Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Syncretic Egyptian / Graeco-Roman magic from the collection of texts known as the Papyri Graecae Magicae.
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Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#1 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:36 pm

Though I might go ahead and start an official thread on this topic and get a discussion going on it.

For reference there are two cited passages from the Chaldean Oracles that pertain to Hekate's Wheel. I've place the singular #194 and the full Daemon Rites reference so they both can be read in their full context. It should be noted #194 is often shown with other fragments but that would be incorrect as the # denotes it is just a fragment.

194. Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecaté.
- Psell., 9. Nicephorus

DÆMONS. RITES.
Nature persuades there are pure Dæmons;
The burgeons, even of ill matter, are profitable and good,
But these things I revolve in the recluse Temples of my mind,
Extending the like fire sparklingly into the spacious Air
Or fire unfigured, a voice issuing forth.
Or fire abundant, whizzing and winding about the Earth,
But also to see a Horse more glittering than Light.
Or a Boy on [thy] shoulders riding on a Horse,
Fiery or adorned with Gold, or devested,
Or shooting and standing on [thy] shoulders.
If thou speak often to me, thou shalt see absolutely that which is spoken:
For then neither appears the Coelestial concave Bulk,
Nor do the Stars shine; the Light of the Moon is cover'd,
The Earth stands not still, but all things appear Thunder.
http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/oraclesj.htm (18 of 30) [9/4/2003 2:36:33 PM]
The Chaldaick Oracles of Zoroaster (Stanley, 1661)
Invoke not the self-conspicuous Image of Nature;
For thou must not behold these before thy Body be initiated.
When soothing souls they alwayes seduce them from these Myteries.
Certainly out of the cavities of the Earth spring Terrestial Dogs,
[p. 36]
Which show no true signe to mortal Man.
Labour about the Hecatick Strophalus
Never change barbarous Names;
For there are Names in every Nation given from God,
Which have an unspeakable power in Rites.
When thou seest a sacred fire without form,
Shining flashingly through the Depths of the World,
Hear the voice of Fire.

http://www.toth.su/pdf/Chaldean/The%20C ... raster.pdf

............................

Of that aside the rest I should note is my own opinion and perspective so greatly differs from what the common accepted opinion is of Hekate's Wheel is among the pagan community.

When I read the fragment I see it as the idea of laboring (ie working) about some instrument. It doesn't say pray. It doesn't say kneel. It doesn't say anything that would suggest any sort of religious or spiritual action to me. Labor implies work, action and movement of some sort is to be performed.

When I see the similar passage used in the Daemons Rites its talking about being initiated and seeing fire and forms and unspeakable power in Rites. To hear the voice of Fire, to see a sacred fire that makes me think of power, magic and things being done. Again instruments

To be honest (upg here and something sort of from a dream / vision I received) I got the impression from a movie. It's an older movie but the image sort of matched. It's an old movie called THE RAVEN with Vincent Price, Peter Lorrie and Bella Logosie. It's a scene of magical battle between Peter & Bella's character. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2Y7FnlkuCg As the two battle Peter's Bedlo character start's his magical fire spinning (abt 1:42) while Bella's Scarabus soon takes control over it before turning it against him. Now the scene unfolds of course but it is the gadget that Bedlo is using that I'm am thinking about that reminds me of Hekate's Strophalus that I saw in the images in my vision.

This item is definitely a sphere like item and has a sacred fire without form and you could hear the voice of the flame. It spins upon it's axis and turns about with a slight wobble. There is an internal structure to the thing though from this clip it's hard to determine exactly what that structure is. But it is clear that Lorrie's character is laboring about the item to make it work or at least make his magic work.

Now the item I saw in my dream / vision could also be done with colored glass or something like small lights. But the thing is it also reminded me of the old children's toys of the bird in the cage. That toy where you draw the colored bird on one side the paper and a cage on the other then pull the draw string and viola the bird becomes caged as the paper either turns or the bird jumps up and down and the cage spins. Each case giving the appearance of flickering flames depending upon the selected colors and lighting. Add a bit of wind and you can even give the bird a voice or the fire a voice.

Either way it's a far cry from the normal usage of the normal practice of the Hekate's wheel normally scene. Something that to me no matter how you bend and squeeze your mind and eyes the two passages in the oracles just does not support what is being pushed.

Of course as I stated this is just my own opinion so others may disagree. But I place it here for discussion.
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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#2 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:23 pm

Thanks for sharing, Monsnoleedra. When I've seen the Strophalos in visions, I've always seen it as a wheel, but from above - I couldn't ever make sense of it. This idea of having a kind of spinning globe or brazier might make sense in this context.

Has anyone here endeavored to make something of this kind? If so, what's been the result?

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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#3 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:27 pm

Sorry had to take a break there, but back to the subject at hand.

Like I said I do not go with the idea that is presented regarding Hekate's Wheel. Yet the other issue is many practitioner's claim their "Wheel" owe's it's form to an ancient representation or form. To that conclusion I do have to agree there is some proof for such a conclusion. However, I think their chain of deduction is wrong. Again my own opinion so let me provide my own support and offer a few pieces of evidence to back my conclusions.

XHA1_308.jpg

1890 Wood Engraving Kingdom Hades Vase Painting Erinys Persephone God Greek Kore.jpg


In the two attached wood engravings you'll see small "Wheels" pictured above the figures. In the XHA1_308 attachment there is a single wheel. On the 1890 Wood Engraving there are a number of "Wheels" located above the figures.

One of the points though that i'd like to make is the spinning globe or brazier would seem logical, to me anyway, to be depicted in this type of form vice something that might make it look like a detached torch head. The "Wheel" in the XHA1 image clearly is encircled where the "Wheels" in the second image are more like clustered fireballs or coals.

Just for note the images belong to me so there is no copy write issue.
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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#4 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:35 pm

To give another example of the usage of "Wheels" here is another image. Again multiple "Wheels" are shown though they have various designs about them and placements through out the image.

XHB3_060.jpg
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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#5 » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:26 pm

Wanderer wrote:Thanks for sharing, Monsnoleedra. When I've seen the Strophalos in visions, I've always seen it as a wheel, but from above - I couldn't ever make sense of it. This idea of having a kind of spinning globe or brazier might make sense in this context.

Has anyone here endeavored to make something of this kind? If so, what's been the result?


Sorry what I was trying to get at is when you have the flames moving and twisting in the thing the shadows along with the flames themselves give the impression of movement and shifting about. If you have it in a semi-dark area or in a small enclosure then the effect is double back upon itself as the reflection as well as the heat reflection (shimmer) causes it to appear as if the thing and those things on the opposite side of it are moving around. It gives the appearances of movement in all directions at once due to the flames, the smoke if any, the heat shimmers, the darkness of the background or surroundings, the movements of anyone that is present on the fringes.

A normal fire pit type situation has some of those affects / effects but it's not the same as the flames presence is normally close to the ground and below your line of sight. Granted that can be mitigated somewhat if everyone is sitting or the practitioner himself / herself is sitting. Yet if you have a object that is raised up and about chest or eye height and opened where flames are seen, even through a screen of some sort then it changes the setting.

It's like when I am alone and want to create something similar I'll take a large can and cut designs into the sides of the can. Usually of various shapes and designs, at times I might even place it on some sort of rotating platform. Other times simply place it on a plate. Then depending upon the length and purpose of my ceremony I'll place a candle in the can and light it and turn out all the lights and let the flame flicker through the openings and paint the designs upon the walls. Basically a cheap Halloween trick. But the can diffuses the light and causes the movements upon the walls and gives the impression of movement around the room as my breath and any air movement in the room influences the flicker of the candle within the can. Then of course the size of the can also influences the amount of air that can get into the opening to influence the candle. The size of the candle influencing the duration and intensity of the light produced as well. Then I can also influence the light upon the ceiling by shaping the cover over the top of the can's opening or simply leave it completely open. Perform the same scenario outside during fog, mist or smoke and I can influence how the mental and psychological impact occurs there as well.

To be honest I find a #10 can used for canned food works pretty well. Put some tape around the cut edges and extended it a bit and it sits over the cut edges really well and doesn't get to hot from the candles as the heat escapes through the cutout shapes. Not to hard to put upon a stake and drive it into the ground or rig some other cradle to keep it off the ground for low impact in the woods.
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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#6 » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:55 pm

Thank you for posting this, monsnoleedra. I'm going to do some more research and probing before responding more fully. ;)

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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#7 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:30 am

Wanderer wrote:Thank you for posting this, monsnoleedra. I'm going to do some more research and probing before responding more fully. ;)


Looking forward to it.
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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#8 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:35 pm

monsnoleedra wrote:Looking forward to it.


Same here, as this seems like a fascinating look into the Proto-Indo European mindset. I've not had much time to do additional reading on the subject, as I was intentionally offline last weekend. In brainstorming and reflecting on this, however, I am reminded of the concept of Wyrd (as it relates to Fate)....the original term for Wyrd in the PIE world was "Wert", meaning "to turn", and it is intimately related to the concept of a wheel.

To this end, if a Strophalos is a wheel of one kind or another, then it is conceptually related, and that then relates itself to some of my own UPG in connection to Hekate. When I was working with Her and given a vision, the vision showed a light circling about Her image. This "turning wheel" of light then brought about different manifestations of the Goddess, replete with different tools and facial expressions. I've only done a very small amount of work with this, as I currently lack a statue of Her, but it seems to me that this may well be directly tied to the Strophalos and the concept it represents, given both the Wheel of the Year and the wheel as it ties to Fate via the Wyrd.

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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#9 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:00 pm

Here's another idea regarding a strophalos for consideration.

Excerpt from Byzantine Magic by Henry Maquire:

One kind of iynx (also called a strophalos) is a magic wheel used by a theurgist for ritual purposes. Psellos himself explains that the strophalos known as the Hecatic was a golden ball with characters written all over it; it had a sapphire in the middle, was swung by means of a strap made from a bull’s hide, andwas used during invocations.(4) In another type of ritual, again according to information supplied by Psellos,(5) the theurgist used statues of specific deities in order to establish contact with them. The process of making contact involved, among other things, special stones, herbs, animals, and sometimes aromatic substances (aromata), which were placed inside the effigy. Stones and herbs were also used in other rituals to scare away bad demons or to purify the soul. lamblichus tells us that in the art of theurgy certain materials—specific stones, plants, animals, and aromatic substances (aromata)—were regarded as especially suitable for attracting the presence of divinities.(6)


One of the things related to this is the idea of the dodecahedron https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_dodecahedron.
dodecahedron.png
dodecahedron.png (82.3 KiB) Viewed 746 times
Which could be similar to the item that is used in the Deipnon or supper. That cube or ball like item that would be used to burn up the waste product from the meal at the crossroads.
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Re: Strophalos of Hecaté or Hekate's Wheel

Post#10 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:07 pm

I've seen these dodecahedrons before, and they're fascinating as pieces of artwork, though I honestly scratch my head at the idea of them having a ritual purpose or anything of the kind given the nature of what specimens I've seen. They don't really have the look of an item used in ritual, so I wonder if its more akin to their version of the Pyramid....no burn or scorch marks.

However, in Googling this, I did find this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... oGapxsanaI
Any seamstresses/knitters here use anything similar?

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