A Samhain Ritual
Hekate, Queen of the Witches
A Ritual of Transformation for Samhain

MoonPathCUUPS Fort Lauderdale
October 25, 2003

Players:  Hekate -
          Medeia -
          Jason -
          Persephone, Iphigeneia, Woman -
          Hades, Agamemnon, Man -
          Smudgers -
          Spirit Dancers -
          Drummers -
          Fire Tender - 
          Quarter Teams (4 on each)
            East - 
            North - 
            West - 
            South - 

Props:    Two Hand Torches
          Black Robe
          Key, Rope, Dagger
          Scythe
          300 Candles          
          High Altar
          Altar Tools
          Jar Candles
          Sword
          Wicker Man
          Ribbons
          
Credit to Sara Craig for Medeia's poetry.
Credit for the Charge of the Dark Goddess to ___.
Credit to Joseph Campbell for for "Hero's Journey".

The Wicker Man is set up early in the evening, perhaps by the
patio. People are invited to tie ribbons to him in memory of the
departed.

(Jason speaks from the stage. Everyone is asked to clear a
circular space in the center of the Sanctuary.)

Jason: Permit me to introduce myself. I am Jason, formerly of the
Argonauts. I wander the land. I tell the stories of the people.
Tonight I bring you Ritual, a Theater for the Soul:

The Dark Goddess is known to us through many names, Lilith, Kali,
Cerridwen, Eresh-Kigal, the Morgaine, and, of course, Hekate.

Now let me tell you of Hekate.  Truly, she is one of the great
Goddesses of the Pagan World. Although, she may shape shift into 
either Maiden or Mother, she is primarily worshipped in her Crone
aspect. She is known as the Goddess of the Crossroads and the
Queen of the Witches.

We look to Greece for these legends. We can go back 4,000 years
to the time of Ancient Crete, a rather large island in the
Mediterranean just southeast of Greece. This was the Bronze Age, 
before the invention of either iron tools or writing. It was a
time of Goddess culture and the bare-breasted snake priestesses. 
Similar things may have been going on around the mainland.

The Trojan War happened and Crete fell, sometime around 1200 BCE.
Then followed 300 years of the Greek Dark Ages. Climates shifted 
and people migrated to the river cultures of Egypt and Babylon in 
Mesopotamia.

(Enter Hekate stage right. She is holding two torches and wearing
a Key, Rope and Dagger and circles the front area.)

Hekate first appeared in statuary around 800 BCE in the city-
state of Thrace in the northeast of Greece. This city-state links
to the Celts in nearby Turkey and their worship of the Goddess
and also to Astarte further east in Asia Minor. Also, there is a
connection to the Egyptian midwife goddess Heket and in Egypt's
Old Kingdom, there was Heka, the god of magic who was associated
with snakes and lions.

(pause)

Hekate was around before Zeus made his appearance. Her role was
guide, and she was pictured carrying two torches. She was the
guide to the Underworld and a guide to the Unconscious.

Now let me tell you of the story of Persephone.

(Enter Persephone stage right, frolicking maidenly. She is
pursued by Hades and carried off back stage right kicking and
screaming. Hekate, holding torches, hears and looks on and exits
stage left.)

She was carried off to the Underworld by Hades. Hekate hears her 
cries as she is carried off to the underworld and runs off to alert 
the other Gods. 

Hekate was associated with women's mysteries. As midwife, she was
a guide at birth. In the underworld, she was a guide at death. 

In Homer's Iliad, King Agamemnon was making plans for the Trojen
War. He had offended the goddess Artimis by boasting that he was
a better hunter than her. Artimis sent a contrary wind that held
his warships in the harbor. To appease Artimis, Agamemnon chose
to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigeneia (I-Fe-GEN-i-a). 

(Enter Iphigenia stage right walking subjugated like a prisoner.
She is followed by Agamemnon and turns to face him. Agamemnon
makes a high plunging motion as with a dagger. Hekate steps up to
Iphigenia, takes her hand and walks her off stage left. Agamemnon
exits stage right, to make his war preparations.)

Iphigeneia is said to have transformed into Hekate at the moment
of her death. More likely, what the story teller saw was Hekate
greeting her as she began her journey into the Underworld.

Within the secret Eleusinian (E-lu-SIN-i-an) Mysteries, she was
the torch-bearing guide for spiritual seekers through the
mystical rebirth of the soul.

Hekate was not always seen as a crone. She could shift her shape 
as suited her for the journey. 

Her High Priestess was Medeia. Medeia, the daughter of the
youngest of the Ocean Nymphs. Medeia, daughter of the King of
Corinth.

(Enter Medeia stage left.)

Medeia: The stories we were taught as children in school, were
the backdrop to the Fall of the Goddess in Ancient Greece. The
statue of the Winged Goddess of Victory did not lose her head by 
accident.

Jason: When Rome rose to power, patriarchy was already
entrenched. More prominence was given to Hekate's gloomy and
destructive powers. She shifted towards being the Goddess to the
Shadow Side of Women. 

(Woman stomps out from stage right followed by Man She turns
and offers him the Italian salute and then continues defiantly on
towards Hekate and exits with her stage left. Man shrugs and
exits stage right.)

(Pause)

Jason: Hekate became more the goddess of the netherworld. She was
invoked in clandestine rites of black magic. Her presence was
especially felt where three roads meet, in the darkness of night.

(Hekate enters stage left and moves to center. Media follows and
climbs onto the stage as if she owns it.)

Medeia: By medieval times, the patriarchal dualistic world view
saw the human soul as the battleground for warring forces of good
and evil. Hekate became known as the Queen of the Witches,
patronized by midwives, healers, and seers.

Jason: Hekate's emblems, aside from the two torches, are the Key,
the Rope and the Dagger. The Key is the Key to the underworld; the Rope
symbolizes the umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal. It doubles 
as a scourge. The Dagger, later to become the Athame of the
witches, is related to the double-bladed knife that cuts delusion
and is the symbol of ritual power.

(Media moves to Hekate and displays her Key, her Rope, and her
Dagger. Then Hekate exits stage left.)

(Costume change out of sight: Hekate dons black robe and takes up
Scythe, helped by Woman.)

Medeia: As daughter of Nyx, Goddess of the Night, she is Goddess 
of the Dark Moon, and perhaps, the evening and morning stars,
were her two torches.

Jason: She is associated with all wild animals, particularly the 
Dog, but also with snakes and lions. She was connected with that 
three-headed dog, Cerberus, which stood guard in both Homer's 
Odyssey and JK Rawling's Harry Potter.

Well known in ancient times, Hecate was associated with the 
crossroads where she could be seen traveling with her baying hounds.

(Stretch reading this text)

Medeia: A modern patriarchal translation of Hekate is perhaps the
Grim Reaper. This is a male covered in black robes with face
unseen. He carries a scythe, a long handled blade used for
harvesting grain. His role is to usher the person, whose time has
come, into the next world. What we see in modern times is a
guide. He offers no compassion. He appears when it is time to go.

(Enter Grim Reaper, stage left.)

(Reaper drops robe and scythe, helped by Woman, and is seen to
be Hekate. She holds up torches.)

Hekate: "Hail Hekate! Be with me now!"

(Jason and Medeia explain what happens next.)

Jason: Following this enactment, we move on to our Ritual. The
Goddess of the Underworld will lead you. You will pass outside
into the Outland to our Memorial Garden and on to the Underworld.
You will be handed a candle.

Medeia: Hekate will guide you on your way through the Outland.
The drummers will provide your rhythm. You move on to the Great
Circle were you will confront the shadow of yourselves.

Jason: There the spirits will swirl about you moving you around
the circle. We will all hail the Great Goddess Hekate.

HP:  Be it known that the ritual is about to begin.

Hekate: I am Hekate, daughter of Nyx. I will guide you to the
underworld. Follow me through the summerland, if you dare.

Hekate leads the people out the northeast door of the Sanctuary,
through the Memorial Garden and out to the Circle. Once at the
Circle, she will exit and wait to be invoked.)

(Smudgers are already outside at the exit from the Memorial
Garden. They quickly smudge the procession as they pass.)

(The Spirit Dancers are at the Circle. They quite the procession
into forming an evenly distributed Circle.)

(Jason (HP), Medeia (HPS) move out southeast door of Sanctuary to
Circle.)

(Candles are handed to people as they exit the building.)



                       OUTSIDE RITUAL

HP:  Be it known that the ritual is about to begin.
Let none be here but of their own free will.
Be it known that the practice of our religion involves secrets,
even in this, the Outer Court. 
Share with no one on the outside
the names of those gathered in this Circle tonight.
Shut of your cell phones, beepers, and NO CAMERAS. 
Some of us are still closeted.

HPS: I am Medeia:
I was born behind bronze walls
Far away
Called princess by some
Savior by few
Witch by many.
I have lived many years
More than I would have wished --
Years of pain and, often enough,
Years of death. Many times have I drenched
My sun-darkened hands in the warm fire
Of vital life-blood, felt
Another life drain to save my own.
I have been cursed and
Hated,
Worshipped and feared;
My legends are told
In the tavern-whispers of the wary
Or sometimes sung by bards
Beyond mortal reins.
But I am not mere legend
Nor am I all my singers would have me be.
And so I present myself to you as I am:
Not goddess, nor
Sorceress, nor
Lover; I am simply
Medeia.

HP: You have not arrived here by chance.
You have put yourself on this Path long ago.
We shall walk some of it together and rejoice.
We first began in past sorrows, in past lives.
We were of the Wicca,
gazing at the stars, feeling deep unnamed secrets;
touching the Earth in joy and sensing life within;
seeing birth and knowing that it was a miracle,
a Mystery, a joy;
being still in the forest,
being warm in the water...
We are all lights,
and we follow the Path through the Goddess and the God, 
by all Their names,
and in growing, we grow in brightness,
following the cycles of Sun and Moon, 
and glowing in Divine Radiance.

HP/HPS: And now, let us begin.

(HPS rings bell three times.)

Casting of the Circle:

HP:  By the air that is her breath 
and the fire that is her bright spirit; 
By the water that is her living womb 
and the earth that is her body,  
We shall cast a Circle 
and make this place sacred and apart.

(HP cast Circle with sword.)

Chant:  "I cast this Circle round and  round,
         By its magick we are bound."

(HP returns to altar.  Places point of athame in salt
and adds three portions of salt to the water.)

(HPS takes up salt water and proceeds around circle.) 

Chant:   "By water and salt we purify,
          Our sacred space 'mid Earth and Sky."

(After HPS returns to altar. HP takes up smoking censer or
cauldron of incense and proceeds around Circle.)

Chant:   "Air and smoke fill this place
          Make our circle sacred space."

(HP rings bell.)

HPS: 
       The Circle is cast!
       The Bell is rung,
       The Candles are lit,
       The Chant is sung.
       The Book is opened,
       The Altar is set, 
       The Cauldron is stirred,
       The Group is met.

       We now proclaim to everyone
       That this, our Ritual, has begun.

(HP taps altar three times with Athame)


QUARTER CALLS:

HP: We will call the elementals at the quarters to join us:

Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

East: "Hekate! Come! on your mysterious owl,
with your ravens of spirit-speech,
Flying on the wind that whirls between the worlds,
We hear your whispering with each breath,
in the murmuring magic in our minds,
Blow clear our patterns of thought."

Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

South: "Hekate! Come! with your pride of passionate lions,
your blazing wild cats of intensity and desire,
Burning in a whirlpool of liquid fire.
We hear your roaring along our nerves,
dancing in flames that leap in our will."

Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

West: "Hekate! Come! on your great slithering serpent,
your dragon rising from the watery abyss,
Pouring out visions and prophetic dreams
We feel your damp spray in our blood,
in the waves that roar within our hearts."

Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

North: "Hekate! Come! with your ravening wolves,
your hounds from the depths, eyes glowing red,
hurdling out of the cavern of earth.
we hear your howl deep in our bones,
within the marrow of our souls."

HPS:    We are between the worlds,
        Beneath the Darkness of the Moon,
        Beyond the bounds of time,
        Where day and night,
        Birth and death,
        Joy and sorrow,
        Meet as one.

(Invoke Hekate.)

HP: Join us, Hekate, Goddess of the Underworld, Queen of the
Witches, patron of midwives, healers and seers. Open wide, I pray
thee, our eyes to the crossroads on the paths we trod. Share with
us your Key to the Dark World, your Cord to Rebirth, and your
two-edged Dagger that cuts Delusion. Yet is it to grasp these
sacred mysteries that the knowledge of death makes us complete in
life.

(Hekate enters.)

(Charge of the Dark Goddess)

Hekate: "I am the Darkness behind and beneath the shadows. I am
the absence of air that awaits at the bottom of every breath. I
am the ending before life begins again, the decay that fertilizes
the living. I am the bottomless pit, the never-ending struggle to
reclaim that which is denied. I am the key that
unlocks every door. 

Hekate: I am the glory of discovery, for I am that which is
hidden, secluded and forbidden. Come to my fiery Cauldron of
Wisdom, Inspiration, Rebirth and Transformation. Come to me at
the crossroads during the Dark Moon and see that which can not be
seen, face the terror that is yours alone. Swim to Me through the
blackest oceans to the center of your greatest fears--- the Dark 
Goddess will keep you safe. 

Hekate: Let our dear ones who have gone before, return this night
to make merry with us. Join hands and circle slowing widdershins 
(counterclockwise) around this Fire. Stare into the fire and see
the underworld and your path to rebirth.

(Drummer drum. People circle.)

Hekate: We stand between the worlds. We face the womb of the
Great Goddess from which all things are born and reborn again. 
As you circle about, call out the names of your departed loved
ones while the veil is especially thin.

(Drummers drum. Spirit dancers circle about widershins inside the
circle. The people call out names.)

Hekate: Let it be in this same place and this same time that we
may meet and know our departed loved ones, and love them once again. 
I am the Opener of the Doorway to Awareness.

Hekate: Stand still. The spirits will now light your candles. It
may be that two people will choose to hold a single candle
together. The spirits will come around and light your candles.

The Chant:
              Hekate, Hekate,
              Dark mother take us in,
              Hekate, Hekate,
              Help us be reborn.

(Quarter Teams pass out candles. Drummers drum.)

Come forward, one by one, two by two, and toss your candle into
the fire, Hekate's Cauldron of Rebirth.

(Wait for everyone to finish tossing candles into the fire.)

HP: And now we send a warrior into the Underworld. Now we shall
send our Wicker Man with our remembrances for our loved ones.

(HPS lights Wicker Man.)

HPS: Go, faithful warrior, and carry our blessings. We send you
forth!

(Wait for Wicker Man to burn.)

HP: We have not even to risk this adventure alone,
For the heroes of all time have gone before us.
The maze is thoroughly known.
We have only to follow the thread of the hero path,
And where we had thought to find an abomination,
we shall find a God.
And where we had thought to slay another,
We shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outward,
We shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone,
We shall be with all the world.

Cakes and Ale: (Cakes and ale are brought out. The bell is rung
three times.)

(HP pours a small amount of ale into HPS' chalice,
and pours a little onto the earth.  

(The HP places his athame in the HPS goblet)

HP:  Athame to chalice makes them one,
Goddess of Moon and God of the Sun.
A symbol we have for the Great Rite.
May its magick continue by day and by night.
The message is there for all the Earth
to unite in a way that will bring us mirth.
Joining together now we celebrate
as Goddess and God, as mate to mate.

HP & HPS together:
Thus through these symbols we unite,
For we are Goddess and God this night.

(Both salute the Goddess and drink.)

HP: Life is a Circle, 
Our ties last forever,
We pass through the Cauldron,
And go 'round together.

(HPS picks up one cake and crumbles it to the ground saying.)

HPS:   Great Lady, our thanks to you. 
       We give you back what is your due.

(Cakes are distributed, and all eat.)
(Drumming and Chanting.)

Chant:
               We are the weavers,
               We are the web,
               We are the flow, and
               We are the ebb.

HP & HPS: Eat, drink, and be happy, as happy as we.
 Share and give thanks. So mote it be.

HP: Cups into the fire.

Dismissal:

HP: Spirits of the departed. Thank you for joining us at this
time when the veil is so thin. Be on your way now. The dawn soon
approaches.

HPS: Great Lady Hekate. Thank you for your presence here at the
crossroads this evening. Thank you for the light of your sacred
torches. Thank you for this meeting with the departed and your
guidance through the Underworld to rebirth and awareness.

HPS: I fly for the other side of tomorrow
Where the rainbows touch the ground;
Where I shall live again
And I shall love again.
But this is my life in the here,
The now.
This is the tale
Of the woman
Medeia.

HP: And now it is time to dismiss the elementals, moving
widdershens, starting with the North.

(North)
"Farewell, Wolves of the North, return to your caves,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."

(West)
"Farewell, Serpents of the West, return to your watery abyss,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."

(South)
"Farewell, Lions of the South, return to your sun-drenched
savannahs,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."

(East)
"Farewell, Owls of the East, return to your perches in the night,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."

(Sung By Starwind.) 

"May the Circle be open, but unbroken
 May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart,
 Merry Meet and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again."

"Merry Meet, and Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again."


HP: "The Circle is now open, but never broken."

( It is our tradition that, following each Ritual, we hug one
another. )



Sheets for Quarter Callers:
East:
Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

"Hekate! Come! on your mysterious owl,
with your ravens of spirit-speech,
Flying on the wind that whirls between the worlds,
We hear your whispering with each breath,
in the murmuring magic in our minds,
Blow clear our patterns of thought."

(Dismissal)
"Farewell, Owls of the East, return to your perches in the night,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."



South:
Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

"Hekate! Come! with your pride of passionate lions,
your blazing wild cats of intensity and desire,
Burning in a whirlpool of liquid fire.
We hear your roaring along our nerves,
dancing in flames that leap in our will."

(Dismissal)
"Farewell, Lions of the South, return to your sun-drenched
savannahs,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.



West:
Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

"Hekate! Come! on your great slithering serpent,
your dragon rising from the watery abyss,
Pouring out visions and prophetic dreams
We feel your damp spray in our blood,
in the waves that roar within our hearts."

(Dismissal)
"Farewell, Serpents of the West, return to your watery abyss,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."



North:
Let the drums sound as the caller walks around the circle and
back to the high altar.

"Hekate! Come! with your ravening wolves,
your hounds from the depths, eyes glowing red,
hurdling out of the cavern of earth.
we hear your howl deep in our bones,
within the marrow of our souls."

(Dismissal)
"Farewell, Wolves of the North, return to your caves,
We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
May there be harmony between us now and forever."


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