Hekate can help us overcome trauma if we seek Her assistance. The Three Keys Ritual for healing from trauma can help us to overcome the pain of the past by seeking Hekate’s assistance and strengthening our efforts to become whole. The ritual can be done by anyone ready to heal from their past.
The Impacts of Trauma
Trauma can take many forms – including emotional abuse, sexual violence, and witnessing horrible events. Tremendous suffering often results from trauma. Depression, anxiety, distress, mistrust, and poor self image are common outcomes.
My Experience with Trauma
I know about trauma because I’ve experienced many forms of it in my life – from an invalidating upbringing to sexual assault. I had a horrible first marriage to a man with an explosive personality. That disaster included various forms of emotional and physical abuse. My oldest son was a victim of bullying that led to serious injuries that required thirteen surgeries including a transplant. As his mom, walking beside him on this underworld journey was the absolute worst aspect of my life. I’m overjoyed that he has emerged from his descent…finally. Looking back, I feel a bit like Hekate leading Persephone through her underworld journey. I couldn’t control his pain, but I could act as his guide. Throughout all of trauma, Hekate was there guiding me through. Even when I couldn’t hear Her.
Perhaps because of the significant trauma of my early life, I became an applied psychologist dedicated to researching close relationships and health with a special focus on interventions to help women an vulnerable children. A classic case of “psychologist, heal thyself”.
I’ve done a lot of work to create a healthy, balance authentic life. I’ve tried to help others do the same. Modern Hekatean Witchcraft is the central part of my own personal development and my teaching. I developed the Three Keys Ritual for Healing from Trauma as a tool that anyone can do at home with things easily found.
The Work of Healing
A bit more on the real work of healing – it requires a lot of effort. In order to move forward, we need to align our thoughts, emotions and behaviors in the direction of wholeness. We can use magick to help with this alignment while calling upon Hekate for assistance. The healing process varies from person to person, but usually includes a general desire to be better, lots of research, trying various techniques until something helps, and a lot of trial and error. If you are struggling right now, keep trying. Maybe the Three Keys Ritual is what you need. Maybe you’re why I felt compelled to get this ritual posted on Patheos this morning instead of finishing painting my kitchen.
The Three Keys Ritual
The Three Keys Ritual can be adapted to just about any purpose. Some time ago, I used it as a framework for developing a ritual for healing from trauma. I found it very healing. Others who have used it have said the same. The Three Keys Ritual is based on using Hekatean symbols to focus energy for a desired outcome. In it, we seek Hekate’s assistance – guidance and intervention – for our magickal endeavor. The basic focus is to create tags for three keys that reflect the energies involved in the ritual, create a text for the spell, and then do the working. You can read more about it here.
The Three Keys Ritual for Healing from Trauma
This ritual asks Hekate help us heal and move forward. The ritual calls upon three specific aspects of Hekate: Sotiera (Savior), Hekate Triformis (Three Formed – for transformation), and Hekate Kleidoukhos (Keeper of the Keys).
The ritual requires serious contemplation, but uses things you probably have on hand. This is an emotional journey, so before you do it, figure out if you’re ready. If you are experiencing significant distress, please don’t attempt the ritual. I urge you to seek professional help. Remember that this ritual is not designed to replace such help. Doing the ritual will help you to find healing from your trauma, but only if you are fully able to be be present while doing it.
Things You’ll Need
To do the ritual you’ll need keys, string and paper of some sort. A bag of some sort to store your keys is good. A ziploc baggy will do nicely. No need for fancy things. I used construction paper and embroidery floss, but you can use what you’ve got. Use whatever keys make sense to you – even cut paper ones out. The colors are black, red, and white. These are the colors most associated with Hekate.
The color black in this ritual represents the past. The red is for the present and the white is for the future. There is one key for each color/time period. You’ll create three little cards that you attach to each key. Then you’ll use the string to tie the little cards to the appropriate key, and then tie all the keys together. If you don’t have any sort of string, use tape or even fold them over each other.
After the keys are prepared, there is a petition to recite. Although I’m providing a prayer below, please feel free to adapt it or make up your own.
Step #1: Preparation
Cleanse and organize the things you’ll be using however you usually do. If you like, you can check out my thoughts about creating sacred space to draw Hekate’s attention. Say a few words to Our Lady expressing your gratitude for being able to do this pathworking. Protect yourself from harmful energy. Set your intention for doing sincere work.
Creating the Three Keys
The three keys are symbolic of Hekate as Key Holder. While She holds the keys to all things, through our free will we choose to accept them or not. Or we can create keys with a specific intention and bring them to Her attention. That’s what we do in the Three Keys Ritual.
The Three Keys represent the Past, Present and Future:
- The dominant energy of the past is pain.
- Our intention is to create healing in the present.
- Our goal for the future is peace.
Each of us have a specific area within each time frame that we need to focus on. For me, my painful past is dominated by chronic invalidation of my childhood self. I realized that my core feeling of not being worthy was driving my shadow self and leading to further trauma. My present Healing intention is self compassion. This moves towards living as my True Self which I call “living a life I love.” Only authenticity will bring peace.
Key #1: The Past
I’ve used black card stock to represent the energy of the past. You can use any black paper or even draw three black boxes on a white piece of paper and then fill them in with your intentions. Think of the past as the underworld where all is in darkness. Hekate will be our guide out of our personal hell. Write “past” on one card, “pain” on another and your personal wound on the third (I wrote “invalidation” on mine). Be succinct! Rambling sentences rarely lead to successful witchcraft.
Key #2: The Present
The energy here is of the liminal (in between) focus of the present. The color red also represents the life force that sustains us all. We set our intention for healing here. On one each of the three red cards (or using three red boxes), write “present”, “healing” and your specific energy intention (like starting a healing journal, seeking help for anxiety, learning to trust others, etc.).
Key #3: The Future
On three pieces of white paper write the words “future”, “peace” and your specific goal for living an authentic life (whatever that looks like for you – it could be having more confidence, greater self acceptance, being in a healthy romantic relationship, being able to hold a job, etc.). White symbolizes the Upper World where Her energy can guide us on our starry road through this life.
Once each set is complete, join each set of cards together. If you have keys on hand (any will do, make sure they’re cleansed ), attach each set of cards to one key. I’ve used string in the corresponding colors. Once each key is finished, tie all three together in a manner that can easily be undone during the ritual.
Place your completed keys in some sort of protective bag so that their potential energy doesn’t get unintentionally activated. Place your bag on your altar with an offering symbolic of Hekate, such as garlic or roses. Now, it’s time to activate the keys and seek Hekate’s blessing over them:
Hekate’s Blessing on the Keys
Hail Hekate Sotiera, Savior.
Bestow your healing upon me.
Hail Hekate Triformis, Bringer of Transformation.
Show me the way to heal.
Hail Hekate Kleidoukhos, Keeper of the Keys.
Accept these keys as a sign of my commitment to healing.
You can prepare the keys in advance of doing the ritual. Just make sure you keep them in their bag so the energy doesn’t leak out.
Step #2: The Ritual
Once your Keys have been prepared and your sacred space is ready, it’s time to do the actual pathworking.
There are three parts to the ritual: 1. The release of past pain from the trauma, 2. The intention in the present to heal, and 3. The manifestation of a peaceful life. Be gentle with yourself as you move through the stages! Self compassion is vital to healing from trauma.
Take the keys out of the bag. You might need scissors or a knife to separate them from each other.
Key #1: Release of Past Pain
Separate the key of the past from the other two. Hold it in your hands. Ask Hekate to take this key from you, symbolizing the relinquishment of the trauma. Hekate will gladly accept this key. Ask Her to leave the wisdom of the trauma and remove the pain.
Next, destroy the three tags on the key. You can rip them to shreds or burn them off. You can leave the strings attached to the key. You’ll get rid of this key later.
Start with your specific wound. Focus on the trauma you’ve experienced. For me, I thought about really painful things I experienced growing up. Once I had that firmly in my mind’s eye, I visualized them in a cave. There was a big door that I closed and then locked the door. Finally, I passed the key to Hekate. Say something like:
“Hekate, Savior, I relinquish to you my experience of XX (your specific wound).”
Move onto the key that says “pain”. While you destroy it, tap into the emotions associated with your trauma. Once again, visualize your feelings in a cave, lock the door and pass the key to Hekate. It might seem weird to separate the emotions from your thoughts about the trauma, but it is a proven technique that greatly helps with the healing process. If needed, you can access the details of the event in the future, but without also conjuring up all the emotions. As your destroying it, say something like:
“Hekate, Queen of Transformation, I give you this key
And ask to be reborn free of pain.”
Finally, take the past card. Visualize turning away from the two locked doors while you destroy it, and say something like:
“By giving You this key, I turn away from the past.
Hekate, Keeper of the Keys,
Hold these keys for me,
So that I can be healed.”
(After the ritual is complete, you will get rid of this key, preferably at a crossroads. A different type of liminal space will suffice, such as a juncture of land, sea and sky or even toss it (well wrapped!) into a public garbage bin at crosswalk.)
Key #2: Intention to Heal
The second key is about the present. In this stage, you are turning your thoughts, behaviors and feelings towards feeling at peace. Think of it as asking Hekate to help you turn the key to open the way for healing. The pain of the past has been released. This is the time to activate your energy and enhance it through the energy of Hekate Triformis, so that the transformation is successful. Keep this key with you at all times as a reminder that She is with you and that you are committed to change. You got this!
Once you finish contemplating the three aspects of this key, put it in your pocket, wear it around your neck or stick it in the bag you usually carry. It’s going to remind you of your intentions and that Hekate is helping you heal.
Specific Focus Card
Leaving the three tags on the key, take the one that is specific to your present focus. Really think about what it is you plan to do. Ask for Hekate’s assistance in this area:
“Hekate, Savior, I am committed to XX (whatever it is you’re doing),
Help me in this undertaking.”
Next take the one that says “healing.” Imagine yourself becoming free of pain. Visualize yourself doing the things required for healing. Ask for Her blessing over this:
“Hekate, Queen of Transformation,
Help me to heal.”
Finally, take the tag labelled “present” and say something like:
“Hekate, Keeper of the Keys,
This key I keep for myself,
Help me as I go forward.”
Key #3: Manifestation of Peace
A peaceful life means that we are living our true path as our authentic self. The third key will open the door this path. Don’t cut the strings on this key. Hold onto it and follow a similar process to the previous two.
Start with your specific goal for the future. Holding onto it, say something like:
Help me to move towards XX (your specific goal).”
Now hold the card labelled “peace.” Remember that an authentic life is characterized by peace. Contemplate a time in your life when you were at peace. If peace is unfamiliar to you (like it was to me), then try to imagine what it might be like. Visualize yourself walking towards this peaceful life with Hekate guiding you.
“Hekate, Queen of Transformation,
Help me to find peace in my life.”
Finally, take up the “future” card. This is where you are going – free of the past, healed, and living a peaceful life. Imagine what this will feel like. Take your time – really develop an image of what it will be like. Say something like:
“Hekate, Keeper of the Keys,
This is the key to my future,
Guide me forward.”
This key should be left on your altar while you focus on the present. One day, you’ll feel the time is right to stop carrying the key of the present. At that time, you can put that key away and start carrying the future key (which as become the present).
Offer up your gratitude. You can say something like:
Hail Hekate Sotiera,
Savior of All.
Hail Hekate Triformis,
Queen of Transformation.
Hail Hekate Kleidoukhos,
Keeper of the Keys of the Universe.
Accept my gratitude for your
Protection, guidance and wisdom.
Open your sacred space. You may want to delay opening the space until you feel ready. The ritual can be an emotional experience. You may feel Hekate’s presence intensely while you are working with the keys. Be gentle with yourself as you end the ritual. Don’t forget to get rid of Key #1 and always carry Key #2 with you (until you are ready to move forward).
I wish you all the brightest possible blessings if you are suffering from trauma. Know that you are not alone. Believe me when I say that it gets better. I hope this ritual helps. Like I wrote earlier, I felt compelled to publish it on Patheos ASAP.