On the night of Tuesday, November 16th, I gathered with four friends around a fire to honor the great goddess Hekate. The ritual is given below for your reference. I include a few relevant notes in brackets throughout the ritual regarding sources for new information contained in the ritual as well as changes to the actual execution of the ritual, as we all know that often we do not follow our ritual plans to the letter. Once you have given the ritual a read, if you find it useful for your own spiritual purposes, I invite you to use it in whole or in part. All I ask is that you do not reprint/republish it without contacting me for permission and giving appropriate authorship credit. Thanks! Hail Hekate!
Procession to the ritual area. Ring a bell three times.
Ground and Center: As we prepare to engage the sacred, I invite each of you to ground and center in your customary manner, to bring your attention to this place and this moment, setting aside all else for this time. When you are ready, turn your gaze to the altar.
When everyone’s attention has returned to the altar.
Temple Opening: We stand together in the Temple of Night, made of the Elements.
N: By the power of the cool, rich Earth beneath our feet,
This space is grounded and our temple is formed.
E: By the power of the crisp autumn Air moving around us,
This space is focused and our temple is formed.
S: By the power of the radiant Moon and Fiery stars shinning above us,
This space is purified and our temple is formed.
W: By the power of the Water flowing deep below us,
This space is cleansed and our temple is formed.
Where these sacred forces are joined by the power of Spirit, honed by our collective intent, no baleful thing may dwell. Blessed is the Temple of Night.
Light the candles and the incense. Pick up the chalice full of deep red wine.
Statement of Purpose: We are come to honor the Most Manifest Goddess, Hekate! She is a complex and multifaceted deity who offers many blessings, much wisdom, and great insight to those who seek her mysteries. Through the magick of liminality and the generative power of transition, Hekate is queen of many wonders. If you wish, you may join me now in inviting Hekate to attend our rite.
Invocation of Hekate:
Hear us Most High Hekate, Night Queen, Great Titan,
Born of Perses, the Destroyer, and Asteria, the Starry One,
We invoke thee (make libation – sponde – of wine)
You who were honored in Argos, Lagina, Samothrace
Bright coiffed Goddess whose praises are sung in the three blessed realms
We invoke thee (make libation of wine)
You who are greatly honored by Father Zeus himself,
Gentle Comfort to Demeter, Wise Attendant to Persephone, Dark Cousin to Artemis,
We invoke thee (make libation of wine)
[The first two lines in this verse were changed completely. I cannot remember what I actually said.]
Tonight, we praise you in your many forms.
May you be with us as we make sacrifice.
And, look kindly upon our offerings. (make libation of wine)
Return chalice to the altar.
Offerings to Mighty Hekate:
Kourotrophos – Honey
Praise to Hekate Kourotrophos!
Who in ancient times and today, presides over the mystery of birth, protecting children as they transition from fetus to newborn, and then from child to adult.
To Hekate, Nurse of the Young, we offer raw Honey, a customary sacrifice in ancient Greece for the Kuorotrophoi [Information on this customary offering was found in Kourotrophos: cults and representations of the Greek nursing deities by Theodora Hadzisteliou Price].
Hekate Kourotrophos accept our offering! Squeeze honey into the fire.
Propolos – Pomegranate
Praise to Hekate Propolos!
The attendant who leads, who walks with Kore-Persephone as she traverses the upper and lower worlds. Hekate Propolos attends and leads all those who dare to navigate the space between who they were, who they are, and who they will become.
We sacrifice Pomegranate Seeds, the fruit of Kore-Persephone, to Hekate Propolos in recognition of their sympathy.
Hekate Propolos accept our offering! Pour pomegranate into the fire.
Phosphorus – Vodka
Praise to Hekate Phosphoros!
The twin torch bearer, illuminating our path betwixt and between. Lighting our way through transition and change!
To Hekate Phosphorus, we sacrifice Vodka, torch bright when touched by flame.
Hekate Phosphorus accept our offering! Pour the vodka onto the fire!
Propylaia – “Vervain”
Praise to Hekate Propylaia!
Hekate Before The Gate was highly honored in Athens and other parts of the polis. The main gate of Eleusis, which Hekate protected, was central to initiation into the mysteries [Information on Hekate’s role in the Eleusian mysteries was found in Eleusis: archetypal image of mother and daughter by Carl Kerényi, the Manheim translation].
We sacrifice this Blue cousin of Vervain, an herb of initiation, to the one who stands before the gate of our becoming [The “Blue cousin” is Blue Vervain aka Verbena hastata. Vervain, Verbena officinalis, was the herb of initiation among the Druids according to Scott Cunningham (SC). I used it here in recognition of its energetic sympathy rather than a direct connection to ancient Greek lore].
Hekate Propylaia accept our offering! Toss vervain into the fire!
Kleidouchos – Chicory
Praise to Hekate Kleidouchos!
Keeper of the Keys to many gates, including the gates of the literal and metaphorical Underworld, Hekate in this role controls the comings and goings of the night’s denizens, including her initiates.
To Hekate Kleidouchos, Chicory, an herb that according to lore [as told by SC] can open a locked door if held against the lock as a key.
Hekate Kleidouchos accept our offering! Toss chicory into the fire.
Nyktipolos – Mugwort
Praise to Hekate Nyktipolos!
The Night Wanderer travels the breadth and depth of the darkness. She is both the menace and magic of the Night.
To Hekate Nyktipolos, we sacrifice Mugwort, long-time aid to night travel through dreaming, divination, and astral projection [according to SC].
Hekate Nyktipolos accept our offering! Toss mugwort into the fire.
Trioditis – Wormwood
Praise to Hekate Trioditis!
She of the Crossroads was respected and feared by the mortals, and daimones alike, who traversed those spaces. Ancient crossroads were conceived as liminal spaces rife with danger, and potential and so they were a natural home to Hekate.
To Hekate Trioditis, we offer Wormwood, an herb that grows along many roads through wild places and is evocative of liminality.
Hekate Trioditis accept our offering! Toss wormwood into the fire.
Apotropaia – Garlic
Praise to Hekate Apotropaia!
The Averter of Evil, who often stood at the threshold of homes and important temples to not only mark the point of transition but also to guard against the malicious beings endemic to the spaces between.
To Hekate Apotropaia, we give Garlic, a well-known ward and protection today as in ancient times [Garlic was also a common element of Hekate Suppers left at Crossroads].
Hekate Apotropaia accept our offering! Toss garlic into the fire.
Chthonia – Patchouli
Praise to Hekate Chthonia!
Hekate of the Earth, for she grants fertility and gives wealth while we live and she is also the abysmal grave that envelopes us at the end of our days.
To Chthonian Hekate, Patchouli, which according to lore [as told by SC], is an herb of prosperity and, in modern Paganism, serves as a common substitute for graveyard dirt in some spells.
Hekate Chthonia accept our offering! Tip pitcher of Patchouli tea directly onto the ground. [The method of making offerings directly onto the ground/earth by tipping over a pitcher/other appropriate container filled with a nourishing liquid such as water, oil, honey, or milk is called a choe. The choe is a common form of libation to Chthonic deities. The other common offering for Chthonic gods was an animal completely incinerated inside a pit dug into the earth. For obvious reasons, I did not choose the second option.]
Taking of the Omen:
Our main offerings have been gladly given to Mighty Hekate, the Goddess whom we honor this evening. [The following portion of this section was skipped because I forgot my Tarot cards at home. When the event was over, I did however make contact with Hekate and get a sense of how she received our offerings/prayers.] Now, I will draw an omen to see if they have been well received.
Hekate, have our offerings pleased you?
If not, what more do you require?
Shuffle the Mythic Tarot deck and draw. Read the card. If additional offering is required, note this and make arrangements for later appeasement.
Request for Blessings from Hekate:
If you would like to make a personal prayer to Hekate, you may do so now. Oil blended with her mighty favors in mind will be passed around. In traditional Greek style, you may use the oil to offer sponde (a libation) and a prayer and/or you may give any personal offerings that you brought for Hekate.
Pass the oil around, inform participants to pour oil onto the ground, and allow people to pray, out loud or silently. When folks are all done, say:
May Hekate hear each of our prayers clearly and receive them well! Pour oil onto the earth.
Hekate, we give thanks to you in your many guises!
Kourotrophos, Nurse of the Young!
Propolos, the Attendant Who Leads!
Phosphorous, the Light Bearer!
We thank you.
Propylaia, the One Before The Gate!
Kleidouchos, the Keeper of the Keys!
Nyktipolos, the Night Wanderer!
We thank you.
Trioditis, the One at the Crossroads!
Apotropaia, the Averter of Evil!
Chthonia, the One of the Earth!
We thank you.
Mighty Hekate, we thank you for hearing our call.
We thank you for accepting our sacrifices.
We thank you for turning a kind ear to our praises and prayers.
Our rite is complete. Go if you must Mighty Hekate, but stay if you will to inspire the feast!
Temple Closing: On this dark evening, within the Temple of Night, made of the Elements and reinforced by our collective intent, we honored Hekate. As we remove our intention from this space, we close the temple. Earth is but Earth, Air is but Air, Fire is but Fire, and Water is but Water. Our rite is done, and the Temple of Night is but blessed night.
Extinguish the candles. Sound the bell three times.