Hecate has a lot of conflicting information being given about her. She is a goddess of opposites, personified as a young woman and as a crone goddess. Is she Olympian or the child of Titans? Is she Greek or does she come from an even older culture originating somewhere else in the ancient world?
However, there are a few things that all descriptions of Hecate agree on. She is powerful, dark, a lady of boundaries and crossroads, goddess of spirits and the dead, mysterious, magical, and not clearly defined as being good or evil. She is the goddess of Witchcraft in its purest and rawest form.
She is a triple-goddess. In fact, her later Roman name or epithet is Trivia (tri = three & via = ways/roads). The Triple Goddess didn’t always have roles connecting with a woman’s aging process, that of the Maiden-Mother-Crone formula. Brighid, Morrigan, Isis, and Hera are some other triples that do not fit into this box.
One of Hecate’s more popular placements in a trinity is being matched up with Kore/Persephone and Demeter. In this role, Hecate is the “crone” because she is the counselor and guide, helping guide Demeter into the Underworld and serving as a mentor and companion to Persephone during her time there.
All artwork from the ancient world depicts Hecate as young and beautiful. Later associations matched her to a Crone persona because of her dark Underworld connections. She is ageless and eternal and of course, can appear however she chooses. I share this information to stress that point. She is not distinctly a Crone goddess, but the idea of a younger woman holding this much power is discomforting to most modern sensibilities. Be open to how she presents herself to you if you seek to develop a connection and working relationship with her.
This is essentially the point that I reached when I formed a connection with her.
My first gods I tried to work with when I was starting on a Pagan path were the Hellenic ones, because that’s what I was most familiar with. My first god connection in this phase was with Hermes, and while he’s not really a main god in my personal pantheon now, we’ve kept in contact and I know I can call on him when needed. It was during one of our “hook-ups” in this on-again-off-again relationship we had become comfortable with that I was first introduced to Hecate. It was also during this time that I trusted the beginner books that cautioned against working with or connecting to the darker gods and goddesses, so that’s what I did. I acknowledged her and then kindly excused myself to mingle with other guests at the party. That first introduction was around 25 years ago.
Around 10 years ago, I met up with her again. This time, it was through working closely with Kore/Persephone. When I moved from Columbus, OH to Idaho, I joined a women’s circle and initiated to serve as a priestess of Persephone for a little over a year. I learned a lot through this training, but the theology wasn’t a fit and I ended up leaving that system. While doing my work with Persephone, which I felt focused more on the Underworld Queen than the Spring Maiden in my connection with her, Hecate surfaced. By this point in my growth and experience I’d moved past the eww… dark deities… icky boo! concept and had worked through forming a connection with that part of myself and appreciating them. Still, Hecate just kind of hinted at her presence, watching me from the shadows, making herself known in unobtrusive ways. It was my curiosity that led me to reach out to her.
I’m still building this relationship. I believe we have a mutual understanding and respect for one another, but I wouldn’t claim that she is mine or that I am hers the way I have with other gods. I do expect that the things she is teaching me and showing me will have a definite impact as our connection grows.
For further research and study on this intriguing goddess, I recommend books by Sorita D’Este, starting with Hekate Liminal Rites: A historical study of the rituals, spells and magic of the Torch-bearing Triple Goddess of the Crossroads.