Sisters of the Burning Branch Goddess Gallery Presents...

Goddess of the Crossroads
Queen of the Witches

by DragonWolfe

When I was first introduced to Hecate, I saw her as no more than a scary old hag standing guard over the crossroads. Finding myself at a crossroads in my own life, I decided to investigate her further. Much to my surprise, she turned out to be much more.

Hecate’s origins date back to Asia Minor, what is now known as South-West Turkey.  Although today we associate Hecate with the Crone, ancient Greek artists portrayed her as a young and beautiful maiden holding two torches.  In this version she was called the Running Maiden as seen in the picture above.

As daughter of Titan Gods, Perses and Asteria, we see where some of Hecate’s attributes come from.  Perses, her father had dog like features and was associated with the Underworld and destruction.  Whereas, Asteria, her mother, ruled over astrology, visions and oracles.

Hecate was the original Holy Trinity for Greek, Egyptian and Celtic cultures.  As such; she held sway over heaven, earth and the underworld as maiden, matron and crone consecutively.  Her symbols during this time were her torch, the serpent of immortality and the knife of midwifery.

As with all ancient goddesses, Hecate changed forms with the times.  Her incarnation during the Hellenistic and Roman times was that of Hecate Trivia.  In this triple form she was portrayed with three bodies and sometimes three heads.  This was when Hecate first stood guard over the crossroads and was seen holding various symbols.  Since she had three faces, it gave Hecate the ability to see in three directions at once; the past, present and future.

The common myth during this period was that Demeter learned from Hecate that her daughter Persephone had been abducted by Hades, Lord of the Underworld.  Hecate talks Hades into allowing Persephone to come home for two thirds of the year.  The other third of the year she is to remain in the Underworld as Hades’ Queen.  Thereafter, Hecate accompanies Persephone on her yearly journey.  Demeter is devastated by the loss of her daughter during these times and causes the earth to be barren until Persephone’s return, thus the birth of the seasons.

It was during the Middle Ages that Hecate became known as the Queen of Witches.  At this point in time, the Catholic authorities, feeling threatened by the herbal practicing pagans, transformed Hecate into a ugly old hag, stating that she lead covens of witches in her evil practices.   Hecate’s followers were considered to have great power as a result of their knowledge of plants, especially poisonous ones.  It is said that Hecate made wolf-bane from the foam from Kerberus, the three headed dog’s mouth.

So when you are filled with indecision and find yourself standing at a crossroad in your life, desperately looking for the key to your situation; call on Hecate and let her torch banish the darkness and light your way.

Some of the things associated with Hecate are as follows:

Symbols - torches, keys, the dark moon, crossroads, the knife of midwifery
Animals - three-headed animals, dogs, horses, black ewe lambs, owls, bats, snakes, boars
Plants/Foods - willow, yew, belladonna, mugwort, honey, currant cakes
Colors - black, orange, yellow, red
Stones and minerals - gold, moonstone, any stone that is dark and luminous

Hecate Ritual

This ritual is to remove the bonds of an oppressive relationship.  Since this is a banishing ritual it should be performed during a waning or dark moon.


A black candle for Hecate
Candles to represent the four directions
Rosemary and sage
Any type of cord

This is a simple ritual.  Feel free to add anything else that you associate with Hecate to your altar.

Cast your circle.
Sprinkle the loose herbs on your altar
Call in the directions, starting in the East, lighting directional candles as you do.
Call in Hecate and light the black candle.
Take a few minutes to center yourself and focus on your intent.
Chant the following until you feel the energy build:

Oh Great Mother, I call to thee,
Release the tethers, that binds him to me.
My lessons learned, set my soul free,
Grant me a new life , filled with love for me.

Then take the scissors and cut the cord

To harm no one, my way shall be.
Now as I will it, so mote it be!

Thank Hecate and dismiss her.
Extinguish the black candle.
Dismiss and thank the directions, extinguishing the candles as you do
Open the circle



Hekate Keys to the Crossroads  edited by Sorita D’Este

A special thanks to Sister Firefly. She offered me a wealth of information and inspiration!

This page is the intellectual and creative property of DragonWolfe

August  2009