A Night of Hekate

Tomorrow we honor the great Dark Goddess, Hekate. Sunset on November 16th marks the beginning of the Night of Hekate. Her origins are Greek but for some Wiccans Hekate has become identified with the Crone stage of the Triple Goddess – the third phase of the Moon Goddess – and is associated with the wintery death of the Earth and the darkside of the Moon.

And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team…

– Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Hekate (also spelled Hecate) is the Goddess of witchcraft and magick, crossroads, doors/gates, and thresholds between the living and the dead. As such she is aligned with the Underworld and the spirit realm. Hekate is the Patroness of Witches. Her priestesses (the most famous was Medea) were trained herbalists and well-versed in the use of baneful herbs. Hekate is the witness to all crimes, especially those against women and children, and may be invoked when justice is not forthcoming from other channels. She has the power to grant (or deny) any mortal’s wish and may be petitioned for swift, painless death.

She honours your own choices, though, and will not protect you from yourself
— and yet She is always there for guidance if you choose to look for Her.

– wicca-spirituality.com

Although Hekate has been known to assume the shape of a black cat, she most often manifests as a mature woman or black dog (esp. female). The frog is sacred to her and she is closely aligned with bats, horses, ravens, and lions. Sacred plants: willow, yew, hellebore, garlic, mandrake, belladonna, and hemlock. Hekate’s emblems are the star and crescent moon and her sacred number is 3. Sapphire, moonstone. black tourmaline, onyx, hematite, smokey quartz are her gemstones.

So at sunset tomorrow, light black candles and burn Dragon’s Blood. Serve a feast of eggs, mushrooms, honey, crescent-shaped treats, raisin & currant cakes, red wine, and mead.

Hecate, goddess of the crossroads, hear my cry,
Protect and guard me under your midnight sky.
Hecate Phosphoros “she who brings the light,”
Hecate Trevia bless me with your wisdom tonight.

Ovid writes that Hekate could be conjured up from darkness “with long howls.”

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It’s a Saturnalia Miracle*

If the video doesn’t automatically start at 3:13 in,
you may have to manually forward to that point.

*The Big Bang Theory (S2 E11, “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis”)

“In the pre-Christian era, as the winter solstice approached and the plants died, pagans brought evergreen boughs into their homes as an act of sympathetic magic, intended to guard the life essences of the plants until spring. This custom was later appropriated by Northern Europeans and eventually it becomes the so-called Christmas tree.”
– Sheldon Cooper, on the festival Saturnalia

lo, Saturnalia!
(Pronounced “eeyo sa-tur-NAL-ee-uh”)

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival celebrated in honor of the god Saturn, an agricultural deity said to have reigned over the world in the Golden Age of peace and plenty. Traditional held on December 17th it lasted from one to five days (variously) throughout its history – which continued into the 4th century C.E.

A huge public celebration would be held at the Temple of Saturn in Rome. All Romans (including women and slaves) spent Saturnalia feasting, singing, playing music, putting on satirical plays, and gambling. Equality and free-speech were embraced and role reversals were de rigueur; some slaves would even find themselves being fêted by their masters. Considered free men during the festival of Saturnalia, slaves were allowed to wear the pileus or cap of freedom.

As celebrations continued into the night it’s no surprise that traditional gifts of white candles (cerei) were exchanged. Romans decorated their homes with greenery and the aristocracy traded their traditional togas for brightly colored garments in shades of red, purple, and gold. The people would feast on bread, nuts, dried fruits, cheeses, sweet treats made with honey, nuts and dried fruit, pork, winter vegetables, and plenty of a mulled honey wine called mulsum.

A mock king, the “Lord of Misrule“, would be chosen to serve as a master of ceremonies. The King of Saturnalia was responsible for making mischief during the celebrations and generally ruling over the ever-increasing chaos and debauchery.

Sources:
How to Celebrate Saturnalia December 17th-23rd
Happy Saturnalia! Roman Festive Food
Mulsum recipe
Saturnalia @ History
Saturnalia @ Wikipedia
Saturnalia @ Witchipedia

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