SEPTEMBER 3, 2018 BY CYNDI BRANNEN
September is the month of the final harvest from the land. Labor Day is connected to Hekate via her role as a champion of the common people, as she was in ancient Greece and Rome and remains today as Guardian of the Marginalized. The Fall Equinox marks the return of Hekate Chthonia as the Wheel of the Year turns to decreased daylight and our energy shifts inward, towards the emotional depths of the Under World. As we move towards the Season of the Witch, the energy of September offers an excellent opportunity to contemplate endings, beginnings and the space in-between.
My brain works on an annual calendar that begins tomorrow – the first day of the school year. Of course, my heart works on a different one that starts November 1. Then there is that annoying calendar beginning January 1. Perhaps by body works on that one, I know I get motivated to workout after too much holiday indulgence. Back to the present moment, between my brain and my heart calendars, there is an in-between space of September and October. September is the month of endings, when we say goodbye to summer’s splendor, from precious vacations to longer hours of daylight. It’s just as much the time of beginnings, especially for those of us work go back to school or ramp up our work schedules.
As a Triple Goddess, Hekate has been viewed since ancient times as one who can see all things, including the past, present and future. As Keeper of the Keys, we can turn to her for wisdom on how to understand the past, live in the present and prepare for the future. The epithet I chose to represent this month is Propylaia, meaning “She Who Stands Before the Gate.” This is the gate of the Under World as Hekate descends from her summer role as Kleidoukhos, Keeper of the Keys, when all the gates of creation of flung open wide. This aspect of Hekate reflects her Upper World energy found in The Chaldean Oracles. Hekate is a complex goddess whose origins reach back to an Anatolian Under World Sun Goddess, so it’s not surprising that she continues to have energetic currents that stretch from the heavens to the depths of the ocean. September is the time when we stand before the gate of the Under World.
Read more about the Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year here.
Regarding pronouncing the epithets:
You can use various websites that offer Greek pronunciations. While it’s good to listen to these being said, I don’t believe that the modern way to say an epithet in Greek is the same as how the ancients would have said it. Just like the English we speak today sounds much different than that during Shakespeare’s time. I say follow your heart and what fits best on your tongue.
Hekate is associated with yellow, including wonderful saffron.
Yellow and gold are the colors that I associate with September. The sun is still the dominant energy. I’ve been wild harvesting many yellow and golden plants. Soon the first tinges of gold will appear on leaves. Traditionally, gold is the color of the final harvest. Wheat shafts and corn ears are appropriate for adding to your altar this month. Further in the article you can find the yellow and golden hued plants I selected for my altar. Keeping it strictly ancient Hekatean, we can turn to her ancient garden as a guide for selecting botanicals to include in our September witchery:
“In the innermost recess of the enclosure was a sacred grove, shaded by green trees. Therein were many laurels, cornels, tall shoots, and grass, within which grew short plants with powerful roots: asphodel, beautiful maidenhair, rushes, galingale, delicate verbena, sage, hedge-mustard, purple honeysuckle, healing cassidony, flourishing field basil, mandrake, hulwort; in addition fluffy dittany, fragrant saffron, nose-smart; and also lion-foot, greenbrier, chamomile, black poppy, alcua, all-heal, white hellebore, aconite, and other noxious plants which are born from the earth. In the middle, the trunk of a great oak reached high, and the tree’s branches overspread the grove.” – Orphic Argonautica, 4th C CE
Gold is associated with Hekate through epithets, such as one of my favorites:
Chrysosandalaimopotichthonia which means –
Goddess of the Under World Wearing Golden Sandals and Drinking Blood
I really like this as it reflects the liminality of September. We may still be wearing our flip flops, but our minds have shifted to the delicious darkness of the season ahead. This wonderful epithet comes to us from an ancient curse tablet.
Golden epithets from the Greek Magical Papyri:
Chrysopis: Golden Faced
Chrysosandalos: Golden Sandals
Chrysostephanos: Golden Crowned
Incorporate these in your rituals celebrating the lunar events and seasonal change as well as for petitions and personal development contemplation. Maybe even journal about your own inner Chrysosandalaimopotichthonia.
You can read more ways to include the epithets in witchery and rituals here.
Hekate’s Animals for September: Bear is an excellent animal spirit energy for this month. Bear prepares for the months ahead. Connect with Bear energy for guidance on your own plans for the year ahead. Fresh fish are an excellent offering in September as they represent the harvest and her role as a Goddess of the Sea. Read more about Hekate’s Animal Horde here.
White Aster: Small white flowers. Element of earth, Virgo, ruled by Mercury. Flower of September. Burn to ward off evil spirits. Loads of ancient Greek and Roman aster lore, especially the tale of Astraea. For Hekate Chthonia, to not be haunted by the past.
Witherod: Berries and leaves. Element of air, Gemini, ruled by Mercury. Roman plant similar to the version of verburnum growing on my land was called by Virgil “lenta viburno” which may have meant “flexible tree of the road.” For Hekate Propylaia Enodia, She Who Stands Before the Gates of the Road. Since this plant is ruled by Air, I honored the aspects of the mind and mysticism associated with Gates and Roads. Belongs to the honeysuckle family, part of Hekate’s ancient garden.
Toad Flax: two-toned yellow flowers. Ruled by Mars. Scorpio. Element of fire. I used this to honor Hekate of the Middle World, Torch Bearer, Breaker of Hexes and Remover of Barriers (properties of toad flax aka wild snapdragon).
Globe Amaranth: I honestly don’t know why this is growing on my property. Spent hours researching it. I’m still not entirely convinced that this is what it is, but I’ve consulted with others who agree. The regular amaranth was associated with eternal love and immortality. Was associated with Ephesian Artemis (the one with the bees and the many boobed statues). Ruled by Saturn, also associated with Venus and Mars. Can be linked to Capricorn. I added this for Hekate the Unknowable, the Mysteries. Symbolic of fire, water and air. I focused on the Venus aspects of water, emotional mysteries of love and death.
The herb bundle: mugwort, lavender (french), lavender (sea), saltwort and juniper. Making your own bundles is easy. Choose plants that have rather solid leaves, small or no flowers and have slender but solid stalks. Avoid “flaky” plants with bits that fall of easily. Consult a book for plant properties or follow your intuition. Tie with natural cotton cord (burns well). Allow to air dry for until stiff or dehumidify in the oven at low temp on parchment paper (absorbs water).
I'm learning so much about Mabon this year. I knew it was the final harvest of the summer. But they have put it in different terms. Either that or I just didn't see things for Mabon like I should have and now I've got it understood. I also enjoyed learning a few good tidbits about Hecate. Thank you SunKat :)
I'm glad you all liked the article! This author is great and so knowledgeable of Hekate.