Introducing Hecate Einalian
The Titanness Hecate has powers over the earth and sky, which she inherited from Gaia and Ouranos respectively. But her oceanic powers are inherited from her paternal grandmother Eurybia, daughter of Pontus (who was the primordial god of the sea). Figure 1 shows Hecate’s immediate family, but also other water deities and creatures.
Figure 1: The Oceanic Family Tree (Atsma, 2000-2017 & Graves, 1992)
The earliest reference to Hecate’s oceanic side is seen in Hesiod’s Theogeny (Evelyn-White, tr. 1914) where she keeps her powers after the Titan versus Gods War:
“. . . the son of Cronos [Zeus] did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods. But she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege in both earth and in heaven and in the sea.”
We also start to gain an understanding of what exactly she can do with these powers:
“. . . and to those whose business is the in the gray discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch and easily she gives it away. . .”
Einalian means of the sea, but Hecate does have other oceanic epithets. Krataiis means of the rocks and is said to be Scylla’s mother. But depending on the literature source, Krataiis could be referring to Ceto or Hecate (Atsma, 2000-2017). It appears that to a degree Ceto and Hecate could be syncretised. Given that Ceto is known as the matriarch of monsters, the epithet Krataiis takes on a darker meaning. Hecate Krataiis could thus be referring to her darker oceanic aspects. She does after all have a dark aspect to her, so it stands to reason that she might have it in the seas as well. She also has the epithet Bythios meaning of the deep (Neheti-Croft, Unknown). This fits Hecate quite well as she is a goddess of liminal spaces, but also her more earthly aspects (Chthonia) as indeed Limenitikos, which means of the harbour. So, while we may approach Hecate from her Einalian epithet, what we find is an oceanic titanness encompassing all depths of the ocean. But also transcending the very boundaries of the watery world.
Just like any other one of her epithets, Hecate Einalian (or Krataiis etc.) appears exactly how she wants to. Be that with legs, a mermaid’s tail, or tentacles. She can take on aspects of what you may think she will look like. An important thing to stress here is that how she appears is extremely personal between you and Hecate (as with any other epithet).
For me personally, I envision her as a mermaid, and I even commissioned Mima Cornish to paint my vision of her (Figure 2). Having said that, in any visualisation or dream I have had of her, she never had a mermaid’s tail. To get a different idea of what she might look like, check out Mima’s guided visualisation on Hecate Einalian below (provided under resources).
Figure 2: Commissioned by Hazel, produced by Mima Cornish
For some, a mermaids’ tail might seem a logical choice, or it might not. But what is interesting is when we look at oceanic deities, not all have tails. Some of the gods and male deities do have tails, such as Poseidon or Proteus. But the Naiads and the Nereids all have legs, as vase images continuously show (Atsma, 2000-2017). This makes sense considering the liaisons between Naiads/Nereids and human men. In fact, the only mermaid within this pantheon is Thoosa, Scylla’s sister, and of course their parentage (which can include Hecate) depends on the literary source.
Figure 3: Images by Sara Neheti Croft
Symbols and Associations
While Hecate does have very specific symbols and associations, she can often have a lot more attributed to her. She is after all everything! It is quite common on discussion threads for someone to ask about an association between Hecate and an animal that might not be listed as a specific association. What this means for Hecate Einalian is that anything oceanic (or even remotely watery) will be associated with Hecate Einalian if that is what she brings to you: all animals, shells, locations, or even man-made marine objects (nets or boats). Having said that, there a few things to note. Firstly, the moon is a significant symbol- it affects tides and all marine life. Secondly, any animal that lives in caverns/depths or by rocks could be linked to Bythios or Krataiis respectively. It is notable that the Ancient Greeks saw the ocean as the liminal space between the world of the living and the Underworld. So, anything of the dark depths could be seen as “closer” to the Underworld. Thirdly, red mullet is significant: it is given as an offering, which you can read about here (Mullet [Fish]). Finally, don’t underestimate the symbolism of seashells. Very early on, I had a dream where upon swimming in the dark depths of a lake some mermaids gave me an underwater torch in the form of the tower shell. This is what Hecate Einalian is holding in my painting (Figure 2).
Figure 4: Images by Perseo Dymantos
Hecate has been partnered and syncretised with a range of other deities. But she will also bring deities to a devotee as she sees fit, and this is definitely the case with Hecate Einalian. Poseidon is one such deity that she brought to me. I discuss their relationship in this article Hecate and Poseidon. Poseidon is honoured on the 8th day after the new moon, so for the CoH I created a Day 8 ritual honouring both him and Hecate Einalian. If you feel connected to both deities, but you are not part of the CoH, you can still develop your own ritual. However, Hecate can bring other deities of the sea. She brought Amphitrite to me, and I have heard of Hecate bringing Yemaja to others. The possibilities are endless, and with them, you can always establish your own days of the month to honour Hecate Einalian alongside other deities that come to you.
Figure 5: Image by Cris Tetrakys
Hecate Einalian takes on all the watery aspects and whatever else comes with it. This includes emotions, the feminine side, sexuality, dreams, creation, life and death. Other associations of water include autumn/fall, the direction of the West, dusk, and the colours blue and green. Its elementals are undines, and the suit of cups is closely aligned with water.
When Hecate Einalian comes to you, she is primarily asking you to explore your emotions.
“The magical axiom of Water is To Dare which we must do if we are to control our emotions and not let them run away with us, like a tidal wave. We must also dare to push the boundaries of our learning and our experience, another important step on any magickal path.” D’Este & Rankine, 2008
“Working with the element of Water helps you to concentrate on harmonising your emotional being. Water can help you to both enhance positive states like compassion, serenity and nurturing, as well as transforming negative states like deceit, jealousy, spite and treachery. Water can also help you focus on your subtle senses, developing your empathy and psychism, and working with your dreams.” D’Este & Rankine, 2008
Various bodies of water can also symbolise different aspects of our emotions, and it is always worth looking into that if Hecate asks you to. But Einalian means of the sea, which means she is directing you towards analysing your deeper emotions and developing your emotional intelligence (EI).
Figure 6: Hecate’s Reach by Robert Podmore
If you want to start exploring Hecate Einalian, the best thing to do is to read and start researching whatever symbol she brought to you. If she brings an animal to you, then explore animal spirits. Below the references is a list of articles, and work created by others who have worked with or been inspired by her. Having said that, here are some other ways to get started. If you are part of the CoH, a good place to start would be Unit 7- Oceanic/Hecate Einalian. Once you start to form a connection, you can add some oceanic elements to your altar, or even start an oceanic altar.
The ocean itself can be seen as a realm full of emotions; including the whole breadth of emotional experiences. But the tide is where water meets earth, so here there is a balance of emotions (water) and logic (earth). As a liminal place between the two, the beach is the perfect place to start, especially if you are worried about where your emotions take you. Start to ask yourself some questions: Do you want to stay here on the beach? Or do you choose to go in? How do you feel about this beach? Is it nighttime or daytime? Does the time of day evoke specific feelings?
As you wade out deeper, the balance shifts. You move away from the stabilising earth, and by swimming out further, you are giving into your emotions (positive or negative). Ask yourself, how does that make you feel? Are you scared of your emotions? You can no longer put your feet on the sea floor so you lose that sense of grounding. Instead you are swimming, only pulled by the waves of the sea. You are now at the mercy of your own emotions. If it is positive, the sea can be calm and serene. If negative, the waves will crash over and pull you under, and the more you go deeper, the less control you have. For me, swimming with a mermaid tail represents gaining acceptance of what you can’t control emotionally; letting the emotions wash over, but never consuming you. But what about you? Are you swimming with legs? Can you breathe underwater? Or are you in a boat? And does it have oars?
As you go further out, think about the depths of the ocean. The surface is what we show to the world, and the moon and sun can illuminate it to varying degrees. It is what we want people to see. The surface also links emotions with thoughts (air). How does your thoughts affect your emotions, and vice versa? The dark depths, however are what we are hiding, particularly our negative emotions. Sometimes we need to show these negative emotions (anger at an injustice for example to obtain justice). But how do yours come out? Do they rise up to the surface where you instantly show them, like crashing waves? Or do you suppress it and let them sink downwards? Also, how do you feel being out at sea at nighttime? Do you not like swimming in the dark sea? Why? What are you afraid of? What creatures would you be most afraid of? What if someone gave you your own version of an underwater torch? Torches illuminate darkness as the symbolism of Phosphorus is a powerful one. So, investigate this symbolism if one comes to you.
As you answer these questions, you can start to develop your relationship with the ocean, its creatures and Hecate Einalian. I wrote up one of my earlier experiences with Hecate Einalian, and with it a visualisation you can use to go further. You can find it on page 23, Issue 3 of Askei Kataskei (free download). On the CoH website which is available to all are a selection of hymns to Hecate Einalian- Invocations to Oceanic Hecate, which you can incorporate into your own practice.
Figure 7: Image by Shay Skepevski
EI is the capacity to understand your emotions and to use that awareness to manage your behaviour and improve your relationships. Developing EI requires analysis and objectivity. That’s because you need to learn about yourself and develop a strong sense of self-awareness. In order to manage your behaviour when confronted with a strong emotion, you need to know you are experiencing a strong emotion, how you react to it, and how you should react. You need to be able to analyse yourself, and Hecate as a Goddess of transformation is perfect for this type of exercise. It’s because of this that the ego has no place in EI development; you need to be able to admit completely and honestly your flaws, and any uncomfortable feelings to yourself.
EI is built upon the premise that all emotions serve a purpose. We need to banish the concept that we’ve been conditioned with that emotions are either bad or good. Suppressing negative emotions will only result in strengthening it and delaying the consequences, which risks damaging relationships. However, we can’t always aim to be in a good mood. Ultimately, having a good EI is not about ignoring/not acting on bad emotions (or even acting on good emotions), it’s about knowing WHEN and HOW to act on certain emotions for the benefit of all.
There are four key skills in EI:
1) Self- awareness: This is about an individual understanding themselves and what triggers them to react emotionally.
2) Self- management: This is about using that self- awareness to manage how the individual reacts to varying circumstances.
3) Social awareness: This is the ability to pick up on other people’s emotions.
4) Relationship management: This is the ability to use self-awareness and social awareness to manage interactions successfully.
Having an undeveloped EI does not look the same for everyone, and it isn’t one of these things that once you finish it, the work is done. Managing your EI and relationships takes constant work! But by accepting Hecate Einalian into your life, you make your emotional development a part of your life. For those within the CoH, there is a specifically designed unit/ course on developing your emotional intelligence and merging your magickal practice with it: Unit 14- Emotional Intelligence and Oceanic Course. For those not in the CoH, I recommend starting with Goleman (1996), and Bradberry and Greaves (2009).
Figure 8: Created by Cyndi Brannen, Keeping Her Keys
You may connect with mermaids for a variety of reasons. You can work with them as spiritual beings (Cavendish and Conneley, 2011), but you can also become one as I did! Mermaiding (as it is known) is a hobby, a way of life and it can even be a career! Some may come to it from a point of spirituality as I have. While others come to it for a bit of fun, or even through oceanic conservation. Becoming a mermaid/merman means initially undergoing freedive training to become AIDA qualified. I did mine through Apneists UK. I recommend searching for local organisations via AIDA International. Most will offer a variety of courses, and sometimes, they can offer specific mermaid courses, just as Apneists UK do (Mermaid Course). People will then buy their own fins, then a monofin and eventually a tail. From that, people will work on their mersona (mermaid persona) by establishing their ‘look’. I have developed mine from the Ancient Greek nymphs. For me, becoming a mermaid is a way of honouring Hecate Einalian, and as I write this article, I am still in the early days of my mermaid development.
There are others who have been mermaiding for years, and the current UK community has a large number of merfolk. We connect on a social media group, and there are a handful of well-known mermaids too that get into the media. There is a Merfolk Convention in the UK annually, you can hire a mermaid for parties (Hire A Mermaid), and there is an international Mermaid Pageant. If you live in the USA, then the Mermaid Magazine (below) provides a wealth of information.
Ultimately, the path of Hecate Einalian has led me down an oceanic adventure. It has literally led me to find love, develop my emotional intelligence, improve my relationships, and discover a new hobby, all at the same time as developing my oceanic spirituality. The important thing to remember on this path is that it is an emotional one- you should be doing what feels right for you alone! Use your emotions and Hecate Einalian to guide you. If you have chosen this path, or even if Hecate Einalian has come to you, you are in for a treat! So, dive in and enjoy the ride.
Figure 9: Produced by Hazel
Atsma, A.J., 2000-2017. The Theoi Project. Available from: http://www.theoi.com/
Bradberry, T. and Greaves, J. 2009. Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Talent Smart, USA.
Brannen, C. 2018. Using Hekate’s Many Epithets, Patheos. Available from: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/keepingherkeys/2018/01/using-hekates-many-epithets/ [Accessed 17 June 2020]
Cavendish, L. and Conneeley, S. 2011. Mermaid Magic. Blessed Bee, Australia
D’Este, S. & Rankine, D. 2008. Practical Elemental Magick. Avalonia Books
Evelyn-White, H.G., tr. 1914 The Theogeny of Hesiod. From: Hare, J.B 1999 Internet Sacred Text Archive. Available from: http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/hesiod/theogony.htm [Accessed: 2 July 2010]
Goleman, D. 1996. Emotional Intelligence. London Bloomsbury
Graves, R. 1992. The Greek Myths- Complete Edition. Penguin Books, London.
Neheti- Croft (Unknown) Nehetisings for Hekate: Epithets- Bythios. Tumblr Post. Available from: https://nehetisingsforhekate.tumblr.com/post/168256828936/epithets-bythios#:~:text=Hekate%20has%20numerous%20epithets%20that%20relate%20her%20to,Bythios%20isn%E2%80%99t%20widely%20used%2C%20nor%20explored%20by%20scholars. [Accessed 17 June 2020).
ON HECATE EINALIAN
Cyndi Brannen of Keeping Her Keys:
CoH member Bekah Evie Bel: Oceanic- Day 8 of My Sacred Month
Tina Georgitis who runs the Hecate’s Crossroads FB Page writes about Hecate and the Sea in her column in The Alternative Spirit (paywall).
Alexander, S (2012) Mermaids: The Myths, Legends, and Lore. Adams Media, USA
Huggens, K. (ed.) (2009) From a Drop of Water. Avalonia, London.
Sullivan, T. 2006. Elemental Witch. Llewellyn Publications
You can access the back issues of Mermaid and Mythology magazine which is no longer active here: Mermaid magazine.
General articles on Patheos: