Hecate’s Deipnon

Hecate’s Deipnon

“Asteria of happy name, whom Perses once led to his great house to be called his dear wife. And she conceived and bare Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls upon Hekate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (Heaven) [the Titanes] amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Kronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honour, but much more still, for Zeus honours her. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents.And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hekate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker [Poseidon], easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then. albeit her mother’s only child, she is honoured amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Kronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Eos (Dawn). So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young (kourotrophos), and these are her honours.” – Hesiod, Theogony 404

Aristophanes, Plutus 410 ff (trans. O’Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.) :
“Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month [i.e. food placed inside her door-front shrines] and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served.”

Hecate’s Deipnon

Hekate’s Deipna are meal offerings made to Hekate at the triple crossroads on the night of the dark moon of each lunar month. In its most basic form today one can simply make offerings to her on this night.

Preparation: The day time hours prior to the new moon is a time for personal space purification. Save all the dirt cleaned from the space, including left over offerings from the altar, candle wax, ash, the last of your wine, and generally, the “last” parts of all your household food items to burn in offering or leave at the crossroads later that night. End the purification with a cleansing bath or shower including the use of sea salt when possible. If you are able to erect a sacred image outside, or outside at a crossroads, you set this up during the day in preparation as well. An image of Goddess of some kind in your own home is helpful, also. The dark moon must be also devoted to meditation and to the reconsideration of the work done during the month, as well as to the preparation for the new month to come. In any case, no one should undertake an important work during this last day. It is highly recommended to fast for the whole day according to Proclus.

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The Rite: Hekataia “sacrifices to Hecate, which are offered to the dead”, are to be celebrated precisely at the turn of the last day of the month and Noumenia. Some traditional suggestions for the banquet:
breads and cakes;
garlic;
cakes (could be the psamita);
cheese;
(eggs?)
fish (mullet, a kind of sardine, or the small fried fishes);
magides (“pieces of bread with which you clean your hands at the end of the meal”)
Dip your hands in your lustral water khernips and ask to be purified before the gods to approach the sacred works of the evening.
Prepare the offering plate and the gathered dirt to go outside. Light the ritual fire method you have chosen with a hymn to Fire or Hestia and prepare for a walk to your sacred space outside. If it is possible to carry fire with you, this is a nice bonus. Dispose of your dirt outside as you see fit, be it by fire or scattered at the crossroads.
Now is the time for invocation and the presentation of your offerings. Invocations to Hecate were traditionally loud wailing cries at the crossroads. You can share with the Goddess and have this be your time of breaking fast if you took the effort to fast this day.
Thank the Goddess and the spirits of the honored dead for the blessings you have received. Tell her the things that are troubling you where you need her guidance and return back to your home, without taking anything with you but the offering plate, cup, or fire and refraining from looking back. It is an excellent night for divination of all methods.

Hecate Crossroads
The Fumigation from Storax.
I call Einodian Hecate, lovely dame,
Of earthly, watery, and celestial frame,
Sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed,
Pleased with dark ghosts that wander thro’ the shade;
Persian, unconquerable huntress hail!
The world’s key-bearer never doomed to fail;
On the rough rock to wander thee delights,
Leader and nurse be present to our rites;
Propitious grant our just desires success,
Accept our homage, and the incense bless.

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