First Performed on August 14, 1985
This version incorporates actual Greek material, elements from two of the traditions in which i have been trained (NROOGD & Feri), and bits from the Aquarian Tabernacle ritual (in the san serif typeface)
This ritual is best performed on August 14, Hekaté's sacred day. It is especially wonderful if it is a dark moon.
One person, well familiar with this ritual, could lead it, but it would be easier with at least two. If there are two, split up the parts marked Leader between you. It is also good if there is a Priestess into whom Hekaté will be invoked.
At Center: 5 candles arranged in this order: silver, black, sapphire or indigo, black, silver
Aspergillum: lavender flower stalks; flowering allium stalks; fresh mint, rosemary & myrtle
|Dish of Sweet Water||Drum|
|hand-sized round, black stone||medium-size bowl of salt water||hand-towel|
|Staff or wand||Dish of Salt||Pentacle||Sword or athamé|
All participants form a line - if only one Leader, s/he asperses
them, then leads the group into the ritual space and forms a circle.
If two leaders, then Leader1 at the head of the line leads the group into the ritual space, where Leader2 is waiting - as participants pass Leader2, s/he asperses them.
Purify the space counterclockwise - moonwise, womanwise - using the four elements from the altar, "graveyard dirt," willow water, incense, and bell, going round the circle one time with each, if one leader. If two, they each take one element around the circle, thus going around twice.
The worshippers chant softly to a low drumbeat, repeating it over & over until Leader completes the casting: Heh-kah-tay, Heh-kah-tay, Heh-kah-tay.
O Night, faithful preserver of mysteries,
and bright stars whose golden beams with the Moon succeed after the fires of day;
Thou, three-formed Hekaté, who knows our undertakings and comes to our aid,
whose spells and arts that wise ones use, to Thee we dedicate this rite!
Said in the center of the circle:
Leader asks all to be seated, and then will give out a hand-sized round, black stone; a bowl of salt water; and a towel (for a larger group, use 2, 3, or 4 of each and them distribute equidistantly around the circle).
Leader then says:
The items are passed around the circle. When they are returned to the center, Leader makes a gateway in the Northwest and says:
Leader takes bowl, exits circle, and if outdoors, pours water into the earth. If indoors, take bowl and pour water either into sink or toilet.
Now we will journey to the Underworld to ask a boon of the chthonic Hekaté. Sit comfortably, breathing in and out slowly and at ease. Close your eyes and feel your center.
Three faced one, patroness of the 9 wild muses, Torch Bearer, Star-crown
Mother of ghosts who prophesize in the form of bee, serpent, mouse, or bat.
She of 3 heads: mare, dog, serpent; or lioness, mare, dog;
or lioness, dog, serpent; or yet, heifer, lioness, serpent.
Dog-star of summer. Brazen sandled one, Whose Magic mists are raised by willow spells.
Thessalian witches, followers of Hekaté, Cerdo the weasel, shapeshifters & spellspinners.
Turn west. There lies the opening to Tartaros, the Underworld, in a grove of black poplars, sacred to Her whom we honor. The purpose of the visit is to learn something, perhaps of the future. Often this was done through mantiké, inspired prophecy through possession by the deity, enthusiasmos, the deity within us. Don't forget to give a coin to Charon, the ferryman over the River Styx. [pause]
We've reached the other shore. Beware Cerberus, the three-headed dog; his job is to prevent hapless ghosts from fleeing and the living from entering. But tonight we are under the protection of Hekaté Chthonia, Hekaté Ourania, and he, her servant, lets us pass. Do not tarry in the cheerless Asphodel Meadows where weary shades wander, purposelessly, twittering like bats.
Look ahead: there lies Erebus, the palace of Hades and Persephoné, She who was tutored by Hekaté; now She is in the world above for it is summer.
Perhaps we will catch a glimpse of the three Erinnyes, the Furies, who live in Erebus. There is no mistaking them, who punish those who break those of deservedly guilty conscience. They are aged, with snakes for hair, dogs' heads, coal black bodies, bats' wings, and bloodshot eyes. In their hands they carry brass-studded scourges.
To the left is Lethé, shaded by Hekaté's white cypress - do not drink of its waters, for it is the Spring of Forgetfulness, for common souls of the dead awaiting rebirth, and we yet live.
Instead, approach Mnemosyné, the Pool of Memory, shaded by white poplars of Persephoné. This pool is for initiates. Kneel down and sip its cool waters and see a vision there. [pause]
Tonight the Moon has darkened, just as silver turns black with age, we honor the Goddess in Her Dark forms:
HEKATÉ, the Distant One, Lady of the Underworld, Dea
with 3 heads - serpent, horse, & dog - carrying a torch & wearing a glittering crown of stars;
TRIVIA, guardian of the 3 paths, standing at the crossroad;
LEUKIPPÉ, the nightmare; CIRCE, sorceress, death bird, bird of wisdom, the owl;
LILITH, the yoni-lily, seducer in the night;
black-faced KALI MA, Dark Mother, dancer in the sea of blood;
VEILED ISIS; BLACK MADONNA;
MANIA, mother of ghosts; MACHA with her twin-headed ax;
ERESHKIGAL, black-haired & naked in her lapis lazuli palace
surrounded by rainbow gardens in the wilderness at the world's end;
MAYAHUEL, patroness of hallucinations & intoxications, on a throne of tortoises & snakes;
the Egyptian HEQIT, whose head is a frog's, symbol of the foetus,
midwife to the birth of the Sun,
mistress of the magic power of the Word,
holder of the reins of the ancient sacred spell.
She is the Crone; the Grandmother; spinner, teacher, prophetess, gossip, midwife, healer, avenger, shapeshifter; the guardian of the unconscious; deathbringer; mistress of subterranean spirits; she who stands between the pillars of the gateway to another world; ruler of the untamed forests of the human psyche, of poetry & lunacy, sleep & transformation; Giver of Visions. Within each of us lie her mysteries - at the still center to which all must return as a prelude to rebirth. This is the most secret face of the Goddess.
Many mortals fear her, for Her wrath can be destructive. But some long to learn from Her. On the night of the Dark Moon, She appears before them, Her hair a nest of writhing snakes, constantly transforming. And among the lessons She teaches is:
Without Birth there is no Life;
Without Life there is no Death;
Without Death there is no Rebirth;
As Darkness gives birth to Light,
And Light to Darkness,
Each needing the other.
Oh, Dark Goddess!
Bring us the Knowledge of the Silver Wheel of Death & Rebirth!
Grant us the Power and the Wisdom to use it rightly!
Priestess seats herself in Hekaté's throne, and speaks. She declaims, slowly and deliberately:
She rises from the throne, takes a step forward and gestures:
Done antiphonally (that is, Leader says a line, then ALL repeat it), best if outside where three roads meet:
After the dance is concluded, the Leader says:
One at a time, each participant goes to the appointed place, offers honey, asks boon silently, then returns to circle space without looking back, to await the others. While one is offering, the rest may dance freely while awaiting their return.
In the 1992 performance of this ritual, we poured honey into the holes of a "manhole" cover over an underground stream, which was in a crossroads of two streets over which an electric commuter train ran - three roads, and in 3-dimensions, subterranean, terrestrial, and aerial!
If you don't have a safe outdoor space to perform this, each participant may pour a drop honey into a fire in a fireplace or a "fire-cauldron" - see instructions. This makes the "don't look back" warning a bit more difficult to accomplish. If possible, have the offering place set up in another near-by room.
Pass the food around one plate at a time, reading the section for each as it begins around. Different worshippers can read the descriptions if they have been written out ahead of time on index-cards.
The egg, unbroken, is the perfect form, symbol of unity. It is both seed and womb. It is the world, the universe. Within are the white and yolk, silver and gold, moon and sun. The Feminine Essence was often represented as containers and jars in bird and egg forms in the most ancient days. By dipping the egg in salt water, we purify it in the liquid of our tears, the amniotic fluid, the oceans, the source of life and wisdom. Eating the egg, we give birth to ourselves.
This is the food of the Thriae, the most ancient Delphic prophetesses, who wove golden tissues of words of truth or madness. They sang the thriambos, a honey-intoxicated bee song, in honor of the flowering pollen-producing rod, the magic wand of the phallic God, reunifying nature and spirit. Honey is the substance of resurrection, used in Asia Minor in embalming fluid, the sacred essence of the Great Goddess. It was sometimes mixed with menstrual blood, which it also represented, and drunk as a sacred elixir. Souls were seen as bees. It was believed that bees were begotten of bulls, which were also sacred to several Eastern Mediterranean Goddesses, and a bull was sometimes sacrificed so that bees would come and nest in its head.
(strawberries, raspberries, & boysenberries) in the first version of this ritual, which was alcohol-free)
This is the blood of the Mother Goddess, of all women, of life. As babes in blood we are born; as maidens with blood women flow; as mothers in blood women birth; with age comes the ending of blood and the shadow of Death we know. (paraphrased from Shekinah Mountainwater)
These are the horns of the Moon, as waxing it reappears in the sky. This is the shape of the fallopian tubes above the uterus, and the shape of the horns on the bull's head, over which devotees of the Serpent Goddess leaped with joy in ancient Crete.
garlic spread & sesame seed butter on flat bread; almonds; pine nuts; dates & figs (dried is fine); honey-sesame candies
Be sure to set aside a small packet containing a bit of each ritual food to be left in a crossroad tonight for Hekaté. We wrapped the food in black paper napkins.
Leader, carrying salt on pentacle, sprinkles salt around circle widdershins:
Leader goes to East with staff and says, holding staff horizontal:
ALL: Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.
Nor Hall, The Moon & The Virgin: Reflections on the Archetypal Feminine
Hekaté Recipes: Incense, Dream Pillows, Dark Moon Crescent Cookies, Fire-Cauldron
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