Hecate: 15 Ways to Work With the Goddess of Witchcraft
You set foot on the path that leads to the woods where your grandmother is buried. She always told you to visit her at the crossroads. At the sacred place where her mother’s mother initiated her. At the place where Hecate may be called upon and learned from. Is the Mother of Witchcraft, the Queen of Sorcery, and the Goddess of magic calling you? Hecate is an ancient Greek goddess and rules over witches far and wide. But if you’re new to her energy, how do you work with Hecate respectfully? Here we discuss who Hecate is and how to work with her in your magical practice.
Who is the Goddess Hecate?
A favorite among modern and past witches, Hecate is an ancient Greek Goddess of magic, life and death, herbalism, the mysteries, and much more. She is a liminal spirit – she guards the thresholds between the human and spirit world. She’s found at the crossroads, at the doorways of homes, and at the gates of the cemetery. While a chthonic deity who presides over death and the dead, many forget Hecate is also a goddess of childbirth and life. As a triple goddess, her domain is the life/death/rebirth cycle. She is often depicted in a triple goddess form: as three women looking in different directions or as a three-headed canine.
Is Hecate dark? Many say she’s a dark goddess and it seems that reputation precedes her. However, people forget she’s a goddess of childbirth and LIFE, too! She helps heal women in need of reproductive healing and aids in the birthing process. She’s as much LIGHT as she is DARK. She encompasses all of these things – she IS the polarity. Don’t be afraid to work with her because of how others perceive her. I can tell you I’ve only had good, healing experiences with her.
Hecate’s Origins and Myths
Hecate, whose name means either “far-reaching one” or “will power”, is much older than the ancient Greek civilizations who continued her worship. In fact, she is linked to ancient Anatolia, to a people named the Carians (not Karens, folks), who worshiped her at an ancient temple in Laginia. Other sources claim she comes from Thrace, which is a region covering parts of Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey today. And, what’s really interesting, is that she was thought to originally have been a goddess of fertility, childbirth, and of the wilderness. And later took on the “dark” image we know of her today – the goddess of witchcraft, crossroads, spirits, and the Underworld.
She is featured in a few prominent myths including in Hesiod, where she is the daughter of a powerful Titan and nymph. In this myth, Hecate has immense power and rules over the three realms – land, sky, and sea. Which is evident in her triple form manifestation. She’s also well known for playing an integral role in the myth of Demeter and Persephone. She bears witness to Persephone’s “kidnapping” and aids Demeter in recovering her stolen daughter from Hades and the Underworld.
Hecate’s Magical Domains & Associations
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Is Hecate Calling You?
We’ve found Hecate tends to call a lot of younger witches to her path, because she feels she can teach them the old ways effectively. Of course, you can also work with Hecate in your later years, as she is often manifest as a crone or hag deity, as well. But here’s some specific ways to know Hecate is calling you to her:
- The number 13 keeps popping up everywhere
- You hear dogs howling at night from nowhere
- Hecate’s symbols are repeating: the key, crossroads, torch, dagger, Hecate’s wheel
- You’re drawn to graveyards and cemeteries
- You’ve had a spiritual experience (either positive or terrifying) at a crossroads in the woods
- You’re new to the craft and need guidance but don’t know who to turn to
- Hecate comes into witches’ lives who are pregnant and dying (during major transitions in life)
- You’re seeing a white dog(s) everywhere you go (in real life or on TV, etc.)
- Hecate’s name keeps showing up in your daily life (in random conversations, books, TV shows, online, etc.)
- You love working with animals, in particular dogs
- Stray dogs tend to find you and want you to take them in
- You were born under a Dark Moon or on Hecate Night
- Spirits communicate with you and have your entire life
15 Ways to Work With Hecate
Whether you’ve chosen Hecate as your matron goddess or not, she is a powerful deity to work with in your magical practice. She particularly loves witches, herbalists, diviners, healers, morticians and midwives. So if you’re any of these, you’re in luck! There are many ways to work with the goddess of the crossroads, but here are our favorites:
1. Pronounce Her Name Right
The pronunciation of Hecate’s name has been muddled and changed over the years. But there is a RIGHT way to say her name. Most say “heh-kah-tay” or “heh-kah-tee” with no emphasis on the middle syllable. But in ancient times, her name would have been pronounced with emphasis on the middle syllable like this: heh-KAH-tay or heh-KAH-tee. Practice that a few times out loud. Feel the difference? This is one simple to honor the goddess of witches.
2. Dedicate Altar Space to Hecate
Because Hecate is Queen of the Witches, she adores to have her own altar or altar space in a witch’s home. Things you can add: a representation of her like a statue or a key, a cauldron, a knife, a broom, dog figurines, decorations with stars and moons, anything with the colors black or red. Cleanse and consecrate the space and tools in Hecate’s name initially. Then re-cleanse and charge monthly on the Dark Moon. Your altar may start out simple, but it will grow with time.
3. Altar Offerings for Hecate
In addition to keeping space for her, giving offerings is another great way to work with her. Nearly every god or goddess we work with in our practice requires some energy exchange via offerings. Hecate is no different. Here are a few offerings she likes: pomegranates, lavender, dishes with garlic, date palms, eggs, honey, breads and sweets that are crescent-shaped, candleflame and incense. As with most other deities, Hecate also enjoys intangible offerings like paintings, poetry, song, dance, prayer, chanting, etc. Whatever you enjoy doing creatively, allow your creative juices to flow and create something for Hecate.
4. Ritual at the Crossroads
Because Hecate is a ruler of the crossroads, rituals done at the crossroads honor and invoke her energy. If you live in an urban area, it may be hard to find a 3-way crossroads to perform ritual. In this case, mark out a 3-way crossroads on the ground with large branches as a symbolic crossroads of sorts. Otherwise, candle spells, invocations, and offerings at 3-way crossroads are a powerful way to call on her. Don’t forget to gather a bit of crossroads dirt and use it in your Hecate rituals, meditations, and more.
5. Canine Care
Hecate’s most sacred and loved animal is the dog. When you take care of our canine friends, do so in Hecate’s name. She will bless you AND your dogs or any dogs you care for. You can also call on Hecate to protect your dog from harm. If you can’t have a dog, donate your time OR old blankets, dog food, etc. to a local animal shelter. And tell Hecate you’re doing it in her name. This doesn’t just go for dogs, but for any kind of canine species.
6. Feasts for Hecate
A fun and traditional way to honor the Goddess of Life and Death is to hold a dinner party or feast for her. In ancient times, Hecate’s priestesses held large parties in her name and made her favorite foods. Include lavender, honey, eggs and garlic in your dishes. Red wine and mead are traditional. Set a place at the table for your goddess or set a plate at her altar. Celebrate Hecate with a feast on her sacred days: August 13th and/or November 30th. Click here to learn more about hosting Hecate Night.
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Listen to our Podcast on Witch Deities (Including Hecate) Here:
7. Study Herbs
Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft and was specifically known for her herbal knowledge. Sources say there was a sacred garden dedicated to Hecate at her temple in Colchis (modern day Georgia). This garden would’ve contained her sacred trees, herbs and poisons. Study medicinal and magical herbalism and become one of Hecate’s priestesses. By growing and harvesting your own herbs, you’re recreating Hecate’s garden at Colchis. Your herbal creations also serve as offering to Hecate.
8. Dark Moon Rituals
The most powerful time to invoke Hecate in ritual is during a Dark Moon. Healing, banishing, and cleansing rituals in Hecate’s name during a Dark Moon are especially potent. Divination, particularly to speak with Hecate, is amplified during the Dark Moon. If you’re looking for examples of dark moon rituals click here.
9. Spirit Work in the Cemetery
Because she is the goddess of life and death, she is also a protector and gatekeeper of the spirit realm. Her presence is felt in cemeteries, as well as in birthing centers and hospitals. If you’re brave enough AND understand how to protect yourself, spirit work in the cemetery is another way to honor Hecate. But be careful…this isn’t a practice for beginners or for fun. There are many different kinds of spirits in the cemetery. And, while this is Hecate’s domain, she won’t keep the spirits at bay for those who disrespect the dead.
10. Offerings by the Door
In ancient times, Hecate’s devotees left offerings to her and her hounds outside by their door. You can honor Hecate and her hounds by doing the same. Leave an offering for Hecate and one of her dogs. Leaving it out overnight is fine. Remove it in the morning. You can bury the remnants or throw it in the compost (if it’s compostable).
11. Locate the Dog Star
This is something fun to do in Hecate’s honor. Locate Sirius, the Dog Star, in the night sky. Use a mobile app like SkyView to locate Sirius, and if you can see it with the naked eye, gaze at it awhile. Feel Hecate’s energy radiating down from the night sky and pulsing through your veins. The star Sirius is her sacred star. Draw Sirius on your body somewhere in honor of the goddess.
12. Work With Her Allies
By working with and getting to know the witch Queen’s allies, you honor her. Study and invoke any or all of the following: Medea, Circe, Cybele, Artemis, Diana, Persephone, Demeter, and Dionysus. You’re not “cheating” on Hecate by working with other deities, especially if they are near and dear to the Queen of Witches.
13. Doings Things in 13’s
The Goddess of Witchcraft’s sacred number is thirteen. If you want to honor her, perform ritual steps in thirteen steps. Offer thirteen flowers to her. Give elaborate offerings or do ritual on the thirteenth of each month in her name. Say your prayers thirteen times. Etc. I’ve even found educating people on the sanctity of the number thirteen is a simple way to please the goddess. When people say the number thirteen is unlucky or evil, I remind them there are 13 lunar phases in a year. And that our ancient ancestors worked off of a lunar calendar before our modern one. In addition, women have 13 menstrual cycles in a year syncing with the 13 lunar phases.
14. Menstrual Magick
Hecate is a goddess of the life, death, rebirth cycle which means blood is sacred to her. And blood that particularly comes from the life-giving womb of a woman – menstrual blood. Some folks might feel strange about working with menstrual blood, and that’s okay. If you don’t have the stomach for it, consider tracking your menstrual cycles with a bracelet. Or honoring Hecate at the start of every period. Her presence is strong during this time in a woman’s life.
The Queen of Witches wouldn’t be the queen if she didn’t practice divination. Nearly every witch has his or her favorite method. If you have a favorite, use this to communicate with Hecate. With my deities, I dedicate a specific deck of cards to them. Dedicate a card deck or a bag of charms to talking directly to Hecate. And ONLY Hecate. You’ll see just how powerful your sessions with her become. This gives you a way to ask her questions directly and have her give you answers directly.
16. Making a Sacred Tea in Her Honor
- black tea – 1 tsp.
- peppermint – 1/2 tsp.
- lavender – 1/4 tsp.
- 8 ounces hot water
Pour the hot water over top the loose leaf ingredients and let it steep for 5-7 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea. Strain the tea leaves. Add a small slice of fresh pomegranate (optional) and honey. Hold the cup of tea into the air and recite the following incantation (or make up your own):
Oh Hecate, Mother of Witches
Partake of this tea with me
I drink in your ancient wisdom and glory
May you walk beside me always
And forever more…
Leave the cup of tea for Hecate on her altar as a special offering. And have one of your own.
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Find YOUR God And Goddess: PowerPoint Presentation
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