A Year of Offering to Hekate Skylakitis
2023 will be a year of new offerings to the Goddesses on my priestess path.
I’ve been working with Hekate now for about 6 years, and each year I try to open new channels of devotional and divinatory work to deepen my practice with her.
For the first couple of years, I read books about Hekate, studied her contemporary practices, and reached out to her through the various phases of my priestess training in 2018-19. I performed Deipnon rituals and wrote verses and ceremonies in her honor. In 2020 I joined the Covenant of Hekate, seeking to experience community with fellow devotées and discover how acting as her priestess in the world might take shape. I really appreciate the heartfelt devotion and attention to history and academic study that CoH encourages, and I've really enjoyed connecting to the broader perspective of likeminded devotées.
Temple of Hekate at Lagina, taken by me: October 2021
After having the ecstatic experience of pilgrimage to sacred sites in Greece and Turkey in 2021, I began to feel that my Deipnon and New moon divinations had grown too routine and were feeling obligatory rather than devotionally fulfilling, revelatory, or empowering. I realized I'd consistently been feeling drawn to working with her after the new moon and at other "non-canonical" times. I decided to lean into my creative strengths, and created a collection of devotional jewelry for her using fossilized palm root and silver, which looks remarkably like flickering flames against a midnight sky. Thus far, I feel this has been the richest work I have done with her.
Although the Deipnon is an integral part of many modern devotées’ regular practice with Hekate, it wasn't feeling right for me anymore. Late in 2022, I performed a lengthy divination with Hekate to determine where my practice should focus moving forward. The answers were surprising and curiously liberating! These were that I should continue doing divinations, devotional art, and making offerings in nature, but not as part of Deipnon practices for the coming year.
When the opportunity to join a new project in the Mt Shasta Goddess Temple honoring Hekate with a monthly public divination arose, I knew it would be a perfect expression of what my previous reading had indicated. This year, nine temple priestesses of Hekate will perform monthly divinations on every third day (i.e. the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and so on) as a devotional offering to the Great Goddess and her many epithets. Each month on the 27th day, I will offer a divination in honor of Hekate Skylakitis (protector of dogs) with the Divine Canine Tarot.
Skylakitis and other canine epithets of Hekate are primarily found in the PGM (Greek Magical Papyri), and reference her as huntress (like Artemis) and leader of the souls of the dead. In ancient times, puppies were sacrificed to her for purification purposes, and to call in healing and safe childbirth. Dogs were highly valued in ancient Greek life, both as working dogs (hunting, livestock herding, guarding) and as pets (there are many ancient depictions of adults and children holding small dogs, playing with them, keeping them close in domestic scenes, even found buried with them). In choosing Skylakitis, my intention was to draw parallels with Hekate as Protector of Dogs to the goddess in her wild, chthonic titan form. (Right: my photo of a dog on a gravestone at the Thivas Museum in Greece, 2022.)
Hekate Skylakitis may not seem like the most intuitive of her epithets for offering divination work. (Read more about this epithet on Neheti's blog Singing for Her.) But anyone who knows me knows my life revolves around my own dogs: three boisterous huskies, as well as currently a fourth who recently bounded up to us from an empty field on our evening dog walk. In fact, it was within a week of writing my prayer to Skylakitis that Apollo (our rescue husky, who we named for his wolf-ish looks and a perfectly marked white arrow fletching on his forehead) came into our lives.
Living with huskies is a particularly unique experience, and teaches me a little something each day about kinship, devotion, community, and play. These dogs are my daily connection to pure joy and love, and it is from this perspective I hope will give life to my monthly readings over the course of the year.
My Prayer to Hekate Skylakitis
My first divination of 2023 with the Divine Canine Tarot
February 27, 2023: Eight of Wands
A dingo races across the desert as wands propel themselves toward the sky.
The forces at hand are propelling you forward toward your goals with great swiftness. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow, even at a pace that may feel unexpected and dizzying for a brief time. The cosmic energies are in harmony with you, and it is safe to trust in this process. You are entering a fiery period of moving forward (and upward) through what may seem like a dry and desolate landscape. Take care, as sparks may fly! It is important to stay conscientious of little details that could slip through the cracks as you ride this current. This divination also hints at good news coming your way, the possibility of travel, and the completion of projects approaching.
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