“Hecate the Beauteous, you I invoke:
You, of roads and crossways,
Of heaven, of earth, and sea as well.
You, the saffron-clad, among the tombs,
Dancing with dead souls the Bacchic rite.
You, daughter of Perses, lover of desolation,
Taking joy in deer and dogs, in the night.
You, terrible Queen! Devourer of beasts!
Ungirded, possessed of form unapproachable!
You, bull-huntress, universal sovereign Empress:
You mountain-roaming guide, and bride, and nursemaid,
I entreat, O Maiden, your presence at these sacred rites,
With grace to the Oxherd and a joyful heart eternal”
– Orphic Hymn to Hekate
In the hands of Hekate are the torch and the scourge, sometimes shown as a noose or whip. This is a symbol of Her dominance over all beasts, including humans. She is a Mistress who dominates, and as such many women wish to exhibit the strength of Hekate. In ancient times, black ewes/lambs, puppies, and pigs were sacrificed in Her honor; like many chthonic deities, Hekate enjoys warm blood. She is Therobromos, ‘roaring like a beast’ or ‘cry from the city of the beasts’; Hekate is especially connection with dogs, specifically black females, or bitches as they are commonly referred to. Barking or howling dogs are said to be Her calling card. Dogs have exceptional night vision, are liminal creatures who can swim in water and walk on land. Undomesticated they travel in packs, more often than not reverting to their scavenger ancestors… frequenting where dead bodies would have been burned outside the city walls in ancient times. Other animals associated with Hekate are the horse (probably in Her connection with travelers), the serpent (for obvious reasons), the lion (from the Chaldeans), the cow or calf (black with horns). In Her synchronicity with Artemis, She is the huntress who runs with the deer, protecting the sacred herds.
It is in honoring this wild spirit of Hekate that we reconnect with our own savage selves. We can remember through our DNA what our ancestors left to us: the capacity to communicate, appreciate and create art whilst also respecting Her other children who inhabit the feral lands of the forest, desert, and under the earth. Her mysteries are common knowledge to animals, the cycles of seasons and surrendering to instincts come second nature. We repress these feelings, calling them illogical or rational; to what purpose do they serve, to think of ourselves in light of primitive humans? It gives us a sense of humility, realizing even after we are finished destroying the planet for ourselves that nature will simply adapt and life will go on without us. It’s arrogant to think once we wipe our species out of existence the rest of the planet will perish as well… when that is simply not true. Earth has had many different type of environments and atmospheric changes in it’s lifespan of 4.54 million years. We are merely a tiny spot on the lifeline of impacts of our planet; but Hekate and the other Gods still find us amusing and know it is up to us to save ourselves.
Hekate is very active these days. More and more people are being ‘called’ into Her service; although I do see more asking for favors than giving adoration. Egos become inflated with power, even when proper tribute is given, when really they should be broken… flattened with the devotee naked and bleeding before the Goddess. Only when we come before Her in our rawness, our vulnerabilities exposed, will She let loose Her dogs to ravage and tear us to pieces…for in that state we can put ourselves back together again; like the Japanese philosophy of ‘wabi-sabi‘: something is more valuable because of it’s imperfections, impermanence, or impurity. Animals understand this in their living moment to moment and Hekate reminds us that we are never more powerful than right now, this very second, because it is all the time we can fully realize.