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Hecate

Hecate

A Greek goddess, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, but of uncertain origin. She appears to have been one of the original Titans, who ruled the heavens, earth, and sea and could bestow gifts on mortals as they pleased. Later she was confused with other goddesses until she became known as a mystic goddess having all the magic powers of nature at her command. Magicians and witches sought her aid, and sacrifices of dogs, honey, and female black lambs were offered to her where three ways met, at crossroads, or in graveyards. Festivals were held in her honor annually at Egina.

In appearance she was frightful, and serpents hung hissing around her shoulders. As a dark goddess of ghosts and moonlight, her propitiation was an early form of black magic and witchcraft. In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Hecate is the leader of three witches who plot Macbeth's downfall.

Sources:

Valiente, Doreen. An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973.

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Hecate

Hecate

Hecate was a complex, ancient goddess known to the Greeks but originally worshiped by people of Asia Minor*. She held several different roles, including earth goddess, queen of the underworld, and goddess of magic and witchcraft.

According to the Greek writer Hesiod*, Hecate was the daughter of the Titan* Perses and the nymph Asteria. Hesiod claimed that Hecate was a favorite of Zeus*, who made her goddess of the earth, sea, and sky. As a triple goddess, she was also identified with the three aspects of the moon and was represented by women of three different ages. In the sky, she took the form of the old woman Selene, the moon. On earth, she was linked to Artemis (Diana), goddess of the hunt. In the underworld, she was connected with the maiden Persephone, wife of Hades.

underworld land of the dead

nymph minor goddess of nature, usually represented as young and beautiful

Because of her association with the moon, Hecate was seen as a goddess of the night, magic, and spells. Magic was often practiced where roads met, and the Greeks established shrines to her at crossroads, especially where three roads came together. In her role as goddess of magic, Hecate is shown as a three-headed figure who keeps watch over the crossroads where her rites were performed. To her worshipers, she could bring good fortune and success, but she could also be a powerfully negative force. Later Christian tradition emphasized this side of her nature, portraying Hecate as an evil figure who was queen of the witches.

rite ceremony or formal procedure

See also Greek Mythology; Witches and Wizards; Moon.

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Hecate

Hecate (hĕk´ətē, hĕk´Ĭt), in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of ghosts and witchcraft. Originally she seems to have been an extremely powerful and benevolent goddess, identified with three other goddesses—Selene (in heaven), Artemis (on earth), and Persephone (in the underworld). From the three supposedly came her image in Greek art as a figure with three bodies or three heads. Generally she is identified as a spirit of black magic, Persephone's attendant, with the power to conjure up dreams, phantoms, and the spirits of the dead. In the upper world she haunted graveyards and crossroads and was invisible to all eyes except those of the hounds who attended her.

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Hecate

Hecate Goddess in Greek mythology. Associated with Artemis, she bestowed wealth and blessings, and presided over witchcraft, graveyards, and crossroads.

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Hecate

Hecatefooty, putti, sooty, tutti •shufti • casualty • deputy •butty, cutty, gutty, nutty, puttee, putty, rutty, smutty •mufti, tufty •bhakti • subtlety • humpty-dumpty •Bunty, runty •bustee, busty, crusty, dusty, fusty, gusty, lusty, musty, rusty, trusty •fealty • realty •propriety, society •loyalty, royalty •cruelty •Krishnamurti, Trimurti •liberty • puberty •faggoty, maggoty •Hecate • chocolatey • Cromarty •commonalty • personalty • property •carroty • guaranty • mayoralty •warranty • admiralty • severalty •poverty •Alberti, Bertie, dirty, flirty, shirty, thirty •uncertainty •Kirstie, thirsty •bloodthirsty

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