Hekate: Giver of Keys and Teacher

Hekate: Giver of Keys and Teacher December 11, 2019
The further I go on my own journey, and in my study of the different spiritual paths, the common theme is that the true gods desire only for us to experience our wholeness. They don’t want us to feel guilty for how we understand them, nor do they want us to remain stuck in spiritual kindergarten where we act only out of fear. This fear that can freeze us in place is inflicted by the powerful who impose their religion upon us. What the gods of my understanding teach is that wholeness is achieved through embracing our darkness. Moreover, it is through spiritual deathwalking that we are reborn into our wholeness. The light cannot exist without the dark. The shadow and the soul seek integration, neither can be denied. This is the lesson of the goddess, whom I experience as Hekate and as Circe, Medea and Persephone. 
Fear of turning inward is instilled in us by the powerful, who would have use believe that understanding the deeper world within and without is beyond our capabilities. They use guilt to keep us frozen in immature spirituality, with their micromanaging gods waiting anxiously to smite us down for our sins. My goddess doesn’t do guilt trips. Her desire is to lift me up so that I may be wholly in my power.
She is the force that fuels the universe, and she teaches that all must die to be reborn. Moreover, that spiritual deathwalking is an inherent part of our journey, for it is only by letting die all that no longer serves do we truly walk towards our wholeness. She encourages me to walk with other allies and spirits, never forcing me to do anything. How unlike what most religions attempt to do.

The Greatest Teachers Show Us Trust And Love

The greatest teachers show us the path from shallow lives to the depths of ourselves is through spiritual rebirth, whether it is through the great goddess Hekate’s myths or the stories about Jesus. They were deathwalkers, pointing the way through darkness to the light of the truth. Unbinding them from harmful religions that supposedly venerate them, but really only serve to keep us in spiritual kindergarten, liberates us to pursue, in trust and love, our own depths.

The Master Class Of Spiritual Deathwalking

For those of you who found some truth in my article about deathwalking, know that my intention in writing was to encourage discussion about the meaning of witchcraft as a spiritual path. I shone my torch on pithy witchcraft that focuses on “love and light” as the only way. It’s a kindergarten view of spirituality that isn’t limited to witchcraft. In fact, the same sort of immature mindset is found across all the religions I’ve studied in the past two decades.
On the other hand, within each of these paths, I’ve found a substantial amount of true seekers who are turning inward to further their understanding of themselves and the deeper world. That is spiritual deathwalking. This is a place where there is no guilt-inducing god freezing us from understanding our own darkness, so that we may be reborn into wholeness. My personal goal is to get out of spiritual kindergarten within this lifetime. Overcoming spiritual programming can be the great work of our lives, if we are willing to turn inward to see our truth. 

Punishment Has No Place In My Spiritual Path

Small children respond to punitive measures, like being told they are bad, because it scares them. In the long run punishment creates the false self that strives only to be popular. This is done out of self preservation. Nothing but love for all those who stay stuck in this immature mentality. So much of religion treats us like kindergarteners. We can forget that we actually are adults. The wake up call is heard by some of us, but all of society is designed to prevent us from answering this awakening. Society, more accurately the powerful within it, wants us to stay immobilized by a five year old’s fear of those in charge, whether it’s our teacher or the divine of our understanding.

The System Is Designed To Make Us Feel Horrible, But My Goddess Doesn’t Do Guilt Trips

The whole entire system is designed for us to be frozen by guilt for ever desiring to go beyond what we have been told is acceptable. This is why so many dip their spiritual toes into the lightworker pool; because they feel called to the deeper world, but are just so very afraid. They are full of shame for not being what society tells them to be. In their soul, they know the depths are calling, but they can’t get over the fear that some god/powerful person somewhere will smite them down if they dare to go deeper. Instead, they flirt with the cosmic forces without turning inward. Guilt paralyzes us in place. Here’s the thing: my goddess doesn’t do guilt trips. She is the force that fuels the universe, so far beyond my humble human understanding that I only catch the briefest of glimpses of her majesty.

Spiritual Deathwalking And The Shadow Self

It is only through going into the dark to enter into the process of spiritual deathwalking that we can be reborn into our truth. This is where we get over the guilt. However we interpret the divine as an external force and the sacred within each of us, we all share a desire to go deeper. The deeper we go, the more we realize that sincere seekers walk together, although the labels we use to describe the deeper world can be different. What we all seek is wholeness by understanding both our dark and light. The shadow and soul, if you will.
Hyperfocus on “white lighting” ourselves and the world is a sure sign of avoiding the shadow aspects of ourselves. There is no true healing without integration of the shadow with the self. This is why so many in the lightworking crowd never seem to progress. I know of which I speak having been associated with this work for decades now. Of course, this is a generalization and not a reflection on any individual’s practice. I’m a researcher who examines the data and extrapolates themes. Taking things personally is another sign that there is shadow work to be done.

The Necessity Of The Dark Night Of The Soul

As a taxonomist of religious and spiritual paths, the data reveals the fundamental need for deathwalking. The dark night of the soul is where transformation truly occurs. Denying this necessity doesn’t negate it. We can choose to resist this requirement, but doing so doesn’t render it less true. I love witchcraft because it is my lens through which I experience the deeper world of myths and sacred texts. My goddess not only doesn’t do guilt trips, but she draws me towards other great teachers.

Being Stuck In Spiritual Immaturity

Proof that we’ve graduated out of spiritual kindergarten is when we realize that religion and the gods are entirely separate. Guilt is not born of the divine, but of man. Going into the shadows to heal is sacred. Those in power will always try to prevent us from entering this space. For us who seek the deeper world, going inward can be frightening, but once we’ve been in the darkest of nights, we can choose to see that this is where spiritual growth occurs. Rarely, if ever, have I ever been transformed when life was going great. This is simply how spiritual growth works.

Graduating From Spiritual Kindergarten

The fundamental difference between witchcraft and Christianity is the idea that our sins must be forgiven by an external force in order for us to find peace (i.e., heaven). But, wait, is this really true when we succumb to the kindergarten view of spirituality? If we see the goddess as a wish-granting vending machine that we can dial up whenever we please, how is this different than believing in a God who punishes the wicked? Hear me out; believing God will smite us down is the same sort of immaturity driving the belief that a quick ritual will always get our goddess to do as we wish. Holding any deity, be it Jesus or Hekate, in a place where we must earn their favor, lest we risk their fury, is the same as that five year old who worries that their parent will punish them if they aren’t good.  
For me, as someone who is striving to graduate from spiritual kindergarten, I’ve learned that there is one universal truth; that only by embracing the darkness can we be made whole. There is no light without the dark. 
Hekate’s ancient wisdom and modern teachings.


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About Cyndi Brannen
Cyndi Brannen, PhD, is a healer, teacher and author focusing on personal development, spirituality and true magic. Founder of the Keeping Her Keys Mystery School, she teaches and writes about the true magic of healing and personal power. Read Cyndi's journey from broken to whole at keepingherkeys.com. You can read more about the author here.
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  • Samantha Sabovitch

    “My goddess doesn’t do guilt trips. Her desire is to lift me up so that I may be wholly in my power.”


  • Willow Rose

    ” If we see the goddess as a wish-granting vending machine that we can dial up whenever we please, how is this different than believing in a God who punishes the wicked? Hear me out; believing God will smite us down is the same sort of immaturity driving the belief that a quick ritual will always get our goddess to do as we wish.”

    So for clarity, is this the same as saying if we believe God/Goddes/Deity gives us miracles – saves a loved one for example – then we must also believe they punish (for their reasons)? And then wouldn’t it follow that somebody beset my continued misfortune and loss, numerous deaths of loved ones, is being punished? Increasingly, I am finding it kindergarten thinking to hail deity (whoever that might be) for sparing us from what seems imminent or inevitable misfortune. To do so means we MUST accept that they punish as well. I think neither is true – no miracles, no punishment.

  • Amanda Ingalls

    About three years after I became Wiccan (a former friend of mine showed me a book on the subject) I began to see my old religion in a very different light, and it wasn’t pretty. All that anti – Pagan stuff in the bible scares me. It goes against what I call the Wiccan Prime Directive: Help Many, Harm None. Not to mention the “spiritual dress code” so to speak. Tarot cards are falsely labeled “tools of the devil. Being psychic or communicating with deceased loved ones is either a curse or highly frowned upon. I really don’t care what they think, because I believe in more than one Goddess and god, and They accept me as I am – without the guilt trip.

  • Kathy

    Thank you for this post. I am troubled by how many Pagans have a very Abrahamic-religion POV. They have to bow down and worship their deities to find favour and think they will be punished if they don’t give enough offerings or do their rituals correctly, amongst other things. They talk about how fearful and scary their gods and goddesses are, and this just doesn’t work for me. I spent 30 years as a Christian “fearing” God. I was drawn to Paganism because I wanted to be free and autonomous in my spirituality. Of course, it’s not easy to embrace our shadow self, but at least we are not made to feel ashamed of it. In fact, the opposite, as our shadow self is sometimes our greatest teacher.

  • The shadow is our most powerful ally, for sure. I often contemplate why so many have the need to remain in fear even after they return to the ancient deities. I don’t have a good answer. As a psychologist, I can explain the need to conform because of fear of rejection. I can also talk about how many people are so afraid of fear that they avoid it to the point of being entirely in its grip. Some also fear their own power due to the intense programming they’ve experienced. It’s like they are called by the goddess (or god or otherwise), but can’t release their belief of their unimportance.

    When I see people so consumed with fear, which often is shown through hateful comments, limited practice and generally toxic behavior, I am reminded of this quote from Marianne Williamson:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”

    I would replace “God” with “Goddess,” but otherwise this quote is spot-on. An addendum to the quote is that we only experience our brightness after we venture deep into our darkness. Only through hell can we conquer it. As long as we avoid the darkness within us, the shadow self and all her fears, we remain in the delusion of false light.