The Summer Solstice is the time to acknowledge Hekate as the Keeper of the Keys of all creation and along our personal journey. Three contemporary ways to incorporate Hekate into solstice workings include a gratitude ritual, personal sovereignty work and seeking her assistance for shadow taming.
Using plants, symbols, colors and other correspondences associated with Hekate adds strength to these workings. I offer suggestions including Dittany of Crete and Fiery Flower of Creation symbolism as examples of correspondences and symbols that can greatly enhance our rituals evoking Hekate on the Summer Solstice.
While there are many aspects of Hekate that can be incorporated into Summer Solstice activities and rituals, I honor her as Keeper of the Keys. This ancient reference from the Orphic Hymn and other sources resonated deeply with me from when she first called to me. I see her as the Gatekeeper of all things, from the key holder for the doors I open throughout my life’s journey to the Cosmic World Soul that unlocks the material world.
Something about this metaphor speaks to me in a most profound way, I know that there are others who share my fascination with this role. In my Hekatean Wheel of the Year ongoing project and in the forthcoming Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft, I situated the celebration of Hekate as Universal Key Holder on the Summer Solstice because this is the time of year when all of nature’s gates have been unlocked.
From the countless ways that we can include Hekate as Keeper of the Keys in Summer Solstice workings, I’ve selected three closely related but distinct themes. For me, the solstice is all about the bounty of the land on the longest day of the year. I connect to Hekate’s universal current as all the doors of life are flung wide. It’s a time to reflect upon all that I have in my life as well as what I seek to activate. After the gratitude ritual which I think is a necessity of better living through witchcraft, I’ve selected the two most common themes that I’ve been hearing about lately from members of the Keeping Her Keys community: sovereignty and shadow work.
A Summer Solstice Altar and Gratitude Ritual
My personal focus for the Solstice is all about gratitude. While the bounty of nature is all around me, I turn my attention to the plenty in my own life. I’ve constructed a Summer Solstice altar with botanical offerings to Hekate, made a charm for her and added things that symbolize what I am most grateful for. Each part of the altar holds great meaning to me. I’ve added several botanicals from her ancient garden (from the Argonautica and other sources) including Dittany of Crete, oak, lavender and sage. I’ve added rosemary as a personal token, calling upon its properties of love and protection. Bay laurel is another botanical that is great for gratitude and abundance work, I wrote an entire article about it here. If you are looking to manifest abundance, do the gratitude ritual first and then perhaps a prosperity spell on the following full moon. You can read mine here.
I often write tags for the keys I use in rituals like the gratitude one I did with my Solstice altar. I have so many things that I am thankful for that I’m actually up to 18 keys which I will hang on my Clootie Tree on the actual solstice. These three keys in my indoor set-up reflect my thanks for great relationships, good health and witchery. The Three Keys ritual can be adapted for use in a gratitude working. I have a workbook available on demand, get in touch to receive a copy.
Contemplate the things that you are the most thankful for, then make a list. Write them on tags and attach to keys. Construct your own hymn or prayer expressing gratitude. You can also select correspondences that match your gratitude hymn.
From ancient Hekate’s Garden, I included Dittany of Crete which is great for evoking her presence and is sacred to witches (I really think this plant deserves more popular attention), lavender also for getting her attention and for blessings, oak for acknowledging abundance and for luck (tie two branches crosswise with red cord to attract it), and sage for ensuring continued plenty. I added rosemary because it is one of the botanical guardians of my home and property (having a plant by the front door ensures abundance).
In the charm, I used colors representing Hekate as The World Soul, also known as the Fiery Flower of Creation – red, yellow and orange, with orange being the only one not historically associated with her.
I also added a dog (coyote) bone honoring her loyal companion for seeking their continued protection. Epithets used in my ritual include Keeper of the Keys, Gatekeeper, World Soul, Fiery Flower of Creation
Regular gratitude practice attracts prosperous energy. If you don’t have one already, you could use this ritual to mark the beginning. Join the Witches’ Realm at Keeping Her Keys on Facebook to participate in our weekly Gratitude Circle all summer long.
Honoring Hekate as a Goddess of SovereigntyAnother way to include Hekate in Summer Solstice celebrations is to connect with her powerful energy to activate your own personal sovereignty. Hekate as a Goddess of Sovereignty is one of her most compelling contemporary roles, with many finding their way to stand in their own power through her strength. I offer no explanation for this, but like the phenomena of Hekate’s Calling or her role as Guardian of the Marginalized, I’ve observed so many similar stories that I consider this a legitimate modern aspect.
Theme: Personal Power
The key to witchcraft and a bountiful life is to learn to stand firmly in your sovereignty. Explore your own priorities and boundaries in the bright sunlight. Contemplate Hekate as The World Soul, her current fueling all living things. See yourself in a similar way.
Making a Sovereignty Poppet or Statue
You can create a poppet or statue that represents Hekate’s Sovereign Goddess aspect using her three main colors of black, red and white. Use black to represent your emotions and connect with her Under World role as Guardian through dark times, red for actions and her Middle World role as Guide along our way and white for thoughts and her Upper World role as Keeper of the Keys. As you create the poppet or statue contemplate how you can align your feelings, actions and thoughts towards standing in your power. Anoint the poppet or statue with frankincense and olive oil on the solstice, writing your own hymn or prayer to evoke Hekate’s presence. You can add oak to summon your own inner power as well, maybe even burn some to really get things going.
If making a sovereignty poppet isn’t your thing, adapting my personal power spell to the Solstice may be what you’re looking for.
Hekate as Queen of Shadows
I am adding this as a possible theme for Summer Solstice workings because there seems to be a great need for shadow taming work these last few weeks. The shadow self is what blocks us from standing in our power, so perhaps this is the place for you to begin after you do a gratitude ritual. In the decade that I’ve been teaching shadow work, I’ve noticed a spike in interest around the Summer Solstice. My theory is that when the energy of the earth is so vibrant, that the light of the sun (and all living things) is too bright for our shadow self, causing it to act up but also leading our true self to the forefront. Shadow work is a complex process that can’t be completed with one ritual.
Theme: Shadow Taming
If you are feeling the pull of your true self to tame your shadow, a good place to start is with the Hekate Shadow Taming Tarot Spread. All this month in The Witches’ Realm, I teaching a class on shadow work. It’s a great follow-up to the series I did last month on Healing with Hekate. A commitment ritual blessing your shadow work on the solstice, seeking Hekate’s guidance, is a great place to begin. I am going to be hosting a live shadow taming Summer Solstice event for members of The Witches’ Realm. Follow the link to apply to join.
However you choose to incorporate Hekate in the Summer Solstice (and even if you don’t), I wish you the brightest of blessings for the season ahead.
Hymn to Hekate on the Summer Solstice
Bright Hekate, Kratais!
All Powerful Goddess, Queen of the Sun!
Hail to You, Fairest Bestower!
Your bounty spreads over the land.
Great Pammetor, Mother of All,
I see you in all the splendor.
Mighty Aglaos, Creatrix of the Sun,
Continue to shine upon my life
And all the world.
I stand here in Your Powerful Light,
And claim my own!
Hail Bright Hekate, Kratais!
Our summer programming includes weekly discussions on Hekate, divination, witch aesthetics, herbal crafting, working with deities and much more. The theme for June is Shadow Work, with me hosting a month-long class with videos and worksheets. The current event in our “Better Living Through Witchcraft” series is Intentional Social Media. There’s lots of great exclusive content including selections from my personal Book of Shadows. Ongoing circles for the summer: weekly gratitude, New Moon Manifestation and Honoring Hekate on the Dark Moon. Our June Full Moon Ritual is a Pride Circle.