Descend With Our Witch Mother: Practicing Hekatean Witchcraft In October

Descend With Our Witch Mother: Practicing Hekatean Witchcraft In October September 27, 2018

The glorious Season of The Witch is here. October is the month when the thinning veil, stockpiles of herbs and longer nights signal the return of Hekate as The Queen of Witches. Casting spells, working with poisons and summoning spirits are all very Hekatean ways to tap into the energy of October. 

Hail October, the time when our Mother calls out to many for the first time.

The wind does blow,

And the black hounds howl.

The Queen beckons her chosen now.

The broom awaits,

And the breeze bids nigh,

As the moon reveals what can’t be denied.

Your feet do twitch,

And your soul awakes.

The truth you no longer can forsake.

For witch you are,

And forever shall be.

Riding the air, sovereign and free.

Spirits Calling, Spiritual Death is Knocking for Hekate’s Chosen

She comes in riddles and whispers. A chill in the room. An unexpected key. While Hekate calls at any time, the increasing darkness and the season of death, brings her closer. Hekate’s claim is not an easy mantle to bear. It’s been almost a year since I wrote about the difference between lightworkers, at least the common kind, and deathwalkers. Call us shadow witches, fire walkers, truth tellers. Spiritual death is a necessity of Hekatean practice. Avoiding it doesn’t make it not so. She sends her spirits and companions to do her bidding. Persephone, in particular, often urges us to descend into our own darkness as she does the same. Positivity culture contradicts the required curriculum for our soul’s progression: to transcend we have to go deep into the cave of rebirth. We can do it now or later. In this life or the next. The energy of deep autumn beckons us to Hekate’s Cauldron deep within her Sacred Cave. Her Holy Darkness is nigh. She grants us access, offering the key of spiritual dismemberment and death, the truest teacher. Will we accept?

Witches Are Not Light Workers. We are Death Walkers

The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones

Her Horde Rises As The Darkness Descends

The spirits come closer, closer as October settles in. There is magic in this month. Hekate, Witch Mother, Mother of All, gives them freedom to seek out her witches and bring bane to the profane. Her horde is not for the timid. But, then Hekatean Witchcraft certainly isn’t.

The spirit of Samhain is very similar to the ancient intentions of Hekate’s Suppers. These rituals, performed on the night when the moon went dark, sought to keep evil spirits at bay. Depending on how you view Hekate, this could have been to seek her protection from them or to curry her favor because she was the leader of them. Regardless of interpretation, the idea sounds a lot like some aspects of what we know about how the Celts may have celebrated the end of their year. Hekate’s Suppers were placed at a three-way crossroads where the restless dead were believed to reside. Appeasing Hekate would assure protection against these spirits.

The suppers could also protect against Hekate’s Horde of frightening hounds and hobgoblins. As the Mistress of the Night, Hekate was both the evil and it’s averter. Maybe us Modern Hekateans love autumn so much because it’s as though our monthly practice (which some may regard as a tad peculiar) seems downright normal. Late night offerings of rotting food placed at a frightening crossroads by a solitary witch seems perfectly in keeping with October.

Hekate’ s Horde: Spirits, The Restless Dead And Witchcraft

Honoring Hekate During October

While the spirit of those ancient Hekate’s Suppers lives on in our monthly rituals on the Dark Moon, the emphasis on nasty spirits and restless dead protection is often replaced with more contemporary problems. October reminds us that evil entities exist and that spirits from across the veil can become our cohorts. This is a perfect time to perform a traditional Hekate’s Supper with the intention of protection from those entities that can cause us harm. It’s also a time when these sorts can become attached to us, so I suggest an energetic cleansing along with your other preparations for the Deipnon. Perhaps traditional cleansing with khernips is in order.

Honoring Hekate on the Dark Moon: Suggestions for Rituals, Correspondences and Offerings

Answering The Mother’s Call: The Rise and Rituals

We rise in power as we descend in her mysteries and our own. It is our time, the beautiful revolution, the homecoming. It is natural for Hekate’s Chosen to celebrate her truest aspects, that of the Witch Mother, during October. She beckons, we respond through rituals and other means. My black witch’s heart wishes I could write about an ancient festival held during October celebrating Hekate as The Queen of Witches, but it simply doesn’t exist. By the time her image had been crafted into a psychopomp wandering the night with her horde, she was so frightening that a monthly ritual was required. Her association with magick, ghosts and spirits most likely accompanied her when she was adapted by the ancient Greeks.

Hekate came down into Greece as an earth goddess with the usual interest that such a divinity always had in vegetation and nutrition, in wild and human life, but possessing also certain attractions for the moon, and trailing with her a very pernicious cloud of superstition and sorcery. – from Farnell, L. R. (1902). Cults of the Greek States, Vol. 2 Chapter XVI

You can read more about my understanding of Hekate’s lengthy historical record here.

There are many missing pieces regarding her transformation from an all-purpose goddess to one specializing in witchcraft by the time the Romans got hold of her, but what is known is that this splintering corresponded with the rise of patriarchy, a system in which women’s natural connection to the life and death cycle were subdued. Witchcraft, not surprisingly, since it had been the domain of women, became marginalized. Like all women, witches were seen as mysterious creatures that needed to be controlled. Just to be clear: I am talking about the practice of witchcraft – using botanicals to heal and hex, casting spells, drawing down the moon, etc.

Answer the Mother’s Call how you will, but know that all she requires is sincerity. A pursuit of her mysteries and of our own is all that is necessary. Banisher of the profane, embracer of her children. Not a petty figure seeking platitudes or trinkets. Anima Mundi, World Soul, source of all life and death. She doesn’t care if you have a glorious statue of her, but it may help you focus upon her.

Keeping Her Keys: Seeking Hekate And The Deeper World

Hekate And Her Eternal Witches Bid You Welcome

Such witchery in ancient times, as today, was often done at night under the moon. Here lies the origins of the triad of Hekate, witchcraft and the moon. With October comes increasing darkness, offering more time to practice “your beloved witchcraft,” as Selene said to Medea. If you’ve never called upon Hekate or her witches, Medea and Kirke are the two most famous ones, for help with your witchery, October is the perfect time to start. This is the season for learning how to work with poisons, blood and bone. Animal spirit magick is also very potent this time of the year.

Circe Mulling Wine, c.1630 (oil on canvas) by Assereto, Giovacchino.

Read more about Kirke and Medea.

Learn a bit about Hekatean animal spirit witchery here.

Summoning Spirits

Living where I do, this certainly feels like the end of the natural year. Like my ancestors, I feel the call of death all around me. They feel close as my beloved herbs these days. Hekate as the Mistress of the Dead can be petitioned for assistance in contacting spirits. This is an ideal time to connect with a new spirit guide, whether it’s a long-dead ancestor or a plant spirit.

Finding and Working With a Spirit Guide.

O Nyx, Mother of Mysteries, and all ye golden Astra . . . and thou, divine three-formed Hecate, who . . . dost fortify the arts of magic, and thou, kindly Tellus, who dost for magic potent herbs provide; ye Venti and Aurae, ye Montes, Lacus, and Amnes, and all ye Forest-Gods and Gods of Night, be with me now! By your enabling power, at my behest . . . I bid the mountains quake, the deep earth groan and ghosts rise from their tombs. – from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (7. 192), translation by Melville

While many of us today honor ancestors and some turn to them for guidance, few of us seek to engage their services for witchery. How different our practice has become compared to Hekate’s ancient witches. October is an ideal time to turn to the spirit world for assistance, even seeing if one is interested in becoming a servitor. Walking with the dead reminds us that all life is a circle of death and rebirth.

There are so many ways to work with spirits, you can read some simple techniques to work with them using corn here.

Facing Our Fears

Working with spirits can be intimidating, as can facing our own fears. The deeply emotional energy of October calls upon us to do just that, with Hekate patiently holding her torch, ready to be our guide. Like her guidance of Persephone, she will see us through our own personal Underworlds. Hekate’s deep connection with Demeter and Persephone illustrates her ability to mediate between darkness and light. It’s her enduring contribution to the life cycle, strongly symbolic of her role as a Goddess of Witchcraft.

To learn more about the frightening side of Hekate, including a list of applicable epithets, read “Should We Fear Hekate?”

The Hekatean Shadow Taming Tarot Technique

Unleashing Your Inner Witch

Witches, like Hekate, reside in liminal spaces. We walk between the world of form and force, life and death, dark and light. No wonder that October speaks to us so strongly. I can’t think of a better time to perform a self-initiation into the magick and mysteries of Hekate. The primal energy of the witch lives within some of us, lying dormant until we unleash it. Hekate holds the keys for us, but they truly are ours to take. Turning to Hekate and her five closest companions, Demeter, Persephone, Artemis, Medea and Kirke, to activate our hidden witch powers on the Full Moon in October is, to me, the best way to honor these Great Goddesses during this month. Learn more, including a ritual, in the Fall Edition of Open Circle Magazine.

Descend Into The Season Of The Witch

The Witch Reborn in Autumn: Spiritual Death and the Dance of Bones

Hekate and Samhain: Suggestions for Witchery, Rituals and More

Witches Are Not Light Workers. We are Death Walkers

Samhain Death Walking Oil &  Ritual

Getting Real About Samhain: Dealing With Zombies (The Psycho-Spiritual Kind)

Samhain: Healing Ancestors of Place

Hekate And September: Beginnings, Endings And The In-Between (Suggestions for Correspondences, Rituals and More)

A Simple Elemental Ritual Welcoming Autumn

Hekate And The Harvest Moon

Walking With The Spirits: Tips For Finding And Working With Spirit Guides

Hekate’s Horde: Spirits, The Restless Dead And Witchcraft

The Witches’ Journey: Working With Spirits, Shadows and Shades

Hekatean Healing: Concepts, Practices, Techniques, Spells and Correspondences

Are You A Real Witch? The 13 Symptoms of Shadow Syndrome And Ways To Recover From It

More Hekatean Witchcraft is to be found in Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Modern Hekatean Witchcraft and in The MYSTAI. Join The Witches’ Realm for a daily dose of Hekatean Witchcraft and so much more. Don’t forget to sign up for the Keeping Her Keys newsletter.

About Cyndi
Cyndi Brannen, PhD, is an author and educator of metaphysics and spirituality. After twenty years in academia and health care, she launched Open Circle as a training center combining her expertise in personal development with ancient practices. Cyndi holds an earned doctorate in Applied Social Psychology, and completed post-doctoral training in women's health interventions. Her research career in health care focused on developing self-directed programs for coping with distress and trauma. She is an energetic healer, psychic medium, herbalist, spiritual coach and mentor. Creator of Keeping Her Keys and owner of Open Circle Institute, she teaches and writes about the true magic of healing and personal power through her courses and books. The Sacred Seven is the journey from healing to wholeness for anyone ready to explore their true magic. The Mystai, is a master class of Hekatean Witchcraft, for experienced practitioners ready to dive into the mysteries of the deeper world and themselves. Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to our modern understanding through magic and personal development is available from major book retailers, as is True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch, based on the sacred seven principles. You can read more about the author here.
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