Hecate’s Night is a festival celebrated annually on November 16th by Witches.
The holiday honors the Greek goddess Hecate, who is the patron goddess of witchcraft and magic. Hecate’s night can be traced back to the ancient Roman festival of Parentalia, which was a time to honor one’s ancestors.
Modern Pagans have adopted this holiday and made it their own by adding elements of magic and witchcraft.
Hecate is a complicated woman associated with light and darkness, crossroads, and communicating with the dead. She is smart and powerful.
For good reason the pagan scholars of old interpreted her name as Hekatera, meaning “Both” in Greek.
Greek mythology provides conflicting answers to the question of her origins, but the most common answer is that she is the daughter of an obscure Titan called Perses, “the Destroyer.”
It wasn’t by birthright but because Zeus paid special honor to her that she became a co-ruler of the three realms: the sky along with Zeus, the sea with Poseidon, and the earth and underworld with Hades.
Since her power extends to all things, it’s always good to invoke her, no matter who else you pray to and what you are praying for.
Hecate’s threefold rulership is often symbolized by portraying her as a goddess with three bodies—or in other words, as three goddesses.
As the moon goddess Selene, with the power of birth, she rules above the earth, on the earth, she is Artemis, who preserves life while, below the earth, she holds sway as Persephone, the bride of Hades, and controls death.
How can you celebrate this night?
There are many ways to celebrate Hecate’s night. Some people choose to make offerings to the goddess, while others take this opportunity to cast spells or perform rituals.
Many Pagans also use this holiday as a time to reflect on their own personal spiritual journey.
You can, for example, make an offering to Hecate, something as simple as a candle or some food left out for her animals. Because these offerings were supposedly often removed and eaten by the poor, some Hellenic Polytheists now take it as an occasion to give to the homeless instead of making a food offering in the strict sense. That’s something you might also consider.
Moreover, take some time for reflection.
Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, or spend some time meditating on your goals for the future.
But you can also perform a spell or ritual: this is a great opportunity to try something new or to work on manifesting your desires!
And don’t forget to connect with other Hecate Witches. Spend time with like-minded people and exchange ideas and knowledge.
Are you a Kitchen Witch or interested in herbal remedies? Hecate is the goddess for you!
She is also associated with plant knowledge, herbal medicine, as well as poisons from plants.
She is sometimes depicted with oak branches in her hair and the yew was said to be sacred to her.
Several herbs are associated with the goddess.
For example, aconite is referred to as hecateis.
It is also known as wolfs-bane is a poisonous plant, historically placed on the tips of arrows to kill prey and humans in war.
But also belladonna, in the nightshade family just like tomatoes and eggplants. The berries are extremely toxic and cause hallucinations. Folklore says that witches have used belladonna to anoint their brooms so that they could fly.
Dittany is another herb associated with Hecate. Used frequently in love spells it’s felt to be an aphrodisiac, but It is also reputed to heal wounds.
Of course, beliefs are different, and modern pagans have developed an understanding of Hecate that is in some ways different and even contrary to the ancient tradition.
She is still particularly associated with death, but not only because she has power over it, but also as a representation of the stage of life that is closest to death.
Either way Hecate’s night is a special holiday for witches all over the world, and there are many ways to celebrate, so find what works best for you and enjoy!
Images from web – Google Research