For years my friend and teacher Leon has been hosting an Hekate’s Night at his home. It always falls on the New Moon before Samhain. We were instructed to wear all black and to bring black food.
When I arrived I was surprised at how many people I knew there. People I had not meet through Outer Grove but at other events and other places. It was like old home week. Lots of people to catch up with while the ritualists prepared for the ritual.
We were instructed that once the ritual had completed and we were ready to go back in to feast that once inside we were not to speak. Silent Supper.
I don’t know exactly what to talk about here. Was it powerful? Yes. Was it interesting? Yes. Do I have permission to write about it? Yes. But what do I actually say?
Ah. Yes. Thank you.
Three weeks before Hekate’s Night I was getting a massage from a woman who was one of the instructors at this particular Outer Grove (OG) coven. I wrote a little piece about it and mentioned that she also uses her spirit guides during the massage to see if there are any messages that might be helpful to the client. One of the topics she brought up was Hekate. Was I familiar with her. But of course I am.
Back in OG we were instructed to meditate and look for an indication of what deity we would begin working with. This was the beginning of our Daily Devotional work. Once we were contacted we were to begin making daily offerings and thanks to the deities. That same night as we were sitting in circle having class Leon passed around one of his wands. It was very simple, a sturdy twig really. Nothing special. The length of his forearm from inner elbow to finger tips, much used, it was dark and smooth. Each student looked at it, hmmm interesting was what I was getting from them, and they passed it on. No one seemed very impressed with this wand. Leon said he used it when he was working with Hekate.
The person next to me passed me the wand and the moment I took it into my hand a face flashed before me. Not inches from my face, Hekate looked at me with a straightforward gaze, a purple veil wrapped over and around her head and face. Was I ready? In that briefest of moments I knew I had been chosen and I knew who my deity for daily devotions would be. I was a bit surprised. I had been mulling over Brighid for some time. I did not expect Hekate.
I stared around the circle at everyone and told them what had just happened. Leon seemed very pleased. I don’t know that anyone else was any more impressed with my tale than they were with the wand. The message was only for me. My life as one of Hekate’s priestess’ had begun.
I don’t know why I never went to Hekate’s Night until this year. Partly shyness, partly fear, partly the late hours. I was afraid of having Hekate as a deity. While I have visited the Underworld many times, most of the visits have been on this plane of existence, for some reason I was wary of having a deity who was, I thought, cranky, quick to act in anger, blah blah blah, dark and judging. Maybe that is why. Leon kept telling me to see what I could find out about how Hekate was represented in Britain.
Since that fateful night I have come to learn a great deal more about Hekate. And She is not who I thought she was. As any crone she can certainly be cranky. But it isn’t about being mean. She is a teacher. And many times she is not a crone. She is a giver of enlightenment, she is a guide for the dead, she is a Lady of bounty, and has a strong, sweet heart. She was beloved of Zeus:
“…Hekate, whom Zeus
honored above all others; he gave her dazzling gifts,
a share of the earth and a share of the barren sea.
She was given a place of honor in the starry sky,
and among the deathless gods her rank is high.
For even now, when a mortal propitiates the gods
and, following custom, sacrifices well-chosen victims,
he invokes Hekate, and if she receives his prayers
with favor, then honor goes to him with great ease,
and he is given blessings, because she has power
and a share in all the rights once granted
to the offspring of Ouranos and Gaia.”
(Hesiod, Theogony, 411-422)
So as I was getting my massage Amy asked me if I had seen Leon’s book of notes on Hekate. And I had to say I had no idea that such a thing existed. And found myself reminded that with Leon part of his training process is teaching a person to ask the right questions. And no matter how many hints he gave me about Hekate documentation I never point blank asked him what materials he had and if he wanted to share them with me. Doh!
Two days later I was invited by the High Priestess to attend this year’s Hekate’s Night. And I couldn’t wait because this time I would ask Leon about the notes he’d compiled.
So, we’re in circle, it has been cast and the fun began. A small skit welcoming Hekate. Leon took a bottle of dark (black) beer, shaking it and letting it spray into the air. When it hit the lit cauldron, flames shot into the air. And he passed out a booklet. The Hekate Notes. All typed out nice and neat with graphics and everything. We were only allowed to have one if we told him that we would dedicate ourself to Her. Easy. I’d been working for Her for years. Prayers were said for the beloved dead. Noisemakers galore. Fire. Beer flames. And a spinning top from probably the 40’s or 50’s that made this really eery spooky noise. Leon pumping that thing for all he was worth. And people opening the booklet and reading out prayers to Hekate in no particular order.
Each night, drawn by bulls of mist you shine your light across the sky.
So now I have devotionals for Hekate that I promised I would say every month on the new moon as her priestess.