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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Learn a bit about Hekatean animal spirit witchery here.
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.
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?”
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
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.