One can sometimes know something, but not really know it yet. In those cases, the mind’s knowing has not yet made room, not yet given way to “soul-sense”, the intuitive awakening that synthesizes bits of diffuse knowledge into the fathoming of a mystery. Before the mind gives way to soul-sense, we know but we don’t really see; we don’t really “get it”. It takes both knowledge and soul-sense to reveal a mystery. I believe that was the case for me upon reading The Five Faces of Hecate post and comments at The Serpent’s Wisdom for the second time. I read the post around the time that it was originally published (June 24th) but did not have a strong reaction to it. I simply thought to myself that it was interesting and then I clicked over to another site. On August 30th, I read the post and comments again after being prompted to return to the site by a New Post email sent from WordPress.
While reading the post and comments for the second time I reflected on the fact that I do not experience Hekate in the highly sexualized way that she is portrayed by Luis Royo. Nor do I often experience her as a biting, scratching wild woman. She sometimes comes to me as a bit of a specter in flowing Greek-styled black robes. Many times I cannot see a form inside the gown, only the gown itself. At first this was very weird but I got used to it when it kept happening. The “uninhabited” gown was not completely suprising though given that most times she appears only as a subtle rolling black mist flecked with silver and gold. At another point, once in a trance, I saw her more awe-full, frightening, intense, powerful, captivating, ecstasy-provoking face when I asked to see her “true” form.
In each of these forms/encounters, Hekate barely mustered human form. It was suggested or implied (the gown) but never stated. “My Hekate” is keeper of the mysteries, the one before the gates, three-formed lady of the crossroads, averter of evil, guardian, guide, protectress, mistress of spirits, mother of daemons, patroness of witches, diviner, rootworker, worker of magics, and keeper of the keys. She is all these things, what need does she have for a “sexy” body. I never “saw any skin” when Hekate came to me. How could I when she did not have human form 99% of the time. So the highly sexualized character portrayed by Luis Royo was beyond me , but it was not beyond others. Folks leaving comments at The Serpent’s Wisdom seemed to understand something about My Lady that I was missing. Not only in the sexy factor but also in the other symbolism that Royo incorporated into his Five Face. Of course, that worried me but just as I decided I was alright with being in the dark for a little longer about this sexy, sword-touting, tatted up, pierced chick, I read the (second) conversation between Eric and Seillean Ioho in which Eric mentioned that swords and daggers are often symbols of initiation (and I realized so are tattoos, piercings, and, in one of my groups, very significant jewelry). In that moment, something in my soul clicked and I had a vision.
In the vision, I was standing in a very dim, candle-lit room. Before me was Hekate, draped across a throne made of bone. She sat with her right foot on the ground and her left leg resting across the left arm of the throne. She had swords in both hands which were resting on her knees. Of course it was not lost on me that Hekate had suddenly acquired a human form for the purposes of this vision. She wore a thin black flowing strapless calf-length gown that accentuated her hips and the curve of her breasts, showed her bare feet, and highlighted her trim ankles. Her neck was long and regal, adorned with necklaces. Her face was oval-shaped and her eyes were dark and piercing. Her hair was curly and wild but not completely unruly; it followed its own tribal law. She was covered in tattoos of sacred symbols and animals (primarily on her arms, face, and back). She also had a hefty number of sparkling silver ear piercings. Her body was a temple. In the presence of all this newness I had no idea what to say or do, so I just looked. And she was looking at me looking at her.
When she was bored of that, she rose from her throne. It seemed fast but slow at the same time as if I was seeing her body moving and her energy moving and the energy of the room reacting to her movement. Hekate looked me directly in the eyes and when she was within about ten feet of me, she raised the sword and extended the point out in my direction and she kept walking forward toward me. By this point (yay, a pun!), I was afraid but also excited at the same time. She was magnetic, hypnotizing, enticing, and also very armed and extremely dangerous. She was sex and death, skin and swords. She was initiation.
Initiation is more than guiding and gate keeping and key bearing. It is the host of questions, half-baked answers, and new meanings that suddenly come flooding in to shape and reshape your life and your Self. Initiation is a grounded, bodily, earthly, sexy, deathly process just as much as it is an highly abstract, metaphysical, ethereal process. It is the challenge and the ordeal. It is the test of worth and might. Do you know the secret words? Have you etched the mysteries into your skin? Have you touched the sacred? Have you manifested your Will? Have you sufficient skill and might to pass through the gate that leads from who you were toward who you are to be? Do you have what it takes to sweat and cry and bleed for your own becoming? For your Craft?
Hekate the Initiator hears your answers. She extracts your tears, forces your sweat, and draws your blood. She grants or denies initiation, passage through the gate. And to think I may not have really fathomed this for quite a while yet had Eric and Seillean not had a little chat at the Serpent’s Wisdom. Thanks to you both!