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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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 its the same cult statue
of the goddess being displayed on coins, engravings and later
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.
was great. Thank you so much! I also googled for Kyebe and Anatolia,
because that one really got my feelers up... and found this
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