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Generalities Concerning Ækátî

Ækátî - (Hecate, Ἑκάτη: "far-shooting" or "she who has far-shooting power." Pronounced: ĕ-KAH-tee.)

Ækátî is the daughter of Astæría (Asteria, Ἀστερία) and Pǽrsîs (Persês, Πέρσης). [1] She is the mighty Goddess who is our greatest advocate in the pursuit of arætí (arete, ἀρετή), genuine virtue:

"And she (Ἀστερία) conceived (with Πέρσης) and bare Hecate (Ἑκάτη) whom Zeus (Ζεὺς) the son of Cronos (Κρόνος) 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 (Γαῖα) and Ouranos (Οὐρανός) [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 (Ποσειδῶν), 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 (Ἑρμῆς) 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]

Ækátî is associated with the Ælefsínia Mystíria

Ækátî is associated with the mythology of Ælefsís (Eleusis, Ἐλευσίς). Ækátî and Ílios (Helios the Sun, Ἥλιος) were the only witnesses to the abduction of Pærsæphónî (Persephonê, Περσεφόνη). Feeling tremendous pity for the despairing Dîmítîr (Dêmêtêr, Δημήτηρ), Ækátî assisted her in her search for Pærsæphónî with flaming torches.  After Pærsæphónî was reunited with her mother, Ækátî is now the great attendant of the Kórî (Core, Κόρη). For all these reasons and more, she is intimately connected with the Mystíria (Mysteries, Μυστήρια)

Ækátî 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, Ækátî is a "dark" Goddess and a type of witch. This is a complete misunderstanding and a great sacrilege. Like all Gods and Goddesses, Ækátî is a being of immense light. There is nothing but light in this Goddess. If this is so, then why is Ækátî called Nyktǽria (Nykteria, Νυκτέρια), an epithet meaning "of the night?" It is because, like the great Goddess Nyx (Νύξ), Ækátî operates in an area that is irrational and inaccessible to mortals, hence it is hidden from us as though concealed by night. Ækátî is the daughter of Astæría (Asteria, Ἀστερία), the starry one, and Pǽrsîs (Persês, Πέρσης), 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 Ækátî's epithets is phôsphóros (phôsphorus, φωσφόρος), an epithet meaning "bringing light." Ækátî has hidden means to give help, particularly when we cannot see our way through difficult problems. Her name means, "she who works from afar."

Ækátî is the Queen of Mayeia

Ækátî is the great Goddess of mayeia (mageia, μαγεία). She has intimate knowledge and control of the natural world and is capable of using this power to great ability in order to assist mortals. This mayeia, or magic, is far removed from what we ordinarily mean by the word. It does not defy natural laws and does not exist in a super-natural realm. It cannot be learned from books; rather, it is only available to highly evolved beings who are one with nature and can exercise its power. These are Gods, and also the souls on the cusp of deification, only. Such mayeia is exercised purely for selfless and benevolent ends. The other kind of magic is different.

Ækátî nurtures the Virtuous

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

When a person decides to commit to a life of virtue, the Gods take notice, as though their eyes open wide. They move close to us and give help, for they know that this is a difficult road and they find such an endeavor beautiful. Ækátî is particularly interested in the souls of those who embark on this pursuit. She assists the suppliant and works alongside Athîná (Athêna, Ἀθηνᾶ) who, according to the Orphic theogony, is virtue itself [4].


[1] Βιβλιοθήκη Ἀπολλοδώρου I.II.4, J. G. Frazer numbering. Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 411.

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

[3] Θεογονία Ἡσιόδου 411-452, trans. by H. G. Evelyn-White, 1914.

[4] Otto Kern Orphic Fragment 175: 

Ἀρετῆς τ' ὄνομ' ἐσθλὸν κλήιζεται 

“She (Ἀθηνᾶ) is celebrated by the good name of Virtue.” 

(trans. by the author)

The Orphic Hymn to Ækáti

The Epithets of Ækáti

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Theogony.

Much of what we know comes from fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern

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.

How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods

This logo 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, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase (Γῆς παῖς εἰμί καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος) 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, κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, 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 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.

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