Hekate and Hellenic Polytheism on the New Moon

Dear Friends and Pagani,

Tonight it begins…

I have made to myself a promise to deeply engage my spirituality & spiritual practice, and my religious practices, this year.  As I walk many religious roads this is a challenge, but tonight I begin to re-engage with Hekate, and really engage for the first time in a focused Hellenic rite for Her… a couple of days from now I will be engaging in my first formal Noumenia observance…

To start here’s a video to help me get into the mood…

This is the music that I will be listening to after I shower, shave and lay out some nice clothes… from the interesting band Daemonia Nymphe, a Greek band that uses ancient instruments and sticks to largely ancient and Hellenic Pagan themes…(info on their myspace and lastFM pages…)

I will post updates to this post tomorrow a little bit later, with more details.

… a little bit later!

So I started by shaving and cleaning up and changing into some clean, nice clothes. I had set up a candle, an incense stick (lavender) and holder, a length of rope braided into a rough flail, and my Athame, onto an small wooden chest with a purple cloth over it… although I need to get some good saffron yellow cloth since that color is associated with Hekate.

Now the fact that I include my Athame (a ritual dagger from Contemporary Religious Witchcraft) in a ritual to Hekate is going to cause some Hellenic Polytheists some wariness, or sneering condescension from the more fundamentalist minded.

In my researches I have found Daggers and Flails listed as items symbolic or associated with Hekate (I have yet to find any truly evocative Keys, which are also associated with Her) and using my Athame is both practical and symbolic.   First off, I just don’t have a huge supply of daggers to chose from and my Athame, in my case an all metal kris-style dagger with a dragon shaped handle is what I have on hand; of course the fact that it is not only symbolic of my will and identity as a Witch helps.  One of the most famous Witches and worshipers of Hekate (if not a very good model of healthy relationships or evenness of temper) in ancient literature is Medea; who is also associated with dragons.  Then too the Athame is used to draw a Circle, to make boundaries, so it partakes of some of the same limnality that The Night Wandering Maiden does.   All of these speak deeply to that core part of the soul that must be engaged for successful religious ritual.   So for me, when I am honoring Hekate, this bit of cross-over will work, at least for now… She hasn’t made any objections if She does, or the Lady and Lord do, I will find some other way.

Anyway, I set the altar up, cleaned up while maintaining silence, preparing myself to make an Offering to Her.  I lit a candle and listened to the music from the above video.  Then while the music was playing I turned off the screen and simply listened for a bit.  Once the music stopped I set myself before the altar and raised my arms in the Orens Position, as was done in prayers in the Ancient world; and, reading from a placard I have made I spoke the words of the Orphic Hymn to Hekate and lit the incense in offering to Her.  I then read my own invocation/hymn to Her in offering.

I thanked Her for her Guidance and Presence and Blessings in my life as I sought to honor the Theoi and understand and seek the Mysteries.  I asked for her guidance in how to approach the upcoming Noumenia and the worship of the Theoi and Spirits.

At this point I had the strong impression that I should get some barley to scatter for the next time I approach any of the Theoi in sacrifice; I also got the sense that She would urge me to wait a while, and study some more of the right practice and of the Gods of the Noumenia, and the Theoi in general, before engaging in that ritual.

I blew out the candle, and simply sat in darkness and silence for a while.  I ended my time with Her by simply saying “Thank You.” with my arms in the Orens position once more.   Then I left the room by backing out of it to give Her some privacy to enjoy the incense offered unto Her.

I will be reading more of my just recently received copy of Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored and Greek Religion, and doing some more study online.  I will also be lighting a stick of incense in memory and honor of the Theoi on the Noumenia rather than the more formal observance I had been contemplating.

That’s all on the topic for now,



11 thoughts on “Hekate and Hellenic Polytheism on the New Moon

  1. bluedruid

    Pax, Thank you for sharing. Your ritual to Hekate sounded both beautiful and inspiring! I too have used that song during my devotions to her, and it’s powerful stuff indeed!

    I enjoyed reading this!


    1. Pax


      Thank you!! You know it’s funny I encountered Hekate rather by accident years ago and it is only in the last few years that I have really begun to explore that encounter and follow the subtle call to deepen and explore my relationship with Her and with the Theoi.

      I held back for a long time feeling as if by following that yearning within myself and the many subtle synchronicities that seemed to say “Hey look at this!”, that I was somehow betraying my oaths to the Lady and Lord of Witchcraft…

      I realized that was not the case and am enjoying my explorations


    1. Pax


      Thank you for your kind comment! There are a lot of resources online if your are interested in exploring a relationship with Her, and the books I mention in the article are a good start!


  2. Pax-

    As long as you feel attuned with Hecate, I wouldn’t worry too much about the outer form, and how others-Hellenic fundamentalists or otherwise-might feel about it. In fact, such concerns might actually form a subconscious barrier between you and the Goddess. I’m not one of those who feel like you should just throw yourself into whatever feels good-or convenient-at the moment, but it seems to me you have put enough meditative thought and research into this, you are on the right track. Tradition is a good thing, as long as you don’t overdose on it or allow it to dictate too much of your path. Personally, I feel the deities appreciate creativity and spontaneity.

    1. Pax

      Hey Patrick,

      Well, for me it is important to honor and relate to Hekate as I first met her, which was in very much the way she was seen and experienced by the ancient Greeks. Nurse and Guide as well as Night Wanderer at the Cross-roads. She is also Guardian of the Gates and one of the Household Gods.

      I am not all that concerned about the opinions of the more fundamentalist types of Hellenics. But I do feel it is important to be aware of ones Unconfirmed Personal Gnosis, and Syncreticims (if that’s a word, much less the one I am thinking of).

      Thanks for your kind words!

  3. This is probably way off topic and maybe I ought to just go do my own research, but is Burkert considered some sort of standard text for modern Hellenics? I keep seeing him mentioned whenever I read about Hellenic stuff as being the academic source to go to. Not that there’s anything wrong with Burkert, but it’s kind of old now. Where do they go after Burkert?

    Also, to be somewhat back on topic, your Hekate ritual sounds lovely. Having done a ritual of some form or another for Hekate on every new moon for, um, a few years now, I can observe that she doesn’t mind creativity, is forgiving of uncertainty, and appreciates the devotion more than the form that the devotion takes.

    1. Pax

      Well, of the classical scholars Burkert is the first one I’ve read on the topic of Ancient Greek Religion. I think part of it is that he is so detailed an overview of the spectrum of practices of religion in ancient Greece.

      Regarding Hekate, yes she is a lot more approachable than some of the modern neo-Pagan sources might leave on believing. I rather think that all of the Gods are happy at this stage of history with simply being remembered AS Gods, not as stories, not as allegories, not as legends or ideas, but as Deities. Which is not to say that we shouldn’t learn the ancient ways that the Gods were honored…

      But if the Gods of Hellas are deathless and eternal and imortal, then they have also been around this whole time and have seen and observed and participated and at times inspired the sweep of history. They know that the world of their new worshipers is, in many ways, a very different one from the ancient world and are, I suspect more than willing to be treated with love and respect and kindness and courtesy in new ways attuned to this strange new world they are being worshiped in.


      1. I guess what I was asking is – is there some sort of Hellenic Reading List out there that starts with “Read Burkert first!” I keep seeing people using that as a starting point. And, again, nothing wrong with that, but it seems a little odd that I keep seeing him mentioned and not, say, Easterling and Muir or Kerenyi or Mikalson or Johnston or even Graf. It wouldn’t be odd if everyone was getting their reading list from the same source, so I’m wondering what that source is. I’d be interested in seeing the list, if there is such a thing.

        1. Pax


          Well, I think it’s more that he’s a very detailed author and provides a detailed overview of ancient Greek Religion. His book Greek Religion has a good combination of detailed history of the topic, overview of the actual practices and exploration of some of the why of them from a historical perspective, discusses the main Deities, discusses piety in the religion, looks at the known festivals from the Attic Calendar, explores ways of how odd events or crises were dealt with, discusses the interplay of reason and philosophy in ancient Greek religion; and has over 130+ pages of chapter notes and bibliography!!

          More than enough to make any Recon start to breathe heavily!!

          The authors you mention also frequently make the recommended reading lists…

          One of my personal favorites is…

          You can also find Burkert and some of the other authors you mention making the cut on the following suggested reading lists…




          Peace and Blessings,

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