Practicing Modern Hekatean Witchcraft doesn’t need to cost one red cent. This article discusses using found things, made things, and low-cost items in worship and witchcraft.
I recently wrote a blog about Modern Hekatean Witchcraft (MHW) where I mentioned that many of those within this emerging tradition are quite practical about devotion and magick. In my experience, Hekate’s attention is won by heartfelt devotion. She bestows Her blessings on those who put effort, not cash, into their worship and witchery. To paraphrase the fabulous JLo – Her love don’t cost a a thing.
Her Love Don’t Cost a Thing
Within Modern Hekatean Witchcraft, Hekate is Pammetor (The Mother of All), The Cosmic World Soul, and Our Savior (Sotiera). Given this perspective, Her love is infused in all of creation. Thus, we don’t have to earn Her love – our work is to connect with Her through our devotion, witchcraft and by living a virtuous life. We can use these activities to draw closer to Her, leading to more effective witchery and a better life in general. I’ve rambled on about a virtuous life before, so I’ll stick to my focus here about devotion and witchcraft on a budget. I’ll slip in one thing about the virtuous life – it, too, doesn’t need to cost a thing.
Using Objects to Boost Our Connection
While Her love may be free, many of us find objects useful in boosting our connection to Hekate. These objects can be offerings or components in rituals and spells. Objects can be made or purchased inexpensively. I’m a pretty crafty (get it? I love bad puns) woman, so I typically use a mixture of found things, made things and low-cost items. I’m going to talk about some of my favorite things later on, but first I need to make a few points.
$$$$ Things are Fine, Just not Necessary
I’m not dismissing outright using objects and things that are pricey. I’m also not against paying money for rituals, spells, and meditations. I’ve done both, although I have to admit that I only bought a statue of Hekate this past summer when I was in Salem, MA. Buying that figurine was highly symbolic to me. After years of struggle – I had landed deep in the financial underworld after a series of unfortunate events – I had clawed my way out of it and could finally afford to buy a statue of my beloved Hekate. I love it. She sits on the mantle in my new home, watching over me as I write these words. However, I truly believe that the offerings and objects that we create ourselves are best.
Know your Intention
The key thing when practicing MHW on a budget is to know your intention. Yeah, I know this is the core of any sort of devotion or witchery. However, it’s worth saying here on a blog about economical MHW. You need to really focus what it is you hope to achieve. There are two basic categories of focus: 1. offerings, and 2. witchcraft.
You may be trying to express your devotion through an offering. In this case, there are many freebies that can be used – I discuss some of them below. Offerings don’t have to be elaborate, although sometimes I get carried away with concocting complex ones. That’s when I’m all up in my head rather than practicing from my a balance of my intellect and heart. When I got the keys to our new home, I was so consumed with gratitude that I wanted to set up a quick shrine and offering. A friend had given me this candle she made using a printable transfer and a low-cost devotional candle. We had already begun demolishing things, so I grabbed a handful of screws to represent both the new home and to offer Hekate that which no longer served me. I had scored some local organic garlic, so I put that in as an offering.
Regarding offerings, many practitioners use things they find in the natural world, like roses, stones, and, of course, BONES. Ancient offerings include a meal left at the crossroads, household sweepings, and, well, dead things (I keep a box of graveyard dirt in the car, just in case). If you’re focusing on one aspect of Hekate, for example Hekate Einalia (Queen of the Oceans), you can use things found along the shore or in the water. I’m fortunate enough to live right on the coast, so this is easy for me. However, even if you’re in the Midwest, you can offer fish bones, clam shells, etc. If you’re not certain on what aspect (or epithet) of Hekate that you’re interested in, I highly recommend this extensive resource created by Sara Croft.
For witchcraft to be effective it needs to be focused. Taking time to fully develop your intention is vital. So is honing that intention down to a very specific thing. You might want to work with Hekate Einalia if you want to be cleansed or have a watery metaphysical experience. So, you may petition this aspect of Hekate in your ritual, spell or prayer. In that case, you could include oceanic objects as tools or as energy containers for your working. For example, you could use a seashell as the container for the energy of the spell and then keep it with you while you do the work of making your magick real.
One of my favorite things is to make a Witch Jar. I created the one in the pic for my intention of buying a house. A lot of effort went into making it – including thinking, researching, and praying. The specific ingredients reflected what I wanted in a house right down to the location, the number of rooms, the activities we would do there, etc. For example, I put in three hunks of obsidian that I had on hand that I had previously fused with my energy and my sons. I also put in a bit of each of our hair. There’s a lot more that went into it than these two ingredients, but you get my point. Once I found a house right for us, the three of us stood in a circle and opened that jar. Yes, it worked. Make it specific. Make it personal. Neither needs to cost anything.
After focusing your attention, the next most important aspect is to tap into your creativity. I know this can seem daunting, especially if you consider yourself not very skilled in this are and/or if you are new to MHW. Let that go. Whatever you come up with will be perfectly acceptable as an offering and a highly effective part of your witchcraft. Spending a lot of money doesn’t assure either of those two things, but doing your best does. Honestly, some of my offerings can seem a little wacky to others, but they make sense to me because they are reflection of who I am and my relationship with Hekate. Offer Her what seems right.In constructing spells, I’ve used all manner of things. One of my favorite magickal tools is any sort of malleable product, like Play-Doh or Fimo. I can make it into whatever I need. I have extremely limited drawing capabilities, so I reach for those sorts of things rather than a pencil. Like offerings, use what makes sense to you.
No Need for Tools
Within MHW there’s ample room for each practitioner to use the objects and tools that make the most sense to them. This emerging tradition doesn’t have an established tool box like Wicca does. I don’t use a wand, athame, and only occasionally use a chalice. It’s perfectly acceptable if you use these things. This lack of tools is definitely good for the budget!
Objects of Worship & Witchery
Regarding objects of worship and witchery, there are so many budget-friendly possibilities that I could write a book! Until that happens, here are a few suggestions…
All Things Black, Red & White
These three colors are the most associated with Hekate. Yellow is as well. Then there’s blue for Hekate Einalia. Or you could feel like using a different color. You can use colored pencils, or even two of my favorites – embroidery floss and construction paper.
Many practitioners, including myself, print out existing images of Our Lady and place them on their altars and shrines. Using ancient images such as the one below are usually in the public domain, so there’s no concern about infringing on copyright or intellectual property. If you are including an image from a contemporary artist, it’s usually fine if it’s just for your own private purposes. However, it’s best to contact them first. Don’t use modern images publicly unless you properly acknowledge the creator. If you can afford to buy something from the artist, please do.
Contemplating the symbolism in images – ancient and current – is a powerful way to connect with Hekate. In addition, I’ve also used the symbolism as part of spells in rituals. I’ve incorporate this image of Hekate guiding Persephone on her Underworld journey many times. It symbolizes so many things – from my own personal darkness to the change of the seasons. Another Persephone note – using pomegranates in worship and witchery is very appropriate. But, they aren’t cheap or readily available here in Nova Scotia.
I chose this image of a decaying rosehip from my yard to represent this blog because, to me, it perfectly reflects a cost-free offering and magickal tool. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll have probably figured out that I’m slightly obsessed with using wild roses in worship and witchery. Here’s a couple of pics from last summer’s rose harvest:
Roses have been connected with Hekate since ancient times. I use the wild roses in worship and witchcraft all year long. The decaying November rose is an excellent avenue for connecting with Hekate’s underworld aspects. If you’re seeking Her assistance with your own personal underworld journey, they’re a great offering. Or perhaps you’re working on developing your metaphysical underworld skills, like mediumship. They’re an appropriate offering for Her guidance in this sort of activity as well. We can also contemplate the cycle of the year by connecting with rose energy and then use the appropriate energy for your working.
Rosehips can be consumed in a variety of different ways – from rosehip wine to tea. Rosehips can also be purchased and are usually quite inexpensive. You could even use a packaged rosehip tea. I could write on and on about my beloved roses! Maybe I’ll devote an entire blog to a discussion on roses and Hekate someday. One final note about roses – in The Chaldean Oracles Hekate is referred to as The Fiery Rose of Creation (in some translations, others use “flower,” but I prefer the rose interpretation).
Obviously, I have a major thing for using roses in my practice of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft (MHW). I use many other low or no cost objects, too. Since keys are one of the most important symbols of Hekate, I usually have a bunch on hand. I have a thing against used keys in my own magick, even when consecrated, but I know lots of witches you do just that. I buy a bunch of keys from a craft store, consecrate them in bulk, and then they are ready for use. Right now, I’ve got several bags of little wooden keys ready for Solstice things. You can also make your own keys or draw them.
Another one of the most favored symbols of Hekate is garlic. In ancient times, offerings included a wreath of garlic. While this was an association with Her underworld energies, it carried the additional meaning of healing since garlic was seen as very curative. Many practitioners of MHW use it as an offering and in their witchery. An easy thing to do is cutting of the top of a clove, then turn it upside down in a tall glass so that the top (now the bottom) is immersed in water. Place this in a warm, sunny spot. Garlic shoots (known as “scapes”) will soon grow out of the bulb.
One More Thing…Costs that Can’t be Avoided
So, I’ve gone on and on about how Hekate’s love does’t cost a thing. I’ve made the case that we can honor Her and practice witchcraft without spending much. However, there is a cost that I’ve had to pay: I had to lay down my self-doubt and my lack of faith. Being a natural born skeptic, this has been one of the major accomplishments of my life. Another necessary cost of MHW is giving up a belief that anyone else (including Hekate) can and will solve your problems for you. Hekate will bless, guide, intervene, kick your ass, and support you. She will not do your dirty work.
PS – Although I’m all about doing MHW on the cheap, I try to use ethically sourced or local things whenever I buy something.