On Working with Hekate

Earlier today, I made a comment on an excellent post by Seillean over at The Serpents Wisdom. My comment addressed my work with Hekate. In writing that comment, I realized exactly how difficult it is to fully articulate my work with her and what she means to me. What I said on Seillean’s blog is true but it seems so inadequate! For those who have no clue what I am talking about, here are my two cents from the comment (directly quoted):

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Greetings!

I actually read your post this morning and have been pondering how to respond right up until now. Hekate can – being the Worker from Afar – feel distant; however, she does not feel indifferent to me. Hekate is always watching and waiting. In my experience, as a friend of mine often puts it, Hekate does not take the unwilling! Those who seek her wholeheartedly and of their own True Will find her walking the world’s liminal places whispering truths into the night for the benefit of those who will hear them.

Since I first encountered Hekate in 2007, I have been unable to tear myself away from her mysteries. As her (unoathed as of yet) devotee, she has a hand in every occurrence in my life. From spirit-work to priesthood training to basic ritual craft, Hekate guides my hand and inspires my process. Also, perhaps most importantly, Hekate works with me in my self-development/psychotransformative work. She is most definitely my torch-bearing guide, protectress, companion, initiator, and goddess at the gate.

I guess I would say that Hekate is very much a goddess of becoming – on all levels, goddess of the myriad processes that unfold and often intersect to create a moment, a person, a new experience, a star, a galaxy, and all the rest. All of the Work that I do and all of the beings that I do it with are a part of my becoming and I am a part of theirs. And it is by Hekate’s grace that we are and by her grace that we become, changing and transforming, weaving ourselves and the many worlds into existence.

Put plainly, I love her and I plan to oath to her this year. My practice thus far has been informal – prayers, talking to her with an open heart, and performing some Hellenic recon style rituals in her honor at the dark moon and in the dark half of the year. Ok, I am going to stop here because I really need to hush :-) .

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I keep thinking “that, and then some”. Like for instance, I left out that “becoming” often SUCKS. Hekate can be brutal as Midwife to one’s becoming/rebirth. The truth is the truth and she will lay it on you mercilessly because it can be delivered no other way. If her followers are even a little self-deluded, she will correct that BS in a heartbeat. Or worse, she may “let you” linger in it for a while and when that truth can no longer be denied it sears the spirit deeper, hurts longer, and will probably leave a scar. I put “let you” in scare quotes because I believe that Hekate is often following our lead, especially with the decisions that shape us the most. Hekate does not want to be the goddess that people blame when things go wrong and forget to thank when things go well. No. Your life is your responsibility, but she is available as a GUIDE among many other roles for those will will accept her as such. When you, as her follower, make crappy choices, she is there with you and she laments (but still accepts) the pain you brought on yourself by rejecting her wise counsel (or your own good sense!) in the first place. And yet, and here’s the gloriously blindingly beautiful part: that too shapes you. That pain too is a part of your becoming. Your unique path, and it is by her grace that we become who, what, why, and how we are. No apologies and dozens of regretless regrets.

I think Hekate wants us to be so honest with ourselves because as I said before she oftentimes follows our lead. What we are not ready for, she will not push, but she can see the heartache and soul shards that will result from whatever collision course we are on. Our pain does not please her but she respects our path, she accepts it and will assist us through the pain (as Hekate Atalos – the Tender). Yes, Hekate has darkness within her but there is also great gentleness and care in her, for those who can get past their love affair with the brooding and gothic stereotypes of her character. When I fuck up, she does not deliver a snide “I told you so”. Instead she smiles like a wise older sibling and tells me to heed the warning signs next time so that the same pain will not linger and follow me any longer than it must.

Now that the pain is out of the way, she also has an active hand in the good stuff! She brings me social honors and accolades and blesses me with still more opportunities to achieve (see Hesiod’s Theogony if you don’t know). When I have a positive experience that serves as a milestone in my journey toward my goals, of all types, she is there opening gates and helping me to make meaning of my past, present, and future. As mentioned above, Hekate is the “Worker from Afar” so sometimes I interact with her in ecstatic moments of full-blown Contact, oftentimes it’s a low grade energetic connection to her majesty, but every day I feel her, I pray, and I talk to her. I know she is around, like a mom, or friend, or older sibling in the next room down the hall and around the corner. All I need do is laugh with joy or cry is sadness and I know that she hears me and that she will come to me when the times demand it. And, in the spirit of reciprocity, when she calls, I answer!

Hekate stands at life’s crossroads – of weal or woe. She guards the gates, the checkpoints along our Way. She busts out the big keys that unlock the deep and serious gates that we have to pass through to become our true selves (because it is only as our true selves that we can truly help ourselves, truly serve others, and be truly served by them). She wanders the liminal spaces between who we were and who we will be in order to weave our becoming, to sort through the healthful and baneful pharmaka of who we are, to give counsel, to offer companionship, to initiate, to unlock and swing open gates, to light the way in the dark, and to cast shadows during the day (lest we become complacent, stagnant). In return, we give her our devotion. We help with the Work of midwifing the birth, death, and rebirth of everything – people, animals, plants, stars, planets, galaxies – the whole nine. Some of this can be done directly by supporting certain key organizations (only you can decide which are in line with your values and spiritual convictions) and educating others (about whatever you feel is important to the shaping of the Worlds) and some of it has to be done spiritually/magically through creating and maintaining “right relationship” with any and all beings (including yourself)! This is the stuff of liminality, transformation, magick, and Mystery.

Hekate is big, she is powerful, and she is awesome – in the classic sense of the word. The rant above is only 3% of the reason that I want to oath to her service. She has not demanded it of me. I want to, of my own free and true will. I want to help her with the Work. It’s the least I can do considering how much she has helped me with mine!

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2 thoughts on “On Working with Hekate

  1. Really great post. Much of what you said I find true as well! However my favorite part was:

    “The rant above is only 3% of the reason that I want to oath to her service. She has not demanded it of me. I want to, of my own free and true will. I want to help her with the Work.”

    Yes! I think to often people fall into the trap of “the gods have demanded it” etc, while ignoring that sometimes the most beautiful reason of all is because you want to do it for them unasked.

    • Thanks for the good opinion, Seillean, and thanks for taking the time to comment! When the gods demand things, I think by all means we should perk up an ear and do our best to heed the request, especially when they are gods who we have a close relationship with. That being said, I think you make a good point when you say that sometimes undemanded acts of devotion are the most beautiful. Even in human relationships, the greatest gifts are often the ones that you did not have to ask for!

      In terms of working with Hekate, she really does appreciate initiative on the part of her devotees! She’s a “meet you half way” kinda goddess, at least that’s what I’ve found in my case. Sometimes it’s frustrating when she won’t tell me in plain terms what she wants and how she wants it done, but I think that may be because she sometimes works on a committee model rather than a benevolent dictator model. She wants to see what you want. What do you bring to the table. At other times, when she is communicating her will rather than ascertaining mine, I have found that my own psychological and emotional gunk is usually the culprit in any long-lived miscommunication we may have. In the cases where it’s just me, I find that I heard her (at least mostly) right the first time, I just had to accept that before I could move forward. And move forward I must, that she does indeed demand, but in what direction I move and how are (mostly) up to me…at least at the moment. I recognize that after I take my oath to her service, the terms of our relationship are likely to change at least in part because she will have Work that I need to accomplish in her name and to her glory. I am looking forward to our future. Hail Hekate!

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