Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Syncretic Egyptian / Graeco-Roman magic from the collection of texts known as the Papyri Graecae Magicae.
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monsnoleedra
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Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#1 » Mon Sep 19, 2022 4:29 pm

I'm submitting this thread in the hopes that other's might read over my thoughts and ponderings. Tell me if my logic makes sense and my conclusions seem legitimate. I've placed it in this forum as it pertains to Hekate and is heavily influenced by Hellen concepts and practices.

I look forward to any and all opinions / perspectives that the member's are willing to share with me and the guidance / insights they might provide.

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Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

When you research the goddess Hekate / Hecate the creatures that are listed as being sacred to the goddess are relatively few. The most often cited creatures being Black Dog, Owl, Snake, Horse, Toad, incorrectly the Pole Cat (Weasel) IMHO and occasionally Serpent / Dragon. While each of these creatures have their own unique abilities and equations there is one that I think is missing from the list. That creature, to be exact, an insect none other than the Butterfly. Yet one might ask, Why? In appearance it might not seem like a logical creature to be considered Sacred to Hekate.

The first point of consideration should be the life cycle of the Butterfly. The Butterfly from birth to death experiences four stages of its life. When compared to Hekate’s sphere’s of influence the four stages can be equated to those spheres. The first stage is birth from an egg, the caterpillar stage, the Cocoon stage and finally rebirth as an adult butterfly. If one considers the three spheres associated with Hekate i.e., Celestial, Chthonic and Oceanic then the Butterflies life cycle I believe fits into these. Earthly / chthonic applied to birth and caterpillar stage, the cocoon falls into the oceanic stage as well as the mystical (The mother’s womb or Hekate’s Cave) while the final form falls into the celestial / heavenly stage.

I believe that the sequence can also be equated to the Eleusinian Mysteries and Hekate’s perceived role in the mysteries. The acolyte (birth stage) is accepted into the mystery and rites. Once accepted the acolyte will descend into the underworld (Cocoon stage). While there receiving the hidden knowledge or mysteries resulting in change / rebirth. Then Hekate will lead the acolyte back into the world as they pass from the darkness into the light. Having reached enlightenment and emerging as the new acolyte / being. The acolyte having been changed through the process of metamorphosis / transformation of physical body and mind.

Additionally, I think the idea of both restless dead and the beginning / ending of life are tied to Hekate. This duality of life and death, death and rebirth and even the idea of passage into the underworld or spirit wandering endlessly are expressed in how various culture’s / societies recognize the Butterfly. I do think there are additional clues to the connection to Hekate by the various words used to identify the Butterfly.

In Ancient Hellas (Greece) Aristotle gave the Butterfly the name of psyche. “The strange evolution of the term “psi” (Ψ). It’s the twenty-third letter in the Greek alphabet, and at some point, the Romans transliterated it to form the word psyche. It meant butterfly in Latin, but it went on to mean things like breeze, breath, energy, and finally soul.

Image

In ancient Greek, the word psyche (as we mentioned earlier), meant butterfly. This insect was also a symbol for the breath of life, a breeze, a life-giving wind… Little by little, thanks to the Roman Empire’s influence, the word ended up symbolizing the human soul. What they saw it as was our life-force, also known as “ka” in Egyptian culture.

The Greeks and Romans had a very specific view of the soul when it came to people. One of their beliefs was that, when someone died, that “ka” the Egyptians talked about would leave their body in the form of a breath of air. That breath would take the shape of a butterfly. There was nothing terrifying about that image in their mind, either. For them, butterflies represented light, change, and hope.” https://exploringyourmind.com/the-story ... gy-symbol/

Inserting my opinion here but to me the character “psi” resembles the idea of a three-fold Hekate or a Hecateion type pillar. Within the idea of the soul, I believe the Butterfly can be moved into the Chaldean Oracles concept of Hekate being the world soul. Within that concept I can see the “psi” character representing the world soul and the two channels or serpents that dispense and receive the souls (seed and idea’s) of all living things.

In the below Roman mosaic of the Wheel of Fortune, a butterfly represents the soul.
Image
Naples National Archaeological Museum [Public domain] Memento mori floor mosaic from Pompeii depicting an allegorical scene on the brevity of life, 1st century AD, via The National Archaeological Museum of Naples

William O. Beeman, of the Department of Anthropology of Brown University, took a survey of all the different words that mean “butterfly” around the world. He found that the word “butterfly” is a bit of a linguistic anomaly. “The terms for butterfly have several things that generally unite them: they involve a degree of repetitious sound symbolism, (Hebrew parpar; Italian farfale) and they use visual and auditory cultural metaphors to express the concept.”

Beeman goes on to say, “The Russian word for 'butterfly' is babochka, a diminutive of baba, (old) woman. The explanation I have heard is that butterflies were thought to be witches in disguise in Russian folklore. It is or was, therefore, an emotionally highly charged word, which may be the reason for its resistance against borrowing.” https://www.learnreligions.com/butterfl ... re-2561631

“The butterfly exists in four distinct forms. Khandro explains these four distinct forms.
o The fertilized egg is planted in our mother's womb.
o From our day of birth, we are like the caterpillar which can only eat and creep along.
o At death, we are like the dormant pupa in its chrysalis.
o After that, our consciousness emerges from the cast off body, and some see in this the emergence of the butterfly. Therefore, the butterfly is symbolic of rebirth after death.”
https://www.baylor.edu/lakewaco_wetland ... p?id=34628


In conclusion, just as Hekate / Hecate cause us to change via transformation and guides us through the changes of our lives the Butterfly is representative of that process. Just as the Butterfly has to undergo the various developmental changes to come out stronger and enlightened, so do we as followers of Hekate. Accepting change and loosing those aspects or limitations that hold us back in our spiritual and / or magical development.
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talerman
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Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#2 » Tue Sep 20, 2022 6:59 am

I do not think anyone went so far in this subject than you, so I am absolutely certain that this butterfly is the one who is sacred to Hecate, especially as you are so much dedicated to Hecate, as well as you have this authority to say it, so I really have nothing to say, but yeah, the butterfly is the missing creature.

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Silsebyl
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Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#3 » Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:31 am

I'm no expert concerning Hekate, but I have a deep connection to the butterfly. I _love_ what you wrote! :wub :goodpost


Thomas Tomorrow
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Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#4 » Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:45 am

monsnoleedra wrote:I'm submitting this thread in the hopes that other's might read over my thoughts and ponderings. Tell me if my logic makes sense and my conclusions seem legitimate. I've placed it in this forum as it pertains to Hekate and is heavily influenced by Hellen concepts and practices.

I look forward to any and all opinions / perspectives that the member's are willing to share with me and the guidance / insights they might provide.

I disagree the butterfly is a creature specific to Hecate. Yes, the Goddess rules over transformation and all creatures undergo transformation. To the uninitiated, this only says Hecate’s dominion is far-reaching or governs all directions. Or all creatures belong to Her. The association of crossroads, magic, Moon, the Underworld, and dogs indicate Mercurial correspondences are appropriate, at least partially, for Hecate.

What does all this really tell us?

Contra the neopagan Triple Goddess of Maiden, Woman and Crone, iconography of Hecate depict Her with the same face on three bodies. A minor detail - but significant. It suggests that, prior to magic, the Goddess guards over a timeless secret at the midnight crossroads, namely initiation into the Underworld. Once initiated, the aspirant may begin to understand the principles of transformation. In the Eleusinian Mysteries, the aspirants are led into a cave or grotto. The abduction of Persephone by Hades plays a role in the underground theatre (I would not be surprised if everyone partook in an orgy in the dark but I digress..) and Hecate presides over the Mysteries. Once initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiate is able to live thereafter with joy and face death cheerfully. As such, the underground theatre relates to the mysteries of incarnation.

The Greeks had three words for “life”: zoe (zoology, zodiac), bios (biology) and psyche (psychology). This suggests Psyche is closer to “mind.” Zoe or zoion is “animal” in Greek, for example, from which derive words like “animated”, “animation”, “animus” etc. These finer distinctions should not be confused under the general heading of Life. This is why I would not conflate psyche with the Egyptian ka. Or assert the butterfly is a creature specific to Hecate.

In the last few years there have been good online courses on Hecate. It would be great to hear the opinion of anyone who has taken these courses.

Happy travels!

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monsnoleedra
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Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#5 » Thu Sep 22, 2022 7:41 am

="Thomas Tomorrow"] I disagree the butterfly is a creature specific to Hecate. Yes, the Goddess rules over transformation and all creatures undergo transformation. To the uninitiated, this only says Hecate’s dominion is far-reaching or governs all directions. Or all creatures belong to Her. The association of crossroads, magic, Moon, the Underworld, and dogs indicate Mercurial correspondences are appropriate, at least partially, for Hecate.


I don't disagree in the aspect that the Butterfly wouldn't be sacred to Hekate only. I'm just suggesting that it is one of the creature's she would consider sacred. Sort of the same vein that Owl's are sacred to a number of divinities vice being perceived as sacred to a singular divinity.

I grant that in the case of Owl's it's pretty much broken down to specific species of Owl are sacred to a specific God / Goddess. There is not enough mythological / historical data to suggest if any singular species of Butterfly was associated to Hekate. Well outside of modern identification of certain species with the name of Hecate being part of their identity and often hailing from the mid-east region. Yet as you pointed out there is the suggestion that all creature's belong to her. Personally I equate that aspect to the conflation she has undergone with Artemis, Mistress of Animals aspect.

To some degree I suppose one could also equate it to the usage of the Pole Cat (Weasel) and the implied condition of it being sacred to Hekate. Yet it is used as a punishment form by a number of other Goddesses specifically. Hekate appearing to take pity on said transformation victims.


Contra the neopagan Triple Goddess of Maiden, Woman and Crone, iconography of Hecate depict Her with the same face on three bodies. A minor detail - but significant. It suggests that, prior to magic, the Goddess guards over a timeless secret at the midnight crossroads, namely initiation into the Underworld. Once initiated, the aspirant may begin to understand the principles of transformation. In the Eleusinian Mysteries, the aspirants are led into a cave or grotto. The abduction of Persephone by Hades plays a role in the underground theatre (I would not be surprised if everyone partook in an orgy in the dark but I digress..) and Hecate presides over the Mysteries. Once initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiate is able to live thereafter with joy and face death cheerfully. As such, the underground theatre relates to the mysteries of incarnation.


Moving away from the topic but I'd disagree that Hekate was the midnight crossroads as that aspect is imported from Enodia. One might even argue that it is also imported from the Roman goddess tri-formus. Perhaps even from Diana Nemorensis and her association with a trinity and influences.

That said I do agree with what you've written, even the aspect of a probably orgy as part of the rites.

In the last few years there have been good online courses on Hecate. It would be great to hear the opinion of anyone who has taken these courses.

Happy travels!


I would love to hear other's input. Whether they agree or disagree it prompts discussions and evaluation of ones perspective I think.
Can't Never Did Nothing Till It Tried!


Thomas Tomorrow
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Posts: 8

Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#6 » Sun Sep 25, 2022 2:29 am

Our disagreement is minor. You suggest the butterfly is sacred to Hecate because:

1) the butterfly symbolizes the soul;
2) it goes through distinct stages of development; and
3) the goddess rules over transformation/magic.

As far as I am aware, there is no mythological/historical data to link the butterfly with Hecate but there is evidence to support the overall logic of your argument.

Earlier, I said Hecate “presides over” the Eleusinian Mysteries. This is incorrect. Her role is guardian of the entrance into the Telesterion; She is the guardian of initiation. Hade's abduction of Persephone, however, is central to the ceremonies. Recall Demeter is the goddess of agriculture and grain. Within the Eleusinian Mysteries, her daughter is the archetypal seed who falls into the Earth, rescued, and led back up to the Light to be reunited with her mother, thus mirroring the seasonal cycle. Hecate guards over knowledge of what happens in the Underworld or Earth. Thus the participants of the Eleusinian Mysteries become initiated into Life with a capital [L]. Their beatitude is described as:

“Thrice blessed are those among men who, after beholding these rites, go down to Hades. Only for them is there life. All the rest will suffer an evil lot.” - Sophocles, Triptolemos

“Blessed is he who, after beholding this, enters the way beneath the earth: he knows the end of life and its beginning given by Zeus!” - Pindar

“Blessed is he among men on earth who has beheld this. Never will he who has not been initiated into these ceremonies, who has had no part in them, share in such things. He will be as a dead man in sultry darkness." - Homeric Hymn to Demeter

We can therefore agree a seed and butterfly both undergo transformation and Hecate rules over transformation and magic. However, is there anything specific to the butterfly itself to suggest it might be sacred to Hecate? Not that I can see. On the other hand, there is lots of evidence to suggest Hecate is a goddess to be feared and respected. Psyche is gullible and condemned to toil as penance for doubting Cupid. This does not align with Hecate at all. A more convincing argument could be made that the spider, for example, is a creature sacred to Hecate.

monsnoleedra wrote:Moving away from the topic but I'd disagree that Hekate was the midnight crossroads as that aspect is imported from Enodia. One might even argue that it is also imported from the Roman goddess tri-formus. Perhaps even from Diana Nemorensis and her association with a trinity and influences.

Apologies midnight crossroads is an overused metaphor. The references to night and fate – as in a sliding doors moment, fateful decision, or pact – should be “liminal spirituality”.

Sources:

The Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, by Thomas Taylor, 1891
https://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/ebm/ebm05.htm

Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter, by Carl Kerenyi, 1967

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monsnoleedra
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Posts: 539

Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

Post#7 » Sat Oct 01, 2022 11:02 am

"Thomas Tomorrow"]Our disagreement is minor. You suggest the butterfly is sacred to Hecate because:

1) the butterfly symbolizes the soul;
2) it goes through distinct stages of development; and
3) the goddess rules over transformation/magic.

As far as I am aware, there is no mythological/historical data to link the butterfly with Hecate but there is evidence to support the overall logic of your argument.


I agree there is little to no mythological / historical data to support my theory. That is what is so frustrating about it and moves it into the realm of UPG.

The only thing I'd add is that originally the butterfly meant breathe which is the other aspect I equate to Hekate. In that light I sort of see first breath or breathing in the light of her usage of Kourotrophos. Yet its evolution into "Soul" also fits that usage as well as a few others IMHO.


Earlier, I said Hecate “presides over” the Eleusinian Mysteries. This is incorrect. Her role is guardian of the entrance into the Telesterion; She is the guardian of initiation. Hade's abduction of Persephone, however, is central to the ceremonies. Recall Demeter is the goddess of agriculture and grain. Within the Eleusinian Mysteries, her daughter is the archetypal seed who falls into the Earth, rescued, and led back up to the Light to be reunited with her mother, thus mirroring the seasonal cycle. Hecate guards over knowledge of what happens in the Underworld or Earth. Thus the participants of the Eleusinian Mysteries become initiated into Life with a capital [L]. Their beatitude is described as:

“Thrice blessed are those among men who, after beholding these rites, go down to Hades. Only for them is there life. All the rest will suffer an evil lot.” - Sophocles, Triptolemos

“Blessed is he who, after beholding this, enters the way beneath the earth: he knows the end of life and its beginning given by Zeus!” - Pindar

“Blessed is he among men on earth who has beheld this. Never will he who has not been initiated into these ceremonies, who has had no part in them, share in such things. He will be as a dead man in sultry darkness." - Homeric Hymn to Demeter

We can therefore agree a seed and butterfly both undergo transformation and Hecate rules over transformation and magic. However, is there anything specific to the butterfly itself to suggest it might be sacred to Hecate? Not that I can see. On the other hand, there is lots of evidence to suggest Hecate is a goddess to be feared and respected. Psyche is gullible and condemned to toil as penance for doubting Cupid. This does not align with Hecate at all. A more convincing argument could be made that the spider, for example, is a creature sacred to Hecate.


Can't argue against any of this. Even to the aspect that a spider could be seen as sacred to Hekate. A spider would definitely fit her usage as Klôthaiê (Spinner of Fate).

Again just my opinion but I sort of see Psyche in the same light that I view of Galanthis or the Witch gale in their transformations. The Polecat (weasel) doesn't specifically become sacred to Hekate though it seems Hekate takes pity on Galanthis. Making her perhaps a servant of some sort though again it is debatable.

I think for the butterfly though it is more than just transformation but also its elemental / plain comparison. Like Hekate it lives in three realms and develops influences from, air, earth and water. In each stage holding influence and presence in each yet subjected to the limitations / restrictions of each. I suppose you could say four stages with the egg being like the celestial egg which gives for life, larva / caterpillar strictly being earth, the cocoon stage death and transformation and finally the butterfly itself being airy / celestial. IMHO Hekate holds dominion over Chthonic, Oceanic and Celestial but her presence and influence in each is different.

monsnoleedra wrote:Moving away from the topic but I'd disagree that Hekate was the midnight crossroads as that aspect is imported from Enodia. One might even argue that it is also imported from the Roman goddess tri-formus. Perhaps even from Diana Nemorensis and her association with a trinity and influences.

Apologies midnight crossroads is an overused metaphor. The references to night and fate – as in a sliding doors moment, fateful decision, or pact – should be “liminal spirituality”.

Sources:

The Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries, by Thomas Taylor, 1891
https://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/ebm/ebm05.htm

Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter, by Carl Kerenyi, 1967


No problem just MPO when it comes to the midnight crossroads concept. I like the usage of liminal spirituality in its place.

Thanks for the though provoking responses.
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