Livanios is a Hellenic philosopher born in the Hellenic city Antiocheia of Syria in 314 a.C. His family was local and...
The following article is going to make some people mad, causing them mania to the point that they may even want to hit their screen. It is not suitable for people who base their practices and ideas regardings the cult of Hekate, on illusive personal gnosis, feelings, channelings, New Age ideas, etc. Hopefully, the readers of this blog base their practices on well-documented historical and archaeological facts. Those readers, our readers, may continue reading. The others are kindly requested to exit that page, as it will get them upset.
Really, not a few times I read online, in fora, groups, blogs, websites information about the Goddess Hekate, which are not true. In fact, they do not come from any book, research, ancient depiction, or any other kind of real source. Most of the time, the writers of those texts have a group of supporters, who have read the blog, the book, or they have taken a step forward on exercising with that new information on their daily devotional work. Even new nontraditional "traditions” have been born out of this kind of new information. Most of the time, when I write an ancient source proving that things are not like that, or when I ask for sources, they block me or tell me things like evolution. Evolution on what? I prefer being old-fashioned.
But how an ancient Goddess could have new, valuable information, which contradicts all the ancient information we find in various ancient texts? How can this happen? For example, a website presents Hekate telling that all Her mythology is a lie. When a Goddess or a God decides to have another personality? When he/she passes an identity crisis? No! This is ridiculous, but people believe those ideas and they make them a part of their lives. But, where those ideas are based? On imagination? On wrong execution of magickal techniques? Both? Maybe innocence?
A safe way to keep/preserve a magickal tradition or a magickal religion as Wicca or Asatru is to know the history. History, archaeology, mythology are live triangle that connects us with the tradition we try to practice, with the ancient cult we try to approach. Without science, our efforts will eventually fall and fail. It is really very shocking to read and see that spread, misinformation about the Goddess Hekate. Who are those people who decide to change facts, texts, history? How it is better not to read the ancient texts you have, the real sources, and prefer to invent your own? How someone who lives in the age of rapid change, technology, and a fake civilization is going to say that he is more connected than the ancient priest who lived in an atmosphere full of magick and real connection with nature? When necromancy and divination were public professions when priests and priestesses were considered sacred persons, and they practiced and led pomps, celebration, magickal techniques and they carried a spiritual knowledge, unknown to us… at those ages, with all the energy centering around war and religion, our ancestors were in a better religious situation than the one we are now, they lived with nature, they didn’t see nature as something we can take advantage of, and had nothing to worry about. They saw spirits and even Gods in their daily lives and nobody made jokes about those experiences. Communication with other realms was something that could happen and it was accessible to everyone who wanted to try it. By saying that those people, who lived in an environment in which the cult of Hekate was something normal to them, as they found it from their ancestors and passed it to their children, they don’t know, and we modern people know better what happened, is completely nonnatural.
Hekate today, is seen by some modern writers, bloggers, etc. as a Goddess that was never seen in the past. Even if there are specific books about Her, books on mythology and history, archaeological facts like plaques, statues, pottery, even if we have research printed in the paper, there are still people who do not want to read the facts, as they believe that they have the ability to know better about the Goddess than all the previous people who actually studied and worshipped Her. And yes, a modern witch can understand the Goddess, but he/she need to know who is She. What She represents. What She likes or at least, used to like. How She may look like and why. Her symbols. If you read for example a book which writes that Hekate is connected with frogs because the writer believes that Hekate was worshipped in Egypt as Heqet and then passed to Hellas during the Hellenistic Era, then you will associate Hekate with frogs, but when you will invoke that Goddess, who is going to come? Hekate or Heqet? Because there are two separate Goddesses! And Hekate is a Goddess well-rooted in Hellas, so it doesn’t seem possible to have come from any other civilization, not even chronologically.
Let's see Hekate as a crone. Oh, it doesn't look like a crone at all! Maybe She is not Hekate, right? But it is written on the marble! We see God Pan and the Goddess Hekate next to him in an initiation scene. Oh did I write initiation? Some people believe that Hekate had no connection with magick. Really? What is She doing at the center of an initiation scene? The votive relief we see comes from Boetia. It is made from limestone. It is dated 350-325 b.C.
The real question is why this keeps happening? Well, modern people do not want to read, study and make their homework. Take for example people who want to learn tarot. They prefer not to follow the French school or the English school, but the New Age school, which is simpler and allows mainly the “intuition” to interpret the cards. Well, this might work sometimes, but you cannot use intuition effectively if you have not trained your intuition. By using divinatory methods correctly, you train your intuition. If you choose to use a raw intuition you won’t have good results, because you don’t know how to do it. This is unacceptable for witches, as historically witches were wise people, priests, inventors. But with the New Age movement, the advertisement of Witchcraft with television and cinema, with the publication of more and more new-age books or Wicca 101 books, in which everything is good and loving and fine, modern witches and pagans want to take things lightly and experiment with their own way. They will hate being in a coven, following a study program, or even a tradition, because they are “free” spirits. This is fine for the beginning, but if this person continues to have that mentality, not only he/she will be a bad witch and a hobbyist pagan, he/she may bring imbalance in his/her life.
Personal feelings or unidentified personal gnosis is not gnosis at all. It is a feeling, an idea coming from imagination. UPG could have value when someone is connected with the Goddess, not connected with a Goddess or a spirit or an unknown force. The libraries and the bookshops are full of translations of ancient texts. Everyone could spend time for research the Goddess Hekate. This has more value than reading a blog from an unknown writer, who just transfers his/her ideas, not ideas from books or personal experience. There are also books which contain parts of ancient texts, written in an easy to follow, way. There are also books for ancient Hellenic magick and history and religion so that everyone can read from academics, scholars, or reliable writers. Again, this step should be taken in the beginning and this is a normal step. Why? Because it is your faith. Your devotion. You follow the Goddess, learn about Her. There is no priest, no theological school to teach you. You are not going to pass any exams. You learn about your Goddess, for yourself. Not for fashion, not for your friends, not for your parents, not because you owe it to anyone other than yourself.
Let’s see a little more, how ridiculous is to write misinformation about an ancient Goddess. Imagine that you have a triple Goddess, like Hekate. But you write “she has three faces, as the three faces of the moon. One young for the maiden, one for the mother and one for the crone”. Now, another writer will change that to “one young for Persephone, one for Artemis and the crone for Hekate”. Yes, this happens. But, now, if you read those two writers, what will you believe? Assume that you follow Wicca and practice Wicca as a solitary, how the moon Goddess of Wicca looks like? Is She Hekate? Or three united but different Goddesses? Let’s take it a step further. Does, Mr. Robert Graves, in his White Goddess book, refer only to that triplicity for the triple Goddess? No! He is referring to virgin, bride, mother triplicity. No crone for you, no dark moon association. Oh, we just lost the moon Goddess. Also, the book is written as a poem, not as a mythological or historical book. And lastly, nobody said that books written by professors or scholars or researchers have no mistakes or personal ideas. Thirdly, mr. Gerald Gardner, the father of Wicca is not mainly referring to a triple Goddess. And to end it, Hekate is not a crone Goddess. She never was. What is happening? Someone is messing and mixing facts with imagination, to alter main beliefs on religion and magickal systems, to make the new pagan, being totally confused. And let’s assume that all these things are right. When this new pagan is going to a museum, he/she is never going to see a triple Hekate having the face of the crone or the face of Persephone or Artemis. Now, the question is, as those people write about a Goddess they created from their own minds, fits their needs, suits them, why do they name this Goddess, Hekate? Why did they choose a name of a real Goddess, a historical one? Because the name is in fashion? It sells well? Does it draw attention? Or it is something innocent? I don’t care. But imagine Hekate, being summoned by someone who in his/her invocation is a crone Goddess, queen of hell, and drinking blood like a vampire. Or being summoned by someone as the crone aspect of the moon, only at night, as a wise gypsy old lady. Priestess of Wicca, Ellen Cannon Reed was better in setting those things. She writes “How would you feel if some stranger knocked on the door asking you for money or something?” (The Heart of Wicca, Samuel Weiser 2000)
Closing this article, I want to add the last thing. Anyone can believe whatever he/she wants. He/she might prefer imagination over knowledge, feelings over logic. Religion and believing in something is a personal things. But, when you say that you are a devotee of Hekate, please check your sources before citing something about Her that was invented in the last 5 to 100 years. It is ok if you write that this idea is something new, and I believe this idea. It is not ok to write that this idea appeared now, but it is really ancient or even worse to add an ancient writer as the founder of this idea. Lastly, it is not ok to write that Hekate told you that new idea, which can be traced in antiquity. Ancient Hellenes had philosophy and a part of philosophy as science. Today, we only have science, but we can study philosophy. The methods are the same. Socrates used to teach that if you do not examine your life, it is not worth living.
Images: the first two images you see come from a famous hellenic t.v.series Constantinos and Helen. The emblematic actor is Haris Romas who quit law school to become an actor. He was and is one of the best actors and scriptwriters in Hellas. A very talented man who manages to unite past, tradition and modern times with humor and cleverness.'
Theurgy and Philosophy are two different methods which lead to the union with God.