Honoring Hekate of the Underworld and Ourselves: A Death Walking Ritual of Transformation

Honoring Hekate of the Underworld and Ourselves: A Death Walking Ritual of Transformation November 13, 2018

Night of Hekate of the Underworld is November 16. Celebrate her chthonic side and honor your own darkness with a solitary ritual sacrificing what longs to die within you to Hekate.  We hold within us all the energy of the Underworld. There are parts of us that long to die and others that call to be retrieved. On Hekate’s Night, offer to her the parts of you that need to die, thus creating the space for your soul to return.

Transformative Death Walking

Death walking refers to forms of witchcraft that explore the Underworld side of magick, including communicating with spirits and spiritual death. As witches, we are forever walking on the other side of the veil, whether through mediumship or personal development work. Offering to Hekate an emotional sacrifice of that which longs to die within us is part of our Witches’ Journey. Keeping the past and our pain on life support while we attempt to transform ourselves inevitably yields poor results. What is it that longs to die within you? A past hurt? A dysfunctional way of thinking? Perhaps ideas or practices relating to your witchery?

The Cycle of Death-Life-Rebirth

The cycle of death-life-rebirth is at the heart of witchcraft, especially the Hekatean variety. Hekate as an Underworld goddess has many roles that can help us achieve knowledge of the mysteries and experience rebirth. The ritual below, designed to be performed around the middle of November (particularly on Hekate’s Night) begins the transformation process through the death of what no longer serves us. This marks the entrance into the Underworld. On the Night of Hekate of the Crossroads (November 30), the threshold between the outer levels of the Underworld can be crossed so that we can retrieve pieces of our souls that have separated from our embodiment due to trauma. Soul retrieval is also done in order to gain insight into our life’s mission. Hekate as Psychopompe will guide us through this crossroads towards our soul, and ultimately, our truth. Finally, on the Winter Solstice, this cycle is complete through rebirth. We emerge from the Underworld connected to our purpose and our witchery.

This tripartite series of workings is not to be undertaken lightly. Entering the Underworld requires courage. This is a six week quest that requires much contemplation. Take good care of yourself while on this journey.


Hail Hekate, Torchbearing Guardian, Soul Guide, Night Wanderer!
Chthonic Goddess of the Threshold of All Things,
She who guards the gates of the Underworld!

The Death Mother

For me, Hekate will always be my Death Mother for it was in the depths of my personal Underworld that she called out to me for the first time. By heeding her torches, I died to all that which poisoned my path through this incarnation. I’ve been blessed by hundreds of you sharing how she found you in similar circumstances. When we were fighting our the demons of trauma, loss, and despair. Perhaps this is all new to you – she’s calling to you for the first time or you feel compelled to find her. The Dark Mother whispers your name. Will you answer?

If this is where you’re at, try When Hekate Calls or Finding Hekate: Suggestions For Seekers. 

There’s different ways that I understand Hekate as The Dark Mother. There’s the “dark night of the soul” when she comes to me to see me through. I wrote about how She often comes to Her devotees for the first time when they are suffering the most. The side of the Dark Mother is as a guide. Her symbols are usually keys, crossroads and a lantern. Be on the lookout during the weeks ahead for signs that Her energy is nigh – dropping keys and unexplained lights in the darkness are two examples.

Hekate, as Queen of the Underworld and Torchbearer, is our guide through our own dark times. She’s there to shine her torch along our path through the worst times of our lives. Such times, although miserable, are the times that we grow the most as individuals. Like Persephone’s journey to the Underworld and back, and thus giving us the seasons, we, too, have required phases.

from Oh, Holy Night: Celebrating Hekate of the Underworld

Hekate stands near, wishing for us to understand that through the darkness we are reborn. But we must answer the call by sacrificing the toxicity within ourselves. This is deep, dark work.  It is the descent into our personal Underworld. I like to call the rise of witchcraft in general, and for Hekatean Witchcraft specifically, The Holy Darkness because we honor all that prefers the velvet embrace of the night. In addition, the Holy Darkness refers to the period in our lives when we bravely venture through our personal underworld. Not for the timid, the Holy Darkness or Hekate. She, like us, is a creature of the emotional depths. As our Witch Mother she reminds us that our witchery is about emotions before we temper it with our mighty intellects. Rebirth is an emotional process that occurs in the dark.

Read The Holy Darkness is Nigh

Death Walking Ritual of Transformation

To descend into the Underworld willingly is an act of radical personal transformation. The ritual below focuses on offering an emotional sacrifice to Hekate. It requires walking into your shadow zone, finding what longs to die and then sacrificing it to Hekate. This is the initial step in the Triformis process described earlier.

This ritual can be performed on November 16 as part of your celebration of Hekate’s Night. November is the month for commitment and initiation into Modern Hekatean Witchcraft. The sixteenth is the perfect night to do either of these activities which can be augmented with the ritual below, or do the working as on it’s own. As always, feel free to use and adapt as you feel led.

More about November and Hekate can be found here.


The ritual requires an offering to Hekate symbolic of what you are letting die, an emotional sacrifice. For example, you could offer a ring that represents a past relationship or keys to a former home. Something that you cling to in spite of it’s need to die. Hekate’s Underworld aspects are primarily emotional, so the emphasis on this ritual is such. Your intuition will guide you, take some deep breaths and turn all the way inward. What is it that you need to offer as an emotional sacrifice? Remember that our shadow resides in our internal Underworld. Ask yours what burdens she longs to release.

Once you have selected your offerings, plan your altar for the ritual. I suggest a chthonic – low or on the ground – one with the usual symbols of her torches, keys and perhaps her wheel to represent the life cycle. Keep the focus on what it is you are sacrificing. Bones, skulls and other representations of the dead are highly appropriate since this sacrifice is a symbolic death. November finds us in the depths of the Underworld in the Modern Hekatean Witchcraft Wheel of the Year. 

Prior to doing the ritual, I suggest a powerful ritual bathing incorporating a black salt scrub in the shower. This will bring out the toxicity in your body, mind and spirit making it easier to perform the emotional sacrifice. Mix 1/4 tsp activated charcoal powder with 1 cup high quality sea salt, cover with olive oil and blend. You can add appropriate Underworld botanicals like lavender and rosemary. Warning that you’ll end up covered in black sludge, but it washes off easily with soap. This will work with just the salt, but the charcoal adds next level protection and purification. Black is the color to be worn for the ritual if you choose to be clothed.

You’ll want to sit, lie or otherwise be as close to the ground as possible during the ritual. Don’t forget your sacrifice. Cast your circle as you usually do to ensure that no unwanted energies are attracted to your working. I find salt is great for this. You can make death walking oil to anoint yourself while evoking Hekate. Another oil can be substituted. You want to activate your emotional Lower Self by anointing your feet, knees and root chakra. As you do so, allow your roots to dig deep into the earth. This will really boost your ability to connect with her and perform your emotional sacrifice. Remember that this is a gift she welcomes. Through her all that we need to let die will be transformed and reborn.

Find the instructions for death walking oil here and the Evocation of Hekate Suitable For Any Rite is here.

Hail to the Darkness within and without!
Hail Hekate, Chthonic Goddess of the Underworld!
You hold the torches and guide my way,
I honor you with this sacrifice.
I willingly let die this that no longer serves me.
Through death, I find life and I will be reborn.
To the darkness within me
And the Holy Darkness that is you,
I offer this…

Describe the offering you are giving her and why.

Accept my sincere offering,
Mighty Queen of the Night and Goddess of Witches,
I walk with you through the Underworld,
Seeking the wisdom of your keys,
May I open the gates of my own truth,
And understand your mysteries.
I honor you and the darkness within myself.
I am grateful for my shadow for it protects me.
My weaknesses are my strengths,
And my failures are my greatest teachers.
Hail to the Underworld!
Hail Hekate Chthonia!

After this petition, stay in this space while you release the emotions connected to the sacrifice you made. Feel them go deep into the earth where Hekate presides. During this process, Hekate may come forward very strongly with messages and you will likely experience visions.

When you are finished with the ritual, balance yourself by connecting to your other two energies centers – the heart and mind. Pull up your earthly roots gently, stretch out your energy from your heart center into the world around you, stretch up towards The Starry Road. Take your time doing this. Wipe the death walking oil off using a warm, soapy cloth in a counterclockwise movement.

The next step in the rebirth process is to engage in soul retrieval, with the final step being a dismemberment and death journey. Release. Retrieve. Reborn. If you are doing this on November 16, the soul retrieval can be done as part of the Night of Hekate of the Crossroads and the rebirth is reserved for the Winter Solstice, when Hekate Soteira emerges. I’ll have a guide for Hekatean Soul Retrieval available soon.

Celebrate Night of Hekate of the Underworld at Keeping Her Keys.


About Cyndi Brannen
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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