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The Many Faces of Hecate

This page is devoted to the many epithets (adjectives, titles, names of other
deities) associated with Hecate, the Greek goddess of magic and witchcraft. Most
of these titles are taken from actual spells to Selene, the goddess of the disk
of the Moon, since most spells to Hecate were performed either at the Full Moon
, or at the New Moon.
Hecate was a goddess of the Underworld, closely associated with Persephone, and
thus Persephone is one of her epithets. Hecate is called "Persephone" when the p
etitioner is calling on those powers over earth, sky and water which Zeus bestow
ed upon her, probably after the battle of the Olympian Gods with the Giants (Hec
ate took the side of Zeus and the other Olympians). "Brimo", meaning "power", is
another epithet of similar purpose.
Other denizens of the Underworld were associated with Hecate also, such as the F
uries (Erinys as a group), and specifically the Furies named Allekto and
Megara. Allekto is mentioned (Claudian, THE RAPE OF PERSEPHONE, p. 315) as
having harnessed the horses of Hades (Pluto) to the chariot he took to seize
Persephone. Hecate is frequently associated with horses, so this epithet,
Allekto, might be a lucky one for a gambling spell to win at the racetrack.
Megara is also depicted by Claudian (FIRST BOOK AGAINST RUFINUS, lines 118 to
220)as being winged and girdled by a black snake. Snakes are symbolic of the
underworld, as well as health, prophecy and healing. This epithet, Megara, is
favored for spells of self-defense. Nothing works as well as sending the Furies
against an enemy.
This is one of the two references I have found comparing Hecate with Artemis:
"...in Arcadia we find ARtemis associated with both Demeter and her daughter,
and she enjoyed an altar in common with the Despoinae in the Altis of Ollympia.
The serpents which she bore in hr hand are the emblem of the earth goddesses and
give to ARtemis something of the character of Hekate in the Akakesian cult;" (L
ewis Farnell, Cults of the Greek City States, V. 4, p.456). The other is that bo
th Artemis and Hekate are called Agrotera, from the 5th century battle in which
both are given credit for aiding the Greeks against the Persians. The crescent M
oon that later appeared on Greek coins of Athena and her owl refers to these two
goddesses and that victory.
This is a difficult epithet for most people to understand, but Aphrodite
Chthonia was worshipped at Delphi was "Aphrodite on the tomb", who helped the
dead to receive libations. AT Argos she was called the goddess of graves. This r
efers probably to the fact that she was a goddess of war as well as love, and th
e wages of war are usually death. For the most part, however, this epithet, "Aph
rodite", when applied to Hecate is used for love and attraction spells.