Hecate Night - Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Hecate Night
Calendar of Revelry and Sacred Days

November 16th is the night dedicated in honor of the witch deity Hecate. It is not the only night of the year sacred to her. Hecate claims dominion over all dark moon nights as well as the final day of each month (October 31st, the Feast of All Hallows is particularly sacred to her). Rituals and petitions to her are considered especially potent on any of these days, however the festival on November 16th recalls that Hecate was once a great goddess complete with temples and shrines, venerated by many, not only her spiritual daughters, witches. Hecate keeps nocturnal office-hours and this festival is no exception.

It begins at nightfall. Animal sacrifices were once offered in Hecate’s temples in what are now Greece, Turkey, and Georgia; however those rites have been lost and are no longer appropriate. Gifts that memorialize her ancient sacrifices as well as her sacred animals are appropriate, however—votive imagery of dogs, wolves, pigs, horses, and snakes.

This is the night to be initiated into Hecate’s Mysteries. Hecate Suppers were once held. Celebrants share a feast in Hecate’s honor; a full plate for the goddess is left at a crossroads. (Whatever is left is considered given; do not use your finest china plate unless it is intended as part of the offering. It is forbidden to take anything back that has been given to Hecate.) Appropriate foods for the ritual dinner include cheese, honey, garlic, eggs, mushrooms, fish including red mullet (a scavenger which was taboo elsewhere) and honey cake for dessert. Leave the offering for Hecate and do not look back. If someone else picks it up, whether human or animal, this is wholly appropriate and Hecate’s desire. Should you hear a dog bark it is highly auspicious. Allegedly Hecate roams the Earth on this night with her pack of hounds and wolves, accompanied by a host of ghosts, blessing those who left offerings for her.