Sunday, January 30, 2011
Book Review: Hekate, Liminal Rites
This fascinating book on Hekate really gives the reader a clear look into her ancient rituals and worship. Every facet from the offerings, the hymns and all associated with her is included in this book. What I found most interesting was her role in the Eleusinian Mysteries, when the story of Demeter and Persephone are celebrated. There are also many variations of this great Goddess, being that of animal or being associated with other similar Goddesses.
Hekate was thought to have originated somewhere in the Middle East, and many associate her with the Goddess Cybele. Which would make sense, since her most famous temple at Lagina, is situated in Southwestern Turkey. She was known to have a connection with lions and dogs, both of which come to us from Middle Eastern views.(Which might explain all the dreams about lions I've been having lately!) In the book, the authors say that the fact that dogs were sacrificed to her, is evidence of her non-Greek origins. As dog sacrifice was done only for foreign Gods who became part of the Greek pantheon. It is hard to imagine animal sacrifice in this day and age, but unfortunately in our ancient world, it was quite common. Something else that I learned about offerings and sacrifice in this book, was that the type of sacrifice made was dependent on the type of magic or ritual being performed. Positive magic used offerings of herbs and resins, and malevolent magic consisted of more animal based.
The book also states that this Goddess has many associations with other Goddesses. For example Artemis and Selene. Both being Moon Goddesses, Hekate is associated with them both. The connection to Artemis was quite close, being also that they are cousins. People would pray to both of them as a fusion of one Goddess. To quote a line from a hymn in the book : " We pray; and that Artemis-Hekate watch over the childbed of their women." Clearly they were worshiping two Goddesses in the form of one. Some of her other associations to Goddesses were that of Isis, Bona Dea and Ereschigal.
You will also learn all the different types of magic she is associated with. Like dream magic, necromancy, death magic and defixiones. She was quite popular in the magic realm of the ancient world. Also her herb associations were some of the most powerful and magical herbs used, such as mandrake, aconite, mugwort and oak.
This is a great reference book for this Goddess, and it is something I will refer back to often. It covers pretty much everything you need to know about ritual with this Goddess, and much more. I highly recommend this book for anyone on the path of Hekate!
You can get a copy at Amazon.com: Hekate Liminal Rites
Posted by Tara at 10:39 AM