From the Three-Ways (Hekate Liminal Rites)

From the Three-Ways (Hekate Liminal Rites)

This is an extract from the chapter “From the Three-Ways” in the book Hekate Liminal Rites by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine, published by Avalonia, 2009. Reproduced here with permission.

From the Three-Ways

The goddess Hekate was one of the most significant deities of the ancient world. Her history stretches back across the millennia. We find traces of her in the recent past, through into the Renaissance – stretching back through the Byzantine and Roman Empires, Hellenistic, Classical and Archiac Greece through into the Greek Dark Ages – and beyond. Hekate has been with us for at least three thousand years.

She was a liminal goddess who was present at all the boundaries and transitional moments in life. She was also an apotropaic (‘evil-averting’) protector and guide, as illustrated by some of the many titles she was given. Hekate’s triple form emphasised her power over the three realms, these being the heavens, sea and earth. Her primal nature was seen in the many animal heads she was depicted with, each emphasising different qualities of her manifold character.

Hekate was associated with ceremonies of initiation into the mysteries across the ancient world. This included the famous mysteries of Eleusis, and Selinus on the island of Sicily, as well as those on the Greek islands of Samothrace, Argos and Aigina.

Hekate has been given numerous epithets describing her roles and qualities over the thousands of years of her worship. Some of her well known titles include:

  • Chthonia (‘earthly one’),
  • Dadouchos (‘torch-bearer’),
  • Enodia (‘of the ways’),
  • Kleidouchos (‘key-bearer’),
  • Kourotrophos (‘child’s nurse’)
  • Phosphorus (‘light-bearer’).
  • Propolos (‘companion’)
  • Propylaia (‘before the gate’),
  • Soteira (‘saviour’)
  • Triformis (‘three bodied’)
  • Trioditis (‘of the three ways’),

By Sorita d’Este and David Rankine, first published in Hekate Liminal Rites, 2009.