It is possible that the idea of a lamp originates from the use of fire, which can be seen from the archaeological record as being regularly used by 350,000 years before present. Around the 7th century BC, the Greeks began making terra cotta lamps to replace handheld torches. The word lamp is derived from the Greek word lampas meaning torch.

Hekate had a retinue, the Lampades (or Lampads). They were the torch- bearing chthonian Nymphs of the Underworld, companions of the Goddess Hekate. They, like Hekate, were associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries where the celebrants carried torches during the nocturnal mystery rites.

Some say there are many kinds of Nymphai, eg. Naides and Lampades and Thyiades . . . Lampades those who carry torches and lights with Hekate.” by Alcman, Greek Lyricist of the C7th B.C., fragment 63 (reference 67).

Her titles of Hekate Dadouchos (torch-bearer), Hekate Phosphoros (light-bringer/light- bearer), and Hekate Purphoros (fire-bringer) further connect her with the lamp or lamps in the many forms they represent. The lamp is symbolic as well as actual; it being the guiding light of Hekate, the twin torches, the lamp that was placed at the crossroads to light a wayfarers choice of passage, or if you were lucky, Hekate would be holding the lamp for you as you approached the crossroads.

The lamp is the dawning or awakening to the information Hekate has guided us to by taking us through the dark to emerge into the light mentally, emotionally, metaphysically, psychologically and physically.


67 Campbell, D. A. trans. 1988. Greek Lyrical Poetry Volume II: Anacreon, Anacreontea, Choral Lyric from Olympus to Alcman. Loeb Classical Library. USA: Harvard University Press.

The Symbols of the Goddess Hekate
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