Working with Hekate is a big part of my practice. She is polymorphous and comprehensive, rules crossroads and gateways, and guides lost souls through the underworld. One could hardly ask for a more qualified psychopomp; she is the ideal patroness for the magically inclined.
The only issue I’ve ever encountered working with the dark goddess is that there is very little credible material to start from, and let’s face it, we chaos magicians are used to borrowing someone else’s tech, rather than starting from scratch on our own.
Why start from scratch anyway if you can find good spells, or even fragments of spells, which have survived the test of time? A spell is just some words and ritualized actions until the key ingredient is supplied: intention. What makes a spell “credible” is twofold; historical context and repeated use in magical workings. And, when hacking together spells to Graeco-Egyptian goddesses from historical (ancient) sources, one can hardly do better than the PGM (Greek Magical Papyri).
There’s just something about the PGM…
It’s dense, bizarre, and challenging to navigate or make sense of (to say the least) but there is something alluring about its free form, contradictory, and fluid nature. There is no spirit list, no contact protocols, and absolutely no structure to its contents at all. Spells mix deities and call upon spirits of multi-cultural and questionable heritage. Barbarous words blend with Hebrew god names. Archangels and Greek goddesses are invoked in the same breath. Divine beings are threatened boldly and every form of good and evil is on the menu, with no thought to blinds or moral caution. It is a fascinating set of documents -a tiny, but revealing, cross-section of authentic, ancient magical practice.
Within this labyrinthian collection of Graeco-Egyptian magic there are a number of spells which are obviously directed at a destructive Greek lunar goddess, though not typically by name. She is variously called Maid, Mistress, Darkness, Kore (Persephone), Lydian (where the goddess Artemis originates), ruler of Tartaros (where the titans are imprisoned), and Mother of men, among many, many other epithets.
These arguably Hekatean spells are often long invocations extolling her polymorphous qualities and powers, both heavenly and horrifying. They represent perhaps the highest quality, most authentically magical material on the goddess which is available to us today, though admittedly the PGM comes to us from relatively late antiquity compared to Hekate’s own much, much older origins. We work with what we have…
My daily practice includes a recitation of the “Prayer To Selene For Any Spell” (which is quite obviously an invocation of Hekate) and I like its odd rhythms and paradoxical nature. It is a long invocation expressing her celestial (heavenly) qualities and her terrifying chthonic nature all at once. This is excellent for daily attunement and for spell work but I needed to use something more focused on her destructive potential for my current project, consecrating a new ritual blade to her service.
Hekate’s many arms hold a variety of symbolic objects: a key, a jug, a knife, torches, and so on. Her key and knife, in particular, are particularly useful metaphors in magic.
In an upcoming magical working I intend to pierce a set of documents with a (consecrated) knife to create a hole where I can insert a (consecrated) key to “unlock” the stuck situation the documents represent. I have a very cool, old key which I have used in ritual before (to great success) but my ritual blade didn’t make the move to Mexico with us last year, so I needed a new knife.
Pretty much any tool that gets used in a ritual should be cleansed and consecrated before landing on your altar. It’s just good praxis. And any gear which will be solely dedicated to working with a specific deity, especially in long-term situations, should be consecrated by/to that deity.
To consecrate my sweet new ritual knife to the dark goddess I needed something more appropriate to her grandeur than an off-the-cuff prayer in the moonlight, so I thumbed through my copy of the PGM in search of just the right spell.
I landed on a dense piece of work called the “Document To The Waning Moon”, which, of course, is perfect for working with Hekate (who rules the New Moon).
This spell features all the PGM favorites: obtuse mythic references, shockingly abusive supplication, rambling a-rhythmic verse, confusing god-blending invocations, and unpronounceable barbarous words. It just has everything.
In its unadulterated state, which is to say from the translation, it is unusable in a modern magical context. I don’t know about you but I will not be threatening or insulting the dark goddess; I know better than to talk back to Mother. It’s also a bit long and certain parts of it drifted their (rambling) focus away from the vibe I was looking for, so I liberally modified (plagiarized) it into a new spell for my purposes.
It was so good, however, that I decided I had to share it with all of you, so here’s a slightly used (road tested) Consecration (Of A Knife) To Hekate. It should go without saying that you could easily modify this for use with any ritual implement. This ritual should be performed under a waning Moon, as close to the New Moon as possible.
Consecration (Of A Knife) To Hekate
Hail, Holy Light, Ruler of Tartaros, who strikes with rays;
Hail, Holy Beam, who whirls up out of darkness
And subverts all things with aimless plans.
I’ll call and may you hear my holy words
Since awesome Destiny is ever subject to you.
Thrice-bound goddess, set free yourself.
Come, stand beside me,
For Klotho will spin out her threads for you.
Ascend, O blessed one, and remember your supplicant
As I call upon thy mighty sword-armed fist
And before you prepare to strike, O god in maiden form.
Take this blade I offer now as your own
Because I know your light in full detail,
And I am your priest of good offices,
Your minister and fellow witness, Maid.
What must take place, this you cannot escape.
You will, hastily, consecrate this blade as your own.
I now adjure you by this potent night,
In which your light is last to fade away,
In which a dog opens, closes not, its mouth,
In which the bar of Tartaros is opened,
In which forth rages Kerberos,
Armed with a thunderbolt, move yourself, Mene,
Who need the solar nure, guard of the dead,
You I implore, Maid, by your stranger beams,
You I implore, O cunning, lofty, swift,
O crested one, who carries blades, valiant,
Healer, with forethought, far-famed, goading one,
Swift-footed, brave, crimson, Darkness, Brimo,
Immortal, heedful, Persian, pastoral,
Alcyone, gold-crowned, the elder goddess,
Shining, sea-goddess, ghostly, beautiful,
The one who shows, skiff-holder, aiming well,
Self-gendered, wearing headband, vigorous,
Leader of hosts, O goddess of Dodona,
Of Ida, before with sorrows fresh, wolf-formed,
Denounced as infamous, destructive, quick,
Grim-eyed shrill-screaming, Thasian, Mene,
O Nethennost one, beam-embracer, savior,
World-wide, dog-shaped, spinner of Fate, all-giver,
Long-lasting, glorious, helper, queen, bright,
Wide-aimer, vigorous, holy, benign,
Immortal, shrill-voiced, glossy-locked, in bloom,
Divine, with golden face, delighting men,
Minoan, goddess of childbirth, Theban,
Long-suffering, astute, malevolent.
With rays for hair, shooter of arrows, maid;
I truly know that you are full of guile
And are deliverer from fear; as Hermes,
The Elder, chief of all magicians, I
Am Isis’ father.
Hear: EŌ PHORBA BRIMŌ SACHMI NEBOUTO SOUALĒTH.
For I have hidden this magic symbol
Of yours, your sandal, and possess your key.
I opened the bars of Kerberos, the guard of Tartaros,
And premature night I plunged in darkness.
I whirl the wheel for you; the cymbals I don’t touch.
Gaze at yourself: Lo! As you see yourself,
You’ll wonder at the mirror, love charm of the Nile’s goddess,
Until you cast the dark light from your eyes.
What you must do, this you must not escape.
You will, hastily, do this task for me,
Mare, Kore, dragoness, lamp, lightning flash,
Star, lion, she-wolf, AĒŌ ĒĒ.
Answer my petition, O Maid, ruler of Tartaros.
To Hermes, leader of the gods,
You promised to contribute to this rite.
Aye, in my power I hold you.
Hear, you who watch and are watched.
I look at you, you look at me.
Then, too, I’ll speak the sign to you:
Bronze sandal of her who rules Tartaros,
Her key, blade, iron wheel, black dog,
Her thrice-locked door, her burning hearth, her shadow,
Depth, fire, the governess of Tartaros,
Consecrate this blade as your own,
Kore, I know your good and great
Majestic names, by which heaven is illumined,
And earth drinks dew and is pregnant;
From these the universe increases and declines;
EUPHORBA PHORBA PHORBOREOU PHORBA PHORBOR PHORBOR PHORBOR BORBORPHA ĒRPHOR PHORBAIŌ PHORROR PHORBOR BOROPH PHORPHOR BOR PHORBOR AŌ IŌĒ PHORRORPHOR EUPHOR BOPHOR EUOIEŌ PHŌTH IŌPHŌTH IŌPHŌTH PHŌTHIŌPH AŌŌŌTHŌ ŌAI IŌ EŌŌIŌ HAHAHA EE ĒĒ IOYY ŌŌŌ OYYY AEĒIOUŌ YYY
mistress, Hekate, who sits beside Lord Helios, the god who lights the way, consecrate this blade as your own that it may be able to pierce through the heavens, the earth and the underworld with your full power and authority.
IO Hekate! IO Hekate! IO Hekate!
The amazing Hekate image at the top was created by my extremely talented friend Alex aka Chthonic Bacchae.