Hekate’s many roles and diverse contemporary community show us that she is, indeed, a goddess of all those who identify as “other.” Does she favor those of us who are queer? I’d sure like to think so. Read on to hear my reasons and for a ritual honoring Hekate, your own queerness, and protection for those of us in need.
I’ve been trying to write this blog for about a month. I’ve researched….my head is full of SO many statistics about people who identify as queer (and those who probably don’t care for this label, like me) that I am ready to deliver a ninety-minute lecture. No one (least of all me) wants me to regurgitate numbers both heartening (positive attitudes towards non-heteronormativity are increasing) and heartbreaking (far too many people who identify as “other” suffer in a myriad of ways, including high rates of suicide).
Being queer or another form of “other” can be great and terrible. All in the same breath.
What Does Hekate Have to do with Queerness?
Indeed, that is the answer you’ve come for, so I’ll share my thoughts. First, as with many ancient cults, her holy representatives were sometimes celibate or another form of queerness. This isn’t special to Hekate’s priests and priestesses, but a common feature of many religions even today. I’m not going to endorse Hekate as Queen of the Queers because a few thousand years ago a small group of them were devoted to her. I am claiming her as a contemporary Queer Goddess because of the thousands of us who associate – and identify – with her today who are so inclined. There are aspects of her that solidify my opinion.
Goddess of the Other
Doing a thematic analysis of Hekate throughout history reveals one construct: that she is a Goddess of the Other. Never part of the popular crowd, whether with those Olympians or in mainstream Wicca. Not only does she reside in the in-between energetic spaces (kind of like the dark matter in the night sky. You know the stars can’t exist without it. And it’s a whole lot more interesting than those flaming attention-seekers).
What About Hekate’s Own Identity?
Does Hekate as a mythic figure have intimate relationships that would include her under the Big Queer Umbrella in today’s terms? I could (and almost did) make a very long compelling argument that the answer to this is “yes.” Instead, you’re getting the summary of all those notes. The theme of her as an asexual (and/or celibate) gender role crashing goddess is a strong one in the ancient stories. However, there are other stories where she has consorts and children. Not much of one for conforming to one role. If I tried really hard I could make a case for her apparent maiden status in some stories being indicative of having intimate relations with women. For example, I could argue that since Hekate and Artemis are so often conflated that Artemis is actually an aspect of Hekate (bite your tongue and carry on, I’m getting to my point in a minute). Since Artemis is seen today (by some) as a “Queer Girls BFF” based on the sometimes sexualized relationship(s) she had with those nymphs of hers (and there’s other reasons…read that blog if you want more). If Hekate (at least one aspect of her) and Artemis are the same, well then, she could have been delighting in those nymphs, too. Right?
Goddess of Personal Sovereignty
Pffttt…..can we all just stop doing this? Threading together pieces of history into a web to support our own legitimacy? I don’t think Hekate would want us to do this. She’d tell us to write our own stories. More importantly, she’d say to stand in your own power. Like her myths portray her doing. So many of us have found the way to personal power through our understanding and relationship with Hekate, that she is definitely a Goddess of Sovereignty (by our contemporary definition). This includes, but isn’t limited to, many who have found pride in their queerness by drawing upon this energy current of Our Lady’s. May all those who are other who can’t walk their truth find strength in her.
Hekate’s Fierce Love
For those who are hiding in the shadows, know that you are not alone. It’s there that Hekate abides most often, offering her keys of wisdom and fierce love to those willing to face her. What we are really doing is facing our own truth during these Under World times. Hekate as a Surrogate Mother is a theme repeated throughout stories and is just as present today. Many members of the LGBTQIA+ community have shared their stories about how Hekate has accepted and comforted them when their own families rejected them. May all those who are other who have been rejected by their family know the acceptance and fierce love of Hekate. For more…Hekate: Mother of All
Beyond her maternal side, Hekate is a Guardian of the Marginalized who’s mighty energy can be sought for intervention, protection and blessing over all vulnerable groups, including those who identify as queer and children. I believe she calls some of us to serve as her modern representatives to work to protect the vulnerable and eliminate social injustice.
Queen of the In-Between
As a Goddess of the In-Between, Hekate not only reigns over the Liminal Realm but arguably grants special consideration to those who reside in this place. This includes those who resist the dominant culture’s stereotypes, whether by embracing their queerness or by claiming the title of witch. Perhaps she give extra blessings if you are an intersectional member of her In-Between ranks because you are both queer and a witch. After all, she is also a Goddess of the Crossroads. This role, too, strengthens her association with those of us who identify as LGBTQIA+. Not only do many of us reside in the liminal crossroads landscape of multiple intersectionalities, but we also often have to pass through difficult ones, including coming out of the closets… both broom and identity.
The Darkness and the Light In ItHekate as a Dark Goddess, the Night Wandering Disheveled One leading her horde, is a guide through those personal crossroads. She shines her torches but also lends us the strength to speak our truth and spread fierce love. Turn to this side of Hekate when you are most alone or when you need to get honest with yourself. And if you need to put an end to being poorly treated by others, this is the Hekate who will help you bind and banish them:
“…throughout the earth, by the names of triple-form Hekate, the tremor-bearing, scourge-bearing, torch-carrying, golden-slippered-blood-sucking-netherworldy and horse riding one. I utter to you the true name that shakes Tartarus, earth, the deeps and heaven.” – from an ancient curse tablet. (Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World, Gager, 1992).
Hekate’s Diverse Community
Hekate in many ways can be classified as a “Queen of the Queers” (all the puns intended, a bit of irreverence never hurts). Her diverse contemporary roles and historical interpretations provide solid evidence for this claim. My final thought is about how she is not only a diverse goddess but also that her contemporary community reflects this. Hekate is many different things to many different witches and others. Personally, this diversity is what makes her so appropriate for those who identify as LGBTQIA+, including those who are queer like me.
Honor Hekate and Your Queerness
Here is a simple way to honor Hekate and your queerness with a ritual. There are different colors associated with specific identities (at the end of this article you’ll find a link to a fantastic resource of galactic pride flags). You can use candles or other items in the colors that best represent you or the standard rainbow flag. Arrange them around an image of Hekate. Contemplate the many blessings of your queerness, including all you’ve learned through struggle and pain. Consider how Hekate’s roles and energies reflect your own characteristics.
As you light the candles, take pride in how far you’ve come. Read the petition to Hekate below. As you read each part for blessing others, concentrate on releasing your strength into Hekate’s energy current, sending out protection and boosting others’ ability to be sovereign (safely). You could do this for all those who identify as LGBTQIA+ or specific people. Do it your way, as you should with all things. Much love to everyone as you embrace your others and find pride in who you are.
Petition to Hekate
Mighty Hekate, Keeper of the Keys,
Wise Queen, She who opens and closes every gate,
Bestow your grace upon me and all those who identify as Other.
I honor my strength and seek to lift up those, like me,
Who’s identity and acts of intimacy may place them at risk.
May you, Guardian of the Marginalized, protect them.
Eternal Dark Mother, I am grateful for your acceptance and comfort,
May you offer this to others who seek it.
Queen of the Night, thank you for your guidance along my journey,
Extend this to others who turn to you.
Shine brightly for those walking this road of the in-between,
Guide them to safety and love,
Reveal to them the keys of acceptance and equality.
Mighty Hekate, Keeper of the Keys,
Out of perfect love and perfect trust,
I claim these things for myself and my kindred.
You really need to read Brianne Raven Wolf’s journey with Hekate. Nothing I can write compares to how her personal story of triumph illustrates Hekate’s capacity as a goddess for those who identify as other. Here’s a list of all her articles. Get your notebook and tissues ready before starting. You’ll be making notes while crying: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/author/bwolf/
I used an amazing Pride Flag featuring the cosmos designed by Laurie Raye as a filter to create my Hekate, Queen of the Queers cover photo. See her entire gallery:
One of the things that I’m most proud of is that students in my courses reflect the rainbow of diversity. The Sacred Seven is my course for unleashing your truth. Classes begin on October 1 and February 1. Learn more.