Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft is an approach that focuses on better living through practices, techniques and an association with Hekate. This article includes an overview of the key features of my perspective, tips for beginner Hekatean Witches and a resource list.
I recently had a conversation with a close friend that went something like this:
Friend: “You’ve started a tradition.”
Me: “No. It’s simply my perspective.”
Friend: “That’s what everyone says when they’ve started a tradition.”
Looking back over the past nine months, it does seem like I have started…something. I have a very clear perspective about my approach to witchcraft that has resonated with so many of you. My point of view is peppered throughout my blogs, but the time has come to organize my thoughts and practices into one article. This article is very different than the one I wrote about my observations regarding the common themes shared by many practitioners of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft, entitled “Introducing Modern Hekatean Witchcraft”
I recommend that article as a prequel to my own perspective that I’ve outline below.
Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft
My definition of Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft:
Applied: Focuses on “better living through witchcraft.” All practices and techniques are taught through the study of specific concepts.
Modern: Like modern life, Applied Modern Witchcraft is diverse. It also incorporates what has gone on before. Learns from the past. Practical.
Witchcraft: The practices and techniques are used to effect change by transforming ourselves and external energies.
I include all my knowledge and beliefs in this applied modern witchcraft, including (but not limited to): animism, comparative religion studies, devotional practices, divination strategies, esoteric views, herbalism, mysticism, the occult, personal development, psychology, shamanism and loads of traditional witchcraft from a variety of paths.
Applied Modern Witchcraft is very much in the spirit of what I call Old Time Witchcraft: it’s practical, personal and real. Emotional courage required. Read more about my thoughts on Applied Modern Witchcraft here.
You may find it surprising that I teach an entire course, The Sacred Seven: A Course in Applied Modern Witchcraft that has no Hekate. That’s because I don’t believe that Hekate or any other goddess/god is a requirement for witchery. I don’t usually petition Hekate for involvement in my spells. However, I do have a daily practice of connecting to her energy and expressing gratitude.
Understanding & Experiencing Hekate
Hekate, to me, is first and foremost two things: Goddess of Witchcraft and the Dark Mother. Within my take on Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft these roles are basically the same: that of wise mentor. This interpretation is based on my study of Historical Hekate and my personal experience. By knowing the existing historical records, I can apply them to my own views and our contemporary context.
I’ve written loads about Historical Hekate. If you’re interested in reading more of my analysis of her almost 3,000 years of known documentation, read A Witch’s Understanding of Hekate.
One of the most interesting aspects of Hekate for me is that she has such a diverse history. She is a Dark Goddess, The World Soul and The Mother of All in various texts. Thanks to ancient sources, we have over 200 epithets by which to call her. I liken these characteristics to keys for understanding her and the associated energy currents. There is so much history that can be applied to modern witchery, it’s a real blessing. My article on Hekate’s epithets and using them in witchery can be found here.
Hekate: Goddess of Our Time
Hekate is an evolving goddess that changes with the times. She was relegated to the role of Witch Queen for centuries and then as a crone in 20th century paganism. Over the past two decades due to academic study, we have an amplified knowledge base of how she was viewed throughout history. She has always been diverse and remains so today. I’ve written about some of the major themes that I’ve observed in our current understanding of Hekate. She has become a Guardian of the Marginalized, Goddess of Sovereignty and Goddess of Our Darkest Hour, in addition to maintaining her chief roles as Dark Mother and Goddess of Witches. You can read about these themes in Hekate: Goddess of Our Time.
I’ve organized all of Hekate’s roles into my view of the Three Worlds. She is the Guardian through the emotional depths of the Under World, the Guide along our Middle World journey in this incarnation and the Gatekeeper who holds the keys for our lives, the mysteries of the Upper World and all creation. You can read more about these ideas in Hekate: Guardian, Guide & Gatekeeper.
Her main symbols are connected to these roles, with keys being associated with Upper World Hekate, the wheel symbolic of her as Guide and the torch representing her Under World energy. Associated with the Three Worlds are our Three Selves and Souls. The shadow exists in all these as the repository for our pain. The shadow is to be healed, not dismissed.
My articles on Hekate and the shadow self:
Hekate and The Shadow Self Tarot Spread
Healing The Mother Wound
Hekate and the Summer Solstice: Suggestions for Themes, Rituals and Correspondences
Healing with Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft: Concepts, Practices, Techniques, Spells and Correspondences
We come together into a unified whole that I call The Sacred Seven. This term reflects the myriad of occult, spiritual and cultural systems that consist of seven parts. My system uses the energies of The Three Worlds and the four elements as well. There are seven core principles that I’ve talked about in my article, What Makes Witchcraft…Witchcraft?
Of course knowledge about Hekate means little without personal experience. I’ve written loads about my encounters with her, including:
She’s Called Nova Scotia: The Magic of the Place I Call Home
Honoring Hekate as the World Soul with a Sunrise Ritual
A Witch’s Prayer to Hekate
Practicing Modern Hekatean Witchcraft
Being one of Hekate’s witches is often the result of receiving a calling from her. If you’re experiencing such an event, this article of mine has some ways to process what’s happening: When Hekate Calls: A Practical Guide for Answering.
This isn’t always the case. Some of her witches actively pursue their initial connection to her: Finding Hekate: Suggestions for Seekers
After this initial connection, a huge part of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft is about communicating with her, through evocation, rituals and intimate contact. Getting Hekate’s Attention
(Here are my thoughts on when we can’t connect to Hekate: When Hekate Doesn’t Call…or Answer…or Seems Angry: What’s Going On and Ways to Fix It.)
Witchery with Hekate, Her Companions, Correspondences & More
Hekate has many companions, correspondences and animals that lend themselves to my personal witchery. Many of which I study and include in my teachings and writings. In particular, I include her historical witches, Kirke and Medea, as well as Persephone and Artemis. You can read a bit about them all (with links to my articles on them) here.
Hekate’s horde includes not only her hounds, but a whole slew of animals from snakes to horses. I work a lot with animal energy, including their bones and mystical work involving their spirits. The three main animals in my course starting in November are reflective of the Three Worlds: dog, horse and snake respectively.
Hekatean correspondences are both new and ancient. I have a comprehensive list available in The Witches’ Realm, as well as a list of offerings. In particular, Hekate’s Garden offers a rich array of botanicals that can be used in witchcraft. As a trained clinical herbalist, working with plants is a dominant thread running through my private practice and public work. Hekate is also associated with many other objects, from stones to colors. In the spells and rituals I adapt and create, all these components are used.
Being One of Hekate’s 21st Century Witches
All these components are not much use if the techniques applied to them are not effective. Often drawing on the spirits of Medea and Kirke, I create spells that work using precise intentions that are creative and structured. One example: Prosperity Magick: A Spell and Correspondences.
I previously mentioned The Sacred Seven principles, but there’s more to being one of Hekate’s witches than following these. I think that witchcraft involves daily activities, what I call The Witches’ Hour of Power. The practices involved in this are central to my courses. I made a video describing The Witches’ Hour of Power that you can watch here. Being ethical is also a big part of my practice which I temper with a bit of risk taking.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have a daily simple practice for honoring Hekate. Beyond this part of my Witches’ Hour of Power, I hold the Dark Moon as space for a more intense ritual. I also celebrate the seasons, months and special days.
Hekate and the Moon
Hekate’s association with the moon stretches back across the ages. Most likely, she was known by different names before coming to be called Hekate, but her lunar connection existed and persists today. My model of the moon cycle includes honoring Hekate on the Dark Moon, New Moon intentional magick, waxing moon attraction workings, using the brightness and balance of the Full Moon and waning moon removal practices.
Hekate’s Wheel of the Year
Hekate’s diverse roles and energy currents are readily applied to the months and seasons. There are modern celebrations that are entirely new and those that grew from ancient practices.
A Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year for 2018
Deliver Us from Darkness: Hekate and the Winter Solstice
Hekate and the Spring Equinox: The Winds of Change and the Balance in All Things
Hekate and the Summer Solstice: Suggestions for Themes, Rituals and Correspondences
Getting Started as one of Hekate’s Witches
If you are new to Hekate, I suggest doing a ritual honoring her on the Dark Moon using simple ingredients and a hymn/prayer/petition of your own creation. Set up an altar with her image, symbols and correspondences. Suitable incense includes sage, bay laurel (probably in your kitchen cuboard) and lavender. Make an offering that reflects who you are. If you love roses, give them to her. If heavy metal is your thing, trance out to Hekate’s Torch. Do you. My article “An Evocation of Hekate Suitable For Any Rite” might be helpful. I recommend following this with a commitment ritual on the New Moon (when the first sliver is visible) to yourself, your new path and Hekate. I think this should be very personal, but my Nine Keys Ritual can be adapted for this sort of working. Read loads (see below).
Practice witchery every day – writing, reading, meditating, observing, spell crafting and more. Keep it simple. Start a Witches’ Journal for your personal journey and a Book of Shadows for recording your witchery. Start charting the lunar cycle and your moods. Record your experiences with animals, objects and other things associated with Hekate. Create your own images, music and rituals. Don’t worry about “getting it right.” Start with your personal healing and grow from there.
This has been an attempt to present my personal practice and teaching/writing perspective in as brief an introduction as possible. There’s lots I haven’t included. Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft, to me, is a vital active force that’s a way of being beyond a set of techniques. To learn more, connect with me on Facebook or join our amazing group, The Witches’ Realm. During July, I’ll be hosting a month long course all about Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft exclusively in The Realm. (It’s free).
More information on my year-and-a-day course can be found at keepingherkeys.com
Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft Resources and Reading List
Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft by yours truly. Learn more here. Should be available for pre-order soon. Students in Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft: The First Key will be able to purchase this book before anyone else. (Isn’t that a great enticement?;)
I wrote this list of Ten Things You Should Know About Hekate.
Below is a partial list of some of my favorite resources.
My Facebook page, Keeping Her Keys, has loads of infographics, snippets from ancient text, rituals, pics and more. The group I founded, The Witches’ Realm, is where I share oodles of exclusive content, like the Hekate’s Key Journey which can be used as part of the self-initiation process. We also have regular events, learning circles and discussions about all things to do with Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft.
The Covenant of Hekate has SO many fabulous resources. Check out all that’s on offer and consider joining us.
Circle for Hekate, Volume 1, by Sorita D’Este. An excellent overview of Historical Hekate. All Hekatean witches should read this.
The Temple of Hekate: Exploring the Goddess Hekate Through Ritual, Meditation and Divination by Tara Sanchez. Tara has included some very cool techniques, including Hekatean Tarot work and bibliomancy. Fascinating book with heaps of historical info about Hekate.
NOTE: The Goddess Hekate by Stephen Ronan is no longer in print. Get it if you can.
Academic Theses and Papers:
Theses and dissertations are public domain. Here’s a fantastic one: Hekate: A Symbol of the Dangers of Feminine Knowledge in Euripides by Kathryn M. Smith. (2016)
This one is over 45 years old, but you really should read it: Hekate: Her Role and Character in Greek Literature from before the Fifth Century B.C. Carol M. Mooney.
Also available for free: A Portrait of Hecate by Patricia A. Marquardt (1981).
Hekate: Her Sacred Fires: Exploring the Mysteries of the Torch Bearing Goddess of the Crossroads, edited by Sorita D’Este with many contributors. If you are completely new to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft, start with this.
Hekate: A Devotional by Vivienne Moss is a beautiful intimate account.
The Greek Magical Papyri and The Chaldean Oracles have translations that are in the public domain. Macbeth is endlessly fascinating. Hesiod’s Theogeny gives us an origin story for Hekate. You can find more historical references in my various articles on Historical Hekate, such as Hekate: The Mother of All.