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Athena/Artimis - Hecate?
By LadyRoseRed

In reading several of the posts here and in some of my own research these 3 goddesses seem to be lumped together. I can understand the joining of Athena and Artemis but, I don't know - Heckate doesn't seem, to me, to blend into them. I've always seen her as her own separate entity. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

A trilogy of goddesses...is the way I'm looking at the "them" I'm seeing. Maiden/Mother/Crone. Persephone/Demeter/Hecate...the goddess of the crossroads. Artemis/Selene/ Hecate....goddess of the waxing moon, the full moon, the waning moon. The Greeks kept the Crone goddesses mostly invisible. I can't speak to all the histories of their mythology the way that Cinn and DragonHawk and MSLD can, but I am sitting with experiencing their energies. Allowing myself to feel the energy of Maiden/Mother/Crone together. Munay

Man I don't know if I want to get into this one at all. Hekate / Hecate is never a crone in the way the Greeks look at her. All early statuary depicts a young woman with a singular head. It is not until much later that the tri-formus statuary starts to appear but even then it is always young women never crones. Yet she is a true tri-formus goddess in that she holds power over Earth, Heaven and Ocean. Her association to the moon and its intermediary connection to her is heavily spoken of in the Chaldean Oracles. In that the moon is seen as neither heaven nor earth but an intermediary location which is the home to daemons and other beings. Hekate / Hecate being seen as the one who somewhat controls the daemons and sends them to enlighten / punish mortals she becomes associated to harmful spirits. It also touches upon Hekate / Hekate's association to liminal spots and even her capacity as gatekeeper into the underworld and her ability to deny entry or release of shades of the dead. Just a note but the Chaldeans were a people from ancient Babalyon. Many of their oracles or tracts were used to form many facets of later magical systems and became a probable source of connecting Hekate / Hecate to witches / sorceresses / enchantresses. It also needs to be noted that in ancient Greek there were not really words to separate one from the other so translations may use all three words for the same or similar notions. Hekate / Hecate like Artemis is also an elder goddess in Anatolia (modern Turkey).

Geographical wise Hekate's / Hecate's main temple was located at Lagina which would place it in a border region to Artemis' sphere of influence at Ephesos / Ephesus and Sardis. Yet potentially cross-connected in other area's if one considers Taurin Artemis, the story of Igphynia (sp) and her notation or title of "Hecate" then the later Black Sea area story of Jason and the Argonautics and the enchantress Medea who was high priestess to Hecate / Hekate. I believe the close location between the two (Artemis & Hekate) also produced a joining of them or comparison where one seemed to function like the other.

Most instances these are hyphenated names such as Artemis-Hekate or Hekate-Artemis. While I can't prove it I believe this hyphenated name would indicate who it was first and who they were acting like secondly. Thus Hekate-Artemis might equate to Hekate in her capacity as goddess of the crossroads but be seen like Artemis in the capacity to the wilderness and liminal places. Then when one looks to joint spheres of influence it becomes a bit more joined. For instance Hekate as Goddess of waters held many of the same influences over the water, fisheries, traders and seamen that Artemis held as Mistress of Animals in that she held sway and influence over fisheries, aquatic life with both having temples and shrines in many coastal cities. Yet water was also seen as life giving tying into their capacity as a fertility goddess and one who aided in childbirth.

So you see many sanctuaries / temples located near water sources for both of them. Yet in many ways one must consider Cyebe / Kyebe as part of this triad for she is the elder earth goddess, a Gaia type goddess in Anatolia. It is probable that both Artemis and Hekate acquired traits from Kyebe / Cyebe as their worship rose and hers declined. Then add in the later Greek expansion into those area's and the merging of Greek gods / goddess with the Anatolian gods / goddesses and you see Artemis lose some of her influence as she is brought into the Olympian pantheon while Hekate / Hecate loses nothing as she is incorporated. Giving rise to speculation that Hekate / Hecate's cult was of such influence and strength that it could not be challenged by the expanding Olympian pantheon. When Hekate / Hecate is tied to Persephone / Demeter many try to place Hekate / Hecate as the crone but that seems wrong. Demeter as the mother who searches for her child is placed as the mother but it seems more likely that Demeter would be the crone. Persephone the new wife and leaving the folds of virgin would be seen as the new mother and Hekate / Hecate more likely as the Maiden in her capactiy as a virgin goddess. Yet it is from this story to that Hekate / Hecate becomes associated with holding the keys to hades and having control over entering shades and the ability to deny them passage and condemn them to run with her. She also becomes the torch bearer in that she is noted as both leading Persephone and following behind her as they exit Hades to be reunited with Demeter. It is also possible that this is where the foundations of Hekate / Hecate's association with Hermes begins as Hermes is the one dispatched by Zeus to instruct the release of Persephone.

Athena is more difficult to tie into the threesome but she does hold many of the attributes of both. Hekate / Hecate is a goddess of wisdom and guidance but is seen more so in the light of association to enchantresses, sorceresses, witches, poisoners, etc. Yet it is to Hekate / Hecate that Medea advices Jason to make libations and offerings to gain knowledge and wisdom on how to compete the tasks laid out before him. All three share the distinction of being eternal virgins though in later tales Hekate / Hecate is also listed as the mother of a few monsters. In manys ways Hekate / Hecate as a Titaness holds an elder power that encompasses both Artemis and Athena's. She is also the joining source between them in the light that Athena is civilization, cities, etc.

Atremis is the wilderness, un-civilization, etc. and Hekate / Hecate is the cross-roads and non-places or liminal spots. Selene, well she is the eternal moon and an elder goddess. Both Artemis (new or full moon) and Hekate / Hecate (dark moon) become associated due to the old lunar calander the Greeks used. Yet most of that based upon the Athenian calendar and later Roman calendars as to when they were worshipped. For instance beneath the Roman calendar the 29th of each month is Hekate's night. Yet no temples have been found in Italy that can be said to be dedicated to Hekate or Tri-Formus. Of course there is much more to it than just the few fragments I have mentioned and would take volumes to speak on.

Thank you for your indepth contributions, MSLD they are wonderful. I'll add what I have on Hecate as well. It's from "The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" by Barbara G. Walker: One of the oldest Greek versions of the trinitarian Goddess, Hecate was derived from the Egyptian midwife-goddess Hequit, Heket, or Hekat, who in turn evolved from the heg or tribal matriarch of per-dyastic Egypt: a wise-woman, in command of all the hekau or "mother's Words of Power." In Greece, Hecate was one of many names for the original feminine trinity, ruling heaven, earth and the underworld. Hellenes tended to worship her at places where the three roads met, especially in rites of magic, divination, or consultation with the dead. her images guarded three-way crossroads for many centuries; thus she was Hecate Trevia, "Hecate of the Three Ways." Offerings were left at her roadside shrines on nights of the full moon. As a deity of magic and prophecy she was invoked by those who set out on journeys, like the biblical king of Babylon, who "stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his arrows bright, he consulted with images" (Ezekiel 21:21). Hecate was called "most lovely one," a title of the moon.

Like all other forms of the Triple Goddess, she was associated with the moon in all three of her aspects. Some said she was Hecate Selene, the Moon, in heaven; Artemis the Huntress on earth; and Persephone the Destroyer in the underworld. Ancient texts referred to her as Hecate Selene the Far-Shooting Moon, mother of Dionysus---though Dionysus was also the son of Persephone, which shows that Hecate and Persephone were often confused with one another.

Sometimes Hecate was considered identical with Diana Ilithyia, the Moon-goddess as protectress of parturient women. Sometimes she was part of the Queen-of-Heaven trinity, Hebe the Virgin, Hera the Mother, Hecate the Crone. Porphyry wrote: "The moon is Hecate, the symbol of her varying phases...(H)er power appears in three forms, having as symbol of the new moon the figure in the white robe and golden sandals, and torches lighted; the basket which she bears when she has mounted high is the symbol of the cultivation of the crops which she made to grow up according to the increase of her light." Late Hellenic writers devised a rather labored explanation for Hecate's journey from the sky to the underworld, originally a mythic metaphor for the moon's setting. Hecate was in the house of a woman in childbirth.

The gods, fearing magical contagion from this, plunged her into the river Acheron to wash away the traces of birth-mana. The river carried Hecate underground, where she married Hades. This was a myth derived from patriarchal anxieties about contact with childbearing women, demonstrated especially in the Bible (Leviticus 12:5). Ritual bathing of mother and child in a sacred river after the lying-in period probably gave rise to the story of Hecate's river-journey. During the Middle Ages, Hecate became known as Queen of the Ghostworld, or Queen of Witches. She was especially diabolized by Catholic authorities who said the people most dangerous to the faith were precisely those whom Hecate patronized: the midwives. Her ancient threefold power was copied, however, by priestly writers who reassigned it to their own deity: "The threefold power of Christ, namely in Heaven, in earth, and in Hell. Hecatomb: A sacrificial festival involving the offering of one hundred victims to Heate. The later, extended meaning was any slaughter of a group of one hundred. Most Middle-Eastern gods (includingYahweh) received "hecatombs" on special occasions.

CinnamonMoon wrote: “Thank you for your indepth contributions, MSLD they are wonderful. I'll add what I have on Hecate as well. It's from "The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" by Barbara G. Walker: One of the oldest Greek versions of the trinitarian Goddess, Hecate was derived from the Egyptian midwife-goddess Hequit, Heket, or Hekat, who in turn evolved from the heg or tribal matriarch of per-dyastic Egypt: a wise-woman, in command of all the hekau or "mother's Words of Power."..

Just wanted to point out that the association to Hekat / Heket / Hequit of Egyptian origin was once a prime consideration for Hekate's origins but seldom is that suggested anymore. While it is still debated most scholars place her origin as probably from Asia-Minor, perhaps Babylonian or Sumerian. Though a few still support an origination from an earlier Cretian type goddess who came into Greece from the South. Though for many years it was believed she may have been a migratory form of Heket / Hekat / Hequit. My personal opinion is that the Asia Minor suggestion is more probable considering the location of Hekate / Hecate's major center being at Lagina which is in the Northern section of Anatolia and the significant influence she held about the Black Sea region and across the area that would become modern Turkey.

Thank you so much for all of this information. I can definitely see based on original locations how they came to be combined. It surprises me that she would be combined with Diana. I've interacted with both and I think they are very separate goddesses with their own uniqueness about them. Do you think that the modern day view has changed from the historical view?

I can see how Diana becomes interlaced with both Hekate and Artemis. For instance consider that Hekate is the "Shining One" or "Illuminated One" and portrayed with her twin torches. The symbology of that is not entirely different than Diana Lucifera "The Light Bringer" who is depicted (on coins and statuary) as holding twin torches and used to illuminate the way or cast light upon. Then add that in some regions Artemis is dipcted as a light bringer but she is only seen carrying a single torch in that capacity. But that again ties back to Diana Lucifera as well for a good number of coins and statuary also depict her as holding a single torch as if it were a spear and advancing. So all three become associated in some form as Light Bringers and lighting the way.

Of course the association to nymphs is heavy in both mythologies though they tend to become cross connected in later antiquity. Though one main facet is that Artemis is never associated to having children yet both Diana and Hekate are identified as having children. It's like in many displays Diana is depicted with hounds and seldom with deer. Yet Artemis is almost always depicted with deer (stag specifically) though seldom shown with hounds. Yet Hekate is almost always referenced with her hounds though I have not really found any coins or engravings that depict her as such. On Roman coins you seldom see Diana displayed with a drawn bow and arrow though at times she is shown with a spear. Yet Artemis most times has a bow and arrow on the coins she is depicted upon to include those from the Roman Imperial & Roman Provencial period where Rome was taking over the former Greek lands. Many Diana coins presenting the laurated head of Diana / Artemis with the butt or tip of a bow and quiver of arrows rising behind her shoulder. Yet those coins are identified as both depicting Diana and Artemis depending upon which catelog you read. Even the statuary from Ephesus / Ephesos becomes cross connected as some places identify it as Artemis of Ephesos and others as Diana of Ephesos though it’s the same cult statue of the goddess being displayed on coins, engravings and later postage stamps.

Diana Nemorensis is seen or depicted as a triple goddess figure but where Hekate is a single body with three heads, Diana is three separate bodies supporting five Cyprus trees. You see a similar association with coins which depict a bull being sacrificed to Diana which is a reflection of some sacrifices to Artemis though bulls were more associated to Zeus.

MSLD, that was great. Thank you so much! I also googled for Kyebe and Anatolia, because that one really got my feelers up... and found this page: http://www.moonspeaker.ca.../PartTwo/chaptersix.html

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