This post is part of a blog challenge series, 30 Days of Devotion to Hekate. Day 16 and we’re looking at how Hekate represents the values of Her pantheon and cultural origins.
Ah another hard one! We don’t actually know Hekates true cultural origins, not for sure – so how can we know if She represents their values? And the values of Her pantheon? What are the values of the Theoi as a whole? I suppose, how does She represent the values of the ancient Hellenes?
I am going to admit to looking for inspiration for this particular post. So I went a-Googling for people who have done this devotional series before – as I know some have. Not to copy what people have said, just to get some ideas that could maybe lead to more ideas. So I looked over at Neheti Sings for Hekate, By Her Fires and On My Pagan Path and discovered that yeh, they had the same problems with this topic as I am having. It’s really a hard one.
One thing that stood out to me was from Neheti – “In a way one can understand the necessity for a boundary guardian as a reflection of the ultimate xenophobia of non-Hellenes (or for that matter towards other Greeks from different regions!) that shaped the Greek poleis.”
Yes, I can see this parallel. And the irony of it, that Hekate was a non-Hellenic deity originally, and then to serve as a sort of poster Goddess of Hellenic xenophobia. And then to be the Goddess who was adopted into multiple other cultures religions – Chaldean and Roman for instance, and She has a very big multi-cultural following now.
So, to me, She does not represent this value very well at all. I can see how they wanted Her to represent their xenophobia, and She is a good boundary guardian for sure – but I think She didn’t live up to their expectations of what a boundary guardian should be. She might protect your home from harm, but She doesn’t protect you from being confronted by your own wilful ignorance.
So in this I think She doesn’t reflect that value of ancient Hellas very well at all – and that’s all to the good in my opinion.
We can also look at the Hellenic view of women, they had some quite sexist views of women. I think Hekate is also not a good representative of this value either! Being an independent Goddess who doesn’t rely on any male figures for anything, running around at night all alone, only sometimes veiled. The horror.
Then again, ancient Hellas was the birth place of democracy – even if it has never been what may have been originally dreamed of. Still, democracy is all about choice, particularly the choice of who leads you. In the matter of choice Hekate is certainly a representative of this value – She is the Goddess of the Crossroads, She is all about choice and making choices!
So I guess, She is in this as She is in most things, neither good nor bad. She is a great representative of some ancient Hellenic values, but She isn’t a great representative in others – probably because She doesn’t want to be.
Sorry this wasn’t a great post really. It is very hard to pin down the values of a people who spanned centuries and a lot of area.
30 Days of Deity Devotion
1 – A basic introduction of the deity
2 – How did you become first aware of this deity?
3 – Symbols and icons of this deity
5 – Members of the family – genealogical connections
6 – Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
7 – Names and epithets
8 – Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
9 – Common mistakes and worst misconceptions about this deity
10 – Offerings – historical and UPG
12 – Places associated with this deity and their worship
13 – What modern cultural issues are closest to this deity’s heart?
14 – Has worship of this deity changed in modern times?
15 – Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
16 – How do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?
18 – What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? And find the most troubling?
19 – Art and music that reminds you of this deity
20 – A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
21 – Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity
22 – A time when this deity has helped you, and refused to help
23 – How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
24 – Something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently
25 – Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
26 – Bonus: Hekate in popular culture – TV, movies, plays, fiction books
27 – Bonus: Hymns to Hekate
28 – Bonus: Beginners Ritual Outline
29 – Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
30 – Bonus: Resources and Sources about Hekate