Thursday, 3 May 2012

Origin of Witchcraft - Greek Hecate

 I had opened a big topic related to a reflection of a witchcraft in ancient Greek literature. Therefore, I would like to continue my thoughts on the subject of the first witch/wizard in the human's history. And I would like to descry ancient Greek mythology and Goddess Hecate and her relation to witchcraft.
Hecate is an ancient Goddess who is presented mostly as a triple formed Goddess: triple headed, triple bodied, six armed and six legged. I also found that  "earliest Greek depictions of Hecate are single-faced, not three formed" (wiki), and that her mystic nature was created later.
Ancient Hecate, 3rd century BCE
Goddess Hecate has associations  with a variety of phenomenon as fire, light, the Moon, crossroads, entrance ways, knowledge of potions and herbs, necromancy, sorcery, magic and witchcraft. Hecate also has a universal rule over the earth, sky and the sea, what might be reflected in her triple bodied figure.
Modern Hecate
Hecate's image as a witch can be treated as much valuable and powerful than any other. I must say that Hecate also figures in a myth about Jason and the Argonauts, discussed here in regard with Medea. Nevertheless, Hecate shall be considered as the source of witchcraft, probably it's origin, or the origin of belief in it.
In the Michael Strmiska's book "Modern paganism in world cultures" I found the lines about the origin of witchcraft and Hecate's cult, where the author says that Hecate conflated with Diana (Roman Goddess) was a protector of witches and sorcerers in their work and was most active at night. This then, in late antiquity and early medieval period, gave a ground for association of Hecate with witchcraft and night rituals.
According to Greek tradition Hecate can be called the first Goddess in humans history which used to have links with witchcraft and officially could be called as a Goddess of witches. However, in my opinion, we can't really know how she was treated by ancient Greeks and did they really worship this side of her deity. For that matter I also would like to know about the magic as a tool of mortal people in ancient Greece. How they used magic and how magic was treated that time.

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