Hekate was frequently described and depicted either wearing or in the presence of serpents. Among these is Sophocles’ description in his play The Root Cutters 93: “She who is crowned with oak-leaves and the coils of wild serpents.” As she appeared to Jason in the Argonautica, there are serpents in her presence: “…round her horrible serpents twined themselves among the oak boughs” 94. The Chaldean Oracles also describe Hekate as “the snake-girdled and the three-headed” and “the She-serpent, and the snake-girdled” 95.
The association of serpents with Hekate refers to her chthonian powers as well as highlighting the fearsome nature of her manifestations.
93 d’Este, S. and Rankine, D. 2009. Hekate: Liminal Rites. London: Avalonia.
94 Seaton, R.C. trans. 1912. Apollonius Rhodius Argonautica. Loeb Classical Library Volume 1, London: William Heinemann Ltd. Available from: http://www.theoi.com/Text/ApolloniusRhodius1.html
95 Ronan, S. 1992. The Goddess Hekate. London: Chthonios Press.
The Symbols of the Goddess Hekate