A Greek goddess, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, but of uncertain
origin. She appears to have been one of the original Titans,
who ruled the heavens, earth, and sea and could bestow
gifts on mortals as they pleased. Later she was confused with
other goddesses until she became known as a mystic goddess
having all the magic powers of nature at her command. Magicians
and witches sought her aid, and sacrifices of dogs, honey,
and female black lambs were offered to her where three ways
met, at crossroads, or in graveyards. Festivals were held in her
honor annually at Egina.
In appearance she was frightful, and serpents hung hissing
around her shoulders. As a dark goddess of ghosts and moonlight,
her propitiation was an early form of black magic and
witchcraft. In Shakespeares play Macbeth, Hecate is the leader
of three witches who plot Macbeths downfall.
Valiente, Doreen. An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present. New
York St. Martins Press, 1973.