Wanderer wrote: Now this is a really fascinating area of discussion to me, as one of the gentle reminders I seem to keep getting from Hekate is that the Strophalos represents something alive because it is alive in a non-traditional sense. It evolves as we do, and we evolve because of and with it. It doesn't seem to be tied to a specific creature in the sense of having a nailed-down genus and scientific name, but I suspect you're closing in on a rather pertinent truth, even if its only a smalll aspect of a truth.
I've been fighting for days, maybe weeks, trying to answer this post. Every time I start It would blow apart and I'd just stop. then suddenly it occurred to me last night that I was looking at it all wrong and that was the issue. Yes it is alive and yes it is both traditional but it is also not traditional for it moved into the idea of mythological. In fact I was suddenly filled with the idea of the Cyclops to be honest. Many people now think the idea of the Cyclops now comes in part from old Mastodon skulls that were found on islands and the cavity that was left where the tusks would have been connected. Because of the large cavity where the tusks connected, they imagine a singular ocular opening instead. All due to changing how the skulls were rotated and though to have been placed on the body. I vaguely recall an old report about a lot of skulls actually being found after a major fire on one of the island that mythology wise is heavily associated with the story of the cyclops.
I'll take what nuggets I can get, as this is fascinating to me for reasons I should get into only after addressing the imagery noted here. If the strophalos saddleback-like patterns are related to or the inspiration for the Strophalos and all Strophaloi by extension, there's naturally an innate element of twisting and folding in on itself as a means of drawing one in to the experience that's being had, which is a substantial element of Serpent-related magic as a whole.
I know what you mean about nuggets and anything that even points to threads to be followed.
They draw in and transfix as a means of creating change, not unlike that well-known scene from Jungle Book where Mowgli is hypnotized by Ka. This element of fascination is, unto itself, a kind of magic and a means of inspiring growth, not unlike guided meditation.
The trick and trap, however, is that this is an intensely visual form of initiation, I suspect, and it can create a sense of tunneling in on an aspect of the practice. I notice, too, that this seems to be part of the construction of Lagina too. In the stock photos showing the pillars, there's both line of sight to the inner practices and a breaking of that line of sight, just as with a serpent's coils.
One thing she has been reminding me of though is the reflection and ability to trap and hypnotize in the serpents eye is the same as that of water. It's the same trap that the sailor faces on the ocean when the horizon becomes one, its the same trap the depths take when you stare into it when depth has no indicator of just how deep it really is but lure's you into it. I keep getting reminded that Draco was used just as much as Serpent in writings so many times it's hard to say if it's a snake or what is being referred to.
This would add credence to the idea that a serpent represents in part the initiation into Hekate's mysteries, especially if serpent bones were to be found at Lagina. I haven't been able to find anything of the kind in my searches on Google, but I've also not delved as deeply into local practices associated with her as much as I'd like to.
I haven't been able to find for certain anything specific about serpents at Lagina.
I did, however, note that there are references of the imagery at the Hecateion depicting scenes from both Carian and Greek mythology, including a depiction of Amazonomachy, or the battle between the Greeks and Amazonians. Given some of the deeper serpent mythologies found amongst the Amazonian tribes, it wouldn't at all surprise me if that serpent mythos has some to do with what we're discussing here.
Her temple pediment at Lagina did have depictions of the Gigantomacy but didn't have the Titanomacy. Unfortunately many people tend to put both of them together though they are two separate events in mythology. It did have parts of the Amazonian battles as well but I don't recall there being any "Serpentine" mythology that with one.
Without some manner of serpentine link, that connection becomes almost fraught, at least for me, as its one of those associations that makes no kind of geographical sense and it adds to the mystery.
I agree there. Especially in the sense I am not aware of anything at Lagina that even remotely resembles the Strophalos as part of the structure or on the grounds.
Returning to the point, however, if a serpent's imagery or skin or bones were passed on as a kind of initiatory nod, it would add some credence to this concept.
This vision of yours is fascinating, too, as while I've not seen anything quite like that in my own meditations, one of the things that she's insisted on has been to allow these serpentine entities to enwrap me like they were a giant mala. The act of being rounded by a serpent in this case almost feels like I've been placed into a different kind of garb, and that imagery has been quite present when working with Hekate of late.
One of the other aspects of my practice with her has involved her appearing to me in different ways, often splitting into different aspects that then appear to hold down the space or otherwise open it. I've been seeing more of her in this mutlipartite aspect that then intentionally splits itself into three forms for the duration of the rite, then returns into one cogent whole.
I haven't had many interactions where she's appeared as multiple aspects or personas. The closest that has ever happened is when it's been clearly one persona present at a time for one interaction. Yet that singular persona has used multiple "traits" that would be suggestive of different aspects of her various facets or aspects. In that regard it's more like the idea of Hekate-Artemis for instance where she appears in a forest setting but is doing things or acting more like Artemis but you know it is Hekate.
I have no idea what to make of that, beyond this reminding me heavily of stories like that of Pangu from China, wherein the directional guardians hold up the sky. The most trippy manifestation of her, however, was tied to this triplicity manifesting itself and then spinning about me while I was doing the work. It felt like I was somehow boring into the evocation, and it left me feeling like I'd ingested substantially hallucinogenic substances. I wasn't really good to drive or handle any sort of delicate tasks for a day and a half after that, though I hadn't actually consumed anything of the kind.
I get that sensation more from shamanic workings than from direct workings with Hekate. But then again they often tend to cross over many times for me.
In addition to this, Hekate's had me really focused on the nature of the serpent's skin and how that changes things, which ties in to your comment:I wonder at times if the idea of a new skin doesn't also symbolically elude to the idea that time changes all things. That we have to let go of the old and be willing to change in our new settings / knowledge. If we don't our old skin / surroundings will become restrictive / binding upon us.
Unfortunately serpents shadow side doesn't reveal that the old skin tears and rips if its not dropped. It can survive within that skin though it doesn't grow with ease and binds and hinders the remaining life.
From what she's stressed with me, the act of changing one's skin as a serpent does is a part of the process of death and regrowth, as there are elements of ourselves that we shed and outgrow as time goes on. Those core lessons are a part of what we engage in and experience in our lives, and they remain a part of us, but they don't necessarily show on our skin over time.
Scars fade, but so too do the lessons they represent. I wonder if by extension the serpent's skin is an example of this, as when we fail to learn those lessons and shed the skin granted us by prior failures or traumas, it halts us from growing past our limitations to a substantial degree.
If that is indeed a worthwhile element to consider, then the serpent's skin can, at times, be used as a means of overcoming trauma that's hindered our growth. In addition, this ties in to what you've suggested here, and I suspect there's truth to be had here.
I agree. There are lessons we go through that are part of our life, death, birth and regrowth that change, mold and influence us but never show up on our external skin even as time goes by. Sometimes they will leave scars and those scars can serve to remind us of those lesson and what they taught us. But far to often those scars fade and along with that what we learnt from it fades with it and we forget it and are doomed to repeat it or become stagnate because we never move past that point. Other times though the scar can serve to remind us that we can overcome and adapt to what ever it was that we faced and though it harmed us our body heals and be stronger after it.
One of the dreams I had about her involved a serpent's skin being stretched over my face before being torn away. When I awoke, it was with this newfound sense of vigor and dedication, which struck me as being incredibly powerful and pertinent.
This, too, fits in with your comment of an item's core essence remaining the same even if the external aspects are stripped away. There's something profoundly resonant about this for me. Do you feel the same way?
Sometimes I get the sense she forces us to become the serpent and under go and shedding of our old skin and learn to see anew but also feel anew. Yet in the process of all of that our nerves and senses are both raw and tender due to everything being stripped away and laid bare in the process. It's as if we are taught to both see and feel in a new way but many of the old ways remain beneath the surface for we need those things as well.
Have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read this bit about her choosing you instead of you choosing her, as I got a similar memo. There's this exceedingly maternal, matronly vibe to her that matches the intensity with which my Patron advises and directs me when I do things that irk the hell out of him.
Sometimes, its all well and good, with more mirth than irritation present. At other times, I can feel this shiver up my spine when I'm straining her patience (or his). As I write this, I'm reminded of a bit of silliness that transpired when I was at a Buddhist temple some years ago.
It's funny that's for sure. You get more leeway at times but at the same time there is far less leeway. I hear people say they choose whether they will or won't do something and you know right away it's because they were not chosen by their divinity.
.For some backstory, I was at this temple to engage in a meditation practice with others, but I was so bloody tired that I fell asleep in the middle of the meditation. Not normally an issue, but I just could...not...stay...awake.
Well, there I was, passed out in a chair, and apparently I started snoring in my sleep. Big guy snoring in an enclosed space, so of course EVERYONE could hear me, and Rinpoche just started -laughing-. It was clearly one of those things he'd done before too, so he wasn't offended...I woke up to my wife nudging me and Rinpoche launching into a story about how when he was a boy at temple, he fell asleep at the wrong time, and the monks were never nice about it. They'd chastize him with "You're here to learn, you're not here to sleep!" *whack*, and then he'd be wide awake.
The story was full of mirth and genuine amusement on his part, thankfully (and you can bet I apologized PROFUSELY after this), but there was an element of fatherly dissaproval and a kind of bemused recognition of that kind of tiredness. In Hekate's gentler moments, she has been this way with me too...I'll get an amusing story or vision followed by a hard poke in the ribs if I don't get the memo the first time.
I suspect, on some level, that this sometimes harsh, sometimes benign correction is a part of how she keeps us on the path. Your mention of your grandmother reminded me of this, and it seemed appropriate to share
That sounds about right. There is that leeway and it seems to amuse them when you'd think they'd be upset but they are not. But then other times it's "Ok, enough slacking off, time to get your stuff together!" with a slap up beside the head just for good measure.
've experienced the same as I was working through some of my hormone/intersex issues, as my halves present as drastically different beings even though we're housed in the same body. As I was working with both aspects to harmonize them and create a shared understanding that we're in the same body and need to play nice, I had aspects of the related shapeshifting work that got wildly out of control, and my senses were all sorts of screwed up.
Never really had the hormone / intersex stuff but have had other's tell me they though I was for sure a woman due to how my logic works at times. I'm like, no if anything it's probably because i'm a hard introvert and a Pisces. Well that and probably dying in my young years may have helped as well.
Definitely had more than a few "deceased" residents though that have told me I didn't understand things because I was only a "Male" and the things I was dealing with were women's mysteries. It's like seeing old rituals and such where you can nearly put all the pieces together but parts don't always quite fit together nicely because you don't have a menstrual cycle for instance.
What really hit me hard was the change in diet that came with it, and this lasted a few weeks. I couldn't eat salt pork or overly cooked/processed meat. Instead, I could stomach fish, asparagus, salad fixings, berries, and granola...that was it for roughly three weeks, so when that dropped away from me, it was intensely freeing.
During that period of time, my moods were all out of whack, too, and my sense of smell went through the roof. I could smell my cats' litter box from across the house, for instance.
I'd get like that when I had to do rituals that were dealing with very specific death crossings and such. Cleansing of the body and purifications and sense of smell that went crazy. Lovely when the sense of smell goes crazy and you smell rotting and decaying flesh all over the place, the smell of rotting plants. No meat at all, lots of fruits and nuts and some veggies.
This is indeed a hard thing to explain, as the materialist view says "eh, that's not really something you can experience", and experience essentially vetoes that rejection in a way that cannot be understood without that experience.
Oh definitely. Do you ever get that bemused smirk response from her and take that as a sign that you really need to doublecheck everything you just did? Whenever I get that response, I kind of sigh to myself and mutter while raking through everything with a fine tooth comb....been burned by that one a few too many times.
Gotten that only to discover I did nothing wrong and she was just screwing with me because I took so long to get there. Of course, there is the other side of the equation as well where I screwed up and had to go back over each item only to discover I made the simplest of mistakes and felt like a total idiot.
I had the same thought, but in digging into it further, this was closer to a Barghest or Hellhound. I had plenty of strange encounters while living there though, so I'm sure I ran into a Skinwalker at some point or another. I've never had it looked into or verified, but there are certain experiences that still raise my hairs, even years later.
The Black Dog's, when I was stationed in Scotland back in the late 70's early 80's you'd hear stories about them. Not to often but once in awhile. Usually all black with either red eyes or orange eyes. Funny back then I was still young and somewhat more denying of things like the Black Dogs though accepting of other other worldly things.
Funny how things can change over time.
A little of column A and a little of column B, I suspect, as I am not sure when I first started working with the dead. I remember seeing them when I was really young, and I interacted with them plenty, but I'd assume that the first properly necromantic ritual I did was probably around the age of seven following the murder of someone I was close to. That's the first time I can remember properly reaching out with intention, but in that instance I don't know that I was seeking it...it was just something I fell into because of circumstance at that juncture.
Later on, I most definitely sought more of this out, as I felt called to learn to work with and through the dead.
Never had anyone I was close to get murdered or anything like that. Honestly not sure when I realized that some of the people I saw were not actually alive. Just sort of came along, but then that's the way a lot of things happened. Either through my own family or others coming into my life and teaching me or showing me things.