A Dark Goddess expression of
Wisdom, the Holy Spirit
Wisdom. The Holy Spirit. The Great Spirit. Goddess. The Great Goddess. The Triple (or Triune) Goddess. The Dark Mother. The Great Mother. Love. The Comforter. Compassion. These are only a few of the terms used by peoples of all nations to describe the most profound emanations of the Divine Feminine. Sometimes, these terms are used to identify Her generally. Frequently, they are selectively used to refer to specific aspects of Her manifold expression in Her relationship with the individual and the universe. When so used, such aspects are commonly anthropomorphised and regarded as particular Divine personae. Primarily, this site uses "Dark Mother" selectively to refer to the emanations, expressions and manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the utmost depths of human consciousness and [spiritual/mental, astral/psychic and physical/material] experience, in accordance with the Biblical perspective of Wisdom. Further elucidating this reference and perspective, the following quote is an excellent representation of some of Her most profound dynamics, expressed as qualities of the mythological Dark Goddess persona commonly known as "Hekate".
"Queen of the Night, triple-faced Hekate (heh-KAH-tee) is one of the most ancient images from a pre-Greek stratum of mythology and an original embodiment of the Great Triple Goddess. She is most often linked with the dark of the moon and presides over magic, ritual, prophetic vision, childbirth, death, the underworld, and the secrets of regeneration. Mistress of the crossroads, this lunar goddess dwells in caves, walks the highways at night, makes love on the vast seas, and is the force that moves the moon.
Hekate is a primordial figure in the oldest stratum of our unconscious. Her genealogy leads us back to her birth at the beginning of time as a daughter of Nyx, Ancient Night. On an inner level, Hekate is a guardian figure of the mysterious depths of our unconscious that accesses the collective memory of the primal void and whirling forces at the onset of creation.
Hekate may have been originally derived from the Egyptian midwife goddess Heket, who in turn evolved into Heq or the tribal matriarch of predynastic Egypt. In Greece, Hekate was a pre-Olympic goddess, whose geographical origins place her as a native of Thrace, in the northeast part of the country, which links her to goddess worship of old Middle Europe and Asia Minor in the third and fourth millennia. Unlike many other primordial deities, Hekate was absorbed into the classical Greek pantheon.
Hesiod, in Theogony, gives us the following account of her parentage. The Titan couple Phoibe and Koios had two daughter's: Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, and Asteria, a star goddess. Aster mated with Perses, both symbols of shining light, and she gave birth to Hekate, "most lovely one," a title of the moon. Hekate is therefore a cousin to Artemis, with whom she is often associated, and a reappearance of the great goddess Phoibe, whose name poets give to the moon. Hekate is portrayed as a torch-bearing Moon Goddess who wears a gleaming headdress of stars lighting the way into the darkness of the vast past of our origins and the depths of our inner being.
The Olympian Greeks had a difficult time fitting her in the scheme of their gods. The Titans, with whom Hekate was associated, were the pre-Olympic deities whom Zeus had ousted and degraded. However, the new conquerors bowed to Hekate's antiquity by granting to her alone a power shared with Zeus -- that of granting or withholding from humanity anything she wished. While she never joined the Olympian company, Zeus honored her above all other deities by giving her a special place and granting her dominion over heaven, earth, and the underworld. According to Hesiod she became a bestower of wealth and all blessings of everyday life, and in the human sphere she ruled over the three great mysteries of birth, life, and death.
Later traditions make Hekate the daughter of Zeus and Hera and reduce her power to only that of the underworld and the waning dark moon...
As Prytania, Invincible Queen of the Dead, Hekate became a wardress and conveyor of souls through the underworld. As Goddess of Magic and enchantments, she sent prophetic or demonic dreams to humankind. Her presence was felt at tombs and scenes of murders where she presided over purifications and expiations. Like her namesake Kali, in India, Hekate, as a funerary priestess, conducted her rites in charnel or burial grounds, assisting in liberating the souls of the newly dead.
Because her nature was originally that of a mysterious deity, more prominence was given later to her gloomy and appalling features. The Hellenes emphasized Hekate's destructive powers at the expense of her creative ones, until at last she was invoked only as a goddess of the netherworld in clandestine rites of black magic, especially at places where three roads met in the darkness of night.
Hekate's prophetic character survived in Norway and Sweden as the old, hooded wise 'conversation women', who traveled about the farmlands and countryside foretelling the future. They were welcomed, fed, and given gifts. But with the coming of patriarchal dominion the goddesses diminished in influence and grandeur. The medial powers of the wise crone were repressed and later emerged as the patriarchy's twisted and tortured projections, now perceived as dangerous witchcraft and sorcery.
By medieval times, when the patriarchal dualistic world view saw the human soul as the battleground for the warring forces of good and evil, Hekate became particularly diabolized by Catholic authorities. The church projected onto her their own inner fears and spiritual insecurities, and distorted her figure into the ugly hag Queen of the Witches. It was Hekate who was now responsible for inciting the pagan country people (who were simply practicing their ancient fertility and folk customs) to supposed acts of uncanny evil, unspeakable horror, and abominable rites. The people who were most dangerous to the church were precisely those whom Hekate patronized: midwives, healers, and seers. And 9 million women were burned as witches, accused of being inhabited by evil spirits such as Hekate.
Hekate is one of the oldest embodiments of the Great Triple Goddess, known as Hekate Triformis, who expressed her threefold dominion over many realms, Porphory wrote, 'The moon is Hekate... her power appears in three forms.' Statues of this goddess often depict her as three female figures, or crowned with a triple-turreted headdress, or with three heads. Her three faces reflect the triple extension of her powers over heaven, earth, and underworld, Here in the realm of nature she was honored as Selene, the moon, in heaven; Artemis, the huntress, on earth; and Hekate, the destroyer, in the underworld. In this triad form she had control over birth, life, and death.
As the essence of the moon, Hekate also presided over the three lunar phases in the raiment of Artemis, the crescent new moon, Selene, the luminous full moon, and Hekate, the Waning moon. Artemis/Diana represented the moonlit splendor of the night, while Hekate represented its darkness and terror reigning over the power of the dark moon,
The new, full, and dark phases of the Triple Moon Goddess also reflected the three stages of a woman's life as Artemis the virgin, Persephone the nymph, and Hekate the crone, and alternately as Persephone the daughter, Demeter the mother, and Hekate the as the grandmother. She was also a part of the Queen of Heaven trinity and, as the three phases of a woman's mating relationship, consisted of Hebe the maiden, Hera the wife, and Hekate the widow.
Hekate was worshipped as a goddess of fertility, whose torch was carried over freshly sown fields to symbolize the fertilizing power of moonlight. In women's agricultural mysteries, her trinity took form as Core the green, Persephone the ripe ear, and Hekate the harvested corn.
Hekate was also a key figure in reuniting the mother and daughter in the story of Persephone's abduction into the underworld by Hades, and her periodic return to her mother, Demeter. This myth was the basis for the Eleusinian initiation rites of birth, death, and rebirth, which were derived from the mysteries of the vegetative cycle. Demeter was an expression of the force that sustains the vegetative growth above the ground; while Hekate, as female keeper of the underworld, pushes the vital force of the plants from below to above, sending the wealth of the earth, the crops, to the living. Persephone here mediates between the light-filled upper world and the dark underworld.
All wild animals were sacred to Hekate, and she was sometimes shown with three animal heads - the dog, snake, and lion, or alternately the dog, horse, and bear. This aspect refers to her rulership over the ancient tripartite year of spring, summer, and winter. However, her primary animal form and familiar was the dog. She was associated with the three-headed dog, Cerberus, who derived from the Dog Star Sirius, whose helical rising foretold the annual flooding of the Nile.
In later times the Triple Hekate took on the form of a pillar called a Hecterion. One such statue depicts her with three heads and six arms, bearing three torches and three sacred emblems - the Key, Rope, and Dagger. With her key to the underworld, Hekate unlocks the secrets of the occult mysteries and knowledge of the afterlife. The rope, which is also a scourge or cord, symbolizes the umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal. The Dagger, later the Athame of the witches, is related to the curved knife that cuts delusion and is a symbol of ritual power.
Hekate, invoked as the 'Distant One', was the protectress of remote places, roads, and byways. At night, particularly at the dark moon, Hekate could be seen walking the roads of ancient Greece accompanied by her howling dogs and blazing torches. As Triple Hekate of the Crossways, her nature was especially present where three roads converged at one of the entrances to the underworld...
Her devotees kept the places of her worship sacred by erecting the triple-figured Hectarea at these sites. At dead of night or on the eves of full moons, they would leave offerings of ritual foods known as Hekate's suppers. They would also call upon her in this way on her festival days or in rites of divination, magic, or consultation with the dead. Thus was the threefold goddess honored at places where one could look three ways at once.
Hekate is every woman's potential as a witch, seer, medium, healer, which might be linked directly with the locked energies of menstruation, and every man's contact with this energy, reflected as his anima. Hekate is the archetypal shaman as she moves between worlds in a fluid and facile way She bridges the visible and invisible realities delving for insight into the magical realms for the ultimate purpose of effecting a healing and regeneration.
Hekate [is] skilled in the arts of divining and foretelling the future. As she looks three ways at once, Hekate gives us an expanded vision whereby we can stand illuminated in the present and simultaneously see warning or promise of the future from the Great Above or call back the past from the Great Below. She gives us dreams and prophetic visions, whispers secrets to our inner ears, and enables us to converse with the spirits of the dead and unborn. Hekate bestows the power of ancestral communication with the psychic world.
Hekate was both the giver of visions and the sender of madness. Called Antea, Sender of Nocturnal Visions, she had a son Museus - the Muse-man. The kind of understanding that this Dark Moon Goddess brings is not rational thinking, but is more like the radiant suffused light upon which are borne the inspired visions of artists, dreamers and seers. However, her light may bring more insight than a person can bear and result in chaos, shattering the illusions of the human mind....
Hekate is also responsible for a condition called lunacy, which is usually regarded as a particular effect of the moon. While today the term lunatic has a negative connotation that implies a wild, crazed person, this was not always the case. When one was moonstruck, a condition sent by Hekate, the shroud of confusion that enveloped a person often carried a clear stream of divine madness. In the initiatory traditions of many primitive cultures, a quality that in modern times appears to be mental derangement was specifically cultivated by aspirants. This temporary state of insanity was believed to facilitate the descent of the vision, the prophetic insight, or magical work to be performed.
Queen of the Ghosts, Mother of Witches, Mistress of Magic, Hekate... [bestows] magical knowledge... connected with "love, metamorphosis, and pharmaka" She [holds] the secrets to the workings of magical spells, charms, enchantments, and the medicinal use of potent healing and destructive substances. ...Hekate's name was a feminine form of a title of her cousin Apollo, 'the far-darter.' The essence of magic is operating at a distance. Another of Hekate's appellations was the "Distant One," and her magic was known for its far-ranging airborne movement and its capacity to strike far from home.
As Prytania, the invincible Queen of the Dead, Hekate dwelt in the underworld alongside Hades, Persephone, and other children of ancient Night - Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), and Morphein (Dreams). As Guardian of the Western Gate that marked the road into the mythical darkness of the underworld, Hekate was a wardress and conveyor of souls. She ruled the spirits of those who had been returned to the dark earth. This nocturnal Goddess of the Moon knew her way in the realm of spirits, and stood at the triple crossroads in the underworld. Holding a lighted torch she directed the souls on their way to the realm of their judgment - the Aphodil Meadows, Tatarus, or the Orchards of Elysium.
Hekate dwelt in the world below, she was the only one to hear the cries
of Persephone's abduction. In the Eleusinian mythos it was Hekate who,
after nine days, told Demeter the whereabouts of Persephone. At the
conclusion of the tale she lit the way for Persephone's return to the
world of the living and was the guardian for Persephone's stay in the
world of the dead. As Queen of Death, Hekate ruled e powers of
regeneration. Both Hekate and Persephone stood for the pre-Hellenic
hope of regeneration, while Hades was a Hellenic concept of the
ineluctability of death. It was to Hekate that the ancients prayed for
protection, long life, and fortunate rebirth since it was she who
controlled both birth and death.
...The black poplar and yew trees were sacred to Hekate, As Hekate stood at the gateway between shadow and light, the underworld and the upper world the bicolored leaves of the black poplar reflect her borderland qualities. The shadowed, dark green upper side of the leaves that face heaven make a striking contrast with the light, pale green underside of the leaves that face the earth.
The yew is considered the central tree of death, and is associated with immortality because it takes longer than any other tree except the oak to come to maturity, Hekate's cauldron contains 'slips of yew' and her sacred tree is said to root into the mouths of the dead and release their souls. It also absorbs the odors of putrefaction and phosphorescence of the bodies.
Hekate is the goddess of all composting materials as her gift of fertility from the underworld. From death and decomposition come the fertile substance that ensures and vitalizes new life. In her emanation as age, change, deterioration, decay, and death, she finds the seeds for new life in the composting heap of decomposing forms.
Triple-faced Hekate stands at the crossroads of our unconscious. As she watches us approach she can see both backward and forward into our lives. When Hekate is honored she bestows the gifts of inspiration, vision, magic, and regeneration. However, when we reject and deny Hekate, her shadow side manifests as madness, stupor, and stagnation. Her creative activity takes place in the inner world. As Dark Moon Goddess of the dead, she not only represents the destructive side of life, but also the necessary forces that make creativity, growth, and healing possible. The paradoxical function of this goddess of the moonlit crossroads is to pierce the darkness.
As the Queen of the Underworld, Hekate is a guardian figure of the unconscious. She enables us to converse with the spirit and thus is mistress of all that lives in the hidden parts of the psyche. This Goddess of the Dark Moon holds the key that unlocks the door to the way down, and she bears the torch that illuminates both the treasures and terrors of the unconscious. Hekate guides us through this dark spirit world wherein we can receive a revelation. She then shows us that the way out is to ride on a surge of renewal.
Hekate may inspire us with a vision, insight, or prophetic foretelling, but the way to her wisdom most often involves a descent into the underworld of our unconscious. When Hekate comes upon us we can experience her as a plunge into darkness She is often present in our nightly sleep and casts her glow to illumine our dreams. She is also hovering over us when we are immobilized in long, sleeplike stupors of addiction, depression or blocked creative energy. During times of drastic change, when we face the loss and death of that which gave our life structure and purpose, Hekate is there. And when we encounter her through the vast transpersonal realms of the collective unconscious, her light can show us God/dess or the Devil as she fills us with divine inspiration or deluded madness. Hekate guides us whenever we do our inner work through both spiritual and psychological processes.
Shakespeare offers the dream to 'the mysteries of Hekate and the night', (...King Lear, Act 1 Scene 1), as this goddess has long been associated with dream interpretation. ...The symbolic images found in our dreams are messages from Hekate. They show us in visual form the drama of our internal personalities and the issues that live in the unconscious, as well as the shape of the future and the delusions of our minds. It was here that she was feared in ancient times as the Nightmare Hag who sent demons to torture men's minds.
As the howling of the black dogs announced her approach as an emissary from the underworld, we may also meet up with Hekate at times of drastic change that upset our known and predictably secure way & life ...[as]...she snatches us at those unexpected moments when an old life structure, relationship, or physical body come to closure.
a primary Goddess & the Dark Moon, embodies the cycle of death and
renewal, Death always brings us face-to-face with our fears of the
unknown, which surface during these critical crises of our lives. The
process of renewal necessitates change and the sacrifice or letting go
of the old. As our life forms begin to deteriorate, the phosphorescent
light of decay begins to glow and illumines the landscape of our inner
This vast transpersonal dimension contains both positive and negative energies, which are constantly changing and shifting back and forth into one another, and here we can easily lose our sense of individual self who has an identity, purpose, and direction. Because the shape of things keeps changing in these more fluid realms and we do not understand what is happening to us, we can be filled with fear, anxiety, and feel as if we are going mad. There is a sense that we are out of control, this can't really be happening to us, everything seems unreal. She can come through the nightmares of sleeping dreams or the hallucinations and paranoid fantasies of waking dreams. A descent into what appears like madness may often be involved in the coming to terms with this ancient Triple Goddess,
Hekate also suggests the motif of incubation as we go down deeper still into the darkness of unconscious sleep as a necessary step in the cycle of transformation and renewal. The silence, stillness, and solitude that descends and envelops us in a cocoon of what seems like non-being. This is a space of inactivity and unknowing when nothing seems to be happening. Because Western culture emphasizes action and productivity and devalues those times of lying fallow and waiting for what one knows not, we sometimes label Hekate's incubation periods as being immobilized, getting stuck, being in limbo, spacing out, depression, despair, feeling numb, blank, or frozen.
This time encompasses the formless void in the transformation cycle when what was is no longer and what is to be has not yet appeared. Like the ebb tide, which is the still pause between the tidal Waters going out and those coming in, this extreme stage generally occurs prior to the creative freeing of bound-up energy. The still pause of nonactivity is Hekate's contribution to the journey of becoming.
Contemporary recovery theories propose that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a misguided search for spirituality and a state of oneness. In ancient times drugs and intoxicants were consciously used in religious rituals to induce the required sleep and descent in order to work the magic, healing, or prophetic vision, The poppy, sacred to both Hekate and Demeter, is a flower that brings this deep sleep. When its purpose is forgotten and qualities misused, Hekate is also present in the blackness and stupor of chemical addictions.
Patriarchy has taught us to fear this goddess envisioned as a twisted old hag who, like the dark of the moon was considered to be negative and even hostile to men. It was said that she stalked the crossroads at night with her vicious hounds of hell, waiting to snatch unsuspecting wayfarers to her land of the dead. They portrayed her as Moon Goddess of ghosts and dead surrounded by a swarm of female demons. And as Queen of Ghosts she swept through the night, followed by a dreadful train of questing spirits and baying hounds.
Feared as the Goddess of Storms, destruction, and terrors of night, it was said that she demanded her worshipers to perform their rites of placation at the dead of the night in order to turn aside the wrath and evil she so often wrought. Associated with sorcery and black magic, this dread goddess was later credited with being the mother of man-eating impasse and llamas, which suck the blood of young men and devour their flesh She gave her priestesses the power to enchant, to turn men into animals, and to smite them with madness.
It is important to recognize that these shocking, hideous images associated with this torch bearing goddess who illumines the dark passageways are but the historical record, accumulated over millennia, of the patriarchy's unconscious fears of the dark feminine. While this is not the original nature of Hekate, these twisted and distorted beliefs about her are nevertheless part of the unconscious collective conditioning to which each one of us is heir.
To the extent that our own internal images of her are encrusted with layers of repression and misperception, our experience of this Dark Moon Goddess may well be as the frightening apparitions of her spectral hordes of demons and ghosts who threaten our sanity. Our fears come from the toxic by-products issuing from our conditioning of the Dark Goddess as an embodiment of feminine evil. When we project these aspects of our inner Hekate outward upon our external world, we may create a paranoid reality in which we are pursued by the furies of injustice, hatred, and persecution, which subliminally recall our fears of medieval witch burning times.
In order to redeem the illuminate and regenerative qualities that Hekate represents within us, we must realize that these images have no inherent existence of their own. In the process of stripping away our erroneous beliefs, we can gradually begin to see the true face of Hekate and move through her luminosity to perceive the visions of the transpersonal archetypal realms. these motifs, also contained within the fluid images of the collective unconscious, are the sources of creative inspiration that essentialize the moving force behind great works of art, literature, philosophy, and scientific invention.
And in this domain we can also receive an insight of understanding or an image of a future direction and purpose. With this inspired vision comes the release of blocked, immobilized energy lying in wait. We are then thrust into the labor pangs of a birth of meaning and renewal.
[The Holy Spirit, expressed as] Hekate teaches us that the way to the vision that inspires renewal is to be found in moving through the darkness. As we enter into Hekate's realm, we must confront and come to terms with the dark, unconscious side of our inner nature. If we are to receive her gift of vision and renewal, we must face this Dark Goddess within ourselves, honor, praise, and make our peace with her. By giving her our trust as guardian of our unconscious and surrendering to her process, we can allow ourselves to grow into an awareness of the rich realm of our personal underworld."
The foregoing is a brief quotation reviewing the manifold aspects of Hekate. This information is an excerpt from The Mysteries of the Dark Moon; The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess, by Demetra George. © 1992 by Demetra George. [ISBN 0-06-250370-7 (pbk.)] For a more comprehensive understanding of Hekate, Her other Dark Goddess personae and the dynamics of Goddess in general, we recommend you purchase a copy of this book from your local bookseller. This material is presented here solely for educational purposes by DarkMother.com.
Copyright by DarkMother.com LLC. All rights reserved.
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