Hekate & December: Witchcraft for the Darkest Month & The Promise of Rebirth

Hekate & December: Witchcraft for the Darkest Month & The Promise of Rebirth November 30, 2018

The darkness breathes into December, forcing some to run for the light while others embrace the night. The Hekate of December urges us to follow her into this time, to explore our depths, delve into her mysteries and be reborn. Here I find myself with those that remain: the moon, her poisons, and her powerful winged creatures. If you’re here with me, know that this is not the easy path, but it is our truth. The world of spirits awaits those who answer Hekate’s call. All of us sustained by the breath of her darkness. Hail the Hekate of December!

The Holy Darkness of December

If you’ve been following along with my articles about the Holy Darkness, the period between Night of the Crossroads on November 30 and the rebirth on the Winter Solstice is one for reflection. Much is accomplished during the month of November by us Hekatean Witches. A month of initiation, commitment, and deep work. If you haven’t completed the Death walking ritual of transformation and/or the Soul Retrieval, the energy of December continues to offer the ideal environment for these workings. Not that they can’t be done at other times of the calendar, but they do correspond exceptionally well to the energy of the darkest months. Mind you, January and February are equally dark, but the solar energy becomes waxing, inevitably tempering all the energies available for witchery. The pure darkness of November and December are ideal times for exploring your Inner Temple.

December retains the energy of death walking, this is the time to claim your skills as a psychopomp(e), soul guide, death doula and medium. All the fuss around Samhain neglects that the end of October ushers in a season of spirits rather than just one day. I wrote a bunch of death walking articles around that time, including ways to connect with the ancestors of place, a Great Goddesses ritual for unleashing your inner witch, and the death walking oil that so many of you have written to me proclaiming it’s effectiveness. All those workings can still be done in December. The fact that this is a season is why I call it the Holy Darkness. It is a sacred time for witchcraft, for those of us who draw down the moon, talk to the dead, and work with all manner of spirits.

The Winter Solstice marks the transition away from this time, regardless of how you celebrate that day, across cultures and times, the energy is that of rebirth. Except, of course, for the Ancient Greeks who didn’t. So much of what we know about Historical Hekate comes from their perspective. They followed a lunar calendar and I do, too. I don’t think I have ever once summoned the sun for a spell, while I have a close personal relationship with Luna. There’s Saturnalia, of course, which can be celebrated for a more reconstructionist vibe. Saturn and Hekate have some ancient, yet enduring, connections. I’ll be publishing an article with a ritual honoring Hekate on the darkest day of the year soon.

From the Dark, Wet Womb We Are Reborn

Venturing into Hekate’s Cave is a journey of becoming. Perhaps out of desperation, curiosity or a combination, we turn away from the bright light of false positivity towards the darkness. Hekate’s torches shine in the distance, a dim light that we can choose to follow. Trust in ourselves is a necessity for this work, even though I’ve often had only the weakest grasp on it.  Through introspection and healing, we reveal what we knew all along. A reunion with our truth occurs. Then we are born anew. Stronger, wiser and more certain of our magick.

For me, the truth is that I am a witch. No religion. Not a light worker. I am a Hekatean Witch. I can’t imagine a life without Hekate in it. Her history continues to fascinate me. There is so much more for me to explore and share with all of you. I’m looking ahead to January – a month that I perceive as intellectual – to write about how a Goddess of Witchcraft – drinking blood and leading a horde of nefarious creatures – ended up as a philosophical construct. But, now here we are in the month of December. This is still Hekate’s time as a Dark Mother, Night Wandering Queen. These are highly emotional aspects of Hekate. To December, the darkest part of the year. To Hekate, the eternal darkness and the pale light within it.

The Dark Moon of December and/or the Winter Solstice are perfect times for rebirth witchery within the safety of Hekate’s Cave.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/11158252@N03/22185887278

A Warning and the Truth

Another thing I want to share, perhaps because the dark makes me more introspective about all things, is that this is hard work. Releasing what longs to die, retrieving missing pieces of yourself, reclaiming your truth and the rebirth process is not for the weak. If you are already in it, know that you are a warrior-witch. Let me tell you that there will be difficult times when the shadow seems too powerful. Then there will be the other times that you slip into an awakening that will have you lying in bed, shaken to the core. Opening the door to the world of spirits can be overwhelming. Walking the poison path can be noisy once they know you are listening to them. It’s not easy and not often pretty. But it is only by sinking into the realness of magick can we become what we are here to be.

December Hekatean Witchery

In Hekate & November, I wrote a bit about the energy of Hekate’s Poison Garden at this time of year. My collection of poisonous pretties call loudest to me during the time between Samhain and the Winter Solstice. They hang on the walls of my kitchen, not so silently awaiting their purpose. Aconite, foxglove, and pennyroyal. Even mugwort who longs for the chance to astral travel with me. If you are feeling called by the poison path, perhaps by Medea or Kirke or even Hekate herself, welcome. Botanical witchery is the most ancient form practiced by Hekate’s witches before time became linear. Go slowly, easing yourself into it. With study and practice, the poison path offers a depth to witchcraft that I’ve never found with sparkly stones or colorful candles.

Animal spirit magick of a Hekatean persuasion during December for me turns to the cries of her aviary. Crow, gull and owl are still with me, while the summer birds have left for safer locations. Birds are excellent companions for Underworld witchery for they hold the power of flight, forging ahead of us on our journey and guide us back to the Middle World of everyday life. Vultures, raptors and other corvids are close allies to Hekate’s Witches. December is an ideal time to discover your avian companion (or even that flying mammalian, bat) as an ally. Look for their signs in your waking life and the dream time.

Read more about Hekate’s Animal Horde here.

With the stress that the holiday season can bring to us, botanical witchery and avian spirit work can greatly help us navigate the busy season. Of course, for some, December is a reminder of all that they have lost. Turn to the plants of the dead, such as poppy to help soothe your grief and connect to the departed. Birds are amazing spirit messengers, happily carrying our messages to those on the other side and bringing us replies.

For many of us, the hours of moonlight are greatly expanded during December, providing an opportunity to hone our skills at drawing down dearest Selene for our witchery. Ancient lore claims that the moon rose and set out of a cave, thus Hekate’s connection to both is as old as time. Read my article on Drawing Down Hekate’s Moon to learn more.

Hekate, Mistress of Souls

If you are remembering your lost loved ones, I offer you Prayer to Hekate for the Dead. Perhaps it will offer some comfort. For those experiencing the insanity of the holiday season, turn to Hekate for solace in her dark home. December is also an ideal time to practice your gifts for working with spirits, whether avian, human or otherwise. New spirit allies tend to pop up when we need them the most.

The rituals done earlier in the autumn have strengthened your abilities, perhaps in the stillness of the dark nights, reach out to the spirit world. They are all around us this time of the year. Hekate as Mistress of Souls, the supreme necromancer can be petitioned for guidance for spirit work. Speak to the restless ghosts that wander this season, looking for lost loved ones or stuck in the memories of Christmas past.

However you choose to explore the depths of Hekatean Witchcraft this December, I wish you the darkest blessings. To the depths, the moon, and the glories of the night.

 

Learn With Me

My completely non-Hekatean, but very full of botanical and animal spirit work course, The Sacred Seven is now accepting applications. Read more here.

Connect With Me

Apply to join my group, The Witches’ Realm. Keep up with Keeping Her Keys on Facebook.

Listen to my interview with Lonnie Scott on Weird Web Radio. I talk about witchcraft, ghosts and so much more.

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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  • I have a question – isn’t there a connection with labyrinths? Not specifically to the one associated with Hekate, but I am interested in exploring this angle more, as I have my own:

    https://plutoarchives.blogspot.com/p/from-cosmology-at-sea-and-maritime.html

    (I’ll try to copy my connection here)

    This is from my Crossing the Threshold page –

    In this memory, I do not know precisely when it took place according to the Earth’s physical timeline, as I have had nothing to compare it with. In it, I was dressed in black oilskins, sou’wester, and seaboots. I was on a beach where water and land met (I was unable to go further in land due to a witch’s hedge, which I had eventually subverted.*) In my right hand, I had what must have been a stick, and was making a continuous circle with it counter-clockwise. I did this to create hurricanes (as they spin that way in the northern hemisphere where I live).

    *The Witch’s Hedge: This I had seen in a dream. I was in the water along the beach and went under it. Under the water there were plants of Woody Nightshade and Brambles growing. I had asked someone about this and she mentioned about it being a hedge. So, this was a hedge to prevent me from coming inland. I had to subvert this…and I did it with an essence blend that I put together.

    I do not recall all of the ingredients, but one was of Bla Jungfrun (there is a labyrinth there) and according to Scandinavian maritime lore, these coastal labyrinths were gateways (usually to the underworld).

    It was a simple essence blend…probably had no more than 10 ingredients.

    But it worked.

    In subsequent dreams, I was walking on land making my way inland further.

    No hedge is going to keep out the sea.

    My question is that – is the lore associated with Hekate the same/similar with the Finnish/Swedish lore concerning labyrinths (they being gateways to the underworld).

    I think I recall you mentioning Blackberry (?) in one of your other posts here. I mention about Brambles in my memory above. It seems like we’re working with a lot of the same, or very least, very similar “things”. I am just curious if there is some similarity with the lore and associations, as it may help me understand myself and practice better.

  • Hekate’s Wheel, the strophalos, is certainly a labyrinth. I don’t know of any lore of her wheel being used as one, but it so much has been lost to the winds of the past. I marched one out in the snow last winter as a temporary labyrinth. As for brambles, they were connected with baneful magick in the ancient Mediterranean. For example, Propertius’ provides us with this curse: “may the ground cover over your tomb with brambles, and may your shade go thirsty—the last thing you want! May your ashes’ ghost find no peace, and may avenging Cerberus terrify your foul bones, howling with hunger.”

  • I had a quick look in some reference books on the Ancient Greeks and Romans to see if they used the labyrinth as an entrance to the Underworld. I know that caves are usually seen as the entrances. I couldn’t find anything about labyrinths. Underworld entrances were often coastal, guarded by monsters and other obstacles, etc. Like the labyrinth, they presented daunting challenges.

  • Thanks. Interesting about some of the similarities. That info I collected mentions about the coast (as it’s maritime lore). I am here wondering with regards to my experience, that it was done in reverse – from the underworld (deep ocean) through the Brambles, then onto land. Rather than from land, through the hedge, into the underworld.

    The connections and similarities are interesting.