Hecate was a goddess in Greek Mythology. Her name was derived from the Greek word hekatos which means “worker from afar”. She is often displayed holding 2 torches or a key. It is believed that Hecate represented witchcraft, magic and ghosts. She was often placed at the entrance of homes to help protect against the evil forces of the world.
Hecate’s powers to protect were passed on from Titan parents Perses and Asteria and covered the heavens, earth and sea. According to Hesiod’s Theogony, the Titans were the first Greek gods born of earth and the heavens. Hecate was an only child and was worshiped in households of Athens where families hoped to receive protection, prosperity and daily blessings.
Athenian Greeks used the evening meal, known as Deipnon, to honor Hecate. They believed that by praising the goddess, the restless dead would be soothed and not deliver vengeance on the family. Further, the home would be blessed and any wrong-doing by family members would be forgiven and the household purified.
Later periods show statues of Hecate in three-fold having 3 separate bodies and faces. It is unclear why this change took place. Some speculate that it represents the full moon, half moon, and new moon. Historian Robert Graves notes that the heads could be distinctive of a dog, lion and horse, representing the constellations which cover the calendar year.
Writings throughout the centuries have woven different tales about Hecate and her role as a goddess. The various statues have also raised questions as to her duties. One sculpture depicts Hecate with a friendly dog and another with heads of a cow, dog, boar, serpent or horse. While some scholars attribute these displays as holding a dark side to Hecate, most myths associate her with a protective nature toward humans.
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