Hecate: Goddess of the Crossroads

Hecate is the Greek Goddess of the Crossroads. Properly pronounce her name is “E-CA-TA” or “e-CO-ta”, the H is silent. She stands at the crossroads of your life and protects you from taking the wrong road. She is also the guardian of newborn infants and the home. Not only was Hecate called upon to ease the pains and progress of a woman’s labor, but especially to protect and restore the health and growth of a child. She is a Moon Goddess, she was described as shining or luminous.

In other legends she is invisible, perhaps only glimpsed as a light, a “will-o-the-wisp”. She always carries a torch or lantern at night. She can guide one on the dark night of the soul for she sees in the dark. She is symbolized by the Owl. In the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the Bitch and the She-Wolf, and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs.

She is classified as a virgin Goddess, she had no need to marry. She highly valued her independence. She has the ability to see in all directions, the past, present and future. This foresight allows her to predict one’s future. It also gives her intuitive knowledge of which path one should take. She is known as having the ability to conjure up dreams, prophecies, and phantoms. Hecate’s ability to see into the underworld, the “otherworld” of the sleeping and the dead, gives her unusual power to read one’s future.

New beginnings, whether spiritual or mundane, aren’t always easy. But Hecate is there to support and show you the way. She loans her farsightedness for you to see what lies deeply forgotten or even hidden, and helps you make a choice and find your path. Oft times she shines her torch to guide you while you are in dreams or meditation.

Whether the Greek goddess Hecate visits us in waking hours or only while we sleep, she can lead us to see things differently (ourselves included) and help us find greater understanding of our selves and others. Hecate reminds us of the importance of change, helping us to release the past, especially those things that are hindering our spiritual growth. She urges us to accept change and transitions. She asks us to let go of what is familiar, safe, and secure to learn trust and faith in all the Goddess offers.

Hecate symbolizes the dark within us, the part of our psyche we refuse to acknowledge. But because she is so comfortable in the dark like the owl she can take your hand a travel with to the places in yourself you are the most afraid to go.

She is of great help if you are meditating on growing older and death or crossing over. Similarly, Hecate played a role that, in contemporary times, we would describe as a hospice worker helping the elderly make a smooth and painless passage into the next life and staying with them, if need be, in the otherworld to help prepare them for their eventual return to the earth in their next life. She then went with them as they were reborn. So this is the reference to her being the Goddess of birth and of death. Since she is the protector of women more women used her powers in this regard then men. It is hardly surprising that a woman who needed to make a trip alone at night would say a brief prayer to Hecate to seek her protection. She is the protector of women.

Hecate teaches us an important lesson, which is that the feminine should be valued for itself, because deep within it there is an eternal wisdom. Hecate is also the High Priestess, the keeper of the Mysteries. Hecate is not the priestess who seeks the inner knowledge, but High Priestess who has found it and imparts it to others.

Hecate (Moon-goddess) Museum of Anatolian Civi...

Hecate (Moon-goddess) Museum of Anatolian Civilization (Photo credit: brewbooks)

During Medieval times, pagans were tortured based on their belief in the Goddess. Patriarchy reigned and the fear of feminine power caused the Church to demonize Hecate. She was made infamous as the crone; old, wrinkled, ugly, warts protruding from her nose and chin, mysterious, dark and loathsome. Many mistakenly call Her the destroyer, but She is not, for if you destroy something, that something is forever gone. She is  a destroyer in that  she shows us how to let go and recreate ourselves, our dreams and our ideas. Pray to Hecate before you let go of the past and as you start a new future. She will show you the road to take so you do not have to retrace your steps.

Making the sign of the cross has its roots in Pagan ritual and rite. By making the sign of the cross (or performing the Catholic genuflection) is merely repeating the Hermetic sign of 4 used by the Gnostics of Hermes, 1600 years ago. Hermes sacred number was 4.

Hecate’s (often considered Hermes consort) sacred number was five- a pentacle. Her worshippers and devotees used this gesture to bless themselves and ward off evil. Later on Christian Medieval Clergy demonized the gesture by calling it The Witches’ Cross. I prefer to call it the Goddess Cross.

It’s done as follows:

With your right hand, touch your forehead, then the left breast, back over to the right shoulder, to the left shoulder, to the right breast and back to the forehead.

You also say this accompanying chant as you make the gesture, if you wish:

“To My Goddess I dedicate mind, heart, action, support, will and the soul that combines them”.

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