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HECATE - ÆKÁTI - ΕΚΑΤΗ
Advocate of the Virtuous
FOTO credit: rob koopman from Leiderdorp, Netherlands

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Generalities Concerning Ækáti 

Ækáti - (Hecate or Hekate; Gr. Ἑκάτη, ΕΚΑΤΗ: "far-shooting" or "she who has far-shooting power"
Pronounced: ĕ-KAH-tee. 

Ækáti is the daughter of Astæría (Asteria; Gr. Ἀστερία) and Pǽrsis (Perses; Gr. Πέρσης). [1] She is the mighty Goddess who is our greatest advocate in the pursuit of arætí (arete; Gr. ἀρετή), genuine virtue:

"And she (ed. Astæría) conceived (ed. with Pǽrsisand bare Hecate (ed. Ækátiwhom Zeus (ed. Zefs) the son of Cronos (ed. Krónos) honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless Gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls upon Hecate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the Goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Earth (ed. Yaia) and Ouranos (ed. Ouranós) [2] amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Cronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan Gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the Goddess receives not less honour, but much more still, for Zeus honours her. Whom she will, she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the Goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the Goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker (ed. Poseidóhn), easily the glorious Goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes (ed. Ærmís) to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother's only child, she is honoured amongst all the deathless Gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honours." [3]


Ækáti is associated with the Ælefsínia Mystíria 

Ækáti is associated with the mythology of Ælefsís (Eleusis; Gr. Ἐλευσίς). Ækáti and Ílios (Helios; Ἥλιος) were the only witnesses to the abduction of Pærsæphóni (Persephone; Gr. Περσεφόνη). Feeling tremendous pity for the despairing Dimítir (Demeter; Gr. Δημήτηρ), Ækáti assisted her in her search for Pærsæphóni with flaming torches.  After Pærsæphóni was reunited with her mother, Ækáti is now the great attendant of the Kóri (Core; Gr. Κόρη).


Ækáti is a great Goddess of Light, yet she is associated with the Night

In some ancient literature and in the beliefs of some contemporary polytheistic communities, Ækáti is a "dark" Goddess and a type of witch. This is a complete misunderstanding and a great sacrilege. Like all Gods and Goddesses, Ækáti is a being of immense light. There is nothing but enlightenment in this Goddess. If this is so, then why is Ækáti called Nyktǽria (Gr. Νυκτέρια), an epithet meaning "of the night?" It is because, like the great Goddess NyxÆkáti operates in areas that are generally unknown to mortals and inaccessible to the rational mind, hence they are hidden from us as though concealed by night. And it must be kept in mind that Ækáti is the daughter of Astæría, the starry one, and Pǽrsis, who is also connected with the stars and fire; therefore, even though her parents are connected with the night, they are of the stars, celestial bodies which give light, but which can only be perceived in darkness. One of Ækáti's epithets is phohsphóros (phosphorus; Gr. φωσφόρος), an epithet meaning "bringing light." Ækáti has hidden means to give help, but particularly when we cannot see our way through difficult problems.


Ækáti is the Queen of Mayeia

Ækáti is the great Goddess of mayeia (mageia; Gr. μᾰγεία). She has intimate knowledge of and control of the natural world and is capable of using this power to great ability in order to assist worthy mortals. This mayeia, or magic, does not defy natural laws but is, by its very nature, only available to highly evolved beings who are so in harmony with the Natural Laws that they reflect its power and can employ it, souls such as the genuine Iærophántis (Hierophant; Gr. Ίεροφάντης) at the Ælefsínia Mystíria and Gods. Such mayeia is exercised only for the benefit of the virtuous when in need. When someone uses mayeia for personal benefit, for self-serving ends, this is what is called black magic. It is believed that when the formal Mystíria (Mysteria or Musteria; Gr. Μυστήρια) were shut down with the decree of Thæodósios I (Theodosius; Gr. Θεοδόσιος) in 379 CE forbidding the ancient cults, that the true mayeia was lost and that the only mayeia that remains in the hands of mortals is the black magic, that used for selfish purposes. The genuine Ællinismόs  (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός) is devoid of the practice of black magic and condemns it. Ækáti is not confined by the decrees of Thæodósios I, and is, therefore, capable of using the genuine mayeia for those who pray to her.


Ækáti nurtures the Virtuous

Ækáti is the mighty advocate of the virtuous who holds our hands while we pray, delivering them to the Agathós Daimohn
(Gr. Ἀγαθὸς Δαίμων) whose supplications are heard by the Olympian Gods. Why does Ækáti use the Agathós Daimohn to deliver our prayers to the Gods? Why does she not deliver them herself or, for that matter, why should there be an intermediate at all? Ækáti does this for its efficacy, because the Agathós Daimohn is a soul of great beauty who has given up a life to protect us. It is not at all unlike the familiar saying, "There is nothing more powerful than a mother's prayer." For the Gods cannot ignore the noble pleading of the Agathós Daimohn.

When a person decides to commit to a life of virtue, the Gods take notice, as though their eyes open wide; and they move close to us and give help, for they know that this is a difficult road and they find such an endeavor beautiful. Ækáti is particularly interested in the souls of those who embark on this pursuit. She assists the suppliant and works alongside Athiná (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ) who, according to the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony (See The Fifth King), is virtue itself.


The Orphic Hymn to Ækáti

Please follow this link to a page which includes the ancient Greek text of the Orphic Hymn to Ækáti, the translation into English by Thomas Taylor, a transliteration for easy pronunciation, as well as a complete breakdown of the hymn, word by word. The hymn is a great vehicle to help those who worship to understand the mighty Goddess: The Orphic Hymn to Ækáti



THE MANY NAMES OF ÆKÁTI
Please visit this page: The Epithets of Ækáti



The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.



NOTES TO THE ESSAY ON ÆKÁTI:


[1] Ἀπολλόδωρος Βιβλιοθήκη I.II.4, trans. J. G. Frazer in Apollodorus: The Library Vol. 1, Loeb LCL 121, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA and London, England), 1921; we are using the 1990 edition where this quotation can be found on p. 13:

"...to Perses and Asteria was born Hecate..."

This is also confirmed in Ἡσίοδος Θεογονία 411.

[2] H. G. Evelyn-White translates this as "Earth and Ocean" but this is a mistake as the ancient text uses the word Οὐρανοῖ. This can be verified by comparing other translations and copies of the ancient text. Therefore, it should read "Earth and Ouranós."

[3] Ἡσίοδος Θεογονία 411-452, trans. by H. G. Evelyn-White, in the book entitled Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, pp. 109-113, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA) and William Heinemann LTD (London England), Loeb Classical Library, 1914. We are using the 1936 edition.



The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes.  While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result.  The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level.  Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of HellenicGods.org by the external sources from which they were obtained.

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