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October 25, 2019
Illustration of Hekate by William Blake
Hekate is a goddess of necromancy and witchcraft, and has strong ties to the underworld. However, as we covered in our previous article about her, she is often assigned too exclusively with only the underworld. Hekate’s Horde is her group of spirits, which she both protects and tames. These spirits are often, but by no means entirely, nefarious or aggressive, but the possibility of this often leads people to assume it as a blanket circumstance, not unlike the typical misconceptions about Hekate. The way the horde is often defined is appropriately similar to the ideas many have, including those that are commonly misplaced about Hekate herself, and we can learn much about ourselves through our experience of Hekate’s Horde.
Many members of Hekate’s Horde are thought to be necessarily menacing. This includes everyone from the laminaia, who feasted on children, and the empousai, who feasted on young men (her hounds are, to be noted, separate from her horde). Many a dead spirit in her horde is dark and potentially volatile, and this is why most of her horde is assumed to be comprised of the spirits who are otherwise neglected. These spirits are taken in by Hekate because they have been rejected from everywhere else. This is exemplary of two major themes about Hekate: first, her keeping of dark spirits is, in part, out of love and compassion, and love for a shadow spirit is very on-brand for a goddess of witchcraft and necromancy, often misrepresented only in a dark and negative manner. Second, for Hekate, the keeping of the horde is the act of taming dark forces, which shows power and a disciplined and refined will for which her devotees can follow the example of.
Taking a more introspective approach, Hekate’s commanding of shadow spirits may enable us to confront our own “shadow selves”. Every individual is a complex emotional being, and we temper ourselves by identifying inner truths through self-awareness and emotional honesty. Perhaps most unpleasant to face, confronting one’s anger in a healthy and unobstructed manner is quite like Hekate’s taming of the restless dead. Once we have been able to reconcile the fear and intimidation we may feel from our “shadow selves” then we can be summarily more capable and powerful. Additionally, once this level of magical and intellectual refinement has been achieved, one may gain attain the capacity to develop one’s own spirit horde.
Hekate, artist unknown
Now, we move on to Hekate’s Deipnon, a ritual that can also be used to honor and include Hekate, her horde, and ourselves. A deipnon is a meal in the evening, not unlike dinner and, because of the ceremony that comes with it, often the biggest meal in a day. Hekate's Deipnon is held once in a lunar month, typically during the new or ‘dark moon’, as a tribute to her and the dead. Furthuring the ritual of the deipnon, one can leave offerings at a crossroads, perhaps at the entrance to one’s home, as so many of her ancient followers did.
Up to this point, as just with a deeper analysis of her horde, we know that the associations and emotions with Hekate are extremely varied and often positive. As can be seen with the cultivation of her horde, Hekate is a goddess who forgives, and the deipnon is an often chosen for an occasion with which to beg Hekate for forgiveness, or, to be an example of worship, to release one’s negative energy, as well as to admonished from slights against her horde.
The leaving of negativity is one of her most consistent uses of this ritual to her followers, and because this month’s new moon in Scorpio falls just short of Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve, never has been a better time for her Deipnon.
Woman leaving an offering for Hekate
Note: The deipnon has evolved over the centuries as much as anything else about Hekate. This means that much of this can be manipulated to taste, for intention, effort, and care are always amongst that which is most important to her. Preparation for the deipnon can take days, or can be astrologically timed with parts of the day, such as sundown or the location of the moon. The ritualistic cleansing may include cleansing one’s body with a bath. Read more Ritual Inspirations for Hekate here.
Hekate leading Persephone from the Underworld, c. 440 BCE
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