Hecate is the goddess of magic and witchcraft in ancient Greek mythology. The goddess of magic is often depicted as accompanied by dogs, holding a fiery torch and sword. According to the legend, necromantic rituals are often performed to evoke her, and she is said to appear as a snake-haired demoness accompanied by black dogs. In several other depictions, the triple goddess is shown to carry around torches, whips, a dagger, and a key – demonstrating that she is the guiding light to those in the underworld. The triple goddess is believed to rule the Heavens, Earth, and the Underworld and is often associated with witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, and the dark cycle of the Moon. She represents the dark sides present in all of us that are often repressed and feared.
The most popular myth about Hecate’s origin is found in the 8th century BC literature Hesiod’s Theogony. According to the literature, Hecate is the only daughter of Asteria and Perses. Soon after her birth, the Greek deity Zeus bestowed upon her the greatest honor of dominion on Earth, Heaven, and the Underworld. However, according to Greek Mythology, the Underworld predominantly represents the depths of the human mind. According to the literature, Hecate had powers to grant wishes, increase wealth, give power and authority, give victory in battles, to force revenge on unfaithful lovers. Hecate is also believed to have knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants and herbs. According to mythology, there is also a strong sexual component to Hecate. Her sexual power is associated with the moon cycles, which is similar to the mensural cycle in women.
In ancient practices of witchcraft and sorcery, Hecate was evoked in rituals performed in places where three roads meet – as she is the goddess of crossroads. It was also customary to place her images in front of doors or where paths intersect. Hecate was known to be celebrated every New Moon as she is the ruler of the night. Rituals for the goddess of magic can also be performed during the waning cycles of the Moon. In ritualist practices, there are generally three kinds of evocation- evocation with or without an image and evocation with the use of occult symbols. However, working with symbols is potentially more powerful than other forms of rites. Rites performed to evoke Hecate are often known to use specific sigils, black colored lamps, fragrances of violets and orchids that represent the night, and offerings such as bread or eggs in sets of three.
Hecate, like many other goddesses in Greek mythology, has two distinctly different aspects. This duality symbolizes the darker and lighter parts of ourselves. The darker aspect of Hecate corresponds to the power of destruction and transformation, while her lighter side represents the power of healing and creation. Hecate encourages us to accept the duality of the human psyche and balance it rather than fearing and repressing any one facet of ourselves. Another way of looking at the myth of Hecate is to associate her with the two distinct depths of the human mind- the conscious and unconscious. An improper balance of these two aspects can be detrimental; those who are not mindful of their unconsciousness are their slaves, and those who are not in touch with their conscious mind lose their sanity.