She was also a Greek goddess of fertility who later became associated with Persephone as goddess of the Underworld and the powerful protector of witches.
Who was Hecate?
Hecate was the Greek goddess of Magic and one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth about Hecate has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role in the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. She was famous for her knowledge of herbs, poisonous plants and sorcery. She resided in the Underworld where she was the mistress of the hateful Keres, who she directed in the brewing of magic potions. The Keres who were referred to as the 'Death Spirits' or the 'Death Fates' were the goddesses personified violent deaths and who revelled in the bloody slaughter of the battlefield. Hecate is portrayed as a terrifying goddess bearing holding a torch and a sword. Her feet and hair were formed of serpents, or snakes, she was accompanied by the voices of thunder, ghostly shrieks and yells and the deep baying and howling of dogs.
Facts about Hecate
Hecate features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers. The following information, facts and profile provides a fast overview of Hecate:
Greek Name: Hecate
Role & Function: The function of Hecate is described as being the the goddess of magic, witches, sorcery, herbs, the moon and crossroads
Status: Lived in the Underworld
Symbols: Dogs, keys and paired torches
A triple divinity: Her realm extended over earth, the sky and hell (Hades & Tartarus (Hell)
Roman Counterpart: The Roman name for this god was Hekate
Name of Husband: Aeetes
Name of Father: Perses or Erebus
Name of Mother: Asteria or Nyx the primordial goddess of night
Names of Children: Aegialeus, Absyrtus, Medea, Circe and Chalciope
The Symbols of Hecate
Each ancient Greek god and goddess were associated with special symbols, animals and attributes. The Symbols of Hecate helped the ancient Greeks instantly recognize the gods and goddesses that were depicted in the pictures, mosaics, statues and images. The symbols of Hecate and their meanings were as follows:
- These symbols represent the keys to the Underworld and her ability to unlock the secrets of the occult and the black arts: sorcery, magical spells and witchcraft
- Paired torches
- Such torches were also symbols of Ares, the god of war whose priests carried burning torches as the sign of battle
- The Moon
- The symbol of the moon relates to her role as the nocturnal goddess of the moon.
- The symbol of the dogs relate to their ability to see ghosts. Hecate was said to roam battlefields and places of death to lead souls to the Underworld
Hecate (Roman Counterpart was Hekate)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Hecate, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Hecate was Hekate although she is often confused with Trivia, the goddess of crossroads and guardian of roads.
Facts about Hecate in Greek Mythology
Hecate, the Greek goddess of Magic, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Greek Mythology. Discover interesting information and facts about Hecate, the Greek goddess of Magic. The facts about Hecate provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Hecate in Greek Mythology.
Fact 1: Shrines to the goddess were placed at the doorways of homes and as protection from the dead and evil spirits.
Fact 2 : Shrines and statues to the goddess were placed at three-way crossroads where food offerings were left at the new moon to placate any roaming spectres and evil spirits
Fact 3 : She had the power to create or calm storms and was therefore a patron of sailors
Fact 4 : She plays a role in the mythology regarding the story of Demeter and Persephone
Fact 5 : Offerings and sacrifices of black lambs were made in her honor
Fact 6 : The festival of the 'Day of Hecate' was August 13 in which prayers and offerings were made so that the goddess would not send heavy rain or storms and ruin and the crops.
Fact 7 : The festival of the 'Night of Hecate' was a midnight festival on November 16 to placate any evil spirits
Fact 8 : Great attention was paid to the ceremonies and rituals conducted at her festivals for fear of antagonising evil spirits