El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

A comment on "Hecate"

December 26, 2015 0

One of my favourite topics in primary school was the study of Greek and Roman culture, and the Aztec culture. Within those topics, I loved learning about how they worshipped. I found it fascinating how different people contact the divine; one culture will tell you one way is accepted, while another culture will tell you that method is wrong and you should do it this way, their way.

I always wondered, if the divine is so narrow-minded as to accept only one way of worship, or if the divine is so cruel as to accept death as an offering, are they really divine when they benefit from the pain of others? What makes them different from humans when they find joy in the misery of others (schadenfreude), and if they need meat and wine in order to be satiated? What makes them different if they are filled with jealousy, rage, revenge and desire? Why would you want to get closer to the divine if they are just like us?

And if it pleases them for us to fulfil our worldly desires, how does that kind of behaviour bring us closer to the divine? Surely we do not need the help of the divine to mimic the actions that animals carry out so automatically.

But most of the time, I just thought it was kindda cool how Tenochtitlan was built on a lake, how Persephone’s story was used to explain the seasons, and how Zeus was basically a giant, jealous Santa Claus…Disney’s Hercules has never really left me 😛


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Regardless of what culture you are from, people’s treatment of the divine is always the same – they worship, they request, they propitiate, they make offerings to them. And regardless of what culture you are from, your reasons for doing so are always the same – we want money, a good career, enough food on the table, protection from spirits, healthy children, a happy family, a relationship, etc. We want the ability to influence the elements and control the weather, to ensure a good harvest and crops, to heal and prevent disease. We want clairvoyance and the ability to predict the future, to prevent calamities before they occur.

Whilst we might regard these types of aspirations mundane, the common theme here is happiness. Everyone, regardless of their culture, wants happiness and does not want to suffer and regardless of culture, these are the aspects which we feel will bring us suffering if we fail in them.

But as there are this many people with mundane aspirations, so too are there people who have higher aspirations. In all religions, you will always have the people requesting for worldly results but you will also have the people who devote themselves to the worship, study and practice of these deities. They create images in these deities’ honour, and propitiate them to become closer to them, either to receive boons or even become one with them and to achieve the same state as them. These are the people who keep the traditions alive by dedicating themselves and becoming monks, nuns, priests, priestesses. So in the case of Hecate and other Hellenic religions, you have the shrines and the mythology, and the reliefs and busts and statues of these deities they worshipped.

Obviously Hecate’s worship must have been successful otherwise people would not have continued to propitiate her as widely as they did (according to the history of her worship, there is evidence her name spread from Greece to Egypt). After all, it’s the powerful, effective deities whose names you remember, not the ones who do not grant you your requests.

Reflections and Teachings

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