Many years ago, from some long forgotten source, I read that the goddess Hecate's sacred festival was celebrated on January 31. Although I have never been able to find the source or corroborate this information (Stewart and Janet Farrar's classic “The Witches' Goddess” mentions August 13 for her annual festival as well as the night of the Full moon), I have celebrated this feast every year, in preparation for Imbolc and as an entry into the coldest (but not darkest) part of the Winter.

My experience of Hecate is as a seasonal Goddess. I sense her presence in October, as the frost bitten garden finally dies back, as the light deepens into honey and amber, in the first tantalizing days of Hallowstide, the first days of the thinning Veil. She is present in the Descent, and in the Underworld, and in the solemn, silent movements of our beloved dead. She is present in the rapidly darkening year, and she helps to midwife in the promise of the sacred Child, reborn as the Sun at the Winter Solstice.

She is also there as we sift out the events of the past year and divine out clues for the next one.


In the cold and dark of the Wolf Moon, we find ourselves still in the dark and the still and the quiet. Sometimes the lure of what's going on outside my nest is tempting, but in general, long Winter nights are tailor-made for reflection, meditation, for sinking into ourselves and finding answers in the stillness. Hecate is present with all of this self-inquiry. For many traditions, February 2, Imbolc, is the time of dedication, of making magickal commitment and setting forth on the year's work. It is also a tie when we can start to see signs of change: the Sun is brighter and lingers with us later in the day, the snow recedes a little bit. There are so many hints about the work of the year and so many hints about the impending Spring, On Hecate's feast, I pour libations of ale and barley, and sing her Hymn, and feel the power of the dark and cold, and find the light that will lead me into the brighter part of the year.