Baring the Aegis: Hellenismos
Hellenismos, otherwise known as Greek Reconstructionist Paganism, is the traditional, polytheistic religion of ancient Greece, reconstructed in and adapted to the modern world. It's a vibrant religion which can draw on a surprising amount of ancient sources. Baring the Aegis blogger Elani Temperance blogs about her experiences within this Tradition.
Hekate is extremely important to me in my household worship. Like some of the early ancient Hellenes, I view Hekate as Hesiod's Hekate, the single-faced Titan, who rules in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea. She is a Theia of childbirth--to both animals and humans--and it is She who bestows wealth on mortals, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle. Yet, if mortals do not deserve Her gifts, she can withhold them from them just as easily. After the Titanomachy, Zeus bestowed upon Her the highest of honors. This is the Goddess I honor daily during my nighttime rites, but I do integrate some later practices and thoughts about Her; including Her role as protector of the house and 'crossroad Goddess'.
Personally, when I hear 'crossroad Goddess', I think Supernatural's crossroad's demon. I think it's exactly this modern view of supernatural forces at crossroads that makes it difficult to understand Hekate's role as a Goddess of crossroads. I therefor don't use the tem 'crossroad Goddess', because it is somewhat deceiving; Her imagery would have stood at crossroads, and offerings were left there for safe travel, but the crossroads Hekate was most valued for protecting was the crossroads leading from the street to the home; a 'T'-shaped crossroads where Hekate ever vigilantly watches over the threshold.
In this incarnation, She is a Goddess of purification, expiation, and protection, associated with thresholds and gates, both reaching back to the Underworld association. This view of Her dates back to about the fifth century BC, where Hesiod's views date back to about the seventh century BC. I wrote about the development of views on Hekate in this blog post about Her, and She has been worshipped in many ways throughout the ages.
As Cara Schulz so eloquently puts it in her talk about Hekate, Hekate guards the home from forces outside of it--both from natural and supernatural forces. Ancient Hellenic (especially Athenian) homes were walled off to create a courtyard; the only entrance to the home was a single door, and a single threshold. This was where Hekate's influence was felt. As such, Her influence is stationary; where Apollon and Hermes' protection extends to journeying and travels. Her worship is more domestic, at least for me.
There were statues of Hekate placed at three-way crossroads not leading to homes; these served the same purpose as 'threshold statuary', though; protection and purification. Much later, Christian, sources, warn followers away from 'placing devilish charms at springs or trees or crossroads' to alleviate illness.
In modern household worship, Hekate's role is generally considered as an averter of evil; a protector who keeps misfortune, illness, danger, and bad luck away from the oikos. This is why She often shares shrine space with Hermes and Apollon, near the entrance to the home, or at the crossroads from the street to the driveway; a crossroads, indeed, but very different than some might imagine.
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