Hekate’s Name

Hekate’s Name October 11, 2018

If there is one type of question about Hekate I get asked more than others it’s about her name. Like every aspect of my favorite goddess, her name has a fascinating and intricate history. From her origins to how we say her name today, there’s loads of intrigue, but few certain answers, to be found.

“We must rather seek for the origin of the name in the customs of Hecate-worship, as there, if anywhere, we may expect to find traces of the most ancient conception of the goddess.” John B. Bury in The Classical Review, Vol. 3, No. 9 (Nov., 1889)

Hekate’s Origins

The first part of understanding Hekate’s name both in meaning and in pronunciation is to give some context to her relationship with the ancient Greeks.  Most scholars agree that Hekate was not originally a Greek goddess, but that they adapted her from an existing Great Goddess. What is debated is where they found her – was it the north, south or east? There is evidence supporting her origins in each, a combination or all three of these directions. What is clear is that Hekate’s name, like her powers, are unusual in the Classical Greek world. Both point to origins elsewhere.

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

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About Cyndi
Cyndi Brannen is a witch and spiritual teacher, a trained energetic healer, psychic and herbalist. Merging together her training in shamanism, Tarot, past life work, meditation and psychology, she teaches and writes about better living through witchcraft. Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft explores Hekate from her ancient origins to modern understanding through magic and personal development is available now for pre-order from Moon Books. True Magic: Unleashing Your Inner Witch uses the magic of the elements and the three realms to activate your true witch powers and will be available later in 2019 from Moon as well. Connect with her on Facebook or at keepingherkeys.com to learn more about her teaching and writing. Cyndi lives in rural coastal Nova Scotia with her two sons where she can often be found wandering the cliffs or wild foraging plants. She lives what she teaches: fierce love, emotional courage and true magic. You can read more about the author here.

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