Oracle Hekataios is the author of “Strix Craft: Ancient Greek Magic for the Modern Witch,” in which he provides unique insights on just what a life of service and devotion to an ancient deity entails. The book is very practical and will equip earnest seekers with the requisite tools to follow in his footsteps.
TM: Can you explain the difference between Witchcraft and StrixCraft?
OH: Witchcraft is “craft of the sorceror,” since the word “witch” means “sorceror” or “sorceress” (wicca/wiccae respectively). However, this root usually implies that the connection of the witch’s world is from Western and Northern Europe since it has an Anglo-Saxon root. Certainly the revival of witchcraft in the 50s – 70s has its influence from Northern and Western Europe: the Celtic tribes are a major influence for many, but so is Anglo-Saxon praxis such as Ray Buckland’s Seax-Wicca.
StrixCraft, on the other hand, hails from the Southern European lands of the Greek world. Its roots lie in Thessaly, but its modern incarnation takes influence from here and also from the Dionysian Mysteries of Southern Italy and Sicily. These Mysteries, along with the Strix Mysteries of Thessaly, are woven together into a seamless modern tradition unique to Hellenism.
Strix is the root of the Italian “stregha,” the name which is substituted for the word “witch” in modern Stregheria as taught here by Italian witches and Sicilian witches and made popular by both Raven Grimassi and Dr. Leo Martello.
StrixCraft has as its patron the Goddess Hekate. This might not come as a surprise, but I feel that if you are called by her, then you are called to the Strix path. This is her current. I know plenty of people who are new to her are trying to find their way, and perhaps polytheism and witchcraft speak to them but they aren’t sure how to go about combining them. Or perhaps they heard about the no-nos of using magic in Hellenism which is popular to say in Greek Reconstructionist circles. This idea that magic is used to control the deities and spirits, and therefore is considered hubris. Such ideas are not supported in the archeological record where magic is part and parcel of the everyday person in the ancient Greek world.
So StrixCraft draws on these living practices from the ancient world and brings their applications for the sake of actually doing them. We have no shame in our work: healing, hexing, working with the dead, erotic magic, or anything of the like. It existed. It exists. It is real.
TM: You mentioned that many in Hellenic Reconstructionist circles avoid the practice of magic. How do you see magic?
OH: Magic is considered a gift from the Gods; the fire which Prometheus brought down from Olympus is viewed by the Strix as not just a physical fire, but the metaphysical blue-hot fire which connects humanity to the Gods. We call this the Azure Flame. The Azure Flame also manifests as the Agathos Daimon, the good spirit which is the individual tutelary deity each person possesses. By embracing, meditating on, and actively worshiping your Agathos Daimon, the Strix comes in direct contact with the divine Mysteries.
In the mythos of our Craft, Hekate is a triple Goddess who sliced her tongue with her dagger, and the drops of blood which fell upon the land gave birth to the first Strix. Our original deities are the Graiai and the gorgons: the former are three Strix who shared one eye and one tooth. They dwelled near the Underworld and were also Sea Goddesses. Just like the Gorgons who were also Sea Goddesses, three in number with one sister, Medusa, being mortal. When she died, she became an Immortal and her figure was used to avert evil and protect her supplicants. The Sea is highly important, and our origins from the Sea and from Blood constitute great inner Mysteries but can be said in the book to extend to using the life force for magic. I’ll have to write a second book in the works to expand on this.
TM: While some writers have tied the practice of magic to blood and others have sought to explore the earliest systems of magic – Sumerian or prehistoric shamanism – tapping into our aquatic origins is truly intriguing. How did you come to be drawn to practice StrixCraft?
OH: I came to StrixCraft via my Goddess who is Hekate Trioditis. In the book one will notice that epithets are used rather than just a general “Hekate” or “Aphrodite.” In StrixCraft, each epithet is a mask which calls to the deity in question to manifest a certain way to the individual. No two Hekates will be alike, and that’s okay. That’s polytheism. It is all Hekate, whether the World Soul, the Psychopomp, the Infernal Queen, the Liminal One, the Crossroads Lady…all different, all the same.
Trioditis is who called me. I had an impression of Hekate when I was 8 years old. I saw the film “Jason and the Argonauts.” There is a scene where Medea dances in the temple beneath the icon of Hekate, and something hooked me. I can’t explain it, but I was enthralled. In that moment, I believe Hekate made herself known to me. I do not doubt it. Although I went on to become a born-again Christian years later, something of my pagan past remained in the back of my mind. That’s probably why I became so radical even amongst my peers: I was trying to shake something or Someone from me. Of course, dealing with my sexuality didn’t help. But it was just an add-on.
Fast forward and I left the church and my home when I was 18 years old. I tried in vain to still be a part of Christianity in some form up until my early 20s, but honestly it didn’t work. The occult called to me. One of the first paths I found was Druidry. I am initiated into 2 orders, and via Druidry I started the journey to find peace and balance with Christianity and me. It was of course a Celtic path, one of which drew on the Welsh mythos of Cerridwen and her cauldron. But somewhere in the back of my mind Hekate lingered. I just didn’t know what to do with her. I tried at the time to view Cerridwen as a manifestation of Hekate. But something wasn’t right.
TM: You were obviously being led to Hekate. Was there a pivotal life changing moment that marked the beginning of your service to her?
OH: I started studying what I could. That memory of 8-year old me with Hekate started to pester me. Studying what I could, I finally decided on a dark moon on November 16th to formally dedicate to her, saying that with her guidance I would work hard to be her priest, whatever that meant. I wasn’t sure. But it felt right.
What followed for the next 7 days were sleepless nights of visions and quests. What I will say is that I was taken across a vast stormy ocean where – in the center – was an island where stood a large tree. The tree was surrounded by the 7 Classical planets, and I was pulled down beneath the roots into the rivers of the Underworld where I was baptized. I remember the sensations. That’s all I’ll say for now. A lot is still processing years later.
TM: Now that Hekate was well and truly in your life, how did you come to be her oracle?
OH: It was at that time too that I first did trance possession and oracled. The open pagan circle I was with at the time wanted to study magic and everyone was just…booked out. So I, in my naivety, thought why don’t I do a Hellenic-based ritual with Hekate and I allow her to possess me and oracle? Everyone agreed and was excited.
Can I just say, that oracling a deity is not something to play with? Not even a couple of months later, the group dissolved. Hidden things came to light as prophesied, and people were not comfortable with the shadow work which followed. Yeah. That happened.
I swore off oracling for some time. But she is the one who gave me my name of “Oracle.” I was told by all of the 101 books to find a Craft name: a magical moniker. I couldn’t think of anything and kept my regular name. I thought something was wrong. I learned later there wasn’t, but she happened to bless me with my name anyway. But it was a name I had to grow into. Names have power, and we have to be very cautious on what we choose as our magical monikers, symbolizing our magical alter-egos. Those names will come to haunt us if we aren’t careful.
TM: Are there any other gods that you feel drawn to?
OH: Needless to say, I am a modern-day oracle of Hekate Trioditis, and I am a devotee of Dionysos Eleuthereos, the Liberator. I have oracled for him as well, and it has surprising results of sensuality, cleansing, and empowerment. The book I wrote is a labor of love to my Goddess, and I hope by putting myself out there, I am able to help sincere seekers come to find themselves with the deities and spirits in a connection I call “devotional witchcraft.” By alliance with the deities and their daimons, the Strix is fueled to work their magics.
TM: Can you give a short example of a StrixCraft ritual to demonstrate the differences between it and more familiar witchcraft?
OH: We have a formal procession with the one carrying the icon of the deity – which is veiled – in the very front. We then present the icon to the 4 directions and set it down on the altar we call the bomos.
We then make khernips (sacred water) using 3 bay leaves and burn them, inserting them into the water. We recite a chant as we do this:
‘Flame of the Ruby Star,
Water of the Azure Serpent.
Hekas, hekas, este bebeloi.’
We take turns washing our hands and anointing our forehead, lips, and chest. The basin is then given to the Lamia – spirits which are believed to feast on our energy, and so the offering is left out for them and leave us in peace.
Using a breath technique, we turn our focus on the connection to the Gods via the Azure Flame. After being cleansed and focused in this way, the veil of the statue is removed. Our rituals are very ecstatic and have a more worship theme than magic. By connecting with our spirits vis devotions, we are able to empower our magics.
TM: Thank you so much for sharing this ritual. To finish off, do you have any thoughts you’d like to share to those who would like to walk a devotional path similar to yours?
OH: It begins and ends with you: your approach to the Gods and the Divine Self within. We are all expressions of the Star Goddess Nyx, and our journey to know ourselves is her journey. As you walk this path, know that altars and tools are not necessary. Just be open to the spirits of Nature around you. They will speak to you and guide you through your intuition. Devote your time. Be ecologically mindful. Pray and talk to your Gods and spirits. Remember that we are connected.