When Circle for Hekate arrived at my door I, like Mat Auryn, abandoned all of my other books and started reading it almost immediately. In my case I didn’t even plan to do so. I simply opened the book to have a quick look and then suddenly realised I had been reading for the past hour when my toddler demanded my attention. And so it went on for nearly a week, me trying to read the book in between spending time with my kids (and sleeping, occasionally, when it couldn’t be helped). If you can’t tell I was super excited to get this book, and thankfully my excitement was not left disappointed.
Circle for Hekate – Volume 1: History and Mythology, is, as the name implies, all about the history and mythology of Hekate. As Mat notes in his review of this book, it has some crossovers with Sorita D’estes previous book, Liminal Rites, because any book that discusses the history and mythology of a deity will inevitably contain information from other books on the same subject.
But it also has a wealth of new information. I was pleased and not actually all that surprised by how much new information I found within those pages. Pleased because new information about Hekate is always awesome, and not surprised because Sorita is, in my opinion, one of the worlds foremost experts on Hekate today.
Of course all of this new knowledge created a small issue for me. I love books and I hate the idea of drawing or writing on any book that I own. Other than writing my name and the year of purchase at the top of the inside of the front cover that is. Many times while reading this book I found myself wanting to reach for a pen or a highlighter. Many times I wished to myself that I could have a second copy that I could deface without feeling sick about it. Many times I wished I was reading a PDF of the book so I could highlight, bookmark and make notes easily and at whim.
But I do not have a second copy for defacing, I do not have a PDF version (but will totally be getting the Kindle version so I can highlight and bookmark that one). So I have had to read this book and be excited and sad all at the same time. Because here I am finding all these snippets of awesome information that I want to remember for future reference, but now I can’t remember them all.An example of something that I didn’t know about and was delighted to read, was of an inscription that spoke of a woman named Julia becoming merged with Hekate. Apotheosis! I loved looking into the human origins of Hekate that I wrote about – Tauri Princess and Iphigenia – so it was exciting to read about another human origin. Even if it was only a snippet and there is probably no other information about this incidence, it’s still very exciting to me.
That is of course not all that was new to me, and it won’t be all that is new to other Hekateans and Pagans either. I would say that there would be something new and of interest to pretty much every Hekatean in this book, no matter your particular interests in Her. There will be something there for you. Because Sorita delves into as many aspects of Hekate as possible, as many symbols, as many syncretisations and conflations, as many lines of history, anthropology, literature, arts, carvings, curse tablets etc as she possibly can – while also still keeping the book easy to read and accessible to everyone.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Hekate, and indeed anyone who is interested in learning more about ancient Hellenism – because this is not only full of information about Hekate, but also about Hellenism as it connects to Hekate, Artemis, Selene, Demeter, Persephone and more.
I would definitely recommend this book for beginners, and agree with Mat that this and Liminal Rites should be a beginner Hekateans first port of call. And I definitely mean to say both of these books, because while this one touches on things that were in Liminal Rites, it doesn’t replace it. There are things in Liminal Rites not covered in Circle for Hekate, and things in Circle not covered in Liminal Rites. Both Circle for Hekate and Liminal Rites are books that touch on academic information without overloading the reader with academic writing. They are accurate to history and mythology, but approachable and relaxed as well.
In conclusion, I love Circle for Hekate. I truly believe it is an essential book for every Hekatean bookshelf (but I think that of all of Soritas Hekate books) and I cannot wait for the next instalment to be released.