Polytheist

31 Days of Devotion: Hekate and Related Deities

I used to avoid syncretizing deities because I feared offending a deity or tipping into the All-are-One-God belief that I don’t buy into. I had to find a balance between the old world concept of connecting deities of like duties or descriptions and still honoring that singular deity as a whole. To me, connecting these deities doesn’t necessarily say they are the same God or Goddess under two names but rather gives insight as to how the people in that region viewed and related to the deity. If they already had a worship of a deity when another group came in who worshiped a different deity with the same job and description, it probably helped with cultural relations.

Another thing I have kept in mind is that many “names” we have for deities are actually descriptive epithets. Hekate is actually an Ancient Greek term for far-shooting and is a term using for Artemis and Apollo as well so it is no Her name as we would see our first names to be – not a true word that is Her’s alone but a descriptive term.

Lastly, I’ve had fellow polytheists explain connecting deities as saying they work in the same office. Gods and Goddesses of Love might “work in the Pink building” where they share duties depending on cultures, regions, and followers. Hekate works in both the buildings of darkness, death, and witchcraft as well as that of light and guidance, and, at times, in buildings of war/strategy and athletics/games. So this connects her to many, many deities.

The problem with old world connections to other deities is we aren’t entirely sure where Hekate comes from and therefore her connections could be vast and far reaching depending on origins.

Goddesses Related to Hekate’s Mysterious Origins

Hekate is often connect to the Egyptian Goddess, Heqet (mostly due to their names sounding similar). Heqet shares the duties of Divine Midwife with Hekate. While Heqet aided in bringing forth Horus and in the rebirth of Osiris (a mystery regarding life and death), Hekate is shown in some instances as the midwife of Dionysos. Both Goddesses are connected to frogs and toads, liminal animals that symbolize transformation and the ability to travel between worlds.

Another origin of Hekate is believed to be with the Minoan Snake Goddess. This is the origin that I intuitively connect with best. We do not have a name for the snake weilding Goddess statue found but She has been associated with several deities including Kybele. Her raised arms remind me of Hekate’s images holding aloft 2 torches. The snakes are also associated with Hekate who is often seen with one around Her like a girdle or at least near at hand.

I mentioned Kybele. This Mother Goddess is also associated with Hekate. In fact, there are statues that show her either next to or proceeded by Hekate and Hermes, both of which are Greek Psychopomps and Gods of magick. It is believed that Hekate had an important role in Kybele’s mystery teachings. Like Hekate, Kybele also has Her dark and light aspects. Kybele had many associations shared with Dionysos who is often partnered with Hekate in mystery and magick traditions. Temples to Hekate often were tended to by eunuchs without any explanation so that some scholars wonder if they are connected to Kybele and honor that Mother Goddess through their work with Hekate.

Greco-Roman Goddesses Related to Hekate

As we enter Hekate’s Greco-Roman worship, we see more and more connections with other Goddesses. Nyx and Asteria, who are both said to be mothers of Hekate, are often conflated with Her due to Her reign over parts of the Heavens, Earth, and Sea (and Underworld).
Due to Her Asteria/Perses parentage, Hekate is often connected with her cousins, Apollo and, more so, Artemis. Artemis and Hekate share many descriptions and epithets. They are both shown as maidens, both connected with various beasts, both conflated with Diana and Selene, both connected with the Moon, and so on. With Apollo, Hekate is often connected through light, guidance, and oracles.

Due to Hekate’s connection with the Eleusian Mysteries, Hekate is often said to be the same as either Demeter or Persephone, sometimes said to be a daughter of Demeter, and, in modern times, shown as a Crone aspect of the Maiden and Mother that is Kore and Demeter.

Gods of Witchcraft

Hekate is a Goddess of witches, witchcraft, magick, and mysteries. To me, She is first the Witch Queen who guides us through darkness and holds the keys to the all things hidden.

In this aspect She is often connected with other Gods and Goddesses who share this work.

  • Hermes (especially Hermes Trismegestus)
  • Dionysos/Bacchus
  • Diana
  • Fae Queen Mab
  • Cerridwen
  • Freya and Hel
  • Lilith
  • Erishkigal

…and more.

There are mortal witches also connected with Her that are either Her daughters or priestesses or merely witches that are thus connected to the Witch Queen – Kirke, Medea, Arachne, and Aradia.

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