There was a day when darkness gathered itself into a hungry snake and crawled upon the earth. On her belly she crept toward the city of light, swallowing whatever lay in her path: Men and women, beasts, vegetables and Gods. And no thing that touched her lips escaped her, for all matter was lost in the darkness.
That was the day, or rather the night, that Ra left the sky and took his shape in the cat. To fool the snake, he slept under the leathery leaves of the laurel, holding in his strength, stirring only once for a single languid lick of his paws to brush against his whiskers.
Seeing the cat ~ that tasty bit of flesh, the snake slithered over and opened its mouth. On the other side of her teeth swelled the void, the abyss, the great nothing, and from it issued the cries of all the lost things of creation. Their voices were a wailing wind that beckoned from the darkness.
Then the soul of Ra in the form of a tiny cat leapt up beneath the shade of the laurel and, with teeth of iron and gold, he snapped off the head of the snake and sliced its body into a thousand pieces and swallowed them up.
Blood from the snake’s mouth spilled onto the ground. In that manner Ra’s creations returned to earth. The blood seeped into the ground and was taken up by the thirsty laurel, which burst into bloom with the souls of the dead in the shape of yellow flowers.
Now leaning down from the east edge of heaven, the God of words had witnessed the battle. He had felt each puncture of the snake’s teeth upon his own throat and praised the cat which had given its shape to Ra.
“How like the God that made him is the radiant cat. How he slew the darkness with his mouth!” And Mau became the cat’s name and the God gave him words of power.
I have stood on the eastern bank beneath that flowering laurel ~ it is old now; its roots gnarled but still bursting with life ~ and I have gazed at the sky seeing daily the same battle. The sun rises. Light overcomes darkness and the high pink clouds of morning are tinged with the blood of the snake.
I am like that cat, overcoming my own darknesses. The soul duels fear and doubt and inertia, for these are the children of the snake, the worms hidden in the clay of being that would gnaw a man to death even while he lived.
I am that cat. I stand up and fight. I struggle with the evils of my own petty insistence. The battle of old Gods wages in my. I am a creature of history ~ human and divine. I am the scroll of numerous myths, one teller of a single story.
Now the sun rises as the gold egg of God, whole light of the world, saffron cake of being. Ra shines from his disk in heaven. He rises up ~ a golden wonder, a bead on the throat of sky. Gusts of wind issue forth as warm breath of his mouth and drive the boats along the water, sails the sun over a river of sky and enlivens the nostrils of his people.
He rises, making plain the two worlds of heaven and earth. I see myself by the light of my becoming.
~ From Awakening Osiris
“It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall lilies, and the rain fell upon my head — and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation.”
~Edgar Allen Poe
The hour of the dark moon draws near;
I hear the invoking words,
hear and appear
Chthonia, Enodia, Trioditis
I come unto the holy bliss.
O three-faced Selene, come to me beloved mistress
Graciously hear my sacred spells;
Image of Night, Youthful One,
Dawn-born, light-bringer to mortals
Who rides upon fierce-eyed bulls.
O Queen, you who drive your chariot
On equal course with Helios,
You dance with the triple forms of the triple Graces
As you revel with the stars.
You are Justice and the thread of the Fates,
Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos,
O Three-headed One you are
Persephone, Megaira and Allecto
O One of many shapes who arm your hands
With terrible dark-glowing lamps,
Who shakes locks of fearsome serpents at your brow,
Whose mouths send forth the roar of bulls,
Whose womb is thick with reptile scales,
At whose shoulders are rows of venomous serpents,
Bound across your back beneath murderous chains.
O Night-bellower, Lover of solitude,
Bull-faced and Bull-headed One
You have the eyes of bulls and the voice of dogs.
Your forms are hidden in the legs of lions.
Your ankle is wolf-shaped,
and savage dogs are friendly to you,
Wherefore they call you Hekate, Many-named, Mene,
Cleaving the air like arrow-shooting Artemis,
O Goddess of Four faces, Four names, Four ways,
Artemis, Persephone, Deer-shooter, Night-shiner,
Thrice-resounding, Triple voiced, Three-headed, Thrice-named Selene
O Trident-bearing One of Three faces,
Three necks, Three Ways,
Who holds undying flaming fire in triple baskets.
You frequent the Three Ways
and are Mistress of the Three Decads.
Be gracious unto me who is invoking you
and hearken favourably.
You encompass the vast world at night,
You make the Daemones shudder
and the Immortals tremble,
O Many-named Goddess who brings glory to men,
Whose children are fair, O Bull-eyed One, Horned One,
Nature, All-mother, who brings forth both Gods and men,
You roam around Olympus and traverse
the wide and fathomless Abyss,
You are the Beginning and End,
and you alone are Mistress of All:
For from you are All things, and in you,
Eternal One, do All things end.
You bear at your brow an everlasting diadem,
The unbreakable and irremovable bonds of great Cronos,
And you hold in your hands a golden sceptre
Which is encircled by a formula
inscribed by Cronos himself
Who gave it to you to bear in
order that all things remain steadfast:
‘Overpowerer and Overpowered One
Conqueror of men and Damnodamia,’
You rule Chaos, Araracharara ephthisikere,
Hail Goddess and attend your epithets,
I offer you this incense Child of Zeus
Arrow-shooter, Heavenly One, Goddess of Harbours,
Mountain-roamer, Goddess of Crossroads,
Nocturnal One of the Underworld, Shadowy One of Hades,
Still One who frightens, having a feast among the graves.
You are Night, Darkness and broad Chaos,
For you are Necessity hard to escape
You are Fate, you are Erinys and the Torture,
You are the Murderess and Justice
You hold Cerberus in Chains,
You are steely-blue with serpent-scales,
O serpent-haired and Serpent-girdled One,
Blood-drinker, Death-bringer who breeds corruption,
Feaster on hearts,
Flesh-eater who devours those who died before their time,
Driver to the Wanderings of Madness,
Come to my sacrifices and fulfil this task for me.
~From the Greek Magical Papyri
~And also: Hekate Liminal Rites
This hymn from the Greek Magical Papyri, is addressed to Selene even though it is clearly a hymn to Hekate. The confusion of title probably arose from the syncretisation of the goddesses in the hymn, with Selene being mentioned first.
It is an awesome invocation, and perfect for use on any of Hekate’s Feast Days.
The invocation is meant to be accompanied by an offering. In keeping with other contemporary magickal practices, fragrant resins and herbs are used for positive magick. Incenses such as storax, myrrh, sage, frankincense, and (surprisingly) a fruit pit are recommended.
When calling up such a powerful and terrible deity, it’s always a good idea to bring protective charms, generous offerings, and a spirit of deep respect and reverence.
“We call to thee,
thou to whom all manifested life must return,
when its time has come;
dark Mother of stillness and rest,
before whom men tremble because they understand thee not.
We call to thee,
who art also Hecate of the waning Moon,
dark Lady of wisdom,
whom men fear because they wisdom towers above their own.
We, the hidden children of the Goddess,
know that there is naught to fear in thine embrace,
which none escape;
that when we step into the darkness,
as all must,
it is but to step again into the light.”
~J and S Farrar