Hecate


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Hecate

(hĕk`ətē, hĕk`ĭt), in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of ghosts and witchcraft. Originally she seems to have been an extremely powerful and benevolent goddess, identified with three other goddesses—Selene (in heaven), Artemis (on earth), and Persephone (in the underworld). From the three supposedly came her image in Greek art as a figure with three bodies or three heads. Generally she is identified as a spirit of black magic, Persephone's attendant, with the power to conjure up dreams, phantoms, and the spirits of the dead. In the upper world she haunted graveyards and crossroads and was invisible to all eyes except those of the hounds who attended her.

Hecate

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Pre-Olympian Greek earth goddess associated with the lower world, with night and the moon, ghosts and spirits, and with magic, witches, and sorcery. She was known as Prytania of the Dead, or the Invincible Queen, goddess of enchantments and magical charms. She seems to have originated in the southwest of Asia Minor. There, in the area of Caria, Greek personal names based on her name, such as Hecataeus, are common. Of several genealogies, the best-known states that she is the daughter of Perses and Asteria. Because she helped Zeus in his fight against the Gigantes, Hecate was allowed to retain her powers as a Titan.

Hecate is associated with the crossroads, which is where three roads come together. In this respect, she is often depicted as a triple goddess, watching all three roads at the same time. Images of her on columns and statues show the triple Hecate as three heads or three full figures standing back-to-back-to-back. The Romans dubbed her "Diana Triformis"—Diana, Hecate, and Prosperpina (or Artemis, Hecate, and Persephone, in Greek terms). She was also sometimes depicted with three animal heads: dog, boar, and horse.

Hecate was a native of Thrace. She resembles Artemis in many ways and at times is merged with her. She was powerful on earth and in the sky, and she was accompanied by a pack of dogs. Rosemary Guiley suggests she was more important in antiquity than Circe. The torch is a symbol of Hecate, from her search in Hades, with Demeter, for Persephone.

Hecate

personification of the moon before rising and after setting. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 726–727]
See: Moon

Hecate

mysterious goddess of Hades; associated with sorcery. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 115]
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