Oh, Night Divine! Honoring Hekate of the Crossroads

November 30 is one of the most important modern celebrations for Hekate, in this instance as Guardian of the Crossroads. In Modern Hekatean Witchcraft, the emphasis on things like personal development and healing from trauma is especially relevant for this festival. For me, it’s a time to honor Our Lady for all the transitions She’s helped me through. A very divine night, indeed.

Crossroads and Keys

This year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the crossroads I’ve been through over the past few months. After years of living a seemingly endless parade of personal catastrophe’s, all my recent transitions have been, well, straight up great. Not the kind of “oh, Hekate is bringing me things so I can learn from the pain” great, but, you know, swell. So, I’ll honor Her on November 30th for both my current hopping along down’s life’s road with a big smile AND for those times She guided me through my own personal underworld. No matter what is going on in my life, She’s been a steady force, guiding me through one transition after another with Her torches to light my way and passing me the keys to new things when I am deservedly ready.

Hekate as Guardian of the Crossroads is one of Her most widely known roles – there are countless blogs, articles, and books even dedicated to this aspect of the Cosmic World Soul.

Hekate, Guardian of the Crossroads

Our Lady’s association with the crossroads dates back to ancient times when offerings to Her would be left at these locations. The outcasts of society may have eaten the food gifts left for Hekate, providing us with an origin story of sorts for the current view of Her as Guardian of the Marginalized. Hekate is particularly associated with three way crossroads, as Trioditis, although She was also recorded as connected to a four-way intersection as Tetraoditis. As you probably know, the tripartite (three-parts) associations with Hekate are plentiful, but we can also consider this notation on her connection to the four-way crossroads as evidence that offerings can appropriately be left at such locations. Another epithet, Enodia, that literally means of the road is another example of Hekate’s crossroads connection.

Over time, Hekate’s association with the crossroads spread into other cultures and religions. In the Roman pantheon, Her crossroads connection was allocated to the goddess Trivia (literally “three ways”).  Early Christian writings warn against people doing any sort of healing at a crossroads. I like this example because it shows the extent of the belief of the power of the crossroads.

Guardian of the Crossroads and Mistress of Corpses

It seems fitting that I’ve finally purchased a home and thus officially ended the post-divorce hot mess phase of my life during November, Hekate’s Holy Month. Buying a house was the final crossroads on my mission of creating a life I loved and one that was a healthy environment for my two sons. It’s been a helluva journey.

Not only was I preoccupied with things like ripping up sixty years of flooring, septic tanks, and a pink kitchen, but I couldn’t stop thinking about a particular spell from The Greek Magical Papyri that’s basically about killing a cat in order to use it’s spirit. Here’s my heavily edited version of the spell:

“I call upon you,
Mother of All Men…
Mistress of Corpses,
Hekate,
I conjure you,
The daimon aroused…
Go and
Perform the deed.”

– PGM III 1-164

I like this spell a lot. I can’t go out and kill a cat, no matter how much I might want to because it’s just not right. And there’s the fact that I have a terrible cat allergy so I’d probably be too busy sneezing and wheezing to get the deed done. However, I can tap into the energy of this ancient spell by connecting with the spirit of other dead things, like the dying roses around my home. Getting back to honoring Hekate of the Crossroads, remember that the unwanted dead were often buried there and that food offerings were left to rot there as well. Thus, decaying and dead things are highly suitable offerings to honor Hekate on November 30. In particular, sacrificial dead things – not necessarily a drowned cat – but things that cost us to dearly to let go of, like my marriage or my former career – are particularly good for currying Hekate’s favor. Of course, what seems like a costly death at the time is often reborn as a blessing.

All the Corpses I’ve Buried at the Crossroads

I’m not just talking about actual dead things, like roses and cats. I’m referring to all the corpses I’ve left behind as I’ve traveled through this life. At each crossroads, I leave behind a corpse – of a different version of myself, of relationships, of houses. All those things become dead to me after I move on. But, like the daimon of the drowned cat, their energy is still available for us to use. We can learn from these corpses, especially the stinking, mangled bodies of our mistakes.

On November 30, I’ll offer up these to Her and ask that She help me to learn from them. I also believe that Hekate prefers the energy of dead things so that She can return them to Her Underworld home and then they can be reborn. So, I’ll pray to be reborn from these experiences as well.

Hekate of the Crossroads Night

As for the origins of November 30 as a celebration of Hekate’s crossroads aspect, your guess is as good as mine. Like I wrote about Hekate of the Underworld Night, I’m content with thinking that Hekate wants it this way. I don’t know for certain where I got the idea that November 30 was a holy night for Hekate of the Crossroads, but I think it goes back to Leo Ruickbie’s Witchcraft out of the Shadows (2004). However, the historical references in this book are a bit contrary to other sources, so I can’t say that either the research is accurate. Regardless of origin, Our Lady deserves to be mightily honored for watching over us while we pass through the literal and metaphorical crossroads of life.

Focus of Hekate of the Crossroads Night

The emphasis for this celebration should be on all of the crossroads that Hekate has seen us through. Through Her divine guidance we have made it this far. Let’s take some time to reflect upon these transitions. What have we learned from our mistakes? What has Hekate taught us?

An additional aspect of this night is to petition Hekate for assistance with a current or upcoming transition. Perhaps we’re feeling stuck or resisting change. Maybe life really sucks right now and we can’t see the crossroads because of the storm we’re currently enduring. Asking for Her help on this night while expressing gratitude is highly appropriate.

Activities

The point of the Night of Hekate of the Crossroads is to honor Her. What we do can be as simple as making an offering while expressing our gratitude. I’ve written about creating sacred space for Hekate before, so I’ll suggest you head over to that article if you’re interested in how to create an environment conducive to Her energy. I’ll always argue that the prayers we write ourselves are the most powerful because they are the most meaningful, so I suggest doing that. While you’re at it, contemplate all the times you’ve transitioned through a major crossroads in your life. Reflect upon how Hekate helped you through, even if you weren’t a devotee at that time. Perhaps Hekate called you for the first time when you were at a major crossroads. Maybe you’re seeking Her for the first time and hope to connect with Her on this special night.

 

bluets at the crossroads (1)

Types of Offerings

Our prayers of praise are fine offerings to Our Lady. In addition, creating or updating a shrine to Hekate on November 30 is another way to express your gratitude. Hekate is fully honored by offerings that are rotting, from scraps of meat left at the crossroads by devotees in ancient times to feeding wildlife leftovers. Maybe I shouldn’t do the latter, but I think it honor’s Our Lady in some small way. There’s this trio of young deer that live on my new property who are getting a special snack of frozen blueberries. The connection of Hekate with deer is an ancient one, and I’ve always been fond of them because of this and also because of my life long affection for Artemis.

Besides dead things, like the corpse of my former self or decaying rosehips, there are many other ways to honor Hekate on November 30 (or anytime). Some modern devotees make charitable donations to honor Her association with the marginalized, particularly to vulnerable groups associated with Her like children, the homeless, and dogs. Others place new offerings on their shrines. For me, one of my offerings is writing about Hekate. Your offerings must be a reflection of your own personality and relationship with Hekate. Never offer anything that doesn’t feel right AND don’t listen to blowhards who dictate exactly what to do. We all need guidelines and structure, so we can mess with them once we become comfortable. Hekate chooses the misfits and the rebels, so I don’t think She expects blind adherence from Her children. She wants our sincerity, of that I’m certain.

Locations for Offerings

Hekate’s preferred locations are liminal spaces, such as a crossroads. If a crossroads is not a viable option for you to place offerings, other sorts of in-between zones are highly acceptable, such as the junction of land, sea and sky. Entrance areas like doorways and halls are another option. I used to have a shrine set up at the entrance to my house that I updated frequently. I haven’t got this established in our new place yet, so as part of my celebration on November 30, I’m going to sort this out.

Honor Hekate of the Crossroads Everday

It’s good to have a specific date like November 30 to honor Hekate as Guardian of the Crossroads, but I think it’s more important that we honor Her everyday. I try to express my gratitude for her unwavering guidance, even when I’m too dense to listen, every day in some small way. Maybe it’s feeding the deer, or giving an elderly lady $50 so she isn’t eating tinned tuna on Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s not losing it with my beloved sons. I’m trying to live a virtuous life with my shadow self firmly under control (check out this tarot spread for help with this undertaking). So, I send Her the corpses of my fears and failings on a daily basis. And I like to think that these are Her favorite offerings of all.

PS – I’ve created an event on my Facebook page for anyone interested in expressing their gratitude and stating their petitions in a semi-public forum on November 30. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/527454487610863/

 

 

 


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