In the last few months, I’ve been releasing old religious hangups through embracing devotion to Hekate. My journey began years ago, after seeking out the goddess for a crossroads spell. She responded to my plea at the time but I didn’t pursue working with Her after the spell. In fact, there was a lengthy “Christian retrograde” between that spell and who I am as a Witch today. But those whom Hekate chooses will be tapped by the goddess in the fullness of time. At least, that has been my experience with Her as I’ve stepped forward into a practice of witchcraft and devotion.
Hekate Made Her First Call Toward Devotion At A Public Ritual
Two years ago, I was attending a public ritual where the Triple Goddess was invoked. The priestess in charge did not specify whom they would be invoking, only that there would be a performance element to the ritual. The room pulsed with excitement. It happened while we were being led, through a guided meditation, to experience a crossroads encounter with the Maiden, Mother, Crone. I don’t know what the other participants experienced, but for me, the meditation led me straight into a rendezvous with Hekate.
Here’s what happend. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful woman standing at a darkened crossroads with two black dogs on either side. The meeting place? The very spot I’d performed that crossroads spell invoking the Dark Mother, asking for Her help, years prior. The goddess looked at me with a snarky kind of “Remember me?” smile on her face.
Recognition flowed through me. I’m sure a stupid smile must have appeared on my face. Tears formed under my closed eyelids. Hekate’s presence was so vivid, in that moment, I might as well have been transported to Her in the physical realm. Her energy felt real and present from that moment until the end of the ritual. As part of the drama, the goddess “appeared.” A butterfly token was presented by the end of the ritual, sharing Her message for me. Transformation. It became my goal for the rest of that year.
You’d think from that moment I’d have been ready to devote myself to Hekate, right? But no. When I’d left Christianity behind for good, I’d made up my mind to be a secular Witch. So that was that, amazing spiritual experience notwithstanding. A year went by with fleeting thoughts of Hekate, but never pursuing more information about Her. And then a book came into my life which changed everything.
Keeping Her Keys Helped Me Define Sovereignty.
Circumstances brought an advance copy of Cyndi Brannen’s book, “Keeping Her Keys: Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft,” to my attention. Interestingly, I’d been thinking about the previous ritual experience with Hekate for a couple of months when we received the book. As soon as I started reading I knew the direction I needed to go. The Dark Mother hit me upside the head with some knowledge. I needed to become a Hekataen Witch.
And so, I began my journey. The great thing about Cyndi’s book is it’s a self-study “program” designed to help the reader work toward self-initiation into Modern Hekataen Witchcraft. You work through the reading and exercises in a year and a day fashion. And I really enjoyed what I was learning in the realm of meditation, understanding the three realms of self, etc. And then we got to the chapter on “devotion.”
What got me over the hump is understanding who I am as a person and Witch does not change or become supplanted through devotion to Hekate. Rather, I’m learning to embrace my whole Self. And that is the gift which working with the gods can give those of us who are open (desirous/willing) to that experience.
Devotion Is Not Required, But Is Valuable To Those Who Embrace It.
Does a person have to embrace a devotional practice to acheive wholeness in their life? Not at all. And I’m sure if I’d decided to remain a secular Witch I’d have found my way to healing and balance through the Craft. Devotion to deity is not right for everyone. But the point of this post is “working with gods” and what that can mean to and for an individual.
Devin Hunter explored the topic in a recent “Ask Devin” article based on a question sent to him which confessed the idea of working with the gods can be scary or overwhelming. And I really liked how he answered the question overall, bringing the salient point of devotion into focus. In the article, Devin writes “Like all spirits, we have the ability to set the rules and our own expectations when working with them (**ie: deities/spirits**). The degree of intimacy will grow over time and those expectations may change.”
Coming from a Christian background, devotion used to mean (to me) being subservient to deity. Bending to that Other’s will at all times. Perhaps that works for some but the very idea makes me chafe these days. However, what I’m learning as I make room for chant, prayer, and acts of devotion to Hekate is that She wants me to stand in my power as a Witch and all that entails. Plain and simple. And in my opinion, that’s a good reason to walk this path with my Dark Mother and Queen.