Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hekate's Night?

So, apparently yesterday was the festival of Hekate's night. I've read about this a bit before, but it's something I chose not to incorporate into my practice. Since my personal practice has a mix of modern and ancient holidays, I thought I'd write a little about how I do choose to bring in festivals, using this as an example.

First, I like to look at the details and history of the festival (be it ancient history, or more modern). In this case, Hekate's night does not seem to be an ancient festival, either Greek or Roman. Perhaps it comes from some other culture, but I have found no evidence for that.

I have sometimes seen this festival called Hecatesia, with an alternate date of August 13th or 16th, but again, there doesn't seem to be any real information on this festival. Sometimes the August 13th festival is presented as something different. Since I have seen Artemis mentioned with this one, I wonder if it stems from the Kourotrophos festival? There are also possible Roman origins there, but again, in those cases it would be something other than what is presented on November 16th.

All of this kind of hits on a personal pet peeve of mine, which is modern 'made-up' information being passed of as something with legitimate history behind it... but of course, the history is rarely really there.

So, looking to the modern practices, information is kind of scarce there, as well! Hekate is described as wandering that night with her hounds and other spirits, and suppers are left out for her, which sounds no different from the Deipnon - which is a monthly festival I already celebrate. (Actually, a theory I have seen is that the date comes from a misunderstanding. Someone wrote about celebrating the Deipnon on that night, but did not note that it was a moveable lunar festival, and copy and paste, copy and paste... and so Hekate's night was born.) The only additional tidbit I can find is it's apparently a night that witches are initiated into her cult, but again, there never seem to be sources to dig into this deeper. Also, this wouldn't fit in with my particular practice anyway.

Another aspect to celebrating holidays in general is fellowship, knowing you're celebrating something other devotees are, but... well, again, I get that with Hekate's Deipnon each month. Aside from that, I feel more called to the modern Rite of Her Sacred Fires when dealing with that aspect - that's the real fellowship night of the year for me, since a large part of the festival often involves sharing your altar and experiences with others. I did consider that a celebration in November might be an interesting counterpoint to Sacred Fires, which is held in May, but that's basically what Samhain is acting as these days.

One last thing to consider is that the more parties, the better, right? Well... my personal calendar isn't exactly empty, you know? (I should blog the whole list, some day...) That's why I consider which festivals to celebrate a bit more carefully. If it's not adding something different or particular for me, there are other things I could be putting my energy towards. That's how I feel in this case. There's nothing particularly special about this night, it is too similar to other aspects of my practice, and I don't feel I'd get much from it. It doesn't mean that no one should celebrate it, of course, but for me it's a no go.

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