Hecate (Εκάτη in Ancient Greek) was the greek goddess of magic, crossroads, sorcery, trivial knowledge, and witchcraft. She is also variously depicted as goddess of the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants and fire. She has rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. Her Roman counterpart is Trivia.
She was the only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria. Hecate may have originated among the Carians of Anatolia, where variants of her name are found as names given to children. William Berg observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens."
Hecate was originally a Thracian, and pre-Olympian Greek goddess, and ruled over the realms of earth and fertility rituals. As a goddess of childbirth, she was often invoked for rites of puberty, and in some cases watched over maidens who were beginning to menstruate. Eventually, Hecate evolved to become a goddess of magic and sorcery. She was venerated as a mother goddess, and during the Ptolemaic period in Alexandria was elevated to her position as goddess of ghosts and the spirit world.
Hecate had little organized worship as she was more commonly found on the outskirts of the old myths than playing an active part in it. However, Hecate did play a major role in the abduction of Persephone. After her daughter's abduction, it was Hecate who told the frantic Demeter what had become of her daughter. After the dispute between her mother and husband was settled, Hecate became Persephone's confidante when she was in the Underworld. Thankful for their friendship, Hades honored Hecate as an prominent and permanent guest in the Underworld.
Hecate is a powerful goddess representing the aspects of the Triple Goddess: goddess of fertility and plenty; goddess of the moon; and goddess of the night and the underworld, which led to her evolving as the patroness of magic and Witchcraft. She mixed fertility with death to be used as earth power. She has been called supreme, both in heaven and hell. It is believed that even Zeus called on her whenever he wished to grant something to someone. Hecate is portrayed as the most powerful - who could give aplenty or destroy totally. She is said to have the power to bestow on or withhold from mortals any gifts she chose. All the secret powers of Nature were at her command. She had control over birth, life, and death. Because of her power in the three areas of nature, heaven and earth she was represented as a triple form.
She is most known as an underworld goddess; the Goddess of the Dark of the Moon, the nights that there is no moon and the world above is as dark as the world below. She was the overseer of the world of the dead. At night she travelled roaming the earth accompanied by her dogs, Hermes, and dead souls. Some say she sent demons from the lower world at night and that she causes nightmares and insanity, and was called "the Nameless One."
Hecate was looked upon as a goddess of fertility, whose torch was carried over freshly sown fields to symbolize the fertilizing power of moonlight. In women's agricultural mysteries her trinity took form as Kore the green corn, Persephone the ripe ear, and Hecate the harvested corn. She is closely associated as a Goddess of Midwives and pregnant women. Hecate is described by Hellenic as being in the houses of women in childbirth. Since she is a Goddess of the underworld which deals with life and death it little wonder that she was petitioned for help by women having difficulty in child bearing.
In vase paintings she holds two torches while in statuary she was frequently depicted as having three heads and three bodies. In later times Hecate took on the form of a pillar called Hecterion. One statue shows her with three heads and six arms, bearing three torches and three sacred emblems. A key, rope, and dagger. With the key to the underworld, Hecate unlocks the secrets of the occult mysteries and knowledge of afterlife. The rope symbolizes the umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal. The Dagger or Athame is a symbol of ritual power.
She is "The goddess that troubles the reason of men."
The Greeks called her "The Hag of the Dead"
She is also called "the most lovely one" a title of the moon.
The owl is her messenger, and the willow is her tree.
Rides a chariot pulled by dragons.
Depicted wearing a gleaming headdress of stars.
She was connected to the goddesses Artemis and Persephone.