in Thessaly was dedicated by a race-horse owner. It shows Hecate, with a hound beside her, placing a wreath on the head of a mare. This statue is in the British Museum, inventory number 816. Her attendant and animal representation is of a bitch, and the most common form of offering was to leave meat at a crossroads. Sometimes dogs themselves were sacrificed to her (a good indication of her non-Hellenic origin, as dogs along with donkeys, very rarely played this role in genuine Greek ritual). Despite popular belief, Hecate was not originally a Greek goddess. She is unknown to Homer and in fact the earliest written references to her are in Hesiod's Theogony. The place of origin of her cult is uncertain, but it is thought that she had popular cult followings in Thrace. 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 Stratonikea. In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser Hermes, namely a governess of liminal points and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night- walking crone. Additionally, this led to her role of aiding women in childbirth and the raising of young men. There are two versions of Hecate that emerge in Greek myth. The lesser role integrates Hecate while not diminishing Artemis. In this version Hecate is a mortal priestess who scorns and insults Artemis, eventually leading to her suicide. Artemis then adorns the dead body with jewelry and whispers for her spirit to rise and become her Hecate, and act similar to Nemesis as an avenging spirit, but solely for injured women. Such myths where a home god sponsors or 'creates' a foreign god were widespread in ancient cultures as a way of integrating foreign cults. Additionally, as Hecate's cult grew, her figure was added to the myth of the birth of Zeus as one of the midwives that hid the child. The second version helps to explain how Hecate gains the title of the "Queen of Ghosts" and her role as a goddess of sorcery. Images of Hecate were placed at borders to serve a protective role. It became common to place statues of the goddess at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association of keeping out evil spirits, lead to the belief that if     (Continued) Hekate 2
© Hekate’s Sacred Temple and Torchbearer of the Crossroads 2014 - Version 2.1 Hekate’s Sacred Temple Torchbearer of the Crossroads Kerrebus Behind Her, Companion along side.