The Circle for Hekate project is a series of books dedicated to the light-bearing Goddess of the crossroads in all her many faces, manifestations, and names.
“The goddess Hekate continues to inspire awe today. She is one of the most ancient Pagan goddesses, closely linked to the worship of the Great Mother Goddess Kybele and the Ephesian Artemis, as well as with the Mysteries of the Grain Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. She was worshipped alongside gods such as Zeus, Hermes, Apollo and honoured at the entranceways into cities, temples and homes, as well as crossroads.” ~ Sorita d’Este, Introduction
About the Book: Circle for Hekate, Vol.1
In Circle for Hekate – Volume I: History & Mythology, the author draws together scholarly research from a wide range of sources, highlighting the manifold and universal nature of this extraordinary goddess. The book serves as a comprehensive introduction to her many myths and legends, viewed through the Divine Ancestry attributed to her in Hesiod’s Theogony (800-700BCE), as well as an exploration of her conflation with other goddesses, archaeology, literature, and iconography.
Hekate’s worship was never limited to one geographical region. Her presence is well attested in Greece and Turkey, as well as Egypt, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Russia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Sicily and Southern Italy. She has possible links to Minoan Crete, her most famous temple stood in Lagina, and she was a popular goddess in ancient Athens. Her history reveals many fascinating stories: how Hekate Phosphoros saved ancient Byzantium from an invasion by Phillip II of Macedonia (father of Alexander the Great); and how a visit to her temple in Ephesus influenced Julian the Apostate, the last Pagan Emperor of Rome.
Hekate was connected to Artemis, Demeter, Persephone, Isis, Diana, Despoina and other significant goddesses, appearing in single-and triple-bodied forms, as well as theriocephalic emanations with the heads of various animals. She shared the symbols of the torch, whip, snake and dagger with the Erinyes, and wielded the key to the Mysteries, wearing variously the modius, polos, kalathos and Phrygian cap. She shared paeans with Dionysos, stood with Hermes at the throne of the Phrygian Kybele, and sat next to Zeus in the cult of the Empty Throne. Far from being an obscure goddess, her torches illuminated the Mysteries at Eleusis, Samothrace, Aegina and Ephesus, leading the way for initiates.
Table of Contents: Circle for Hekate, Vol.1
Theogony: Divine Ancestors.
Many-Named Mother of the Gods.
The Wandering Goddess.
The Body of the Goddess.
Symbols of Her Mysteries.
Suggested Further Reading.
From the Introduction
“The goddess Hekate continues to inspire awe today. She is one of the most ancient Pagan goddesses, closely linked to the worship of the Great Mother Goddess Kybele and the Ephesian Artemis, as well as with the Mysteries of the Grain Goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone. She was worshipped alongside gods such as Zeus, Hermes, Apollo and honoured at the entranceways into cities, temples and homes, as well as crossroads.
In Hesiod’s Theogony, the earliest and most complete surviving literary account of the Greek Gods, Hekate is given the unique position of being honoured by both Zeus and the other immortal gods.
“…Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods…”
She is described as a benevolent goddess, capable of granting success in many different aspects of life, as well as being a nurse to the young. Hekate is a shapeshifting goddess, manifesting in various forms and faces, single and triple-bodied, and with the heads of maidens as well as those of animals. She wields her torches illuminating the Mysteries, guiding, protecting and defending that which is under her care. She uses her serpents or whips to strike fear in those who are unprepared for her Mysteries, gifting her devotees with the ability to understand the serpent energy and knowledge. With her daggers, she cuts away that which is no longer necessary, whether the umbilical cord at birth or life itself upon death.
Numerous other goddesses were syncretised with Hekate, in different geographic regions and at different times in history. Her worship may have originated in the ancient Minoan or Mycenaean cultures, and was well attested throughout the Greek and Roman periods, spreading to the very corners of those Empires with those who travelled there. Evidence for her ancient worship has been found not only in Greece, but also as far apart as Sicily and Southern Italy, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, Bulgaria and Syria.
 The Theogony, circa 8th or 7th century BCE, Hesiod, trans. Evelyn-White, 1914.”
About the Author: Sorita d'Este
Sorita d’Este is an author, researcher and priestess who has devoted her life to the Mysteries. She is the author of numerous books on both the practice and history of magic, plus mythology, folklore and witchcraft.
In late 2000 she co-founded the StarStone Network with David Rankine, which was dedicated to the study of Initiatory Witchcraft, Ceremonial Magic and the Mysteries of Hekate. With him she co-authored Hekate: Liminal Rites (2009), a compendium of magical practices historically associated with Hekate. With contributions from students, friends and practitioners from around the world she compiled Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads (2006) and Hekate: Her Sacred Fires (2010). In 2010 she wrote the Rite of Her Sacred Fires, a simple devotional ceremony which has become a worldwide annual celebration in honour of Hekate, celebrated at the Full Moon of May each year by many hundreds of people and now translated into 30 languages. She is also the Keybearer and founder of the Covenant of Hekate – www.hekatecovenant.com.
Sorita lives on a hill in Glastonbury from where she works as a publisher and writer. She is often distracted from work by her son, her love of gardening, and interesting visitors from different spiritual and esoteric persuasions.
To find out more about her work visit: www.sorita.co.uk
“She comes known and unknown, seen and unseen, with the sound of baying hounds or the flickering of a flame marking her arrival.” – Sorita d’Este, The Body of the Goddess
Extracts from reviews
My reading list is pretty much a never-ending queue. However, when the postal worker dropped off a copy of Circle For Hekate – Volume I: History & Mythology by Sorita d’Este, I had to stop reading the book I currently was and dive into this one until I finished it, something I try to never do. I’m a huge fan of Sorita’s work, and I knew this book was going to be amazing. Originally this was going to be one large book, but the project became so big that Sorita is dividing it into several volumes, which just excites me more.
The book itself has somewhat of the heart of her earlier work, Hekate: Liminal Rites, which she wrote with David Rankine, which is still my first recommendation to anyone seeking a first book on Hekate out of the many books about Hekate out there. There are some strong differences between this book and Liminal Rites though. Circle For Hekate – Volume I is a longer book than Liminal Rites, coming in at about seventy more pages. This book includes a lot of her newer findings in the last eight years of devotion and research since Liminal Rites was published. While it would be almost impossible to not touch on some of the same material as Liminal Rites, this book has way more information and from a different point of view, seeming to focus more on historical worship of Hekate through many different cultures, exploring also her myths, devotional practices, and different deities she was associated and conflated with over time.
The book is full of information that I haven’t seen anywhere else on Hekate, as I had expected from a researcher as devoted to Hekate as Sorita is. This book is just as great of a starting point to learn about Hekate as Liminal Rites, if not better. Despite the wealth of knowledge and information provided within this book, Sorita has an ability to translate that into a comprehensive writing style that can be lacking in scholarly works on Hekate. This is mainly because she’s writing with devotees of Hekate in mind, and not so much academic peer review.
With Sorita’s work you always get the highest quality of content and honoring of the history of Hekate, without trying to ignore or mold this history into something that fits a certain agenda regarding belief about this goddess. Circle For Hekate – Volume I: History & Mythology is a book all who work with Hekate should own, to gain an even deeper understanding of this titanic goddess and how she has been revered throughout the ages. – Mat Auryn, Amazon reviewer