Hekate & Helios (Hekate Liminal Rites)

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

Helios was also associated with Hekate in various tales. With Hekate, Helios was the only other god to be aware of Persephone’s abduction in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. The two were also inked in a hymn fragment from the lost fifth century BCE play The Root-Cutters, by the Greek tragedian Sophocles:

O Lord Helios and Sacred Fire
The spear of Hekate of the Crossroads
Which she bears as she travels Olympus
And dwells in the triple ways of the holy land
She who is crowned with oak-leaves
And the coils of wild serpents. [1]

Helios was the most commonly invoked god in the Greek Magical Papyri (sometimes syncretised with Apollo), as Hekate was the most commonly invoked goddess. Helios and Hekate are also both given in different sources as the parents to the sorceresses Circe and Medea, though not at the same time. In one account Helios was the grandfather of Hekate, who was the mother of the two sorceresses:

“We are told that Helios had two sons, Aeetes and Perses, Aeetes being the king of Kolkhis and the other king of the Tauric Khersonese, … Perses had a daughter Hekate … she married Aeetes and bore two daughters, Circe and Medea, and a son Aigialeus.”[2]

When Medea swears her oath in the Argonautica she also links Helios and Hekate:

“I swear by Helios’ sacred light and by the secret rites of Perses’ night-wandering daughter [Hekate].”[3]


[1] The Root-Cutters, Sophocles, C5th BCE, trans. Z. Yardley.

[2] Library of History, Diodorus Siculus, C1st BCE, trans. Oldfather.

[3] Argonautica 4.1018, Apollonius Rhodius, C3rd CE, trans. R.C. Seaton.


Further reading:
Hekate Liminal Rites, Sorita d’Este & David Rankine (Avalonia, 2009)
Hekate Her Sacred Fires, various contributors, edited by Sorita d’Este (Avalonia, 2010)