Hecate – Greek Goddess of Magic and Spells by Nina Jay

hecate Greek Goddess of Magic and Spells

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With power over heaven, earth and sea, Hecate or Hekate, the goddess of witchcraft, magic, ghosts, necromancy, and the night, is an ambivalent being in Greek mythology. While often represented as evil, a close look into her story shows that she was associated with good things. It’s also important to consider context when discussing Hecate – the magic and spells she was connected with wasn’t considered evil in her time. Here’s a closer look at a complex goddess.

Hecate’s Origins

Although Hecate is known as a Greek goddess, her origins might be found a little farther to the east, in Asia Minor. It’s said that the first to worship her were the Carians in Anatolia. The Carians used theophoric names with the root Hekat- to invoke and adore the goddess of witchcraft. Discoveries suggest that the Carians had a cult site in Lagina, Asia Minor.

What this means is that Hecate was probably taken from Carian beliefs and imported into Greek mythology. Considering that the first mentions about Hecate in Greek myth comes relatively late, compared to other gods, it’s likely that she was simply copied.

Who is Hecate in Greek Mythology?

In Greek Mythology, Hecate’s family background is unclear, with sources citing different things.

Hecate is said to be the daughter of the Titans Perses and Asteria, and she was the only Titan to keep her power after the war between the Titans and the Olympian gods.

Some other sources state that she was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, while others say that she was the daughter of Tartarus. According to Euripides, Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo, is her mother.

Hecate’s Involvement in Wars

Hecate was involved in the war of the Titans as well as in the war of the Gigantes. She was a pivotal figure in both wars and was respected by Zeus and the other gods.

As Hesiod wrote in Theogony, after the war of the Titans, Zeus honored Hecate and gave her countless gifts. The gods did no harm to her, nor took anything away from what was already hers during the reign of the Titans. She was allowed to keep her powers over heaven, earth, and sea.

When the Gigantes declared war on the gods under Gaia’s command, Hecate took part in the conflict and sided with the gods. She is said to have helped them defeat the giants. Vase paintings normally show the goddess battling, using her two torches as weapons.

Hecate’s Association with Demeter and Persephone

Several myths refer to the rape and kidnapping of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, perpetrated by Hades. Accordingly, Hades raped 

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