The last day of each of the lunar months is the sacred day of the triple goddess of crossroads and the patroness of Witches, Hekate.
Hecate had many names and titles: Hecate Trevia, “of the three ways”; Hecate Phosphoros, “the light bringer”; Hecate Nykterian “of the night”; and Hecate Basileia, “Hecate Queen.” On this night of the waning Moon we have a perfect opportunity to work with this goddess and ask for her blessing to illuminate our darkest times, and grant us her protection.
Hecate, goddess of the crossroads, hear my cry,
Protect and guard me under your midnight sky.
Hecate Phosphoros “she who brings the light,”
Hecate Trevia bless me with your wisdom tonight.
Hekate’s ancient devotees held dinners in her honor, known as Hekate Suppers. Once upon a time, these dinners were consumed outside under the dark moon, ideally at a crossroads. One plate was reserved for Hecate; after her devotees dined, just before they departed, Hecate’s plate was laid down at the crossroads.
Foods associated with her were prepared. The entree was usually fish, especially red mullet. Devotees feasted and celebrated. Offerings and leftovers were placed outside the door or at a crossroads for Hekate and her hounds.
Even way back when, cynics scoffed that food placed outside was actually consumed by feral dogs and homeless people without realizing that this is Hekate’s intent: this is one way she accepts offerings. (The Church was still trying to eradicate this ritual as late as the eleventh century.)
A typical Hecate Supper menu includes eggs, fish roe, goat and sheep cheese, sprats, red mullet – a scavenger fish that was the subject of many taboos – garlic, mushrooms, and honey cake surrounded by blazing torches or cakes decorated with miniature imitation torches (candles). Other ideas include garlic, salmon, honey, and edible flowers.
Traditionally whatever is given to Hecate cannot be reclaimed. Thus, do not break out your priceless set of china; lay the meal on the ground or use a serving dish that will be incorporated into the offering. Once the offering is laid down, depart without looking back. Hecate determines who picks up the offering.
Smaller, private offerings may be left at a crossroads, too:
- Place offerings on a plate or flat stone and leave them at a crossroads after dark.
- Make your invocation and then walk away without looking back.
- Do not return for the plate, or any part of the offering, but consider it part of your gift.
Offerings can include the following:
- Garlic and honey (especially lavender honey)
- Croissants and crescent shaped breads and pastries
- Images of dogs, especially black dogs
- Actions on behalf of dogs
Encountering or hearing a dog is an indication that your petition has been heard.
Other nights sacred to Hekate:
- Friday the 13th – particularly if it falls in the month of August.
- November 16th is Hekate Night
- August 13th, in Italy, a festival is shared between Diana and Hekate
- Invocation by Ellen Dugan
- The Powers That Be