|Goddess of Lagina: Hecate (DVD 19"31') 2006
This DVD explores the vestiges of the cult of the goddess Hecate revealed through archaeological excavations on the goddess’s cult site of Lagina in Western Anatolia, a trail that takes us back in time more than 3000 years.
Excavations of the sacred precincts in Lagina brought to light devotional statuettes of Hecate, a temple, a monumental gateway called “propylae”, a place of sacrifice and the Sacred Way, a ceremonial road connecting Lagina to the ancient city of Stratoniceia. Presently an annual “ Lagina Festival” is held in the township of Turgut where the site of ancient Lagina is located; Turgut was formerly called Leyna, a clear phonetic echo of Lagina.
While exploring Hecate’s traces in Lagina the DVD also combines the goddess’s place in Greek mythology with her roots in pagan rites, her place in Anatolian lore and the tradition of the “Mother Goddess”. Since 2006 this 19:16-minute DVD has been shown at all of the Lagina Festivals.
Hecate, Hekate (Hekátē), or Hekat was originally a goddess of the wilderness and childbirth originating from Thrace, or among the Carians of Anatolia . Popular cults venerating her as a mother goddess integrated her persona into Greek culture as Ἑκάτη. In Ptolemaic Alexandria she ultimately achieved her connotations as a goddess of sorcery and her role as the 'Queen of Ghosts', in which guise she was transmitted to post-Renaissance culture. Today she is often seen as a goddess of witchcraft and Wicca. She is also the equivalent of the Roman Trivia.
The earliest depictions of Hecate are single faced, not triplicate. Lewis Richard Farnell states:
Pausanias stated that Hecate was first depicted in triplicate by the sculptor Alkamenes in the Greek Classical period of the late 5th century. Some classical portrayals, such as the one illustrated below, show her as a triplicate goddess holding a torch, a key and a serpent. Others continue to depict her in singular form. In Egyptian-inspired Greek esoteric writings connected with Hermes Trismegistus, and in magical papyri of Late Antiquity she is described as having three heads: one dog, one serpent and one horse. Hecate's triplicity is expressed in a more Hellene fashion, with three bodies instead, where she is shown taking part in the battle with the Titans in the vast frieze of the great altar of Pergamum, now in Berlin. In the Argolid, near the shrine of the Dioscuri, the 2nd-century CE traveller Pausanias saw the temple of Hecate opposite the sanctuary of Eilethyia; "The image is a work of Scopas. This one is of stone, while the bronze images opposite, also of Hekate, were made respectively by Polycleitus and his brother Naucydes, son of Mothon. (Description of Greece ii.22.7)
A 4th c-entury BCE marble relief from Crannon in Thessaly was dedicated by a race-horse owner. It shows Hecate, with a hound beside her, placing a wreath on the head of a mare. This statue is in the British Museum, inventory number 816. Her attendant and animal representation is of a bitch, and the most common form of offering was to leave meat at a crossroads. Sometimes dogs themselves were sacrificed to her (a good indication of her non-Hellenic origin, as dogs along with donkeys, very rarely played this role in genuine Greek ritual).
In Argonautica, a third century BCE Alexandrian epic based on early materials, Jason placates Hecate in a ritual prescribed by Medea: bathed at midnight in a stream of flowing water, and dressed in dark robes, Jason is to dig a pit and offer a libation of honey and blood from the throat of a sheep, which was set on a pyre by the pit and wholly consumed as a holocaust, then retreat from the site without looking back (Argonautica, iii). All these elements betoken the rites owed to a chthonic deity.
Despite popular belief, Hecate was not originally a Greek goddess. She is unknown to Homer and in fact the earliest written references to her are in Hesiod's Theogony. The place of origin of her cult is uncertain, but it is thought  that she had popular cult followings in Thrace. Her most important sanctuary was Lagina, a theocratic city-state in which the goddess was served by euuchs . Lagina, where the famous temple of Hecate drew great festal assemblies every year, lay close to the originally Macednian colony of Straonikea . In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal points and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night-walking crone. Additionally, this led to her role of aiding women in childbirth and the raising of young men.
Hekate Altar in Lagina Turgut Mugla Turkey
There was a fane sacred to Hecate as well in the precincts of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, where the eunuch priests, megabyzi, officiated . Hesiod records that she was among the offspring of Gaia and Uranus, the Earth and Sky. In Theogony he ascribed to Hecate such wide-ranging and fundamental powers, that it is hard to resist seeing such a deity as a figuration of the Great Goddess, though as a good Olympian Hesiod ascribes her powers as the "gift" of Zeus:
Her gifts towards mankind are all-encompassing, Hesiod tells:
Hecate was carefully attended:
Hesiod emphasizes that Hecate was an only child, the daughter of Asteria, a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo. Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe the ancient Titaness who personified the moon. Hecate was a reappearance of Phoebe, a moon goddess herself, who appeared in the dark of the moon.
His inclusion and praise of Hecate in Theogony is troublesome for scholars in that he seems fulsomely to praise her attributes and responsibilities in the ancient cosmos even though she is both relatively minor and foreign. It is theorized  that Hesiod’s original village had a substantial Hecate following and that his inclusion of her in the Theogony was his own way to boost the home-goddess for unfamiliar hearers.
As her cult spread into areas of Greece it presented a conflict, as Hecate’s role was already filled by other more prominent gods in the Greek pantheon, above all by Artemis, and by more archaic figures, such as Nemesis.
There are two versions of Hecate that emerge in Greek myth. The lesser role integrates Hecate while not diminishing Artemis. In this version Hecate is a mortal priestess who is commonly associated with Iphigeneia and scorns and insults Artemis, eventually leading to her suicide. Artemis then adorns the dead body with jewelry and whispers for her spirit to rise and become her Hecate, and act similar to Nemesis as an avenging spirit, but solely for injured women. Such myths where a home god sponsors or ‘creates’ a foreign god were widespread in ancient cultures as a way of integrating foreign cults. Additionally, as Hecate’s cult grew, her figure was added to the myth of the birth of Zeus  as one of the midwives that hid the child, while Cronus consumed the deceiving rock handed to him by Gaia.
The second version helps to explain how Hecate gains the title of the "Queen of Ghosts" and her role as a goddess of sorcery. Similar to totems of Hermes—herms— placed at borders as a ward against danger, images of Hecate, as a liminal goddess, could also serve in such a protective role. It became common to place statues of the goddess at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association of keeping out evil spirits led to the belief that if offended Hecate could also let in evil spirits. Thus invocations to Hecate arose as her the supreme governess of the borders between the normal world and the spirit world .
Eventually, Hecate’s power resembled that of sorcery. Medea, who was a priestess of Hecate, used witchcraft in order to handle magic herbs and poisons with skill, and to be able to stay the course of rivers, or check the paths of the stars and the moon.
Implacable Hecate has been called "tender-hearted", a euphemism perhaps to emphasize her concern with the disappearance of Persephone, when she addressed Demeter with sweet words when the goddess was distressed.
Although she was never truly incorporated among the Olympian gods, the modern understanding of Hecate is derived from the syncretic Hellenistic culture of Alexandria. In the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the she-dog or bitch, and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs. She sustained a large following as a goddess of protection and childbirth. In late imagery she also has two ghostly dogs as servants by her side.
In modern times Hecate has become a prevalent figure in feminist-inspired Neopagan religions, and a version of Hecate has been appropriated by Wicca and other modern magic-practising traditions.
Relations in the Greek Pantheon
Hecate is a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess. The Greek sources do not offer a story of her parentage, beyond the Theogony, or of her relations in the Greek pantheon: Sometimes Hecate is a Titaness, daughter of Perses and Asteria, and a mighty helper and protector of mankind. Her continued presence was explained by asserting that, because she was the only Titan that aided Zeus in the battle of gods and Titans, she was not banished into the underworld realms after their defeat by the Olympians.
It is also told that she is the daughter of Demeter or Pheraia. Hecate, like Demeter, was a goddess of the earth and fertility. Sometimes she is called a daughter of Zeus.
Like many ancient mother or earth-goddesses she remains unmarried and has no regular consort. On the other side she is the mother of many monsters, such as Scylla.
Other names and epithets
Goddess of the crossroads
Hecate had a special role at three-way crossroads, where the Greeks set poles with masks of each of her heads facing different directions
The crossroad aspect of Hecate stems from her original sphere as a goddess of the wilderness and untamed areas. This led to sacrifice in order for safe travel into these areas. This role is similar to lesser Hermes, that is, a god of liminal points or boundaries.
Hecate is the Greek version of Trivia "the three ways" in Roman mythology. Eligius in the 7th century CE reminded his recently converted flock in Flanders "No Christian should make or render any devotion to the gods of the trivium, where three roads meet, to the fanes or the rocks, or springs or groves or corners", acts the Druids often did. see Hectite: 
Goddess of sorcery
The goddess of sorcery or magic is Hecate's most common modern title. Hecate was the goddess who appeared most often in magical texts such as the Greek Magical Papyri and curse tablets, along with Hermes.
Traditionally, Hecate is represented as carrying torches, very often has a knife, and may appear holding a rope, a key, a phial, flowers, or a pomegranate.
The torch is presumably a symbol of the light that illuminates the darkness, as the Greeks secured Hecate in her role as the bringer of wisdom. Her knife represents her role as midwife in cutting the umbilical cord (possibly symbolized by the rope), as well as severing the link between the body and spirit at death. The key is significant to Hecate's role as gatekeeper, being the one who could open the doors to sacred knowledge. The Orphic Hymns list her as the "keybearing Queen of the entire Cosmos." The pomegranate was seen by the Ancient Greeks as the fruit of the underworld, though it was also used as a love-gift between Greek men and women. This may be because a pomegranate was eaten by Persephone, binding her to the underworld and to Hades.
In the so-called "Chaldean Oracles" that were edited in Alexandria, she was also associated with a serpentine maze around a spiral, known as Hecate's wheel (the "Strophalos of Hecate", verse 194 of Isaac Preston Cory's 1836 translation). The symbolism referred to the serpent's power of rebirth, to the labyrinth of knowledge through which Hecate could lead mankind, and to the flame of life itself: "The life-producing bosom of Hecate, that Living Flame which clothes itself in Matter to manifest Existence" (verse 55 of Cory's translation of the Chaldean Oracles).
The she-dog is the animal most commonly associated with Hecate. She was sometimes called the 'Black she-dog' and black dogs were once sacrificed to her in purification rituals. At Colophon in Thrace, Hecate might be manifest as a dog. The sound of barking dogs was the first sign of her approach in Greek and Roman literature. The frog, significantly a creature that can cross between two elements, is also sacred to Hecate. As a triple goddess, she sometimes appears with three heads-one each of a dog, horse, and bear or of dog, serpent and lion.
During the Medieval period in western Europe, Hecate was reverenced by witches who adopted parts of her mythos as their goddess of sorcery. Because Hecate had already been much maligned by the late Roman period, Christians of the era found it easy to vilify her image. Thus were all her creatures also considered "creatures of darkness"; however, the history of creatures such as ravens, night-owls, snakes, scorpions, asses, bats, horses, bears, and lions as her creatures is not always a dark and frightening one. (Rabinowitz)
Plants and herbs
The yew, cypress, hazel, black poplar, cedar, and willow are all sacred to Hecate.
The leaves of the black poplar are dark on one side and light on the other, symbolizing the boundary between the worlds. The yew has long been associated with the Underworld.
The yew has strong associations with death as well as rebirth. A poison prepared from the seeds was used on arrows, and yew wood was commonly used to make bows and dagger hilts. The potion in Hecate's cauldron contains 'slips of yew'. Yew berries carry Hecate's power, and can bring wisdom or death. The seeds are highly poisonous, but the fleshy, coral-colored 'berry' surrounding it is not. If prepared correctly, the berry can cause visual hallucinations (Ratsch).
Many other herbs and plants are associated with Hecate, including garlic, almonds, lavender, thyme, myrrh, mugwort, cardamon, mint, dandelion, hellebore, and lesser celandine. Several poisons and hallucinogens are linked to Hecate, including belladonna, hemlock, mandrake, aconite (known as hecateis), and opium poppy. Many of Hecate's plants were those that can be used shamanistically to achieve varyings states of consciousness.
Wild areas, forests, borders, city walls and doorways, crossroads, and graveyards are all associated with Hecate.
It is often stated that the moon is sacred to Hecate. This is argued against by Farnell (1896, p.4):
However in the magical papyri of Greco-Roman Egypt there survive several hymns which identify Hecate with Selene and the moon, extolling her as supreme Goddess, mother of the gods. In this form, as a threefold goddess, Hecate continues to have followers in some neopagan religions.
Hecate was worshipped by both the Greeks and the Romans who had their own festivals dedicated to her. According to Ruickbie (2004:19) the Greeks observed two days sacred to Hecate, one on the 13th of August and one on the 30th of November, whilst the Romans observed the 29th of every month as her sacred day.
The figure of Hecate can often be associated with the figure of Isis in Egyptian myth, mainly due to her role as sorceress. In Hebrew myth she is often compared to the figure of Lilith and the Whore of Babylon in later Christian tradition. Both were symbols of liminal points, and Lilith also has a role in sorcery. Some scholars ultimately compare her to the Virgin Mary.
Before she became associated with Greek mythology, she had many similarities with Artemis (wilderness, and watching over wedding ceremonies) and Hera (child rearing and the protection of young men or heroes, and watching over wedding ceremonies).
Hecate in literature
Hecate is a character in William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, which was first played circa 1605; she is represented as a goddess or demon who commands the three witches. There is some evidence to suggest that the character and the scenes or portions thereof in which she appears (Act III, Scene v, and a portion of Act IV, Scene i) were not written by Shakespeare, but was added during a revision by Thomas Middleton, who used material from his own play The Witch, which was produced in 1615. Most modern texts of Macbeth indicate the interpolations.
Hecate was used by William Blake in a number of his paintings and poems.
Hecate in modern magic
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In modern times, Hecate has become popular in Neopaganism and Wicca, largely due to her association as the goddess of sorcery. Hecate can take numerous roles. As a goddess of magic, she not seen as exclusively benevolent, and her bestowal of favor is often seen as fickle. Punishments meted out to those who displease her are held to include inflicting madness in some cases, or sickness, posioning, and disease in others. However Hecate is not primarily malevolent, and to those in her favor she is thought to grant boons, including relief from pain, ease in childbirth, and the curing of disease and physical ailments.
Worship of Hecate can take many forms. In some cases animal sacrifices have been alleged. Most modern pagans actively discourage the practice of animal sacrifice. Common forms of worship include prostration, chanting adoration for Hecate, fasting, the collecting of lanterns, the burning of oils and incense, and the burning of bread and other foods as sacrifices.
Some groups worship Artemis instead due to Hecate's supposedly fickle nature and lack of benevolence. Other gods commonly worshipped by such groups are Theia and Hyperion. Some Neopagans worship Artemis, Selene and Hecate as a kind of trinity, representing maiden (Artemis), mother (Selene) and crone (Hecate), and also the various phases of the moon (crescent, full and new, respectively).
In some modern pagan beliefs, wild animals are sacred to Hecate. However, creatures of darkness — such as ravens, owls, and snakes — are most commonly used. Dragons are also included, as Hecate and her legendary priestess Medea were both said to ride chariots pulled by dragons. Several images of Hecate show her holding a snake. Snakes have long been connected with chthonic powers and the powers of life, death, and rebirth (see Serpent).
Queen of ghosts
Queen of Ghosts is a title associated with Hecate due to the belief that she can both prevent harm from leaving, but also allow harm to enter from the spirit world. Hecate thus has a role and special power in graveyards and at crossroads. She guards the "ways and paths that cross". Her association with graveyards also played a large part in the idea of Hecate as a lunar goddess.
Note: Most of the documents taken from Wikipedia.