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16th November - Hecate's night

Written by Anne Newman 17th November 2019

Hecate was the Greek goddess of three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft.

She was known to rule the passages of life and transformation, birth and death. Her animals were the toad, the owl, the dog and the bat.

In current times, she is usually depicted as a “hag” or old witch stirring the cauldron.

Hecate is the goddess of the twilight, who sees everything that happens in the shadows.

Known for her divine wisdom, Hecate helped Demeter search endlessly for Persephone when Hades abducted Hecate, taking her to the Underworld.

Hecate eventually served as Persephone’s companion in the Underworld and on earth, during Persephone's six-month stay in each realm. Hades, Lord of the Underworld, gifted Hecate with necromancy - the ability to talk to spirits - as a reward for her friendship to Persephone, being her companion in the Underworld and her loyal friend.

Hecate's Night is the night that she roams the earth with her hounds.

This is also the night that new initiations are made for Witches who follow her.

Hecate’s Supper is left out on the steps of her followers dwellings, usually consisting of honey and mushrooms. Hecate then blesses those inside.

Shrines to Hecate were placed at doorways to both homes and cities with the belief that it would protect from restless dead and other spirits.

Likewise, shrines to Hecate were created at three way crossroads. Food offerings were left out for Hecate on her night. Offerings were also at the new moon to protect those who did so from spirits and other evils.

Hecate in Shakespeare's Macbeth

Hecate appears as the Three Witches senior and encourages them in the destruction of Macbeth ....

[Enter HECATE to the other three Witches]
Hecate. O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i' the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

---oOo---

Anne is sharing a series of events throughout the year - you can find them listed by clicking to the link Other Notable Dates and Festivals.