At the Full Moon in May 2017 thousands of people around the world celebrated the Rite of Her Sacred Fires in honour of the Goddess Hekate for the 8th consecutive year. With each passing year and through both the experience I have gained myself through participating in this ritual with others, and the knowledge and insights which has come from listening to others, and looking at the dozens of photographs posted each year on social media sites, such as the English language Facebook group “Rite of Her Sacred Fires” (www.facebook.com/groups/riteofhersacredfires) I find myself understanding the Goddess of the Crossroads in a different light. It is as if with each flame being lit, a little more of Her Mysteries are illuminated.
This year I hosted a small gathering in my personal temple space here in Glastonbury on the Sunday before the Full Moon, and participated in a “Facebook Live” event with a small group of others later that evening. For group ceremonies I have adapted the format ever so slightly over the years. This year this is what we did during the group ceremony:
2017: Rite of Her Sacred Fires Gathering
Sanctuary of Hekate Soteira, Glastonbury UK
Introduction: A short talk about the Goddess Hekate, focussing on lesser known aspects of her history and attributions.
Entering the Temple: As this space is permanently set up, participants were welcomed into the space. A Priestess took a wash basin was taken round for the purpose of purification (usually for group ceremonies, participants do this at the threshold – but this was more effective as so many of those participating were not used to the way I work). The temple space was then also purified and consecrated by the Priestess.
Hymns: A Priestess recited the Orphic Hymn to Hekate. Other hymns of praise was offered.
Invocation & Oracle: The Goddess was invoked and another Priestess sat as the Oracle. (She was selected as she is experienced in trance work, and has previously taken this role in Sanctuary meetings)
The Rite of Her Sacred Fires: We did the Rite of Her Sacred Fires in “call and response”. Each participant was given a candle and the flame was passed around the room until all candles were lit. Additional candles were lit at the appropriate time during the ceremony for Sanctuary members who were unable to attend, as well as other regular attendees of the Rite here in Glastonbury who were unable to attend this year.
This is the text of the Rite of Her Sacred Fires – it is available in around thirty language translations at http://hekatecovenant.com/rite-of-her-sacred-fires/ together with other useful resources.
Rite of Her Sacred Fires
Find a quiet place where you will be able to perform the rite undisturbed. You will need a candle (or another form of devotional fire such as a lamp or hearth fire) and something with which to light it. You may wish to consecrate the candle or other materials you will be using in keeping with your usual tradition of working, otherwise please simply ensure that it is clean.
Spend some time in quiet contemplation.
Place both your hands on your heart (three heartbeats), your forefinger and middle finger of your dominant hand to your lips (three heartbeats), and then to your brow (three heartbeats). Now enclose your thumbs within both your hands (in fists) and raise both your arms to the heavens.
Open your hands and with palm upwards in your left hand, bring your right arm to your side palm facing downwards and invoke the Goddess.
I invoke thee, Great Mistress of the Heaven, Earth and Sea,
By your mysteries of Night and Day,
By the Light of the Moon and the Shadow of the Sun
I invoke thee, Mistress of life, death and rebirth
Emerge now from the shadow realm to feed my soul and enlighten my mind,
Triple-formed Mistress of the three ways
I entreat thee, Key-bearing Mistress of the Nightwandering Souls
To bring forth your wisdom from amongst the stars
To bring down your starfire from the darkness between,
Creatrix of Light!
Goddess of the Shadow Realms! Light-bearing queen!
Whisper now your secrets!
Fire-bringer! Earthly-one! Queen of Heaven!
[Raise both hands with palms facing upwards to the heavens (three heartbeats) and then touch the ground palms downwards]
[Sit before the candle and prepare to light it]
[Take three deep breaths and allow your senses to awaken]
Hekate, companion and guide to the mysteries
I light this sacred fire in your honour, [light fire]
Its light uniting the stars and stones, the heavens and the earth,
With this fire I express my desire for a greater understanding of your mysteries
Askei Kataskei Erōn Oreōn Iōr Mega Samnyēr Baui (3 times) Phobantia Semnē,
Great Hekate, who spins the web of the stars and governs the spiral of life
Guide me through towards pathways of understanding,
From Crossroad to Crossroad,
The Torchbearers and the Keybearers of your mysteries,
will always find one another,
Spend some time contemplating the flame, its colours, its movement etc.
I banish now the shadows of doubt from my mind,
Infused by the silence and warmth of our union
I feel your golden radiance within my heart
And the glory of knowledge on my brow,
I am a student of your mysteries.
Extinguish the flame, then place both your hands on your heart (three heartbeats), your forefinger and middle finger of your dominant hand to your lips (three heartbeats), and then to your brow (three heartbeats).
Open your palms reaching towards the heaven, then reach down and touch the Earth.
Serpent Breaths: This is an exercise I developed some years back, instructions will be given in Volume II of Circle For Hekate (forthcoming from Avalonia, 2017). We invoked serpent spirit helpers with this exercise, with the purpose of personal and other healing.
Petition to Hekate for Refugees of War: This petition was created as a collaborative project by a group of Covenant of Hekate members in 2016. This year it was decided to again encourage participants in the Rite of Her Sacred Fires to also participate in this petition, both to ask for the help of the Goddess, but also to encourage a greater awareness of the plight of refugees all over the world today. Read the text here<<
After ending the ceremony, we had some snacks and a small group of us walked to sacred apple grove on the slopes of the Tor to leave the biodegradable offerings which had been brought to the ceremony.
Some, but not all participants, individuals and groups, mark themselves on a map each year to show where they are participating from. This is the Rite of Her Sacred Fires 2017 map.