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Thread: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

  1. #1
    Silver Member monsno_leedra's Avatar
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    Shamanic Practitioner & Green / Hedge Witch with Hellenic leanings
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    Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

    I'm submitting this thread in the hopes that other's might read over my thoughts and ponderings. Tell me if my logic makes sense and my conclusions seem legitimate. I've placed it in this forum as it pertains to Hekate and is heavily influenced by Hellen concepts and practices.

    I look forward to any and all opinions / perspectives that the member's are willing to share with me and the guidance / insights they might provide.


    Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

    When you research the goddess Hekate / Hecate the creatures that are listed as being sacred to the goddess are relatively few. The most often cited creatures being Black Dog, Owl, Snake, Horse, Toad, incorrectly the Pole Cat (Weasel) IMHO and occasionally Serpent / Dragon. While each of these creatures have their own unique abilities and equations there is one that I think is missing from the list. That creature, to be exact, an insect none other than the Butterfly. Yet one might ask, Why? In appearance it might not seem like a logical creature to be considered Sacred to Hekate.

    The first point of consideration should be the life cycle of the Butterfly. The Butterfly from birth to death experiences four stages of its life. When compared to Hekate’s sphere’s of influence the four stages can be equated to those spheres. The first stage is birth from an egg, the caterpillar stage, the Cocoon stage and finally rebirth as an adult butterfly. If one considers the three spheres associated with Hekate i.e., Celestial, Chthonic and Oceanic then the Butterflies life cycle I believe fits into these. Earthly / chthonic applied to birth and caterpillar stage, the cocoon falls into the oceanic stage as well as the mystical (The mother’s womb or Hekate’s Cave) while the final form falls into the celestial / heavenly stage.

    I believe that the sequence can also be equated to the Eleusinian Mysteries and Hekate’s perceived role in the mysteries. The acolyte (birth stage) is accepted into the mystery and rites. Once accepted the acolyte will descend into the underworld (Cocoon stage). While there receiving the hidden knowledge or mysteries resulting in change / rebirth. Then Hekate will lead the acolyte back into the world as they pass from the darkness into the light. Having reached enlightenment and emerging as the new acolyte / being. The acolyte having been changed through the process of metamorphosis / transformation of physical body and mind.

    Additionally, I think the idea of both restless dead and the beginning / ending of life are tied to Hekate. This duality of life and death, death and rebirth and even the idea of passage into the underworld or spirit wandering endlessly are expressed in how various culture’s / societies recognize the Butterfly. I do think there are additional clues to the connection to Hekate by the various words used to identify the Butterfly.

    In Ancient Hellas (Greece) Aristotle gave the Butterfly the name of psyche. “The strange evolution of the term “psi” (Ψ). It’s the twenty-third letter in the Greek alphabet, and at some point, the Romans transliterated it to form the word psyche. It meant butterfly in Latin, but it went on to mean things like breeze, breath, energy, and finally soul.

    In ancient Greek, the word psyche (as we mentioned earlier), meant butterfly. This insect was also a symbol for the breath of life, a breeze, a life-giving wind… Little by little, thanks to the Roman Empire’s influence, the word ended up symbolizing the human soul. What they saw it as was our life-force, also known as “ka” in Egyptian culture.

    The Greeks and Romans had a very specific view of the soul when it came to people. One of their beliefs was that, when someone died, that “ka” the Egyptians talked about would leave their body in the form of a breath of air. That breath would take the shape of a butterfly. There was nothing terrifying about that image in their mind, either. For them, butterflies represented light, change, and hope.” ... gy-symbol/

    Inserting my opinion here but to me the character “psi” resembles the idea of a three-fold Hekate or a Hecateion type pillar. Within the idea of the soul, I believe the Butterfly can be moved into the Chaldean Oracles concept of Hekate being the world soul. Within that concept I can see the “psi” character representing the world soul and the two channels or serpents that dispense and receive the souls (seed and idea’s) of all living things.

    In the below Roman mosaic of the Wheel of Fortune, a butterfly represents the soul.

    Naples National Archaeological Museum [Public domain] Memento mori floor mosaic from Pompeii depicting an allegorical scene on the brevity of life, 1st century AD, via The National Archaeological Museum of Naples

    William O. Beeman, of the Department of Anthropology of Brown University, took a survey of all the different words that mean “butterfly” around the world. He found that the word “butterfly” is a bit of a linguistic anomaly. “The terms for butterfly have several things that generally unite them: they involve a degree of repetitious sound symbolism, (Hebrew parpar; Italian farfale) and they use visual and auditory cultural metaphors to express the concept.”

    Beeman goes on to say, “The Russian word for 'butterfly' is babochka, a diminutive of baba, (old) woman. The explanation I have heard is that butterflies were thought to be witches in disguise in Russian folklore. It is or was, therefore, an emotionally highly charged word, which may be the reason for its resistance against borrowing.” ... re-2561631

    “The butterfly exists in four distinct forms. Khandro explains these four distinct forms.
    o The fertilized egg is planted in our mother's womb.
    o From our day of birth, we are like the caterpillar which can only eat and creep along.
    o At death, we are like the dormant pupa in its chrysalis.
    o After that, our consciousness emerges from the cast off body, and some see in this the emergence of the butterfly. Therefore, the butterfly is symbolic of rebirth after death.” ... p?id=34628

    In conclusion, just as Hekate / Hecate cause us to change via transformation and guides us through the changes of our lives the Butterfly is representative of that process. Just as the Butterfly has to undergo the various developmental changes to come out stronger and enlightened, so do we as followers of Hekate. Accepting change and loosing those aspects or limitations that hold us back in our spiritual and / or magical development.
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  2. #2
    PF Ordo Hereticus MaskedOne's Avatar
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    The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant compared to the power of the Force.

    Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

    The logic seems sound but I don't have enough understanding of Hellenic lore (or Roman, since you reference them) to know if there are any problems on that front. I do think it's a well constructed argument and a pretty interesting concept overall.
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    Yoda told stories, and ate, and cried, and laughed: and the Padawans saw that life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

    "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

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    "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve", said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth; be content."

    Aslan, Prince Caspian by CS Lewis

  3. #3

    Re: Is there another creature that should be sacred to Hekate?

    I don't see why you -couldn't- associate the two, and as far as the life cycles go that stands on it's own. I don't think that it really requires anything about psi or psyche. That these are associated with breath and butterflies (and other such things) might have quite a bit more to do with phonetics.
    Last edited by Rhythm; 23 Sep 2022 at 12:17.

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