nehalennia

Nehalennia – the ‘Cailleach’ of Zeeland?

Nelahennia is a native Dutch Goddess

Ancient Goddesses Indigenous to The Netherlands: Nehalennia, Hludana and Tanfana

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Goddess Ostara – What is Known

As much as is written and as many websites along with Youtube videos you can find regarding the Germanic Goddess Ēostre (Ostara, Ēastre), so little is known historically. But does this mean we disregard her as a true Goddess? I say no because as we see with Gods and Goddesses of other Pantheons such as the Norse, Celtic and Slavic, it does not lessen their importance. So being that Spring has begun I felt the need to offer this post to my readers to get a deeper insight and see other opinions regarding Goddess Ostara.

Ēostre (Ostara, Ēastre) is an obscure Germanic and Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and dawn, and is thought to be the namesake of the Christian holiday Easter. Her festival is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring.

Her name is thought to mean “to shine”, therefore Ēostre is seen as a goddess of the dawn. However it is also thought that Ēastre is the ancient word for “spring”. There are also links to the name Ēostre and “east”, the direction of the sky where the sun first rises, which gives Ēostre the name “Eastern Star”.

Ēostre is connected with growth, renewal, abundance, new beginnings and fertility. As symbols of rebirth and fertility, eggs and rabbits are sacred to her, as is the full moon.

Ēostre represents the transitional time between childhood innocence and adult passion, and reminds us that life is full of untold possibilities and adventures. SOURCE

Ostara/Spring Equinox Vernal Equinox March 21-22

A point of perfect balance on the journey through the Wheel of the Year. Night and day are of equal length and in perfect equilibrium – dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, in balance. But the year is now waxing and at this moment light defeats the dark. The natural world is coming alive, the Sun is gaining in strength and the days are becoming longer and warmer.

The gentle whispered promise of Imbolc is fulfilled in the evident and abundant fertility of the Earth at Ostara. It is time for the hopes of Imbolc to become action. The energy is expansive and exuberant. It is the first day of Spring!

Ostara takes its name after the Germanic goddess, Eostre/Ostara, who was traditionally honoured in the month of April with festivals to celebrate fertility, renewal and re-birth. It was from Eostre that the Christian celebration of Easter evolved, and indeed the naming of the hormone Eostrogen, essential to women’s fertility. The Goddess Ostara has the shoulders and head of a hare. SOURCE

The changing of the seasons, phases of the moon, even our personal experiences-all are reflections of the Divine Feminine. Create a stronger connection to the sacred world and your own divinity by welcoming these thirteen powerful Celtic and Nordic goddesses into your life.

All About Eostre – The Pagan Goddess of Dawn

Goddess Ostara

OSTARA: Saxon Goddess of the Dawn and Spring

Who is Ostara?

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Nerthus, The Earth Mother Goddess

Nerthus, the Earth Mother Goddess of the Norse Vanir Gods. Lady of trees and sacred bogs, Lady of the fertile earth plowed up to give us food, Lady who is always veiled, and whose face is death to look upon.

Nerthus still to present time is quite the mysterious Goddess seeing how there is so little known about her. Some feel she is a Goddess just of Germanic tribes but there are some hints and clues that lead to showing that not only is she of the Vanir but may possibly be Njord’s sister and possibly Wife. Despite the mysterious origins of her I feel she is deserving of honor.

Nerthus is associated with Spring, cycles, health, energy, peace and prosperity. Her symbols are fire, chariots and soil.

We first learn about Nerthus from the Roman historian Tacitus, who was writing in the first century C.E. He called Her ‘Terra Mater’ (earth Mother) and noted that She was worshiped by several Germanic tribes. He describes a ritual setting in which an image of Nerthus stands concealed in a cart within a sacred grove. Only Her clergy were permitted to touch or approach the sacred image. All others were put to death. Tacitus writes that this cart would be driven in a holy procession, after which the statue and its accoutrements would be tended to and cleansed in a special lake (and the slaves who assisted with this would be drowned in that lake). (Simek, p. 230). Simek considers Nerthus to have been a Baltic and/or Danish Goddess, since the tribes Tacitus specifically refers to settled east of the Elbe River. He also associates the ritual washing of the statue and its gear with the sacred marriage, or hieros gamos. (ibid).

Because Tacitus, in good Roman fashion, compares (or syncretizes) Nerthus with the Roman Terra Mater, examining how the Romans viewed their own Earth Mother may provide valuable clues into the nature of Nerthus. (Krasskova, p. 88). The Romans had no sentimental illusions about Terra Mater. She was a nurturing and gift giving Goddess of the earth, but She was also the terrible Goddess of earthquakes, famine, flood, storm, and destruction. There was bounty, but also tremendous danger and outright terror all contained at once in the holy presence of this Goddess. (ibid). Tacitus specifically talks about the mysteries of Nerthus as begetting “terror and a pious reluctance to ask what that sight can be which is only seen by men doomed to die.” (Tacitus, chapter 40). In this, it would seem, Nerthus contains within Herself the embodiment of holy power and perhaps holy terror as well.

In surviving Anglo-Saxon writings, there is a ritual (Æcerbot or ‘field remedy’) for blessing the fields prior to ploughing and planting. Despite its rather late provenance (11th century) in this ritual “Eorðan Moðor,” or Earth Mother is invoked. Contemporary Heathens, particularly those with an Anglo-Saxon focus, look to this rite for one of the Holy Tides: Charming of the Plough, which usually occurs in late February. While few of us today are bound to the earth in the way that our largely agrarian ancestors were, we can still honor its cycles and honor the gift of our own creativity too in such rites. SOURCE

Useful Sources: “Dying for the Gods” by M. Green, “Looking for the Lost Gods of England,” by Kathleen Herbert, “Boar, Birch and Bog” by Nicanthiel Hrafnhild, “Exploring the Northern Tradition” by Galina Krasskova and “Dictionary of Northern Mythology” by Rudolf Simek

The Germanic Kingdoms and the Eastern Roman Empire in 526 CE

Nerthus and Njorun: a Norse Mystery

The Goddess Nerthus

Goddess Nerthus

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Sinthgunt: The Mysterious Cosmic Goddess

Sinthgunt is a Norse Goddess shrouded in mystery and very little is known of her which leaves open to some modern ideas regarding who she is. Some for me make complete sense regarding her lineage as a daughter of Mundilfari and a sibling of Sunna and Máni.

She is mentioned only once in the surviving lore, in the Merseburg Charm, an Old High German incantation dating from the 9th or 10th Century C.E. There She is referenced as a healer, but many of us today have had a far difference experience of Her presence. Of all of Mundilfari’s children, She is the most like Her father. She is a Goddess of the flow of time, of the unfolding of the cosmos, of the power of black holes, and of shifting threads of power. She is a Magician and the effective wielding of power is Her core competency. Her presence is like the chaos that rests in the center of a star. She is immense, contained power and terrifying. I always feel a pull to her that is so strong I even created a Galdrastafur in one of my Galdrabóks for doing rituals and dedications to her.

Honoring Sinthgunt by Galina Krasskova

Symbols: hour glass, compass, images of the galaxy and cosmos, stars, images of the Milky Way, abacus (also appropriate for Mani), mathematical equations

Colors: purple, silver, midnight blue, black

Stones: lapis, labradorite, lepidolite, herkimer

Food and Drink: good vodka, sweets, peppermint, good single malt whiskey

Things not to do: Call upon Her lightly, show disrespect for Her kin, waste time that you have promised to any other endeavor

Praising Sinthgunt

Merseburg Incantations

The Merseburg Incantations

Sunne, sister of Sinthgunt

Lunar Mani

Norse Goddess Sól

The Merseburg Charms

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The Celtic Goddess Morrígan

The Celtic Goddess Morrígan; The Raven Queen; Shapeshifting Goddess; Goddess of War, Life and Death, is a Goddess I have always been fascinated with and I think specifically because of my time in the military and experiencing death on an intimate level. She is a Goddess many fear yet respect and others embrace and love. I feel she is an extremely important Goddess to not only understand but perhaps work with in rituals. I have made many items dedicated to her and continue to do so. With that said I put together this post to allow you the best resources to dive into the amazing world of the Morrígan.

The Morrigan (also known as the Morrigu) was the shape-shifting Celtic Goddess of War, Fate and Death. She also presided over rivers, lakes and fresh water, in addition to being the patroness of revenge, night, magic, prophecy, priestesses and witches.

Her name is interpreted in various forms…”Great Queen,” “Phantom Queen” or “Queen of Demons.” She was said to hover over battlefields in the form of a raven or hooded crow and frequently foretold or influenced the outcome of the fray. The Morrigan was often depicted as a triune goddess whose other aspects were manifested in the Goddess Badb (meaning “Vulture” or “Venomous”) and the Goddess Nemain (meaning “Frenzy” or “Fury”). The Morrigan was one of the Tuatha De Danaan (“People of the Goddess Danu”) and she aided in the defeat of the Firbolgs at the First Battle of Magh Tuireadh and the Fomorii at the Second Battle of Mag Tured.

The Celts believed that, as they engaged in warfare, the Morrigan flew shrieking overhead in the form of a raven or carrion crow, summoning a host of slain soldiers to a macabre spectral bane. When the battle had ended, the warriors would leave the field until dawn in order that the Morrigan could claim the trophies of heads, euphemistically known as “the Morrigan’s acorn crop.” Continue reading HERE.

The Morrígan online shrine

The Morrígan, Celtic Goddess of War