Who is Hekate?

If forced to write an entry for Who’s Who in Classical Mythology, I would say that Hekate is a Greek goddess of transitions and liminality. (A liminal space is a border of some kind, such as a threshold or a crossroads.) The most obvious examples would be birth, marriage, and death, but taken further her area of influence would also include the boundaries between nature and culture, sleep and waking, sanity and insanity, the concious and subconcious mind. Of course, there’s much more to Hekate than that. Read on… Not quite. The Greek moon goddess is Selene, who travels through the skies at night, just like Helios does during the day. Hekate got her lunar associations through identification with the Thracian Bendis, and conflation (the combining or blending of two separate things into one) with Artemis. I have seen people claim that her association with the moon stems from the fact the proper day to leave offerings for her was decided based on the moon phase. If that were the case, every Greek deity would be a moon deity, since the Athenian calendar was a lunar one. That depends on who you ask. According to Hesiod’s Theogony they were two Titans called Perses and Asteria. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter she’s the daughter of Persaios (possibly an alternate spelling of Perses). The Eumolpia by Mousaios tells us that Hekate’s parents are Zeus and Asteria. Pherekydes claims that she is the daughter of Aristaios, son of Paion. Bacchylides says that her mother is Nyx. If you were to turn to the Orphic tradition you would learn that Hekate is in fact the daughter of Demeter. Kallimachos would agree, adding that Zeus is her father.