In this blog, I will share some of the theoretical parts of the new, developing praxis of mine. Note that these are NOT yet tested and thus remain strictly in the realm of theory and symbology. Still, the correspondences and symbolisms are my own and resonate with my understandings in a very deep level. Additionally, I have spent quite some time contemplating what equals what and if x brings/affects y et al, so rest assured that, at least as far as symbolism and correspondence are concerned, these are true.
For the time being, I have created and written down certain tools that will most probably be the primary tools in my Hekatean practice. Other tools will certainly be used but they are deemed secondary and thus not mentioned. I will present here which are those tools as well explain what their purpose and roles are, as well as certain symbolic meanings they hold.
The Triad of Hekate’s Seal
Hekate’s Seal, as I have designed it, is an eye in a circle and upon that circle, in the positions that correspond to a triquetra’s points, are placed three important symbols of Hers: the dagger, the key and the rope. Those three are the Triad of Hekate’s Seal and the very first tools in my new praxis.
Dagger: The Dagger is the symbol of the Witch’s power and Will. As such, it is also the symbol of the Witch herself, since Will is the power the Witch uses more than any other. The Dagger is also the Witch’s weapon against all forces seen and unseen and is the guide and conductor of her Will. Its properties are that of control, authority and summoning. In this praxis, the Dagger has no specific elemental affinity, instead it contains all elements equally in symbolism. It can be held as an emblem of the Witch in her interactions with any being or force, even deities, although it is not a forceful tool in the latter’s case, only a magical badge of recognition and status as a Witch.
The Crossroads Key: The Key is an old, plain key imbued with the power and magic of a crossroads through an appropriate rite (such as the one Oakthorne outlines in his Hoodoo group). It stands as the greatest symbol of Hekate and Her power. The Key is used to lock and unlock the three Gates, provide a link to the crossroads, serve as a focal point for the worship of Hekate as well as empower any rite and working. Like the Dagger, it has no specific elemental affinity.
The Hanged Man’s Rope: The Hanged Man’s Rope is a piece of rope (old preferably) symbolizing the bonds of both the ancestors and the Restless Dead, the deceased that Hekate holds power over, with our world. The Rope is used as a conduit or focus for interaction with the dead. Also, it can be used both to guide the Restless Dead to the underworld as well as to sever the bonds that hold them in this world. The first should be combined with another tool, the Hekatean Rod, while the latter should make use of the Dagger to symbolically cut the lingering bonds by placing the Dagger’s blade on the Rope. Again, like the Dagger and the Key, the Rope has no specific elemental affinity.
These three tools can also be used to form Hekate’s Seal physically (as opposed to a drawn symbol), with a bowl of water as the eye in the circle’s centre.
The Witch’s tools are three: the Hekataion, the Hekatean Rod and the blessed water. These are and can be used alongside the Triad of the Seal. They complement and complete the Triad and they are equal in importance.
Hekataion: The Hekataion is the “Book of Shadows” of the Hekatean praxis. A Hekataion is any place or object dedicated to Hekate or portraying Her. In ancient Greece, a Hekataion was often a column or other similar construct (like a statue or altar) portraying Hekate, usually accompanied by the Charites and placed on crossroads (mostly Y shaped). Symbolically, the book is a Hekataion since it is dedicated to Hekate and the Hekatean praxis. The Hekataion contains all information and lore regarding Hekate and this praxis. It can also be used as a religious focus in worship (though not as a divine book, merely as a sacred object).
Hekatean Rod: The Rod is made from a plane tree’s branch I found in front of our block of flats. The three plane trees in front of our house are of great significance to me and my practice, therefore a wand (or rod) made from one of their branches is of great symbolic value. The Rod is the Dagger’s “sibling” in many ways. They have great, in some cases opposing, differences. Because of that, they complement each other and should often be used in conjuction. The Rod is the symbol of the messenger. Its properties are that of calm interaction, of communication and exchange. The Rod is a tool of communication and soothing, a parallel of Hermes’ staff, the caduceus (Greek: Kerykeion – Herald’s Staff) which is both a symbol of his status as a messenger and a tool for putting people into sleep. The Rod is used for inviting entities (usually deities or respected daemons) as well as for invocation and evocation (alongside the Dagger). Unlike the previous tools, the Rod has a specific and highly important elemental affinity: it is of the element of Air (further empowering its properties and roles). Finally, the Rod is used to open and close (which follow and preceed respectively, the unlocking and locking) the Gates.
Blessed Water: Blessed Water is charged and blessed saltwater in a bowl or other container. It should always be made prior to rituals and other workings in the Hekatean praxis, since it is vital for the minor cleansings before and after any rites and workings as well as to signify/open the rite itself. Its roles are that of cleansing, sanctification and protection.
The Elemental Pillars
In the Hekatean praxis, there are four tools that correspond to and represent the elements in any rite or working. Unlike other systems, in this praxis, those four tools, called Pillars, are stones. Every stone represent and correspond to an element (fire, water, air and earth). The making of these stones into the Elemental Pillars can be done in three ways: a) collect stones from areas associated with a particular element (e.g. a pebble from a coast for water or a piece of rock magma [igneous rock] for fire), b) “baptise” them in the chosen element (e.g. pass the stone through a flame or dip in water) or c) use a combination of the other two methods (e.g. one stone can be made into a Pillar via method A and another via method B).
The Pillars are the magical foundations of every ritual (as well as most elabourate workings) in the Hekatean practice. Their use is essential since nothing can be constructed (magically/energetically) without proper foundations. Each Pillar has its own meanings and properties and based on those, they can be positioned differently depending on the ritual/working.
Pillar of Earth: It represents the element of Earth. Its properties are: stability, calmness, power physical/bodily/life force, growth, fertility, support, death, precaution, restriction/confinement. It can be used as the foremost Pillar for workings and rites related/focused on these things.
Pillar of Fire: It represents the element of Fire. Its properties are: passion, power energetic, cleansing, banishment, catharsis, destruction, soul, sun, Will, protection, enlightenment. It can be used as the foremost Pillar for workings and rites related/focused on these things.
Pillar of Water: It represents the element of Water. Its properties are: memory, birth, cleansing, flow, moon, spirit, healing, clarity, feeling, goal, prediction/foresight, depth, time. It can be used as the foremost Pillar for workings and rites related/focused on these things.
Pillar of Air: It represents the element of Air. Its properties are: knowledge, message/news, cleansing, banishment, increase, empowerment, communication, in/evocation, mind. It can be used as the foremost Pillar for workings and rites related/focused on these things.
The Gates of the Otherworld
In the Hekatean praxis, a central tenet and practice (still in the theoretical stage) is that of using Gates to connect to realms and worlds entwined with the one we reside in as a means to either draw directly from where a rite or working’s goal is “originating” or to communicate and interact with the entities residing in those realms. The Gates are three: the Gate of Fire, connecting us with the realm(s) of deities and higher spiritual planes/spheres, the Gate of Water, connecting us with the realm(s) of daemons, the fae, other such spirits and the parallel (to us) planes and spheres and the Gate of Earth, connecting us with the realm(s) of the dead and lower planes/spheres. Each Gate has its own properties and roles. Air has no gate since it is the means, the road if you wish, connecting all of them. If I were to place them on a crossroads, I’d so in this manner:
For a Y crossroad, each branch would lead to one of the three Gates, with the individual standing in the centre, and Air connecting all three Gates and the centre.
For a X crossroad, the right, left and forward branches would hold the three Gates while the individual would stand close to the centre but also within the behind brance, with Air both connecting everything and guiding/pushing the individual from the behind branch, representing where he came from.
Gate of Fire: The Gate of Fire connects to the higher realms. It grants interaction and communication with deities. Its element is Fire and its properties are passion and power. Its nature is solar. It brings forth energy and is related to the Anima Mundi, the World Soul. It symbolizes Will and the Higher Self (soul).
Gate of Water: The Gate of Water connects to the parallel realms. It grants interaction and communication with the fae, daemons and other such spirits. Its element is Water and its properties are feeling and healing. Its nature is lunar. It brings forth flow and is related to the Sensus/Spiritus Mundi, the World Feeling/Spirit. It symbolizes the goal/intent and the Self (spirit).
Gate of Earth: The Gate of Earth connects to the lower realms. It grants interaction and communication with the dead. Its element is Earth and its properties are instinct, stability and fertility-death. Its nature is physical/earthly. It brings forth growth and is related to the Corpus Mundi, the World Body. It symbolizes the action and the Lower Self (life force/body).
Each Gate is represented by an appropriate elemental item. Specifically, the Gate of Fire would be a source of fire, such as a candle, the Gate of Water would be an amount of water, such as a bowl of water and the Gate of Earth would be something of the earth, such as a bowl of salt or dirt.
The Gates are an important aspect of the Hekatean praxis I am developing. Inspired by Hekate’s liminal nature, I thought of something that could make use of that as well as explore fields I always wished to indulge in (namely, interaction with spirits/entities). Also, the Gates will be a means to approach ancestor veneration and other aspects of Hekate’s spheres of influence, which are off-limits for me as far as most traditional methods are concerned.
Different Gates will be opened depending on the rite. In most cases, only one Gate will be opened. However, I am thinking of a very special and significant, major ritual where all three Gates would be opened at once. Still, this can be dangerous (as well as taxing), so I am keeping it as a mere idea until I can test the Gates practically.
The Gates will be used for empowerment of workings and as portals of communication and interaction with the appropriate entities for religious rites. In order to use them, a specific procedure must be followed. First, one should place the foundations (the Pillars), around the object to be turned into a Gate, with the Pillar of the corresponding element in front of the Gate, facing the practitioner. The Pillar of the opposing element should be placed behind the Gate, while the other two can be placed in either side (left or right). Following that is the Unlocking of the Gates, a small rite unto itself, using the Crossroads Key to unlock and activate the Gate. Finally, using the Hekatean Rod, the practitioner opens fully the activated and unlocked Gate, just like they would turn the handle of an unlocked door to fully open it.
The Rod is also very important in the rites of the Gates. It is used to ensure successful communication with the entities approached via the Gates as well as to maintain, through a calming authority, the exchange and working at hand. Should additional control and more forceful authority be required, the Dagger could also be used.
After the rite or working is complete, the Gate must be closed with the Rod and then locked with the Key, to fully deactivate it and make certain that nothing (energy, entities etc) will “leak” through. The objects used as the Gates should be cleaned (e.g. the water or dirt be disposed of, respectfully), cleansed and stored away. The objects (e.g. the candle or the bowls) should not be used for mundane reasons, although they can be used in other magical operations (for instance, if necessary, the same bowl can be used for more than one Gate, although that’s not preferred).
The Gates, even though untested yet, are certainly a powerful and dangerous tool and should be handled with care, respect and caution.
I will post more stuff as soon as I test everything.