Hekate and the New Moon

Hekate and the New Moon April 13, 2018
Canstock photo

The New Moon is an ideal time for seeking Hekate’s support for new projects, renewal and rebirth. The night when the first sliver appears in the sky, known as Noumenia to the ancients, provides great energy for our intentions about what we hope to grow in the month ahead. Using specific Hekatean energy currents, we can further enhance the magick of beginning anew.

Hekate and the Moon

Hekate’s association with the moon is as strong as it is ancient. In contemporary practice, Hekate is often seen as a Moon Goddess. This perspective is the result of a long evolution of the association between the moon, witchcraft and Hekate.

To the ancient Greeks, Hekate (click here for an intro to our Unconquerable Queen) was connected with the moon through her interpretation as a Goddess of the Under World. Her role as a Night Wandering Goddess further reinforced her connection to the moon as evidenced through the myth of her and her horde (of hounds, goblins, etc.) scouring the darkness for either unsuspecting souls or as a protectress. She may have also been on the prowl for the restless dead. Whatever works for you. Hekate’s connection with the night and the moon, as you can see from this one example is as complex (and often times seemingly contradictory) as the rest of her history. If you’re curious to learn more about Hekate as a Goddess of the Moon, I’ve written an introduction that you can read here.

Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft and the Lunar Cycle

The Modern Hekatean Witchcraft model of the lunar cycle includes five distinct phases:

  • The Dark Moon
  • The New Moon
  • The Waxing Moon
  • The Full Moon
  • The Waning Moon

For more about this take on the lunar cycle and how Hekate figures into the Wheel of the Year, you can read this. I’ve written about the Dark Moon, a time when many contemporary devotees honor Hekate through various acts including rituals. The waxing, full and waning moon energies are utilized in much the same way as most contemporary lunar witchery. The waxing is for attraction magick, the full is great for any sort of spell, and the waning is for removal workings. My take on the New Moon and Hekate’s modern witchcraft is an application of the ancient texts to my contemporary point of view.

Not a Reconstructionist Approach

I don’t try to recreate the religious practices of the Ancient Greeks in general, nor as they specifically relate to Hekate. If you are interested in that approach (which I am not judging in any way), I recommend you read this most excellent blog, Baring the Aegis. What I do is to adapt the spirit of ancient practices to contemporary life. Before I get into my approach to what’s known as Noumenia, here’s a link to a great blog by one of my Patheos Pagan colleagues on a reconstructionist approach to this day.

As with many things associated with Hekate, sorting out the difference between honoring her on the Dark Moon and the New Moon is a bit tricky. While there are reconstructionists who are more than happy to tell you the difference, along with precisely what to do, whatever they say is an interpretation no different in spirit than my approach. We weren’t in the ancient Mediterranean watching what was actually being done. There’s no videos or voice recordings showing us how to do rituals, or even know to pronounce Hekate’s name (though the “H” was definitely maybe silent). Very few of the reconstructionists I’ve encountered actually read the ancient texts, such as Hesiod’s Theogeny, directly from the source. Like me, they rely on translations done by others.

Ancient Practices on the Dark Moon and the New Moon

Based on the works I’ve read, it seems that the Dark Moon and the New Moon were probably two different celebrations. Honoring Hekate on the Dark Moon, known as the Deipnon, was traditionally practiced as a day to seek Hekate’s favor in her form as a Goddess of the Under World. The mythology is that Hekate roamed the night with her horde, including very cool hobgoblins, looking for victims. For the ancients, performing a ritual on the Dark Moon was the equivalent of buying life insurance. The contemporary practice of the Deipnon by devotees has shifted  away from this mindset towards expressing gratitude to Hekate, even among reconstructionists. I’ve written previously about my own Dark Moon approach.

Part of the ancient practice of the Deipnon included leaving out a supper for Hekate usually at a three-way crossroads, including the remnants of animal sacrifices made in her name. The idea was to make a ritual sacrifice seeking her favor and to add the boost of offering up the leftovers. Regarding the New Moon, Noumenia, it may have been a time to seek her blessing over the home for the month ahead. These events are slightly different interpretations of the same thing. The timing of these activities is also rather intricate. Deipnon could have been practiced after sundown on the day when the astrological new moon occurred. Noumenia may have been observed when the first sliver of the new moon appeared.

A Modern Approach to Noumenia

I observe Deipnon and Noumenia as separate events with very different approaches. I set aside the Dark Moon as a time for honoring Hekate. This usually takes the form of expressing gratitude for her many blessings. On the New Moon (when that first sliver appears), I focus on my own goals for the month ahead and seek her support for them. This often includes intention setting. One of my personal practices is to write what I call an intentional prayer, basically a spell without any props. You can think of it as an incantation if the word “prayer” leaves a funny taste in your mouth.

New Moon Practice

My New Moon practice is to get things started for the month ahead, with an actual spell set later in the phase and scheduled according to my focus. This is the day when I sow the seeds of what I am manifesting in the month ahead. If I am planning on attracting something, then I’ll do a spell during the waxing moon since this is a great time for attraction magick of all sorts, including abundance, growth and healing. A full moon working is one that combines both attraction and removal (e.g., reversal, protection, binding) elements. Then a waning one is exclusively for removal. The moon can be a witch’s greatest ally in creating a magickal life.

Writing a New Moon Petition to Hekate

Like with any intention, being specific is the key to success. Take time to develop a word web around your manifesting goal, identifying potential challenges and requirements of success.

Using Specific Hekatean Currents

If you are going to be doing a Noumenia working, there are specific characteristics of Hekate that are highly suitable for starting a new project or rebirth in general. Think of these epithets as energetic currents. One epithet from the Greek Magical Papyri, Nyssa, is literally interpreted as “beginnings.” Hekate as Ergatis is the Energizer. More common ones include torch bearing epithets like Lampidios and Dadouchos. These are especially useful if we are petitioning her to light the way for us – energy for showing us the direction to go in and for removing obstacles. Kyria, meaning powerful, is useful when we are summoning our own inner strength. Hegemonen (Guide), Kleidoukhos (Keeper of the Keys) and Propylaia (Gate Keeper) are excellent energy currents to connect with when starting anew.

Given that Hekate is often viewed as a Triple Goddess, using three different epithets that are directly connected to my intention is a technique that I have found to be very effective. Here’s an example of an intentional prayer (or incantation) petitioning Hekate’s favor using the Key Holder, Torch Bearer and Gate Keeper epithets. You can write your intention as “the key of _________.” For example, if you are seeking a new job, then it would be the “key of a rewarding career paying significantly more than what I earn now.”

There are many ways to connect with Hekate that I’ve written about: you can go full-throttle with an evocation, communicate through internal conversation or get smacked by her. When doing this working, I suggest a middle-of-the-road approach. Only you can determine what’s appropriate. Here’s a link to the article I wrote about the different techniques for communicating with The Dark Mother that may be useful in determining how to get in touch. 

Hail Hekate, She who holds the Keys.
Hail Hekate, She who lights the World.
Hail Hekate, She who stands at the Gate.

I stand before you, seeking the key of ________________
Grant this key to me, Mistress.
Shine your light on the path ahead,
Open the gate for me.

May I be brave enough to take up the key.
May I be committed enough to do the required work.
May I be strong enough to overcome all obstacles.

Hail Hekate, She who holds the Keys.
Hail Hekate, She who lights the World.
Hail Hekate, She who stands at the Gate.

I would follow up this petition with a detailed plan of how I am going to manifest this new “key,” and then get busy manifesting it. If you want a more powerful experience with Hekate, try this evocation technique.

However you choose to interpret Hekate and the New Moon, I wish you the magick of renewal and rebirth.

 

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