Aside from Persephone, Hekate is an excellent goddess to honor during Samhain. As a goddess of the crossroads, liminal spaces, ghosts and the dead–especially and particularly the restless dead–and of course of witchcraft, she comes to mind naturally around this time of year.
But she also is very connected with the ancient myths about Persephone’s descent into the underworld and even more importantly, was one of the goddesses honored during the Eleusinian Mysteries. She acted as Demeter’s guide to help find Persephone, lighting her way with her torches. Later she acted as Persephone’s guide as she moved to and from the worlds, also with her torches. She has many titles in honor of her roles during this time of year ncluding “Propolos“, meaning one who attends or leads, and “Dadoukhos”, torchbearer. Dadoukhos is also the name of one of the roles in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Other good ones include “anassa eneroi“, queen of those below, and “chthonia“, of the underworld.
Hekate straddles the worlds between the living, the dead, and everything in between. She also, not surprisingly, has strong connections with Hermes who is also known as a psychopomp. A lot of modern Hellenists, witches, and pagans honor her at this time of year due to all of these associations which she has. Samhain as a time of year associated with increasing psychic activity, ancestors and the dead, the thinning veil between the worlds, and magic and witchcraft in general are all things which are also powerfully connected with Hekate.
Hekate is a goddess I interact with very frequently as a witch. She has been an amazing aid to me in many ways, and I’m very grateful to her and for her help. She tends to get a “dark” reputation, but I’ve found her to be compassionate, straightforward, and very ready and eager to help. One thing I do have to say about her however is that she likes to work with people who put in the work. This isn’t a goddess who will let you skate by or make excuses, but she absolutely will help you when you need it, and will lead you towards the answers on how to get there. And if you’ve been going the other way–too much work, not enough play–she will take the time to remind you that you are human. Just make sure that whatever promises you give, you follow through, and if things come up, to get back on them when you are able. I’ve found her to be amazingly patient and understanding, but she definitely will not put up with your crap either.Common offerings for her include fruit, wine, eggs, honey, cheese, and cakes. I burn incense blends dedicated to her as well, but frankincense is a good standby. Calling on her during Samhain to help you with both your magic and your ability to connect with the dead and with your ancestors is one way to honor her on this day. She can be an excellent gate opener for interacting with the dead and with spirits in general. I’ve blogged in the past on how to do a Deipnon or a Hekate supper in the past, and would encourage this as one way to honor her on Samhain.
This is one of a few modern translations of various hymns to Hekate from HellenicGods.org:
I call Hekate of the Crossroads, worshipped at the meeting of three paths, oh lovely one.Funereal Daimon, celebrating among the souls of those who have passed.
In the sky, earth, and sea, you are venerated in your saffron-colored robes.
Persian, fond of deserted places, you delight in deer.
Goddess of night, protectress of dogs, invincible Queen.
Drawn by a yoke of bulls, you are the queen who holds the keys to all the Kózmos.
Commander, Nýmphi, nurturer of children, you who haunt the mountains.
Pray, Maiden, attend our hallowed rituals;
Be forever gracious to your mystic herdsman and rejoice in our gifts of incense.