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.

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Hekate's crossroads

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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Elani Temperance is a twenty-seven year old woman, who lives with her partner in The Netherlands. She has been Pagan for a little over twelve years and has explored Neo-Wicca, Technopaganism, Hedge Witchery and Eclectic Religious Witchcraft before progressing to Hellenismos. Although her home practice is fully Hellenic, she has an online Neo-Pagan magazine called 'Little Witch magazine' (www.littlewitchmagazine.com) in which she and several co-writers try to cover the whole gamut of Neo-Paganism. Baring the Aegis is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BaringTheAegis

Comments

  • Jamie
    Jamie Sunday, 04 August 2013

    Praise be to Hekate!

    As a Platonist, I honor Her as the World Soul.

    Home is a haven from an uncertain and sometimes dangerous world beyond. I give thanks to Her for keeping the troubles away from our doorstep, as you say.

  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance Wednesday, 07 August 2013

    i am happy we both honor Her in our own way! Khaire Hekate!

  • Tannim Wolfkin
    Tannim Wolfkin Tuesday, 06 August 2013

    Hail,

    My wife and I are starting to work with Hekate especially on the New Moon. Are there any books or other resources that you could suggest to help get us started? Thank you for your help and may you ever Walk In Peace.

  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance Wednesday, 07 August 2013

    Khaire Tannim,

    It's wonderful to hear you and your wife feel called to worship Hekate. I would suggest watching this video of a chat session with Hellenist Cara Schulz, where she speaks to witches (I think) about the ancient thoughts on Hekate. She includes a lot of wonderful things about the Goddess and Her cult in ancient Hellas, and the relevance of Her worship today. It's about an hour's worth of video material, but it is all worth it. There are also some links to more information about Hekate and Her worship at the end of this link.

    Good luck, and I would love to hear how you are getting on in a while.

    http://baringtheaegis.blogspot.nl/2013/07/cara-schulz-on-hekate-and-basics-of.html

    Gods bless,

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