Folding laundry doesn’t seem a likely setting for a profound spiritual experience, but, for me, it was. While folding towels I heard a firm voice say, “It’s time.” A vision of a lantern held high by a darkened figure appeared in my mind’s eye. Without even a thought, I knew that this was Hekate. Years later, I looked up after finishing the first draft of this blog to find a lantern overhead. How appropriate to wander into a cafe in an unfamiliar neighborhood and have one of Her symbols watching over me. This unexpected lantern is my personal reminder that I have been called by Hekate.
When Hekate Calls
I’ve always been intrigued by others stories of being summoned by Hekate. In these stories, the calling usually comes exactly when we need it the most, even if we don’t realize it at the time. These encounters are usually spontaneous, and have clear imagery associated with Hekate (like torches, keys, dogs). Often, this calling comes to someone who had little (like me) or no existing knowledge of Her at the time. Sometimes, the imagery is not mental but an actual out-of-the-blue event. Once during a ritual, a big black dog came bounding out of the woods, jumped up on one of the participants and planted a big, wet kiss of her lips. I knew what I had witnessed.
Because these stories of Hekate’s call are usually quite similar, I find myself being skeptical of reported encounters that are vastly different. This article was inspired by one such report – where the individual said that Hekate came to them as a cat. I’m in no position to question the veracity of this – or any other – spiritual experience of someone else. But, it got me thinking about when Hekate comes calling.
I want to differentiate right now between being called and intentionally seeking out Hekate. For now, I’m focusing on being called. I will explore seeking Hekate in a separate article.
Sometimes people are afraid of Hekate’s calling. They’ve heard a bit about Her – maybe that She’s The Dark Mother or Queen of the Witches. Perhaps they feel content with their established spiritual practice (or lack thereof). They might not have a clue who She is or what is going on. Typically, She persists with complete disregard for personal resistance or ignorance.
This is the first taste of what devotion to Hekate is actually like: She is, after all, The Great Mother, Cosmic World Soul and The Savior. You serve on Her terms. This is different from a lot of modern pagan and/or witchcraft practices, where the gods can be summoned, ignored or manipulated. Hekate is immune to those activities. So, if you are feeling called, keep in mind that She is all powerful and that devotion will be different than anything you’ve done before.
Part of that departure from a more mainstream pagan form of relationship with deity is that She expects certain things from Her followers. There isn’t a how-to manual on how to practice devotion, but there are ancient scripts and modern gnosis. Part of my belief, and that of many others, is that skepticism is one of the virtues expected of Her devotees. If you’re feeling called by Hekate, take the time to critically evaluate the situation. She doesn’t want blind acceptance. She requires conscious devotion.
Oftentimes, Hekate summons us with the intensity of a religious conversion (since that is basically what’s going on). Afterward, we must contemplate the calling before going forward. If we find ourselves unprepared or unwilling, then we need to have a well thought out answer when we reject Her. If we walk blindly into devotion, then we are being ignorant and She is likely to reject us, having found us unworthy. If you aren’t ready for devotion right now, perhaps you can make an agreement with Her to delay things for a while. She may agree to it. If you’re hesitating, figure out why. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering answering Hekate’s call:
How does Hekate appear to you?
Although the calling is something that most people can’t forget, it makes sense to think about and record how She appears to you: what symbols are present? What else is in the vision? What type of vision is it (auditory, visual)? Was there a real-life display (like with my friend’s encounter with the dog). Get it all down before you start researching things (if it’s not already too late). I think your personal representation of this vision is far better than what you’ll read anywhere.
What does She want?
Hekate comes to us when She feels that we can serve Her well. She has something in mind. If there isn’t clear information about the specifics, spend some time in contemplation analyzing the contents of the calling. Trust me, She’s not as ambiguous as She initially appears. Is She calling you to a long-term relationship or a short-term association? I’m wary of thinking that She wants a fling with anyone, but it is possible.If you’re not used to a relationship with a deity that has expectations, the notion that you are in Her service may take a bit of adjustment. Hang in there. Remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.
Is there another possible explanation other than being called as a devotee?
This is a bit tricky to discuss, but, here’s the idea: is it actually Her calling you? Could it be a projection of your own desires? Perhaps wonky metaphysical forces? You’ve got to sort this out if you aren’t 100% certain, and even if you are.
What do I already know about Hekate?
Way back when I was called, I was resistant. What I knew of Hekate was the mainstream pagan version as a dark goddess. At the time, I was a member of the Fellowship of Isis and a big fan of Artemis. Devotion has been vastly different than being a fan girl. Take some time to record your ideas and knowledge. Don’t go poking around the internet too much before doing this. It’s important to record what you already know.
What are my current cognitive and emotional states?
If there’s one thing I know for sure about being a devotee, is that She demands we have our emotional and cognitive act together. However, She often calls us at our most desperate. Take some time to explore that old witchy adage “know thyself.” Are you depressed, anxious and/or distressed? Are you harbouring harmful thoughts like resentments, grudges, or bitterness? If you’re going to become a devotee, you’ll need to work on these things. A virtuous life is one of constant conscious self-improvement.
What is going on in my life that relates to being called?
When the time is right, Hekate appears. It just might not be convenient. In my case, I was at a major crossroads in my life – my marriage had ended, my health was poor and my career was suffering. I think that She often comes when we stand naked, bruised and crying at the crossroads. What’s going on in your life that potentially reflects a crossroads?
How does this calling correspond to my own personal needs and goals?
You’re here at the crossroads, so what do you need to go forward? How would answering this call help you? This has got to be a mutually beneficial relationship even though it will never be equal.
Am I able to serve Her well?
I’ve thrown around the words “devotion” and “virtues” a lot. Basically, becoming a devotee means that you’ve accepted Hekate as your sovereign, and will do things to honor Her. It doesn’t mean an exclusive monotheistic relationship, although mine is. Living a virtuous life curries the favor of Hekate. Having integrity is vital. Can you live a life with integrity? Can you honor Her through your life?
How would my life change as a devotee?
Devotion to Hekate requires doing things. Study, research, offerings, etc. are all necessary. Of course, the flip side of this is that you’ll become a better person with a better life. Remember it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Take some time to envision how your life would change.
These questions are just my suggestions for answering Hekate’s call, you should handle this however you feel led.
One more thought – if you’ve made it this far, then you’re probably already well on your way to being a true devotee (if you aren’t already).
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