JULY 30, 2018 BY CYNDI BRANNEN
There is a multitude of Hekatean celebrations during August. We can celebrate her connections with the harvest, witches, storms, keys, and children during this month. Here’s a summary of each of them with suggestions for practices and rituals.
“But, again, the moon is Hecate, the symbol of her
varying phases and of her power dependent on the
phases. Wherefore her power appears in three forms,
having as symbol of the new moon the figure in the
white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted:
the basket, which she bears when she has mounted
high, is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops,
which she makes to grow up according to the increase
of her light: and again the symbol of the full moon is
the goddess of the brazen sandals.”
– Praeparatio Evangelico
There are many goddesses who are primarily associated with agriculture, such as Demeter (I’m writing an article about her for the Fall Equinox). However, Hekate is not dissociated from crops either in history or in modern practice. I’ve included the above quote from an early anti-pagan treatise as an example of the many passages in the ancient texts connecting Hekate to crops and harvests. I’m a bit obsessed with all the delicious tidbits for practice in Eusibius’ text. It’s public domain, so check it out if you are so inclined. Here’s another example connecting Hekate to the harvest:
And upon those who work the bright, storm-tossed sea and pray to Hecate and the loud sounding Earth-shaker, the illustrious goddess easily bestows a big haul of fish, and easily she takes it away once it has been seen, if she so wishes in her spirit. – Hesiod’s Theogeny
This quote, to me, reflects Hekate and the First Harvest: she bestows it and can also prevent it or destroy it. This quote connects to the other celebrations this month (more on that later).
Correspondences/Offerings: Local produce, especially grain and garlic, roses and other local flowers. Honey and/or beeswax candles have been associated with Hekate since the early days of her cult.
NOTE: There is no ancient epithet specific to Hekate and the harvest. Ekdotis means bestower which could certainly be appropriate as an honorific to her in conjunction with personal prosperity and the bounty of the land. The earlier quote from Hesiod could be recited and The Orphic Hymn to Hekate is especially apropos for harvest rituals.
Meal: Local produce and fresh fish if possible, prepared with plants from her ancient garden such as sage, saffron, bay laurel, and garlic. Olive oil is the appropriate fat.
Practice: Consider adding a daily gratitude practice to your Witches’ Hour of Power starting at the beginning of August. I’ve written a First Harvest article with practice tips and a ritual that can you find here. Another thing I will do is honor Hekate as the World Soul since it is her fiery energy of creation that is so abundant this time of the year. You can read one version of this ritual here, just adapt it to the First Harvest. This is an excerpt:
Mighty Hekate, Soul of the World,
Like Your serpent, I am an agent of creation.
As the dragon, I breathe Your fire with my words.
My fears turn to ash through Your sacred alchemy.
Mighty Hekate, Soul of the World,
May You be woven into my very being.
Your colors of black, white and red
Becoming my essential fire.
Hekate’s Night is observed on August 13. It’s also celebrated as Night of Hekate as Goddess of Witches (below). The quote above from Hesiod firmly connects her with the harvest and storms. These two aspects reflect Hekate’s powers of creation and destruction, both necessary part of the life cycle, including our own.
I’ve always associated Hekate with storms because I erroneously interpreted her epithet of Brimo as connected to the weather. Since I made this mistake years ago, Hekate has become associated with storms and with this night by many others. I also discovered Hesiod’s take on Hekate which is so similar to my own. After dark on August 13, I recommend that you pay your respects to Hekate as the Storm Bringer. You can perform a simple ritual that honors Her for seeing you through the storms of life and seek her guidance for the future ones. If this date happens to be close to the day of Hekate as Guardian of the Children, you can perform a two-fold ritual. In 2018, this night happens to fall close to the Dark Moon, the time when many modern Hekateans honor her as part of their monthly activities, so the events can easily be combined.
I wrote about Hekate as Brimo, her stormy side, that may inspire you for practice and ritual ideas. You can read it here. This is an excerpt:
Hail Hekate Brimo,
Hail Hekate The Fierce,
Hail Hekate The Terrifying.
May I be prepared for the storms of life,
May I honor You through my actions,
May I learn from your gifts.
Guide me through life’s storms.
The Night of Hekate is also interpreted as a celebration of Hekate as the Goddess of Witchcraft by some modern traditions and practitioners. Since the Deipnon is near the 13th in 2018, it’s suitable to perform a ritual specific to this aspect of Hekate.
I suggest making a list of all of your witchy abilities and offering gratitude to Hekate for them. Witch it up all the way with a chthonic (Under World) altar, loads of black and midnight wandering along sea cliffs with your coven or friends while carrying torches. The torches are very important. One time we almost ended up making ourselves oceanic offerings.
My Witches’ Prayer to Hekate may inspire you. Feel free to use it as you will. Save it in your Book of Shadows if you like. The full text can be found here.
Mighty Hekate, Queen of the Witches,
You have bestowed upon me the power of the Witch.
Through the gifts of Your sacred keys,
I am the walker between the worlds,
The spinner of the web of fate,
The knower of Your secrets,
The student of Your mysteries,
The giver of Your healing.
– from “A Witch’s Prayer to Hekate”
All summer long, I celebrate Hekate as Keeper of the Keys of all creation and also as the symbolic key holder for all the gates and crossroads in my life. Not that she isn’t Kleidoukhos the rest of the year, but there is something about the bounty in the land during this season that reminds me of her in this capacity. I wrote more about this in my article on Hekate and the Summer Solstice.
The three previous celebrations all honor different but connected aspects of Hekate. One way to combine them is by honoring her as Kleidoukhos, Universal Key Holder and Gatekeeper. Since Hekate as associated most strongly with the number three, a ritual involving a key each for harvests, storms and witchery would be fantastic. I am hosting an event on the Keeping Her Keys Facebook page for everyone interested in celebrating her in this way. The idea is to select roles of Hekate that you feel most closely connected with rather than any prescribed set of ones. I wanted to celebrate the diversity of the ways us Hekateans experience her rather than having a rigid format. Find the event here. Read the Ritual of Hekate of The Nine Keys here.
“There were three dates set aside to honor Hekate as Kourotrophos, Guardian of Children. Those dates correspond to specific phases of the moon cycle. While the ancient calendar is a bit tricky to interpret using our modern one, the dates can be estimated. The days were held on the 27th day of the January-February moon cycle, the third day of June-July moon cycle and the 16th day of August-September moon cycle. You can work with Hekate as the Guardian of Children on any of these dates. A suitable ritual that includes thanking Hekate for the children in your life and seeking her blessing over them is appropriate. In the Wheel of the Year, Hekate as Kourotrophos is honored during the August-September moon cycle with a ritual, although you can work with Hekate in this capacity any time you feel led.” – from Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft ava...
Practice and Ritual: I have an entire article dedicated to Hekate as Guardian of Children, including a ritual: http://admin.patheos.com/blogs/keepingherkeys/2018/06/hekate-guardi...
I always do a special ritual for my sons, their classmates and all children the day they return to school which is conveniently around the same time as the ancient dates for this festival.
I am a big fan of August, but I say that about every month. Personally, the beginning of August this year marks the 10th anniversary of the first time I led a big Hekatean ritual. You can read the story here and perhaps incorporate the evocation of Hekate that was first performed that evening. The current version can be found here. It warms my witch’s heart to hear how others have used this in their own workings. However you celebrate Hekate, the land and your own life this month, I wish you bounty in all things.
All month we are celebrating Hekate in The Witches’ Realm, including my study group on Modern Hekatean Witchcraft, events and more. You can apply to join on the main Keeping Her Keys Facebook page.