As a Goddess-centric Witch, I am always looking for new ways to connect with the myriad of global goddesses. Even though I know that I can have powerful relationships with different goddesses from the comfort of my home, I’ve also got a bit of a travel bug, so when I am wandering in new places, I try to hold myself open to spiritual experience and divine intervention. Sometimes, though, I only realize how magical the experience was after the fact. I'll be exploring these different experiences and goddesses on this blog.

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Shakespeare's Goddess

The sky is dappled with constellations, and the pillars holding it up could be marble.  My first look inside the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theater in London took my breath away, but my second look made me laugh.  Just like the illusion he created in his plays, the Bard’s theater is a cleverly crafted visual game.  The bejeweled sky is the brightly decorated roof over the stage, and the pillars of marble are actually painted wood.

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I’ve been obsessed with Shakespeare ever since I read my first of his plays, THE TEMPEST, with my mom when I was young.  The stories of romance, betrayal, and magic captivated me, but one in particular springs to mind on this crisp Halloween night.

I still remember the chill that raced down my spine the first time I read the witches’ opening lines in MACBETH.  Although there’s some debate about their presence in the play (a few scholars argue that the witches, and Hecate, are later additions, added after Shakespeare’s time), their origin doesn’t matter.  Reading MACBETH  was my first encounter with the dark goddess Hecate, and I wish I could have seen her manifest in the Globe.

b2ap3_thumbnail_the-globe.jpgThe theater is open to the elements, although the wooden seats are protected under a roof of thatch, a close approximation to what it must have looked like in Shakespeare’s time.  Even in the watery winter sunlight, it’s an imposing structure, and it’s easy to feel the brush of history there.  How many ghosts, fairies, and gods haunt those boards?

Shakespeare’s Hecate is a shadow figure; the goddess of witches doesn’t appear very much in the play, but she eggs the three witches on, ultimately spinning the web of Macbeth’s destruction.  The goddess’s origins are murky, at best, and the witchy version Shakespeare presented in his famous Scottish play has become one of the most known guises of this triple goddess, but it is not the only one.

As I mention in my forthcoming book, GODDESS SPELLS FOR BUSY GIRLS, Hecate is the lady of the crossroads, a liminal goddess of thresholds, journeys, and changes.  In Greco-Roman myth, she is the only deity willing to defy Zeus to help Demeter in her search for her daughter, and it is Hecate who then accompanies Persephone to and fro the Underworld each year.  Although she helps Macbeth destroy himself, under the right circumstances, this goddess can be a powerful force for protection.

Personally, I think Hecate must enjoy the way the Bard penned her; she isn’t a warm and fuzzy goddess, and she’s certainly still powerful, especially at this time of year when the nights are long and the veil is thin.  Perhaps she even watched as the fake sky shook with the thunder machine on the night of the first performance of Macbeth, perched atop the thatched roof.

 

To learn more about the history of the Globe, visit this site: http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/about-us/history-of-the-globe/rebuilding-the-globe

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Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”). She is a poet, a novelist, and a goddess-centric witch with a love of all things magical. Her first nonfiction book, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls: Get Rich, Get Happy, Get Lucky, is out now from Weiser Books. A Michigander by birth, Jen now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t writing, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Comments

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Thursday, 31 October 2013

    Love it! Hecate is one of my wife's favorites, and we were both professional actors 'way back in the 20th century. I spent 3 years in the early 70's as a company member with the Canadian Shakespeare Festival. We're hoping to get back to England some day; did you get to experience the Goddess energies at Glastonbury Tor?

  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel Friday, 01 November 2013

    Thank you! Did you perform at Stratford, CA? One of my favorite places on earth!

    Sadly, my only trip to England so far was very short, and I didn't get the chance to experience Glastonbury. I hope to go back someday, though!

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Friday, 01 November 2013

    Yes, I was an actor with the main stage company in 1971, 1972 and 1973, including a winter tour with the company to Poland and Russia - what was then the USSR. My stage name then was Theodore Britton. Good times and bad; seems like a past life memory. But I've always loved Shakespeare.

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