Hecate is a Pre-Olympian Triple Goddess. Some sources say that Hecate's parents were the Star Goddess Asteria, as her Mother and her Father was a Titan named Perses. She in her self is a Maiden, a Mother and a Crone. Changing ages and/or form at will.
In Greek literature, Hecate was often portrayed in her maiden aspect. For example, in the Traid of Hecate, Persephone and Demeter, the break down is thus:
Hecate is the maiden, Persephone is the bride and Demeter is the mother. This thought differs from the mainstream modern perception of Hecate, as just a crone.
Zeus himself honored Hecate above all other Goddesses. He bestowed unto her a portion of the Earth and of the Sea, for her ruling. Hecate also had the privilege of heaven. Zeus also called upon her for her assistance, in helping Demeter to get her daughter back from Hades and out of the Underworld. Of course Hecate was successful in this endeavor.
Hecate has many symbols. Some of the most common are the following:
Hecate has control over birth, life, death and re-birth. All major rites of passage, Hecate is there. Hecate has control over all the powers of nature and the secrets it contains. Hecate is a protectress, of her followers, sailors and those in travel. Zeus made her a nurse to the young, (A child's nurse) so she also protects new life. It makes sence that Hecate would take part in the re-birth of the newly incarnate soul.
The structure of the worship of Hecate tends to be sketchy at best. What is known is her followers would place a statue of Hecate at the Crossroads. They would leave offerings to her, with their petition of need said at such a place, turning and leaving without looking back, in fear of encountering Hecate in person. The offerings consisted of black dogs/hounds, black ewe lambs, which where sacrificed in her honor. Often her followers would place either at the crossroads or out before their dwellings, the offering called Hecate's Supper. There are many variations of Hecate's Supper, but the commen thread seems to be Honey and Mushrooms.
Some of the herbs associated with Hecate are:
There are more which I could add, but you will find many more from Hecate herself if you spend any amount of time with her.
November 16, The Night of Hecate
In Greece, this festival begins at sunset. Hecate Supper's and Amimal sacrifices were often preformed on this night. Those who follow Hecate were often Initiated into Hecate's mysteries on this night. In modern time, new Witches who follow her often choose this day to be Initiated. This day is to us who follow her, Sacred.
It is said that on this night Hecate would wander the Earth with her pack of hounds or other familiars, blessing those followers who left Hecate her supper.
November 30: Day Of Hecate At The Crossroads
Again in Greece, Hecate was honored on this day. For this aspect.
August 13: Celebration Of Hecate Of The Moon
In Greece, on this night Hecate was called on for protection from crop devastating storms. (Hecate has also been known to show her fury and wrath by causing such storms, so this celebration is more then likely for Hecate's pleasure and for her Blessing.)
© 2004 - Hecate Moon
Sources for information and recommended reading:
Source: http://www.geocities.org/hecate_moon13/hecate.html (Site is now defunct)