This Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year combines ancient texts, modern pagan observances and personal practices into a new calendar for 2018.
A Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year
Modern Hekatean Witchcraft merges ancient knowledge about Hekate with aspects of modern life, including many contemporary pagan practices. The Wheel of the Year that most of us are familiar with contains the seasons and sabbats, but doesn’t involve Hekate in any way. This new Wheel of the Year remedies that situation by incorporating days honoring Hekate into the seasons and months. Unlike the Pagan Wheel of the Year (which starts on November 1), the Modern Hekatean one follows the common calendar year.
The sources for the Wheel were ancient days and festivals, contemporary holy days for Hekate, modern Pagan observances and my interpretations.
Ancient Days and Festivals
The ancient holy days associated specifically with Hekate can be grouped into two categories: every lunar cycle and special events. During each lunar cycle, Hekate was honored on the Deipnon (dark moon, astrological new moon) with a supper. Offerings were left for Her at a crossroads. These were often food items, probably consumed by animals and the marginalized. Noumenia, the day after the Deipnon when there is a sliver of moon visible, was also a special day of recognition for Hekate. On this day, Hekate as a matron of the household was observed. Sweepings and other household waste were offered to Hekate as a means of currying her favor for the occupants and the residence.
As special events, there were three dates set aside to honor Hekate as Kourotrophos, Guardian of Children. Those dates correspond to specific phases of the moon cycle. While the ancient calendar is a bit tricky to interpret using our modern one, the dates can be estimated. The days were held on the 27th day of the January-February moon cycle, the third day of June-July moon cycle and the 1 6th day of August-September moon cycle. The 2018 dates are approximately February 27, June 16 and August 27.
I’m excluding Bendideia, an ancient festival to Bendis, a goddess sometimes conflated with Hekate, because it seems to be a modern application to Hekate. Another day I am excluding from the ancient group is the day of Hekate Einalian observed the eighth day after the Deipnon. This is a contemporary application of an ancient feast day to Poseidon that has been applied to Hekate because of Her association with him and Her dominion over the sea.
Modern Days and Festivals
I’ve just mentioned two contemporary special days that are modern interpretations of ancient practices, Bendideia and Day Eight. In addition to these, there are several other modern festivals. The Rite of Her Sacred Fires was developed by Sorita D’Este in conjunction with her book of the same name. This event has spread around the world since it’s inception in 2010. The event will be held of May 28, 2018.
There is a Hekate’s Night observed by some on August 13. This is associated with Hekate and storms, which is interesting because none of the ancient texts directly associated Her with the weather. I honor Hekate on August 13 as part of the Temple of Witchcraft Wheel of the Year.
November is Hekate’s High Holy Month in Modern Hekatean Witchcraft. This month contains two days honoring different aspects of Our Lady. November 16 is a night expressing to devotion to Hekate of the Underworld. On November 30, the day of Hekate of the Crossroads is observed.
Monthly Lunar Cycle
The importance of the Deipnon (Dark Moon) in Modern Hekatean Witchcraft can’t be overstated. Each lunar cycle, devotees make offerings, write prayers, do rituals, and engage in activities (like community service) that honor Hekate. The day after the Deipnon, known as Noumenia, is another key part of the tradition. On this day, offerings, prayers and rituals are made to Hekate as a means of seeking Her blessing. These activities may reflect the ancient practices of offering household waste.
There is some debate as to whether it is appropriate to perform magick during the holy days to Hekate, such as the Deipnon and Noumenia. Generally, devotees express gratitude and seek her general blessings on these special days , although there is a lot of variety in personal practices. Personally, I save my magick for the rest of the days of the lunar cycle. Day Eight, occurring on the eighth day after Deipnon, is reserved for honoring Hekate Einalian (Queen of the Seas).
The full moon is not specifically a day for honoring Hekate, although many practitioners do. For me, the full moon is a time to work magick on whatever I am trying to conjure up. The waning moon is a time to subtract things using magick, while the waxing moon should be used for adding things. Just about any intention can be crafted into a spell at any time of the month. During the waning moon, it is especially appropriate to offer Hekate gifts that are dead or decaying, while during the waxing moon, offerings should be livelier (e.g., recently cut roses).
In the ancient texts, Hekate was not directly associated with the seasons. However, in the Pagan Wheel of the Year, special attention is paid to the beginning of each new one. Many practitioners of Modern Hekatean Witchcraft observe the seasonal transition days, as well as the midpoint day between each one. This is an application of the modern pagan observation of these days.
Since the ancient sources don’t link Hekate to the seasons, it is up for interpretation as to which aspects of Our Lady (if any) should be applied to each one. After lots of research and contemplation, I have chosen four different epithets (characteristics) of Hekate for each season.
Winter – Soteira
Given that the Modern Hekatean Wheel of the Year starts on January 1, the first season is winter. Hekate as Soteira has been chosen to represent winter. In this form, She is seen as the savior who will deliver us from darkness. The color associated with winter is white.
Spring – Pammetor
Spring is a time of growth and birth. As such, I chose Hekate Pammetor to represent this season. As The Mother of All, She is creatix of everything. I’m looking forward to writing more about Her when spring comes! The color for spring is red, as it is the color of blood representing the life force of all things.
Summer – Kleidoukhos
Hekate Kleidoukhos, the Keeper of the Keys, represents the summer season. As Keeper of the Keys, She holds the knowledge of the universe in Her hands. During summer, when the sun is high and the days are long, Hekate’s bounty is revealed in all the wonderful growth seen in the world. There are several associations with Hekate and the color gold in ancient writings. This hue is most fitting to represent the season of the sun. I’ll be writing about summer and Hekate when the time comes.
Fall – ChthoniaThe fall is a time of decay and decline, when Her keys of growth are removed from the earth. This is the season of Hekate Chthonia, Queen of the Underworld. As the daylight hours wane and the veil between worlds thins, She beckons us into the darker mysteries of ourselves and the universe. Black is the color of the fall. This season is my favorite time of the year. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts about Hekate and autumn when the time comes.
Like with the seasons, Hekate isn’t directly associated with the months. I’ve incorporated modern pagan practices, cultural customs, and my own opinion in constructing this list. Maybe even a special bit of insight bestowed by Our Lady is involved, too. Below is a list of the months of the year and epithets that are of particular relevance.
Since it’s only January, I have yet to write about the epithets for the rest of the year. I will be exploring each aspect in detail during the associated month.
January – Amphiprosopos
I chose Amphiprosopos to represent the energy of January because it is a time of both reflection on the past year and looking forward to the new. I wrote all about that here.
February – Nyssa
Hekate Nyssa is the Bringer of Beginnings. Although January is the start of the calendar year, I think it is in February that we really get going with new things. If we made resolutions for the year, by the time February starts we probably need a boost with whatever we’re working on. In addition, in the Pagan Wheel of the Year, Imbolc is often observed with a ritual honoring the goddess Brigid in which she is transformed from a crone into a maiden, thus beginning a new cycle.
March – Lampadios
At the time of the spring equinox, the day and night are balanced. Hekate’s torches are no longing returning the earth to light. Accordingly, the month of March is a time to honor Her for shining Her torches during the darker times of the year.
April – Ekdotis
In keeping with the energy of spring, in April Hekate is Ekdotis, Bestower, for it is during April that new growth and birth begin.
May – Eileithyia
The Pagan Wheel of the Year includes Beltane on May 1 as a celebration of fertility. Here in North America, we observe Mother’s Day shortly after. Both celebrations focus on fertility and it’s inevitable consequence. To reflect both of these events, and the seasonal birthing of plants and animals, I chose Hekate Eileithyia, Divine Midwife, to represent May.
June – Trimorphis
I’m just going to be honest and say that I chose Hekate Trimorphis for June because it is my birthday month and this is my favorite aspect of Our Lady. That being said, Trimorphis (literally “of the three forms”) is a powerful representation of transformation, and June is the time of the year when the land is “morphed” into summer. And it’s my birthday month.
July – Phosphoros
July is the brightest month of the year, when summer is in full bloom. Hekate Phosphoros, as a source of pure light, is witnessed in all creation.
August – Kourotrophis
Although there are three ancient festival days associated with Hekate Kourotrophis, Guardian of the Children, I have singled out August as a month of special consideration to Her in this role. This is month when children are in full summer mode – whether it’s swimming at the beach or helping in the fields. Well, maybe modern kids don’t do the latter so much. It’s also the time children are either returning to school or getting ready to do so. Whatever they are up to, the children in our life deserve to have us seek Hekate’s blessing over them and we should express our gratitude to Her for watching out for them.
September – Propylaia
Hekate Propylaia stands before the gate of the season of the underworld, fall. In this capacity, it is time to honor Her for protection and guidance during the dark times.
October – Nekyia
The month of Halloween/Samhain finds the veil between the world and the others thin. The days are getting darker. Hekate Nekyia, Mistress of Corpses, represents death and decay, as well as honoring the dead.
November – Chthonia
November is the most significant month in this Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year. Hekate of the Underworld (Chthonia means “of the earth”) is the dominant force during these long dark days.
December – Empylios
As the calendar year nears it’s end, Hekate as Guardian of the Gate (Empylios) returns to help the transition from the season of decay to the return of the sun.
There seems to be several different days of the week that have been associated with Hekate in recent years. I’ve always observed Wednesday as the day of week associated with Hekate for no particular reason except that I am a Gemini and Wednesday (Mercury’s day) is my favorite day of the week. Seriously, Hekate is linked with Mercury in a few ancient texts. For example, “Brimo (Hekate), who as legend tells, by the waters of Boebeis laid her virgin body at Mercurius’s side” was written by the Roman poet, Propertius.
Monday and Saturday are seen as special to Our Lady. There are reasons for each of these days being associated with Hekate, although nothing I’ve found in the ancient writings directly links Her to any day. She is believed to be linked to Saturn through Her connection to the Moon, although this is a modern interpretation. But that renders Saturday (Saturn’s day) and Monday (Moon day) relevant to Hekate.
About the Wheel
My sister and I made the Wheel of the Year. I sketched out the idea and my sister created this incredibly beautiful representation on an old window she found in a dumpster. The seasons are represented by their four colors, the full moon is white, the Deipnon in black and the astrological signs and seasonal transitions are on there, too.
Your Own Wheel of the Year
I’m offering this as a framework for you to use as you see fit. Within Modern Hekatean Witchcraft, the most important thing is to do what makes sense to you. What I’m saying is this: if you like this wheel as is, then use it. If not, don’t. This is a “how-to-if-you-want-to” sort of thing. I really enjoyed doing the research and devising the wheel as a devotional project, and I know my sister felt the same way for the artwork she created. Maybe this will inspire you to make your own!