Witch of the Week: Rhiannon and the Winter Solstice

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night

And wouldn’t you love to love her?

Takes to the sky like a bird in flight

And who will be her lover?”

She may not exactly be a witch. Depending on who you talk to, Rhiannon may be a Celtic goddess, a Christian queen, a Welsh sorceress, or a Scottish fairy. Nonetheless, these origins are witchy enough. Rhiannon had some magickal powers, and a special connection to the Winter Solstice, which is now upon us.

On this, the longest night of December 21st, it is said that Rhiannon rides on a white horse through the dreams of her people. During this supernatural intervention, she is able to bring humans to liminal spaces and Otherworlds. There, mere mortals are able to create their own visions of glory, and make their deepest desires come true! For this reason, the night of the Winter Solstice was called “Wish Night” in Wales and Scotland.

But who was Rhiannon, and why did she have such magickal powers?

The first writings about Rhiannon appear in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh mythology, written between the 11th and 13th centuries. The Marinogion is considered one of the earliest works of British storytelling. However, her roots trace back much earlier, to the ancient Celts, where she appears as a sun goddess. She is associated with horses and birds, especially songbirds. Rhiannon was said to have kept three pet songbirds who tweeted melodies that had the power to wake the dead, or lull an army to sleep! She is also said to rule the element of wind.

Interestingly, the Stevie Nicks song has references to birds and wind, although Nicks claims that at the time she wrote it, she was unaware that Rhiannon had this association.

“She rules her life like a fine skylark

And when the sky is starless

All your life you’ve never seen a woman

Taken by the wind…”

Her name, “Rhiannon” comes from the Common Brittonic word for “queen”.

She is portrayed as wise, intelligent, powerful and strategic. She also had superhuman strength. Like King Arthur, Rhiannon is said to have ruled during the Early Middle Ages, between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of modern Britain.   

In the Mabinogion, Rhiannon starts out as a fairy princess from the Welsh Otherworld, the daughter of a great fairy king. She was betrothed to marry a man named Gwawl, but she was not happy with this engagement. Instead, she was interested in a man named Pwyll—a human who also had supernatural powers and happened to be a king. It was Pwyll who drew Rhiannon into the human world.  

Love at First Sight

One day Pwyll went to a fairy hill, and Rhiannon appeared to him as a goddess riding upon a magnificent white horse.

Needless to say, he was smitten, and rode after her. Since she knew every man loves a chase, Rhiannon outran Pwyll. The race lasted for three days, but finally Rhiannon allowed herself to be caught. Pwyll immediately proposed to her, and she happily accepted, as this would keep her from marrying the dreaded Gwawl. Rhiannon and Pwyll conspired together to fool Gwawl and get Rhiannon out of the betrothal.

As it turned out, most of the conspiring was done by Rhiannon. Pwyll seems to not have been very clever, and in the Mabinogion, Rhiannon says of her husband, “Never was there a man who made feebler use of his wits.” It was perhaps for this reason that Rhiannon, as queen consort, was said to rule early Briton, and is sometimes compared to King Arthur.

A few years after marrying Pwyll, Rhiannon gave birth to their son, a child born on May Eve, and named ‘Pryderi’. But tragically, the infant disappeared one night while under the care of his nursemaids. Because the nursemaids were scared that they would be accused of kidnapping, they came up with a plan to frame Rhiannon. (That’s loyalty for you!) Here’s where it gets really gross, so be warned.

Blood and Sacrifice

The nursemaids killed a puppy and then smeared its blood on the face of their sleeping queen. When she awoke, with blood all over her face, Rhiannon was accused of not only killing, but eating her son!

As penance, Rhiannon was made to sit outside the castle walls, and tell passersby what she had done.

“I am she who killed my only child, and this is my punishment, to sit here and tell my tale to all comers.”

This punishment went on for four years. Pwyll remained loyal to her during this time, never believing that his wife was capable of the heinous act. Rhiannon, it seems, accepted her fate and was obedient to her punishment. This, however, was a strategy as well, because as the punishment went on, the people became more loyal to Rhiannon and didn’t believe her to be guilty. Rhiannon gained the people’s acceptance through her unfair sentence. Also, by making a pubic display of things, Rhiannon knew the news of the prince’s disappearance would travel far and wide. Rhiannon realized that eventually, word may get around that her son was missing, she had been targeted unfairly, and thus he would be returned.

Return of the Son and the Sun

After the four year punishment was finished, the son did, in fact, return. He was travelling with a lord named Tyrnon, his adopted father. Because of his special fairy genes, the son had grown far beyond his four years, and now appeared as a young man. Tyrnon and Pryderi came as guests to Rhiannon’s castle. His parents suspected immediately that he was their lost boy.

As it turned out, Pryderi had been kidnapped by a monster. Lord Tyrnon had rescued him and raised him as his own. The young man, however, looked so much like  Pwyll there was no doubt to his true paternity. Thus, the story had a happy ending. Pryderi remained at the castle with is true parents.  Rhiannon was declared innocent of any wrongdoing. And when Pwyll died, Pryderi took over the kingdom and was a great ruler in his own right.

And as for Rhiannon…

“She is like a cat in the dark

And then, she is the darkness.”

Rhiannon went on to do many magickal things with her fairy ways. She was said to be a great mathematician, and the patterns of the solstice were calculated by her. This may have been the reason why she had special powers during the winter solstice, which is also, it should be noted, the return of the sun!

On this night, Rhiannon has the ability to infiltrate the dreams of humans. It is said she can then transport them to Otherwords, and Otherlands. Here, where time and dimensions are different, mere mortals are given the gift of creating their own visions. Hence, they can make manifest their deepest desires.

So be careful what you wish for tonight. Rhiannon may visit you, transport you to the Otherworld, and help make your dreams come true!

Alse Young: The First Witch of the American Colonies

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought it might be fun to continue my Witch of the Week series with a woman that few of us have heard of, but nonetheless plays an important role in American witch history.

Alse Young (also called Alice Young) was the first person to be executed for witchcraft in the American Colonies. She was put to death in 1647, some forty years before the famous Salem Witch Trials, and some twenty years after the Mayflower first landed at Plymouth Rock.

A Scarce Commodity

Nowadays, when we think of witchcraft accusations, we imagine crazed Puritans and religious fanatics who were eager to point the finger at any nonconforming member of the group and have her done away with. But interestingly, the Puritans did not start out like that. In fact, accusations of witchcraft were nonexistent among the early pilgrims.

There was a reason for this. Women were simply too scarce. If the pilgrims ever expected to actually populate their colony, they could not go about executing women willy-nilly.

Case in point: at the first Thanksgiving, there were only four adult women present. That’s right! Four! All the others had died in the harsh New England winter. (So much for those paintings that show a bevy of bonnet-clad females serving up platters of turkey.)

The pilgrims’ ship, the Mayflower, landed at Plymouth Rock in November of 1620. Around a year later, in the fall of 1621, they had a harvest feast that lasted three days. During this time, they dined with the indigenous people of the area, who had taught them much about farming the land, and gave thanks to God for having survived for a year in their fledgling colony. This harvest feast, of course, became our Thanksgiving.

The pilgrims may have been giving thanks for their survival, but truth be told, many of them had not survived. Of the 102 original passengers who came on the Mayflower, only 51 of them were still alive. These included the 4 adult women, 22 adult men, and 25 children and teenagers.

The main concern of the pilgrims would have been keeping people alive. Therefore, accusations that could lead to death were not popular.

But fast forward twenty years. The colonies were now better established. The people had more time to dwell on the Good Book, and come up with interpretations about witchcraft.

“Secret Black and Midnight Hags…”

The main reason Puritans hated witches so much came from two passages in the Bible. These were: Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”; and Leviticus 20:27, “A man or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death.”

Alse Young lived in the town of Windsor, in the colony of Connecticut, and by 1642, Witchcraft was one of 12 capital crimes decreed by the colonial government. The government was cracking down, and Alse was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The details of Alse’s life are rather sketchy. She was born in Berkshire, England in either 1615, or 1600, depending on which source you read. She migrated to the American Colonies some time in the 1630’s, which would have made her either a teenager or a thirty-something woman at the time. There is a record of her giving birth to a daughter, also named Alice, in 1640. Some historians think it would have been extremely unlikely, given the times and health care, that a forty-year-old woman would give birth back then, so let’s use the timeline of Alse being born in 1615.

Alse was married to a man named John Young. There was no marriage record, but a document written by a physician named John Winthrop described him as having been “married to a woman hanged as a witch in Hartford”. Since Alse was, thus far, the only woman who had been hanged for witchcraft in Hartford, historians agree that this statement confirms their marriage.

Alse’s marriage may have, ironically, been what led to her witchcraft accusations. John Young was a landowner. Town records confirm that he purchased a forty-acre plot of agricultural land on the Farmington River, and also a home lot directly across from it. The Youngs would have been considered reasonably well off. Alse had also never given birth to a son. This meant, in the event of her husband’s death, Alse would have inherited her husband’s estate. That is… unless! Unless SOMEONE could prevent her from inheriting, by say, having her put to death for witchcraft! In such a case, the land would be given to the government.

I know! How convenient, right?

Satanic Panic

Land was a big deal back in those days. And the society really didn’t like women being landowners. Scholars now believe many accusations of witchcraft against women were, at least in part, based on these types of greedy land grabs.

Alse’s husband, however, was alive and well. But in 1647, an epidemic of either influenza, or some other deadly disease broke out and swept through Windsor. Windsor’s mortality records for that year show that the death rate increased substantially. People of important families died, and many of them happened to be neighbors of the Youngs. In total, twenty-seven people died that year at a rate four and a half times higher than the death rate of six persons the previous year.

This would have really gotten people riled up and put superstitions on high alert. They would have believed evil was at work. Maybe even the Devil was present among them… And maybe even witches, working for the Devil, had created this disease.

No one knows for sure, but historians have speculated that the panic of the epidemic, combined with Alse’s potential to inherit land if anything happened to her husband, may have led to her accusations. She also may have been a healer, as women often were, and unable to prevent deaths in the epidemic. This would have gotten people angry. People often look for a scapegoat in these situations, and it seems Alse was given that role.

On May 26, 1647, Alse Young was taken to the gallows in Hartford’s Meeting House Square and publicly hanged. She was only thirty-two years old.

All in the Family

Interestingly, in this area where Alse lived, there were also several other lots of married sisters, with the maiden name Tinker who also had emigrated from England. All of these women and their families left Windsor shortly after Alse’s hanging. Historians believe that either Alse or her husband were related to this family grouping. John Young left also. There is a 1649 record of him selling his land and moving to another town.

Were the Tinker sisters persecuted or accused? Maybe after Alse’s demise, they decided to get out of town before the hangman came for them. Was Alse really a witch, perhaps even a member of a sisterhood of witches?

We’ll never know for sure. However, some thirty years later, Alse’s daughter Alice, and her grandson, Thomas, were also accused of witchcraft!

Alse’s daughter Alice Young married a man named Simon Beamon of Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1654. They resided in Springfield and had many children there. After her husband died, Alice and her son Thomas Beamon were accused of witchcraft. In 1677 Thomas Beamon sued another man for slander – specifically, for saying that “his mother was a witch, and he looked like one.” (It may sound funny to us now, but remember these kinds of insults were taken very seriously, and people lost their lives. As far as looking “like a witch” – well, that could be anything. You might have an odd birthmark, a crooked nose, or some other imperfection.) Luckily, Thomas won the case, and Alice was never indicted. Historians believe that since Alice had sons who inherited her property, and also a son who went to court for her, it was less likely that her witchcraft accusations would stick.

As it turned out, Alse Young was eventually exonerated, too. In February of 2017, more than 360 years after she was put to death, Alse Young was officially pardoned, and her name cleared, by the Windsor Town Council in a resolution that passed unanimously, declaring her innocent.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Light a candle for Alse. And be thankful that those Witchcraft Laws have been repealed. 😊

A Beltane Tale Podcast

Twas a time of dancing and daring and drinking of elderflower wine;
of bewitchings and hauntings and faeries and all things divine.”

With the feast of Beltane nearly upon us, I am thrilled to announce that my story “A Beltane Tale” has been featured in Housecraft – The Witching Hour’s podcast!


Many thanks to the ladies of Housecraft for choosing my story, and much gratitude to producer Kate for your oh-so beautiful reading of the tale.

Beltane is an ancient Celtic fire festival, celebrated on or around May 1st. For those of you who are not familiar — fear not! The Mothers of Mayhem will take you through every aspect. (Warning: adult content. Not for kids.) This festival is all about sex and the Witchy Ladies get a bit spicy. So listen at your own risk! 🙂

Robin Hood and Maid Marian: What happens in the forest, STAYS in the forest.

Tune in anywhere you get podcasts or HERE:

Have a Blessed Beltane!

“The Maypole” 1899 by Clarence H. White

Frau Perchta, Witch of Twelfth Night

And so. Another Yuletide ends. But not so fast! Before we take down the mistletoe and finish off the sugar plums, there is one more celebration which should be recognized. This is the legend of Frau Perchta, Witch of Twelfth Night.

Perhaps you have never heard of this obscure character. But if you happened to be living in Bavaria or Austria during the Middle Ages, you might have been quite troubled as the Christmas season came to an end. During this time Frau Perchta would be on the loose, doling out punishments and rewards for the naughty and nice, respectively.

The “official end” of Yuletide in many traditions is January 6th, also known as Twelfth Night or Feast of the Epiphany. It was on this night that Frau Perchta would drop in for a visit. If you had been good over the past year, you would be rewarded with a piece of silver. But if you had been bad – watch out! Frau Perchta was a stern distributor of justice. In fact, she was also called “the belly slitter” because punishment for bad behavior consisted of Frau Perchta cutting open the offender’s stomach, removing the inner organs, and replacing them with straw and pebbles. Ouch!

In Christian traditions, January 6th is  Feast of the Epiphany. It commemorates the visit of the Magi to the manger where Christ was born. According to the Bible, three mages from Persia, following a bright star, made their way to Bethlehem to greet and bestow gifts upon the baby Jesus. Webster defines “epiphany” as an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being.”

The Twelfth Night is a time of great wonder and revelation. So why all the terror and judgement associated with Perchta? I wondered how Frau Perchta got such a bad rap.

The True Goddess

I did some sleuthing and found out that Perchta has a very interesting story. She wasn’t always an evil witch. In fact, she was at one time a greatly loved Germanic goddess. She is also called Berchta or Bertha.  The name Bertha literally means “bright” or “shining one”.  In ancient, pre-Christian times, Berchta was a powerful figure, worshiped by both Celtic and Germanic tribes. It was her job to protect babies, women and children. She was associated with birch trees (in Old High German birch is birka which also means “bright”.) She was a protector of forests and wildlife. She was also a “psychopomp” – that is, a spirit who guides the dead into the Afterlife.

Pretty impressive stuff.

Berchta was associated with the cycle of life, death and rebirth. She was depicted as a beautiful woman with long hair. She wore a white gown and was often called the White Woman or the Lady in White.  She was considered a triple goddess (perhaps because of her association with life’s cycles) and was able to take on forms of the maiden, mother and crone.

As a guide into the Afterlife, Berchta was a tender and caring figure that helped souls in their transition. There is one tale in which a grieving mother sees an apparition of her recently deceased little son. He is with a group of children along a hillside. The children are following a woman in a white gown. The little boy breaks away to speak to his sorrowful mother. The boy tells his mother not to weep, for he is safe and under the watch of the White Lady.

Berchta also had shapeshifting abilities. She was described as sometimes having the feet of a goose, and she also took on the form of a swan. As the protector of animals, she was  called “Guardian of Beasts”.

A Tainted Image

In the later, scary tales of Perchta, she is represented exclusively as a crone – more specifically, a scary old hag. She wears a disheveled dress, has a face made of iron and a nose like a beak.

She carries a knife beneath her cloak (in case she needs to slice open someone’s belly!) And of course, she has those strange looking goose feet.

So how did Berchta become Perchta? How did this benevolent goddess get demonized and transformed into an evil witch? Three words: The Medieval Church.

Christianity became powerful in Bavaria in around the 6th century. The Pagan cults that had evolved around Berchta were pretty strong and set in their ways. Worshippers of Berchta refused to be absorbed into the new Christian traditions. And so, for conversion purposes, the Church resorted to fear.

Her name was changed, among other things.  The word “perchten” means scary monsters, so Berchta became “Perchta, leader of the Perchten.”  Berchta, the wise white lady, was thereafter known as Perchta, a crooked-nosed, belly-stabbing hag.

As centuries went on, the worshippers of Berchta proved a stubborn lot. They were not willing to give up their goddess. The Church took further action. According to a religious document known as the Thesaurus Pauperum, the cult of Berchta was outlawed in 1468.  This document specifically condemned the practice of leaving food and drink offerings for Berchta during the Christmas season.

You might be wondering, as I did, what the heck is a Thesaurus Paupernaum?

Well, it had nothing to do with a thesaurus as we know it. Rather, it was a collection of recipes and natural medicinal cures, presumably for the benefit of poor people (paupers/ paupernaum) who could not afford expensive doctors. Interestingly, this document is cited as containing such information as: medicinal values of precious stones, herbal medicines for childbirth, astrological charts and a table for the uses of precious metals.

Hmmm. Magical crystals, herbal medicines and astrology. Sounds kinda Pagany to me…

The Thesaurus Paupernaum was written by prominent church officials such as Pope John XXI and Saint Albertus Magnus, with contributions from mineralogist George Frederick Kunz. Its recordings span a period of about seven centuries, and it is included in the Library of Congress Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection.

So, for Medieval folks it was a big deal. Something they had to pay attention to.

Yuletide was her special time and Frau Perchta became a figure akin to Krampus, the evil counterpart of Saint Nicholas.

Propaganda and the Burning Times

There were tales of Frau Perchta capturing children and eating them. There were tales of Frau Perchta as the Christmas hag, who would stuff the bad kids into her giant sack. She would visit on Twelfth Night expecting food as an offering, but if she was displeased with what someone left, she would slit the person’s belly open and stuff him or her with garbage. She was also a stickler for clean homes, and the completion of spinning. So if women had neglected their housework or their flax, they could expect the belly slitting as well.

The repression of Berchta and subsequent scary tales of Perchta took place during an interesting period. In Europe, the years between 1450 and 1700 are known as The Burning Times. During these years, Protestant Reformations began, splitting the Christian Church into various factions. Instability caused even more paranoia. It is estimated that around 100,000 men and women were put to death for witchcraft, many of them burned at the stake.

Germany, a major proponent of the Reformations, was one of the worst offenders. Historians report that entire populations of women in towns and villages were sometimes eliminated.

Keeping Berchta Alive

Despite the church’s attempts to get rid of Berchta, she lives on. A Halloween like celebration in which children would dress as demons (Perchten) during Yuletide was observed in some parts of Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. Some families would prepare a porridge called “Perchtenmilch.” Part of the porridge would be consumed by the family, with a portion set aside as an offering for Perchta and her Perchten.

In the 19th century, even the Brothers Grimm had their say about Perchta. According to Jacob Grimm, who translated texts from Old High German, she was spoken of as Frau Berchta, a white-robed goddess who oversaw spinning and weaving and was sometimes the leader of the Wild Hunt.

By honoring her as a scary witch, we keep the name of Perchta alive. She, along with Krampus and other monsters have enjoyed a rejuvenation in recent years. Some folks prefer a bit of  horror in their Christmas.

(The above photo was taken by Sean Gordon. Lookin’ good, ladies!)

The goddess Berchta will never be forgotten. Her bright beauty is evident in Yule’s return of the sun, in the new fallen snow, in white swans and in the magnificence of the Alpine Mountains she hails from.

This Twelfth Night, you may want to take some time out to honor Berchta/ Perchta. An altar could include white candles, birch branches, or white feathers. You can meditate on loved ones who have crossed over and ask Berchta for a safe passage.  You may want to leave her an offering of cake or porridge. And – it might be wise to keep the house clean – just in case!

Happy Fourth of July!


“In a chariot of light,

from the region of the day,

the Goddess of Liberty came.

She brought in her hand,

as a gift of her love,

the plant she named Liberty Tree.”

— Thomas Paine, American patriot and Founding Father of the United States

“Give me liberty,

or give me death.” — Thomas Paine

Have a  safe, happy, healthy and blessed Fourth of July! 🙂


Lussi Nacht


On the night of December 13th, the dark witch Lussi (counterpart to the benevolent  Santa Lucia) flies on her broom with the Wild Hunt of Odin.

Beware gentle humans! For if you encounter this merry band of hunters, they just may abduct you to the Underworld.

But hey, it might not be a bad thing…  🙂

In Norse mythology, the Underworld was known as ‘Hel’  or ‘Helheim’ (Hel’s realm.)  It was presided over by a goddess, also called ‘Hel’.  But don’t confuse the Norse Hel with the Christian concept of Hell. Although the names have the same  Germanic language roots, the two places have nothing in common. Nordic Hel was definitely NOT a place of eternal suffering.

In Hel, you’d get to hang out with Odin, eat, drink, fight, love, celebrate and practice magick. In the Norse underworld, life apparently continued in much the same way as it was known to Vikings on earth.

Nordic pagans had several different forms of the afterlife, including Valhalla, Folkvang (Freya’s realm) and the underwater abode of Ran. However, no afterlife community was a place of punishment, nor of reward. The afterlife was, in fact, teeming with actual life. The dearly departed would dwell there indefinitely.  Eventually they might be reborn as one of their own ancestors, or as an elf.

So if Lussi and her band of hunters do happen to carry you off tonight, have no fear.  It’s sure to be a win -win situation! (Cue diabolical laughter. Mwuah-ha-ha!)

Happy Lussi’s Night!

Lussi Nacht 1





Hekate’s Night

She is our chaperone to the Underworld, the keeper of the keys, a deity of dream states and liminal spaces. Hekate is one of the most powerful dark goddesses, with ancient roots tracing to Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor. She is the patron of witches, mothers, fishermen, soldiers, sailors, virgins and the restless dead. She presides over crossroads, entrance-ways and turning points in life.

November 16 marks her feast night. It is a perfect time to honor her!

Who is Hekate? 

This goddess has a complicated history, and a job description that is equal to no other!  In brief, she is generally thought of as a goddess of the Greek/ Roman pantheon. There are, however,  conflicting stories about her origin.

Some legends say Hekate was the daughter of the Titans Asteria (Goddess of the Stars) and Perses (God of Destruction.)  She is therefore considered a direct descendant of Gaia (Mother Earth) and Nyx (Goddess of Night.)  She appears in Homer’s Hymn to Demeter, and in Hesiod’s Theogony where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess.  There is also evidence that she had popular followings in ancient Thrace, which includes what is now Bulgaria and Turkey.

When Hades kidnapped Persephone and took her to the Underworld, her mother Demeter went searching for her, and it was Hekate who led the way with her torches. Hekate has always been a helper, a guide and a teacher.

She was important enough to have her face on coins! This one dates back to 30 BC. It is part of the Vatican collection and is described as:  “Bust of Hekate, with crescent on forehead”.

Hecate was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.  In the “Chaldean Oracles” — a  group of spiritual writings dated from the 3rd century, Hekate is regarded as a powerful deity with a hand in ruling  over the earth, sea and sky as well as the nether worlds. She was greatly favored by Zeus, who reportedly bestowed her with some of his holdings…  One story claims that Hekate supported the Olympians in a battle against the Titans (thus “switching sides”) and gained favor with Zeus. When helping us with practical problems, Hekate is known to switch sides in order to see every aspect and help us reach a decision.

She is most often depicted in triple form, to represent the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. Her vision is all encompassing. The triplicity she embodies is also her ability to see the past, present and future all at once.

Hekate is, by nature, a Jill-of-all-trades.  She doesn’t fit neatly into one pantheon, and for this reason many eclectics have come to regard her as a “go to” goddess. According to the Oxford Classical Dictionary: “she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition.”

Hekate’s Animals

Hekate is associated with all wild animals, but her favorites are dogs, snakes, crows, lions, horses, bears, wolves and frogs.

Frogs:  In ancient Egypt, the frog represented fertility.  There was a powerful midwife called Hekit (a prototype of Hekate) who aided in the birth of the gods. Frog amulets were used to ensure a safe birth. Frog amulets were also used in death.  People placed them on mummies in the belief that this would help guide them in the afterlife.  Hekit had one such amulet which bore the words “I am the Resurrection.”

Snakes: Snakes shed their skin, which is also a physical representation of rebirth. Hekate is often pictured with a snake entwined around her neck or arm.

Dogs:  It is believed that women were the first to domesticate dogs, because dogs were companions of the Goddess in many cultures. As nurturers and keepers of the hearth, women saw the potential of a new best friend, and took the animals in.  Dogs always accompanied Hecate. Some people believe that dogs are able to see the dead (ghosts) and other spirits. The ancients were also very impressed with canine keenness of other senses, particularly the sense of smell. Hekate is often pictured with the three-headed Cerberus (another Triplicity!) the dog who guarded the gates of the Underworld.

If Hekate is calling you, it is said that a black dog may cross your path, so be on the lookout!

Other Symbols:

Plants associated with Hekate are roses, poppies, garlic, mandrake, saffron, yew, and willow.

Gemstones are onyx, hematite, lapiz lazuli, moonstone and topaz.

Her colors are black, orange, red, silver and gold.

Her foods are apples, raisins, currants, dates, figs, cheese, wine, bread and cake.

She is associated with knives, swords and daggers (possibly because as a Goddess of change, she is known to “cut” unwanted things from our lives.)

She is pictured often with torches, presumably to help guide in dark spaces and navigate the Underworld.

She carries keys, a symbolic representation of entering new phases.

She is often found at the crossroads – a symbolic place of choice, decision and change, as well as the gateway to the other world, other dimensional realities, dream states and liminal spaces.

How can you honor Hekate?

At sundown on November 16, devotions to Hekate can begin.  (Other days to worship Hekate are at the new and full moons, August 13, November 1, and the 29th day of each month.)

The ancient Greeks made offerings of food and wine to Hekate. They would take their gifts to the crossroads, say a prayer or invocation, and leave them there for her.  In modern times we can do something similar. Create an altar to Hekate. Decorate it with her favorite colors and stones. Leave gifts of apples, raisin bread, wine, cheese, cake or anything you think would appeal to her. Like dark chocolates! 🙂

If you are ambitious, and happen to have a good crossroads in your neighborhood, you may even want to leave the offerings outside.  It is believed that if a homeless person, or an animal eats the offerings, they are also under Hekate’s protection. She will be pleased and bestow many blessings upon you!

Have a beautiful and blessed Hekate’s Night!

A Halloween Treat: Witchcraft Through the Ages


Happy Halloween to all you beautiful ghouls, goblins, horror fans, heretics and lovers of the macabre! Today for your viewing entertainment I have a special surprise!

Long before ‘The Witch’ and  ‘The Blair Witch Project’ terrified movie goers, there was this 1922 silent movie gem, called Haxan ( German for ‘The Witch’.)

IMDb describes it as : “Part history lesson followed by re-enactments with actors, this film takes depicts the history of witchcraft from its earliest days through to the present day (in this case,1922 or thereabouts). The result is a documentary-like film that must be among the first to use re-enactments as a visual and narrative tool. From pagan worship to satanic rites to hysteria, the film takes you on a journey through the ages with highly effective visual sequences.”

It is a thoroughly entertaining and interesting film. Luckily I found a beautifully restored version on youtube. Hope you enjoy it!  Running time is approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes. Have a delightful Halloween!