Hekate stands at the gate between worlds on Samhain, beckoning us forward into the mysteries of witchcraft, necromancy and the final harvest. As our queen, she holds the keys to these mysteries that can be revealed during the Witches’ New Year.
Hekate, Queen of Witches,
Keeper of the keys of creation,
Guardian at the gates of death.
Beckons me cross the threshold,
Heed I her request.
Through will and poison,
Blood, bone and flesh,
Through this veil I pass,
Following my spectral quest.
On this night between times,
And on this broom I ride,
Revealing the mysteries,
Of what’s been denied.
Truth found once again,
On this night of Samhain.
If there ever was a goddess that should be front and center at Samhain, it’s Hekate. Queen of Witches, governing over herbal witchery, poison making, necromancy, animal spirit magick and more, it seems like she should reign supreme over October 31. The costumes of Halloween from ghosts to vampires (she is known for blood drinking) to her favored witches. Regarding the ancestral rituals and psychopompery of Samhain witchery, she is very much a mediator between this world and the afterlife.
In the Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year, November 1 is for honoring the past, notably the dead, leaving October 31 for a celebration of witchery and perhaps for the final harvest. The actual dates don’t matter so much, but the three major roles of Hekate suited for this sabbat can all be included in our practices and rituals.
Hekate is the Great Queen of the In-Between. Hekate is ancient, complex and eternally mysterious. Keeper of the keys of creation, she can open the gates to her mysteries for those she chooses. Samhain, such a time of thinning between worlds, is perfect for renewing or initiating ourselves as one of her witches.
Hekate, Queen of the Witches
When I think of Hekate as Queen of the Witches, Shakespeare’s play comes to mind. Like Samhain, she is often left out of Macbeth in spite of her pivotal role as mistress of the witches:
O well done! I commend your pains;
And every one shall share i’ the gains;
And now about the cauldron sing,
Live elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in. – Hecate speaking in Macbeth, IV,1,1587
There is debate regarding whether Hecate was in Shakespeare’s original play because her lines can seem out of place compared to the rest of the script. I’m not a literary scholar, so I’ll leave that debate to the experts. Hekate showing up to point out the flaws in witchery, especially when pride gets the best of me, is an experience I have had. Most of us Hekateans honor Our Lady of Witchcraft and So Much More every Dark Moon because it’s best to stay on her good side…and we just really like “Doing the Deipnon” as we say. Consider honoring her around Samhain using the contemporary take on the ancient practice known as Hekate’s Supper.A Witches’ Prayer to Hekate:
Mighty Hekate, Queen of the Witches,
I stand before you in this liminal space,
That you created for us alone.
Here in this place of the in-between,
I feel the energy of the worlds,
I see the vision of the future,
I hold the wisdom of the past.
You can also do the Great Goddesses of Magick and Mystery ritual. Read about it here.
Hekate, Mistress of the Dead & Underworld Guide
As with Samhain and Macbeth, Hekate’s role as a Mistress of the Dead and Underworld Guide is often overlooked. The most poignant example of this is the way that she is omitted from Persephone’s journey to and from the Underworld. As with Persephone, she will lead us to the dead. She can be petitioned for activation of our skills in mediumship and witchery involving the dead. We can appeal to her for protection of our departed loved ones, as well. For personal development workings on Samhain, seeking Hekate’s favor for emotional healing and releasing that which is dead to us (or should be) is most appropriate. I’m hosting a seance evoking Hekate as a guide for connecting myself and the rest of the circle to our departed loved ones.
Hail Hekate, Mighty Eternal Queen,
She who walks between the worlds,
Torch-bearer who shines Her light
Upon our path.
Hear me now,
Mistress of Death,
Welcome this departed soul.
– from A Prayer to Hekate for the Dead
Hekate & the Final Harvest
The pre-Greek Hekate that so influenced Hesiod’s origin story of her portrayed her as a Goddess of the Harvest. I’ve written about this several times before. You can read Hekate and the First Harvest as well as Hekate and September to learn more. Further reinforcing her preference for both mystery is the scholarly debate about whether or not Hesiod (like Shakespeare) actually wrote the section on Hekate. This rounds out the three examples of how Hekate, often overlooked, is nevertheless eternally present as a Goddess of the Harvest, Mistress of the Dead and Queen of Witches. It’s fascinating to me the way she weaves in and out of prominent stories, always favoring to stay a bit outside of the gates, holding her keys. And forever mysterious. How perfect for all things to do with Samhain.
Connect with me on Facebook to celebrate all things Hekate and Samhain this month.
Here’s a short video of my Hekatean Samhain altar that might inspire you to create your own. Or use it as a focal point for your own workings.