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Hecate has been variously translated as “will”, “she that operates from afar”, “she that removes or drives off”,and sometimes “the far reaching one” or “the far-darter”. She is a ver ancient goddess, originally associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, fire, light, the moon, magic, knowledge of herbs. She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family. It was later that her image becasme darker and she was associated with witchcraft and sorcery. According to the most genuine traditions, she appears to have been an ancient Thracian divinity, and a Titan, who, from the time of the Titans, ruled in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea, who bestowed on mortals wealth, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle
Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. She is most frequently depicted this way. After the reunion of the mother and daughter, became she Persephone’s minister and companion in Hades.
Two metamorphosis myths describe the origins of her animal familiars: the black she-dog and the polecat (a house pet kept to hunt vermin). The dog was originally the Trojan Queen Hekabe, who leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and was transformed by the goddess into her familiar. The polecat was originally the witch Gale who was transformed into the beast to punish her for her incontinence. Other say it was Galinthias, the nurse of Alkmene, transformed by the angry Eileithyia, but received by Hekate as her animal.
Hecate may have originated among the Carians of Anatolia, where variants of her name are found as names given to children.