“Hekate is a Goddess of great antiquity. She is primordial, powerful and sometimes animalistic – and yet also sophisticated, modern and capable of adapting to different cultures. She is the Torchbearer, the Cosmic World Soul, the Guide and Companion. She is Mistress of the Restless Dead, who rules over the Heavens, Earth and Sea. She is the Keybearer who stands at the crossroads of life, death and initiation. Her devotees today, as throughout the ages, include philosophers, poets, sorcerers, theurgists, witches, root-cutters, enchantresses and ordinary people. ”
~ Sorita d’Este, in Hekate: Her Sacred Fires (2010)
I frequently get asked to recommend books about the Goddess Hekate. This is a list of the ten books I recommend at the present time to those readers seeking to learn more about the Goddess Hekate.
As I am the author, co-author and editor of several of the books available on the topic myself it is not an easy thing to do, as it is impossible for me to be non-biased. Not only that, but there has been so many books published in recent years on the Goddess Hekate – and on related topics – that my opinions on what I recommend has shifted ever so slightly too. Ten or fifteen years ago there were only three or four books available, now there are probably more than twenty, not to mention another twenty or thirty on closely associated topics. Each and every single book available about the Goddess Hekate today represents a different perspective and different approach to her worship, as such they are all valuable and important contributions. In a nutshell – if you really want to know it all, read all the books you can find and learn from them all – even if it is just a lesson in what does not resonate with your own approach and your own personal experiential understanding!
Books about Hekate I authored / co-authored or edited.
But first a little bit about the books I have been involved with directly, not all of which makes it onto my 2019 recommended reading list.
The first book I compiled on the Goddess Hekate was Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads (2006) which was a fun, devotional group project which brought together some history with experiences friends of mine had with the Goddess of the Crossroads. It was a community project, and its value is mostly in the experiences shared by the contributors. I have learned a lot more about the history of the Goddess in the 13 or so years since, so it is not a book I would actively recommend other than to those who perhaps are interested in perspectives of that time.
The second, Hekate: Liminal Rites (2009) , remains a very popular book and is often recommended. In it myself and my co-author David Rankine, brought together research on a variety of magical and ritual practices we found associated with the Goddess of thresholds.
Then there was Hekate: Her Sacred Fires (2010). This was an unintended devotional project in which nearly 50 devotees from around the world contributed their experiences of Hekate. This book I recommend to anyone wanting a sample of the different ways in which devotees of Hekate experiences this Goddess in the 21st century. Most of the contributors did not know each other before the project came together, so while the differences are interesting – what is more interesting is the commonalities!Finally, Circle for Hekate (Vol.1 & 2). This is my more recent work, 2017 and forthcoming 2019, this brings together my more recent research about Hekate, looking at the different forms in which she manifests, the places she was worshiped at and the symbols associated with her – as well as providing insights into ancient worship, alongside (in volume 2) modern devotional practices.
Recommended Reading: The Goddess Hekate (2019)
This selection of books will give you a rounded perspective on the Goddess Hekate, and the context in which she was and is worshiped. I might not agree with all the perspectives or practices given in these books, but feel it is important to have a wide perspective – especially when starting out. These 10 books will provide you with solid foundations from which to explore the areas you are most attracted to further.
In alphabetical order:
- Circle for Hekate, Sorita d’Este (Volumes 1 – History & Mythology and Volume 2: Devotion)
- Hecate: Death, Transition & Spiritual Mastery), Jade Sol Luna
- Hekate Soteira, Sarah Iles Johnson
- Hekate: Her Sacred Fires (various)
- Hellenic Polytheism: Household Worship, Labrys [Not specifically about Hekate, however this book provides a solid basic introduction to appropriate ways in which to conduct household worship of the Hellenic Gods, including Hekate]
- Keeping Her Keys, Cyndi Brannen
- Lunatik Witchcraft, by Shay Skepevski [Very difficult to obtain book by Australian artist and mystic with modern 21st century rites]
- The Chaldean Oracles, Ruth Majercik [Not about Hekate, but will give you a more rounded perspective on the Chaldean Oracles]
- The Restless Dead, Sarah Illes Johnson [Not only about Hekate, history book, focus on – as the title suggests – the restless dead! ]
- The Temple of Hekate, Tara Sanchez [Modern Pagan / Wiccan practices suitable for beginners]
- Thracian Magic, Georgi Mishev [Not just about Hekate, but about Thracian & Baltic folkloric and magical practices too]
“One of Hekate’s most distinguishing features in the ancient world was her triple nature. This is manifested repeatedly in her forms and symbols, and we see her as Triformis (‘three-bodied’) and Trioditis (‘of the three roads’), standing guarding the three-way crossroads where she received monthly offerings. In the fifth century BCE, the sculptor Alkamenes created the popular Triformis image, of three identical figures standing forming a triangle around a central pillar, which would become the template for the Hekataion, guarding doorways and crossroads.”
~ Sorita d’Este, in Hekate: Her Sacred Fires (2010)
And if you are looking for something completely different, I also very much recommend KNOWING HEKATE by Sara Croft, which is a colouring in book with fabulous images of Hekate for you to colour and connect with.
I hope you enjoy this list – there are other similar ones here on Pagan Patheos, so explore them too – different perspectives are good things!