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Hecate

Written By Pavlos Pozi on Sunday, June 9, 2013 | 1:52 PM

Goddess Hecate in Greek mythology


Hecate was worshiped principally in Caria and the adjacent provinces of Asia Minor, where she seems to have been an ancient goddess of the country. In Greece proper she was really worshiped only on the east coast, where she was particularly honored on the island of Aegina by secret rites or mysteries (Hysteria). In earlier times she was represented with but one body, fully clothed, in her hands two burning torches, which were attributed to her because of her character as a goddess of light; but Alcamenes (toward the end of the fifth century B.C.) made for the Acropolis at Athens a figure representing her as having three bodies (triformis). These three bodies were placed back to back so that one of them constantly, like the crescent moon, looked towards the left, another, like the waning moon, towards the right, while the one standing between them, like the full moon, turned her face towards the beholder. The dish and measure that she carries in representations of this type characterize her as dispenser of dew. Afterwards her worship at the crossroads was associated with these figures, and hence she was called Trioditis, Lat. Trivia ('the goddess of the crossroads').

Hecate was a kind of patron goddess of the belief in ghosts and witchcraft, and, as a natural consequence, a
goddess of the lower world. The first of these functions belongs properly to the moon goddess as the mistress of the dismal nighttime ; but she came to be considered a witch because she herself, i.e. the moon, has the power of changing her own form, a trick that plays an important part in all witchcraft. Therefore she was regarded as the mother of the enchantresses Circe and Medea ('the shrewd/ 'the cunning woman'). Her association with the realm of the dead, however, was based on the idea that night and the world below are in general closely related ; it was also believed that at its setting the moon sank down into the lower world, so that a subterranean or gloomy Hecate (Ckthonia, fikotia) was commonly recognized.

In the Greek world the classic form of Hecate stands rigid and strange, embossed on a triangle, with her faces turned in three directions. The Greeks tried to get rid of the severity of these statues breaking the triune aspect deity in three virgin dancers. In subsequent seasons, insisted strongly on the triune aspect of divinity than the classic era of Hesiod. The fact that the Ekateia celebrated in tristrata and that these sites were dedicated to Hecate does not contravene the hesiodic or secular conception of number three. Simultaneously Hecate as lady of spirits, warned the Greeks that a threefold division would necessarily create next to an organized world of Zeus a chaotic region, which continues on the shapeless part of the primordial world as Underworld. The Greeks believed that the triplicity of Hecate was something sinister.

In earlier times, even before petrified the three faces of Hecate in the known Ekateia, these three aspects seem to have constituted many forms or kingdoms of the world, many possible developments of one and the same solid idea. Thus, in this form which is obviously the smallest of goddesses, the lowest of the three, one discerns an internal relationship between Demeter, Kore and Hecate. From here stems and obvious idea of the mythology , as it unfolds in the anthem.

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