This post was originally written on June 26, 2014. I’m in the process of revamping/revising some of my older posts. (Side note: I did not continue this work with Hecate. I felt it was not in my best interest to dive into Her energies at the time.)
If you’ve been around the world of the Occult, Witchcraft, magic(k) and the like for a good amount of time, you’ve probably explored a little bit of what we tend to call “Folkloric Witchcraft.” (Sarah Anne Lawless’ blog is a great place for info on that, if you’re interested.) And because of that time of exploration, you’ve probably heard the term liminal spaces.
The term liminal, literally defined, means, “occupying a position at or on both sides of a boundary or threshold.”
Gates are liminal spaces, as are doorways to the home or rooms within it, and also bridges and walkways. Hedges are also liminal … if we read the definition of the word and think about it, occupying a space on both sides of a boundary is what we Witches (as hedge-riders, boundary-bouncers and threshold-crossers) do. We occupy both the physical realm and the spiritual realm, and are able to walk between it both, like Shamans of old. Indeed, we are Shamans – just not of old, per se.
I also find that there is a “liminal space” in time/space reality. It is that place between waking and sleeping – that brief moment where you are only mildly aware of your surroundings as you lie in bed, but are focused mostly on the inward spaces. I call this “liminal reality.” It is the one place I can most often find myself walking between worlds. (Yes, I just called a point in time a “place.”)
Since I’ve been honoring Ganesha for years, I’ve recently been enjoying His presence at its strongest. For some reason, Ganesha’s energetic being seems to be hanging nearby most of the time.
I’ve also been utilizing that liminal threshold of consciousness by chanting myself to sleep in the mornings (sometimes). It started out because I went to night shift and had trouble falling to sleep at first when I went to bed with the sun blaring through my bedroom window. Chanting calmed my nerves, focused me inwardly and allowed me to drift off into dreamland. I chant the usual chant of Ganesha the Obstacle Remover: “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha.” Doing so, I have literally seen Ganesha’s face arise in the darkness behind my eyelids, my inner vision. And when I’ve seen His face, I’ve also felt His presence (though He doesn’t speak, and there’s reason for that in the stories of Ganesha, but there’s no space to go into them here).
Recently, however, I’ve been feeling called to something else – some otherworldly force. We all know I’m a Witch, so that’s not odd for me. But it doesn’t feel like a “light, airy” energy I’m dealing with at the moment. For some reason, the subject of crossroads has interested me a lot lately. And crossroads, as we know, are liminal spaces.
Side note: Ganesha can also be seen as a Lord of the Crossroads because He is an obstacle-remover, a God of the Gates and Doors, and the first and last to be honored in traditional Hindu Puja.
For a bit, I researched the crossroads of Hoodoo. At one time, I had an interest in performing a Crossroads Ritual, where I would meet the man at the Crossroads and be gifted to perform some amazing feat – like play the guitar or make phenomenally powerful mojo bags. But neither of those really interest me now, necessarily, since I already make great mojo bags/hands and the guitar just isn’t even on the radar of my Bucket List.
Then it hit me all of a sudden. I remembered: the Crossroads is not solely Hoodoo and, most likely, originated with some other culture. I was right. The Crossroads has been associated with numerous entities, but the one that sprang most immediately to my mind is Hecate.
I don’t normally work with Greek deities. At one point, I aspected Hestia in a Wiccan ritual, but that was ages ago and She and I have had no interaction since then, really. I only did it because the folks I worked with at the time were interested in Hestia’s presence at a particular spellworking. Most of the deities I’ve honored over the years have been Celtic, outside of Ganesha and Kwan Yin.
But Hecate, Greek though She is, is the Queen of the Witches. And I’m a Witch.
So on the morning of June 25, 2014, I made a decision. Having felt the call of Hecate for the past few weeks, I decided to chant Her name as I slipped into that liminal space between consciousness and sleep.
As I chanted over and over in my mind, “Hecate, Hecate, Hecate,” repeatedly, without break or pause, something happened. Not only was I relaxing and beginning to sense the presence of Something Other, but I also saw a vague face arise in my vision. It was so vague that I was unable to make out any solidified features, as I was able to make out Ganesha’s features. However, I knew the face was female, and it was an older female. I remember seeing long, gray hair wrapped up in a tight bun and some wrinkles on the facial skin, but I couldn’t make out much else.
As I continued to chant and slipped further into that space, a whisper came to me. It was not seemingly internal, but external. It did not feel as though the whisper came from inside my head, but just outside my earlobe in physical time and space. And the words were extremely clear to me. The whisper said, “Slip your hands beneath my veil …”
I felt like there was more, but it trailed off as it startled me slightly out of that altered state of consciousness.
I’ve experienced these whispers before, but mostly from dead relatives. I’ve done this experiment with them before because I felt it safer, since they know me and won’t harm me (you know: ancestors). But this time, I felt the need to go for it with Hecate.
Hecate is not a light, airy Goddess, for sure. She is chthonic – Hecate inhabits, rules, the Underworld. The term chthonic has more to do with the actual ground itself – what makes the ground – than it does with, ” … the beauty of the Green Earth.”[ref]From The Charge of the Goddess[/ref] Hecate is vengeful, too, according to mythology, and She’s willing to do what it takes to make sure the situation goes Her way. A traditional offering is raw meat left at a crossroads (probably for Her black dogs). In addition, one of Hecate’s festivals (the Deipnon) consisted of a meal set outside the home for Hecate, either in a crossroads or at the front door, along with animal sacrifice and intense household purification. She’s also known as a maker and user of herbal poisons (having to do with my interest in Flying Ointment, perhaps?). She is definitely not a Deity one wants to attempt to lightly dabble with, by any means.