25.11.16

Hecate





Hecate or Hekate (/ˈhɛkətiː/; Greek Ἑκάτη Hekátē) is a goddess in Ancient Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form. She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery. She appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod's Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess. The place of origin of her following is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular followings in Thrace. She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd–3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, "she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition."



The etymology of the name Hecate (Ἑκάτη, Hekátē) is not known. Suggested derivations include:

From the Greek word for 'will'. From Ἑκατός Hekatos, an obscure epithet of Apollo.This has been translated as "she that operates from afar", "she that removes or drives off", "the far reaching one" or "the far-darter".the name of the Egyptian goddess of childbirth, Heqet, has been compared.

In Early Modern English, the name was also pronounced disyllabically (as /ˈhɛkɪt/) and sometimes spelled Hecat. It remained common practice in English to pronounce her name in two syllables, even when spelled with final e, well into the 19th century.

The spelling Hecat is due to Arthur Golding's 1567 translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and this spelling without the final E later appears in plays of the Elizabethan-Jacobean period. Noah Webster in 1866 particularly credits the influence of Shakespeare for the then-predominant disyllabic pronunciation of the name.

Hecate may have originated among the Carians of Anatolia, where variants of her name are found as names given to children. Hecate was also worshipped in the ancient city of Colchis. William Berg observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens." She also closely parallels the Roman goddess Trivia, with whom she was identified in Rome.

Her most important sanctuary was Lagina, a theocratic city-state in which the goddess was served by eunuchs. Lagina, where the famous temple of Hecate drew great festal assemblies every year, lay close to the originally Macedonian colony of Stratonikeia, where she was the city's patroness. In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal regions (particularly gates) and the wilderness.

Christianity, borowed the name of the goddess as did with many others.

Catherine (Greek : Αικατερίνη < μεταγενέστερη ελληνική Αἰκατερίνη/Αἰκατερίνα <  αρχαία ελληνική *Εκατερίνη < Ἑκατερός < ἑκάτερος.)
From Ancient Greek Ἑκάτη ‎(Hekátē), possibly the feminine equivalent of Ἑκατός ‎(Hekatós), an obscure epithet of Apollo, variously interpreted as "one who works/operates from afar", "one who drives off","the far reaching one" or "the far-darter".

Alternatively, some suggest that the name derives from the Ancient Greek word for "will".
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Greek: ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνα ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς) is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and converted hundreds of people to Christianity. She was martyred around the age of 18. Over 1,100 years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her.

The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates her as a Great Martyr, and celebrates her feast day on 24 or 25 November (depending on the local tradition). In the Catholic Church she is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. In 1969 the Catholic Church removed her feast day from the General Roman Calendar; however, she continued to be commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 25 November.In 2002, her feast was restored to the General Roman Calendar as an optional memorial.

There is no true records about Saint Catherine. the earliest surviving account of St. Catherine's life comes around 600 years after the traditional date of her martyrdom, in the menologium a document compiled for Emperor Basil II (976), although the rediscovery of her relics at Saint Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai was about 800, and presumably implies an existing cult at that date (the common name of the monastery developed after the discovery).

Her principal symbol is the spiked wheel,(also Hecate's symbol) which has become known as the Catherine wheel, and her feast day is celebrated on 25 November by most Christian churches.  



The wheel
Catherine wheel
Catherine wheel or simply the wheel, was a torture device used for capital punishment from antiquity into early modern times for public execution by breaking the criminal's bones/bludgeoning him to death. As a form of execution, it was used from classical times into the 18th century; as a form of post mortem punishment of the criminal, the wheel was still in use in 19th-century Germany

Hecate’s wheel
The Strophalos, or Hecate’s wheel is an ancient Greek symbol, and is an emblem of the initiatory lunar Goddess Hecate (Diana Lucifera), and her triple aspect. Only one ancient source remains to shed any light on the emblem’s meaning.
The second century Alexandrian text known as the Chaldean oracle describes the emblem as a labyrinthine serpent (emblematic of rebirth) surrounding a spiral, symbolic of the Iynges- “whirlings” or emanations of divine thought. Today, it is generally used by practitioners of Hellenic Recon or Dianic Traditions of Wicca as an emblem of religious identification. Other emblems of Hecate
include torches, dogs (generally female), keys, serpents, and of course, the crossroads. .

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