Hekate is an ancient Goddess and one who is often seen as a Goddess of sorcery and of Witches. But what is the source of Her power, as in who and what She really is behind the mask of the being known as Hekate (among other names)? Can we ever really understand Her in Her entirety anymore than we can understand any God in their entirty? I ask this question because, so far as my experience and my research into this question and others regarding the nature of the Gods has led me, the Gods as we know Them are masks (albiet living masks) for powers that otherwise we have difficulty relating to and connecting with. We need a personality, even if one not necessarily all that human. The closer you get to Their source, the less human and understandable they become.
The personality is Hekate, the Queen of Ghosts and Shadows, the lady of the crossroads. She is a Goddess of the promise, of the oath, of secrets, of sorcery and spells. I would say She is a Goddess of the mystery where the earth and the waters meet, an old mystery beyond the understanding of words. She is magick without words, magick in the bone and in the flesh. She is the Lady of the Bones, including the bones you throw to divine the future and to work spells. She is the conjurer’s Goddess of graveyard dust and bones and, in this way, She is related to her sister-Goddess, Fate. She is priestess to Fate, or perhaps the foreshadowing of Fate that lies upon us when we are called to make a choice, in that moment of in-drawn breath before we swear ourselves to a new path.
Hekate is the Goddess of clocks and of masks, but not so much of what they represent as what lies between the ticks of the clock and behind the black eyes of the mask. She is what peers out of Time and behind the skin of the world. She stands between the stillness of the North and the whirling of the West. And yet, all these words and images can but hint at who and what She really is because we can no more grasp that stillness and that whirling than we can stop the heavens from turning. We can sometimes touch them, but we cannot step fully into them…not and remain ourselves. Can we truly know Her and can we even hope to try?
Like Semele, if we ask and are granted the “Full Monty” of the Gods—in her case, of her lover Zeus—we would burn up and die. Our flesh simply can’t stand up to that kind of unclothed connection to the Divine. And yet, like Dionysus, who was “born” of the ashes that we left when Zeus reluctantly appeared in His full might and glory before Semele, we can be reborn of our own meltdown those rare times that we do ever so briefly glimpse the Divine, whether what lies behind Hekate or any other God or Goddess. The question is what way do we want to go? Whose mask do we want to peer behind? They are all roads to the Divine Source and to those powers that emanate off that Source, yet some resonate more to us than others.
Hekate’s way is one that has three choices, the three roads that lie before you when you come to the crossroads. You stand with your back to the way you have come, and now the decision time is upon you. Two of the roads represent the dual nature of the world—past and future, up and down, male and female, night and day—and the middle road is that which lies between them, the road of the shaman, the road to fair Elphame, the Otherworld. We can pick the road of light or the road of darkness or the road that winds between them, partaking of both and neither. As a Witch, I know what road I’m most drawn to, but then I must admit that, despite its occasional hardship and heartbreak, I enjoy sitting on the hedge.
Copyright © 2009, Veronica Cummer, All Rights Reserved.