Merry Meet All,
Samhain is here. The dark time of year casts its’ shadow. The last of the harvest is gleaned from the fields and frost glistens on ripe pumpkins. It is the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. Samhain is the Witches’ New Year and the time of the crone.
Hekate is a crone goddess. The crone is one of the triple aspects of maiden, mother and crone. The crone is the elder wise one who is relied on for her knowledge, wisdom and healing. Hekate is associated with the moon, cronehood and the underworld. Hekate is a guardian of the three-way crossroads. She is portrayed as bearing the keys to the underworld, joined by a three-headed dog and surrounded by lit torches. She is associated with ghosts, the dark moon and magic. Animals that are sacred to her are black cats, ravens, owls and wolves. Hekate can be invoked on November 30, the night of the crossroads, or on October 31.
The cauldron, or womb of the dark goddess is a vessel of rebirth and renewal into another life. The cauldron is symbolic of our deep collective unconscious. Hekate is equated with Persephone, queen of the Underworld. She was an attendant of Persephone. Hekate was a goddess of childbirth and watched over young women in their maiden phase of life.
Those who worship goddesses of a lighter aspect overlook Hekate. Only to do that is to deny the third phase of the goddess: the crone. The crone is not as revered as she once was. It is common to tease an older woman as a hag woman or crone. Its’ true meaning has faded from peoples’ memories. We have lost much of our traditions and lore.
I perceive Hekate as a protective goddess. She is fearless and strong. I participated in a ritual in a coven where we invoked her. The ritual was fun and energetic. We held hands as we danced in circle and chanted her name. It was a memorable ritual.
Many witches like to honor the spirits of their ancestors at Samhain. This ritual can be performed on a dark moon or a full moon night. Since Samhain is a Sabbat of death, Hekate guards the door to the spirit world. A ritual to honor the crone goddess and our ancestors is shown below.
Before the ritual, prepare yourself by physically cleaning and purifying your sacred space. Wash the dishes and sweep the floors, put the laundry away and file away any paper. Clutter can affect your ritual. Remove the negative stale chi from your living space by smudging it with sage. Have a meditation bath to purify and prepare you for the ritual. Add soothing essential oils such as lavender and frankincense and salts to your bath. Assemble your altar ahead of time.
Decorate your altar with items that correspond to Samhain such as chrysanthemums, mugwort, pomegranates, pumpkins and skulls. Your altar cloth can be black and orange. Light black and orange candles and burn spicy cinnamon, clove, rosemary and allspice incense. Place pictures of departed loved ones on your altar.
Begin the ritual with a meditation. Cast the circle according to your tradition and call the quarters. It is optional to invoke the horned god though the crone ritual is designed for the goddess.
Light the quarter candles and reflect on what you want to achieve during the ritual. Ask what you seek and nothing more. Leave an offering of seeds, herbs and grains or flowers. Display a sincerely reverent attitude. She will favor you if you show respect for her aspect.
Say aloud: “Hekate, goddess of death and renewal, on this Samhain eve, I do honor you, goddess of cronehood, the moon and the underworld. I implore you to hear my call. I need your guidance as I reach for spiritual growth.” State what you request whether that be a positive change in your life, a transition from a bad situation to a positive one or protection.
Light the candle and put it near the offering bowl. Say: “I offer this flame to light our ancestors’ paths.” Dip the cake into the ale and put it near the offering bowl. Say: “I offer this food and drink to our ancestors tonight. May this food sustain you. Blessed Be.”
Be open to the messages that you may receive. Leave the offering outdoors for the spirits and wildlife. Complete the ritual and close the circle. Tidy up the altar area. Let the candles burn down. Cast your incense ashes and candle stubs outdoors. Remember to ground yourself after the ritual with cakes and ale. Imagine you are a tree and you are pushing your roots down into the cold earth.
It is a tradition to setup a dumb plate for those who have passed. Set a plate with utensils on a plate. Prepare a meal from your harvest and offer some to your chosen deity first. Enjoy the meal with cider or wine. Ask for blessings on the harvest and to guard your family from dark spirits on Samhain Eve. Carve a pumpkin and set it at a window to ward off the dark spirits. Light a white candle at the window to guide the spirits of the departed. Roast some pumpkin seeds.
The crone goddess Hekate may appear to you during a meditation or in your dreams. Heed your dreams and insights when she shows herself to you. May her blessings grace you in life.