Hecate Night: Host a Sacred Supper for the Witch Goddess
Ancient devotees of the greek goddess Hecate celebrated with elaborate feasts and festivals. If you’re a devotee today, consider hosting a special supper on Hecate Night. This is an elegant, sacred meal dedicated to the Greek Goddess of the Crossroads. With traditional foods and good witchy friends, who wouldn’t want to join this dinner party?
Ancient Hecate Feasts
The ancient Greeks loved to party. And what better reason to party than to celebrate and honor a beloved deity? Hecate was once a widely-worshiped goddess, with her main cults located on Eleusis and Samothrake Island. Elaborate feasts and festivals were thrown every year in her name. But when her followers weren’t in a temple, they were meeting her at the crossroads with a Special Hecate Supper.
There was also something called Hecate’s Deipnon, which was a monthly feast and offering given to Hecate, the goddess of spirits and witchcraft. A Deipnon is an evening meal, and Hecate’s Deipnon was held on the last day of the lunar month to honor Hecate leading lost souls up from the Underworld. It is believed these dinners were not necessarily partaken in but given directly to Hecate and her spirits. The offerings were left either at the Crossroads or on each family’s front doorstep, since the doorstep was seen as a threshold between the physical and spiritual or as a sort of Crossroads itself. Following the Deipnon, the family might atone for any wrongdoing by sacrificing a dog in Hecate’s name, and then also purifying their space.
Supper At The Crossroads
Picture this. It’s the New Moon. The night is quiet, dark and warm. You’re carrying a lantern, a basket of offerings, a bottle of wine and a steaming hot loaf of garlic bread. Your friends, also your coven-mates, are meeting at the crossroads deep in the woods behind the old town cemetery. Tonight is the night to celebrate your matron goddess Hecate. You round the corner and see other bouncing lantern lights glowing in the darkness ahead.
As you walk closer, a long wooden table with benches is illuminated with candlelight. There’s laughter and anticipation in the air. You take a seat beside your best friend and surrounded by your coven. As you raise a toast in Hecate’s name, a dog howls in the distance. This is Hecate affirming her presence. You all feast on Hecate’s supper and enjoy one another’s company in the wild wood. Wine, homemade bread, fish, and fruit is shared among you. After the feast is over, the remnants are given as an offering and left at the crossroads. You don’t look back.
How to Host a Hecate Supper
Hecate Night is traditionally held on November 16th. This is the night she haunts the crossroads with her hounds. November 16th is also a night to initiate oneself or others under Hecate. Her feast day is January 31st; however, Samhain and the nights of the Dark and New Moon are also appropriate. Other days honoring Hecate in Greece include August 13th (a day offerings are left at the crossroads to appease Hecate’s wild stormy side).
Hecate Night: The Ambience
Whether you host supper inside or out, the ambience should be dark. Low lighting, candlelight is best. Lanterns, hurricane lamps, and oil lamps set the mood. Plates and napkins should be of dark colors: black, maroon, and/or shades of purple. Hecate particularly loves red and black. Incorporate these colors into the tablecloth, centerpiece, and invitations. Give every guest a skeleton key as a token to remember Hecate Night (keys are one of her symbols).
Flowers like dark red roses or black hollyhocks. A moon and stars motif would be perfect, too! It’s best to keep the dinner as quiet as possible – play classical piano or violin music on low. Place a statue or representation of Hecate at the head of the table. If you can host Hecate Night Supper at the crossroads, even better!
Hecate Night or Deipnon: The Supper Menu
Traditionally, Hecate loves garlic, fish, fish roe, sprats (or sardines if you can’t find them), honey, eggs, cheese (specifically made of goat and sheep’s milk), mushrooms, honey cake and wine. Consider using our menu or building your own using each of Hecate’s traditional offerings mentioned above. Hecate should be set a place at the table and left offerings after the dinner is done (see below for more info). Alternatively, instead of cooking everything yourself, ask your friends to bring one dish or beverage as part of the offering.
As you’re setting the table OR as your guests arrive, invoke Hecate’s presence by inviting her to join for supper. Let her know she is the reason for the feast.
- Red wine: Cabernet or Merlot (wine was sacred to the ancient Greeks and was no doubt given as an offering to Hecate)
- Mead: honey-wine isn’t traditional to Greece, but Hecate loves honey so this drink is appropriate
Pour a glass for Hecate first. Then clink glasses together and toast Hecate’s name before partaking in the wine, mead or water! Clinking glasses scares off the “spirits” and toasting Hecate is traditional.
- Dolmas: Stuffed Grape Leaves
- Mydia: red mussels steamed in red wine and herb sauce
- Charcuterie Board: including different cheeses, meats, sprats, hard-boiled eggs, honey, jams, apricots, olives, crackers, bread, nuts, etc.
Remember to serve Hecate first before the rest of your dinner party. Out of the utmost respect for the goddess.
- Red Mullet in Caper Sauce: red mullet is sacred to Hecate and traditional at Hecate Night Suppers
- Marinated Mushrooms: mushrooms are also traditional to Hecate
- Homemade Rosemary Garlic Bread with
- Mediterranean Herb Butter Spread
- Greek Honey Cake: consider adding birthday candles to represent the “little torches” the Greeks put in Hecate’s cakes
- Fruit: include pomegranates, figs, navel oranges, apples and peaches.
During Hecate Night, ask each individual to share their thoughts and experiences with the Goddess of the Crossroads. Read aloud poems and myths that honor Hecate. Sing songs. You might even consider allowing party guests to bring their canine friends and providing doggie treats. This would please Hecate immensely!
Ending Hecate Night
If you hosted Hecate Night at the crossroads, it’s traditional to leave the remnants for the goddess and her hounds. Two things you MUST do:
- don’t leave anything at the crossroads that’s not perishable (no plates, cups, cutlery, etc. unless it’s perishable!)
- once you leave the offering at the crossroads, do NOT turn around and look back!
Purification Following Hecate Night or Deipnon
If you want to go the traditional route, consider purifying your space and yourself following Hecate Night and/or a Deipnon. Historically, people would fumigate or “smoke-cleanse” the doorstep where the offerings were left, after they’ve cleaned up the remnants, and their home and property. If you held your Hecate Night at the crossroads and only left biodegradable items, you can skip this step. But I definitely recommend cleansing your home if you leave a Deipnon for Hecate.
Incense in a censer or a smoking herb bundle are both appropriate for purification. and it’s also okay to use the herbs you have on-hand. I prefer rosemary or lavender for this ritual. If you’ve held a dinner in your home or on your doorstep, sweep up the crumbs or remnants and deposit them at an actual crossroads. Traditionally, any ashes at the altar or waste blood would also be given to Hecate at the crossroads. Do what you feel is necessary and appropriate.