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HeathBeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

Merry Meet and Blessed May to you all… As I have in the past I will be writing about something that others may not be… I will be writing today about the darker side of the Goddess.

I have been researching her many faces and have become fascinated with the little understood Hecate and Kali. When you look at them they may seem vastly different from one another but in reality they are very similar. Both are feared as dark and mysterious Goddess with many fearsome attributes. But in reality they are nothing like recent history has portrayed them as.

Hecate

Hecate… Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, as well as the goddess of witchcraft — once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries.

She has been portrayed as the Goddess of Death, the Old Hag, sometimes pictures with three animal heads,  one with a snake’s head, one with a horse’s and the third a boar’s head. When in reality she was a beauty in her own right. As well as being the only God or Goddess that Zeus allowed equal power. While she never joined the Olympian pantheon, Zeus honored her above all other deities by giving her a special place and granting her dominion over heaven, earth, and the underworld, as well as the power to give or take from humanity anything she wished.

She has been seen walking the roads at night often in the company of her Hounds, sometimes traveling with a following of”ghosts”. She was know to help the dying make a smooth and painless passage into the next life and staying with them, if need be, in the otherworld to help prepare them for their eventual return to the earth in their next life.

The Goddess of death and dying as well as that of new birth and new life, the Hecate was wise in all of the earth’s mysteries. She is often called the liberator because She manifests in our deepest issues and emotions, and reminds us that we need to release the past, especially those things that are hindering our growth, and to accept change and transitions. She sometimes asks us to let go of the familiar and to travel to the dark and scary places of the soul. Making changes, whether spiritual or mundane, is rarely easy. But She is there show you the way.

Hecate became a wardress and conveyor of souls through the underworld. Like Kali, in India, Hecate, as a funerary priestess, conducted her rites in charnel or burial grounds, assisting in liberating the souls of the newly dead.

As a triple Goddess, she represents The Maiden, standing for new beginnings.  You turn to the Maiden when the moon is waxing, The Mother who you to turn to when you need nurturing and protection… Turn to the Mother when the Moon is Full, And the Crone who you turn to at the end of our turn on the wheel. Look to the Crone now when the moon is dark. She represents mind, body and spirit; and birth, life and death. Her smiles are the radiance of the moon, whether it is full or dark, her power is everywhere and in everything.

She has mistakenly been called the destroyer, but She is not. She is the Goddess of death and rebirth, so to destroy would mean that something is forever gone.  You cannot bring something back that has been destroyed. It is through Her that all things live or die.

She was also worshipped as a goddess of fertility, whose torch was carried over freshly sown fields to symbolize the fertilizing power of moonlight.

kali


Kali is the most misunderstood of the Hindu goddesses. Kali is a goddess of death and destruction but She destroys only to recreate, and what she destroys is sin, ignorance and decay. Nowhere in the Hindu stories is she seen killing anything but demons nor is she associated specifically with actual human dying.

Kali is not always thought of as a Dark Goddess; rather, she is also referred to as a great and loving primordial Mother Goddess in the Hindu tantric tradition. In this aspect, as Mother Goddess, she is referred to as Kali Ma, meaning Kali Mother, because of her creative, nurturing and devouring aspects…

Her three forms are manifested in many ways: the three phases of the moon, the three sections of the cosmos (heaven, earth, and the underworld), the three stages of life, the three trimesters of pregnancy, and so on. Women represent her spirit in mortal flesh. Kali’s three forms are also sacred colors: white for the Virgin, red for the Mother, black for the Crone, the three together symbolizing birth, life, and death. To her worshippers in both Hinduism and Tantra she represents a multi-faceted Great Goddess responsible for all of life from conception to death.
Kali is represented as a Black woman with four arms that represent the complete circle of creation and destruction. In one hand she has a Sword, in another the head of the demon she has slain the bloodied sword and severed head symbolize the destruction of ignorance and the dawning of knowledge. The sword is the Sword of knowledge, which cuts the knots of ignorance and destroys false consciousness (the severed head); with the other two she is encouraging her worshippers while representing the creative aspect of Kali.
Her garland of fifty human heads, each representing one of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizes the repository of knowledge and wisdom. Her only clothing is a girdle made of dead men’s hands, hands that are the principal instruments of work and so
Signify the action of karma. Thus the binding effects of this karma have
severed, as it were, by devotion to Kali, and her tongue protrudes from her mouth depicting the fact that she consumes all things and denotes the act of tasting or enjoying what society regards as forbidden.
Kali’s fierce appearances have been the subject of extensive descriptions in several earlier and modern works. Though her fierce form is filled with awe-inspiring symbols, their real meaning is not what it first appears.

Her black skin represents the womb of the chaos from which all of creation arises and into which all of creation will eventually dissolve. Kali’s blackness symbolizes her all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because black is the color in which all other colors merge; black absorbs and dissolves them. Or black is said to represent the total absence of color, again signifying the nature of Kali as ultimate reality. Either way, Kali’s black color symbolizes her transcendence of all form….
Kali’s nudity has a similar meaning. Her nudity is said to represent that. Kali is the bright fire of truth, which cannot be hidden by the clothes of ignorance.

Kali is Mother to her devotees not because she protects them from the way
things really are but because she reveals to them their mortality and thus
releases them to act fully and freely, releases them from the incredible,
binding web of “adult” pretense, practicality, and rationality

I could go on and on as there is much research both for and against these Goddesses. But what I basically want to show is that both Hecate and Kali are multi faceted Goddesses. And that to look at only one facet is not only disrespectful to the Goddess herself but also limiting to yourself.

Just as we are more than we sometimes seem to be so are these Goddesses. And we do her a disservice if we only accept the version of her that hundreds of years of fear, hatred, and ignorance have left us. Do not judge this book by the cover it has been given. Open it and look deeper inside and you may surprise yourself by finding a connection that will fulfill you.


Until next time
Blessed Home and Hearth
the Hearthkeeper

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