The philosopher Rowan Leigh originally came up with the name: Hekate, goddess of magic, witchcraft and the night. She is of the moon, of ghosts and necromancy. Hekate is all about dogs and polecats, a woman holding twin torches. Some associate her with Artemis, the Olympian goddess of hunting, the wilderness, wild animals and childbirth
From her cave entrance she witnessed Demeter’s daughter Persephone abducted by Hades and dragged to the underworld. Hekate eventually mentioned this to the mother. Turns out Hades had already discussed what he was going to do with Zeus, that he wanted his sister’s daughter for his wife. Yeah, his niece. Even arranged for a flower, the narcissus, to grow in the place Persephone would be wandering that day.
You can imagine how Demeter felt. Devastated. Stopped going to work, making things grow. Fuck it. The Earth became barren. People died of famine. Things got out of hand.
Hermes was sent by Zeus to negotiate Persephone’s release. Hades said ok but fed the girl pomegranate seeds before her departure North. She was thereby constrained to spend one third of the year in the underworld. During those months Demeter mourned. Hence, seasons. Plausible.
Thereafter, Hekate became Persephone’s guide to and from the underworld. And in that, readers and writers, travel to and from the underworld. We recognize the creator has to do just that, to enter forbidden space and return, to the seasons, In Hades the “real” writing is done, or is extracted. The journey is what defines an authentic writer, that ability to navigate back and forth, and has something to do with honesty and an understanding of self.
You could say, in the Spring we edit, in Summer, publish e books and in Fall, blow up like peacock, strut around the internet and promote them. Then back to hell.
Hekate stands in the middle of the crossroads, within doorways, often depicted as triple-formed, three bodies standing back-to-back, so she can gaze in all directions. Always had a pack of barking dogs with her as well.
I grew up with a man who made his living writing. He did nothing else, did it sporadically, but otherwise did nothing else. Deeply disturbed, Dad was. And disturbed is being polite. I loved him. He made excruciatingly detailed fifty to a hundred page outlines and shut himself in a room for an entire year in order to write a single play. Said he hated it. I don’t know. He loved it too, when he wasn’t writing. He hated the hell part but that’s where he lived most of the time. Talked about nothing else. He was under pressure to perform for one thing. Owed money. That was the part he hated I figured out, having to come up with a script producers would want to buy, that would sell. Agents badgered him. He badgered agents. The inside joke for me was Dad sublimated all his shit into the writing, into his plots. I realized after he died that this was his little fuck you to the world. This saved him, however. As a result, I have a royally jaded view of writers and the writing process, believing all of it is undertaken to save one’s life, and has nothing to do with sitting aglow on a writing porch, at a retreat or being stroked in a group chat. How can you afford to pay rent?
In any case, Hekate accompanies Persephone to Hell, moving in and out of that place, reconciling the two environments. In hell, you are surviving, just, already judged if you want to think of it that way and you create in flames. Your ability to get along with others is secondary, Down there, you create the unexpected. It’s hell.
“ . . no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you,” says Maya Angelou. Something along those lines.
At Hekate, we understand all that.