Pathos writers are at it again. Pagan Voices has written a strong post about their interpretation of Hekate, in the process made some statements about Hekate’s feelings on how she is seen. A number of community leaders have responded, some rather eloquently. I particularly liked Christopher Penczak’s play on the Buddhist concept entitled “If you meet Hekate on the Road – Kill Her?”.
I’m going to add my two penneth, not because I am one of the ‘priestesses and mentors’ mentioned by Pagan Voices, but because I am an opinionated mare with a thought to share. It’s a subject I have thought long and hard, and if I can share it once I am willing to share it again. You can read it all or skip to the TLDR at the end of this post.
The One True Hekate
How do we know if we are truly connecting with Hekate? This is the core question being raised by the community, and whether or not that was the intent of Pagan Voices it is worthy of examination. When working with any form of spirit or Godform the potential to be misleading but tricksy spirits are there.
“Hekas, Hekas, Este Bebeloi – Far, far be removed ye profane”
A good magical practice will guard against such things because it will clear out energies that may interfere with magical working and invoking of deity. It is also good practice to request clarity and confirmation. If we were speaking of working with the dead or other spirits the word we would be talking of “challenge” but that might not be as polite or politic when working with deity. The language and tone may change but the intent remains the same.
Know your Gnosis
Even then, is it is impossible to know if what we encounter is the one true (TM) Hekate as encountered by our ancient predecessors. Gods change like people do, albeit more slowly, according to how we as humans interpret them. We can read and interpret the documentation left to us but these are nowhere close to being a full record of either shared or personal gnosis. Even then, the researcher’s bane is the tendency and trap of twisting information to fit a personal opinion and choosing to exclude all other interpretations out of hand. Jason Miller, in response, states that revelation and research should be kept separate and I agree with him. It is something to be celebrated when they match but we must avoid twisting research to fit experience (or visa versa).
At the end of the day, it’s a healthy thing to have clearly defined beliefs and it is human nature to try and define, own and propagate our interpretation of deity, particularly when we feel strongly about one point or another. For example, I hate the MMC concept as a whole and Hekate’s placement within it as a Crone particularly. I can and will make convincing arguments as to why the MMC sucks big time and/or why Hekate better fits the role of Maiden in the Eleusinian Mysteries. But these should not bind us, not blind us to the experiences of others.
The Fourth Face
The other thing I want to refer to is the phenomena which I like to call the “fourth face“. As mere humans, we can only comprehend so much of deity and they will appear to us in ways we can understand. That doesn’t mean all the other layers and faces don’t exist, and just as we should avoid writing off peoples UPG we shouldn’t write off the aspects of Hekate that don’t manifest for us. Continuing the example I can confidently state that in 8+ years Hekate has never presented to me as Crowley’s hate-filled and jealous crone but that’s not to say that people have never encountered her as such, not that I might encounter her in this guise at some stage.
This forth face has a second implication for the discussion at hand; that we should be wary of attempting to force our UPG on to others as the one true way for all to follow. This is really is what Pagan Voices comes off as attempting to do with their post, though to be generous they may have been attempting to provoke thought rather than various community bears.
There are a lot of BNP providing ways, means and methods to connect with practices through Hekate, and even Hekate herself, and they are very unique when they are compared against one another. I can see how it could raise the question as to how we know if we are truly connecting with Hekate. Equally, I can also see how it would provoke the fixed on mind into a frenzy and result in a little kickback against the various streams of “branding”. One provokes conversation the other sows seeds of confusion and dissension.
We are all responsible for the way we behave and communicate and personally think it’s a weak argument to claim that you are speaking for any deity. Unless you are channelling at that moment the only person you are speaking for is yourself because you have something to say.
I don’t expect us all to be meek and humble but an attitude of “this is my interpretation and this is my basis for it” followed by “hey that sounds interesting but I can’t see it myself” is far better for us as individual practitioners and the community at large in the long run. This is especially true if it is paired with diligent research and personal practice which is open and inclusive to other practices. It is certainly more preferable to the “my way or the highway” attitude, which only limits personal and spiritual growth.
Of course, we are all human, and it is easy to get blinkered when it is a subject we care deeply about but if we remember to check ourselves and stay open to other experiences and opinions we can be more aware of our own practices.
TLDR: we can’t truly know if we are connecting now an authentic and historical form of Hekate. We can try and seek confirmation, spiritual and historical, but must remember that the U in UPG stands for unverified, not universal.