Hecate in myth: a synopsis
HEKATE (or Hecate) was the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. She was the only child of the Titans Perses and Asteria from whom she received her power over heaven, earth, and sea.
Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. After their reunion she became 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 mustelid house pet kept to hunt vermin). The bitch 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 Hecate as her animal.
Hecate was usually depicted in Greek vase painting as a woman holding twin torches. Sometimes she was dressed in a knee-length maiden's skirt and hunting boots, much like Artemis. In statuary Hecate was often depicted in triple form as a goddess of crossroads.
Hecate was identified with a number of other goddesses, including Artemis and Selene (Moon).
From the Library of Halexandria
The Hecate archetype is my own discovery but she shares a lot with Artemis, with whom she's been lumped up until now. When I draw on others' observations on the archetypes, I'm going to retain the parts that apply to Hecate (or vice versa - in the posts on Artemis, I'll remove parts that don't belong to Artemis.)
Another of the virgin goddesses. Hecate was independent, nonrelational, untouched by the heat of emotion or passion, not moved by love, sexuality, or infatuation, one-in-herself, belonging to no man, with an active, focused consciousness and little apparent need to become vulnerable (to give and receive love and comfort and support growth in others).
Hecate is capable of feeling whole without a man, seeking her own goals on terrain of her own choosing, the ability to concentrate intensely on whatever was important to her and to be undistracted (either by the needs of others or by competition from others), competent, capable of achievement, concerned for victimized and powerless women, “moonlight vision,” felt strongly about her causes and principles, interests of no or limited commercial value, individualist, could be very vengeful, needed to develop “the Far-Seeing Hecate.” Outrage at wrongs done and the strength to express a point of view are positive characteristics of Hecate.
Each archetype has two corresponding Tarot cards: one from the Minor Arcana, which shows the archetype at it's healthiest - it's the way we can manifest their power and energy. The corresponding card from the Major Arcana, on the other hand, is the divine gift of the spiritual realm that they're seeking to manifest through us.
Queen of Swords
Her ability to perceive the truth is valuable in untangling complex issues, or cutting through deceit. Tapping the power of the Queen of Swords will help you see what is hidden. Her wisdom and ability to be stoic in the face of suffering come from seeing painful experiences as opportunities to learn - developing your own ability to do the same will go far in reducing your suffering, and also the likelihood of repeating your mistakes. She learns a little from everything she does and from everyone she meets, and everyone who talks with her goes away a little wiser - whether they realize it or not!
High Priestess (II)
While the Magician focuses his powers outward, to achieve a meaningful effect on the world, the High Priestess shows us that we can also use these powers on an inner level, to enrich and transform ourselves and our world. She is often a sign of the Shadow, the repressed aspects of yourself or society. If you accept the Shadow within you, its powers will be open to you if you wish to use them.
Other Hecate Pages
The Hecate archetype: a deeper look
Hecate in myth
Musings on Hecate
Further reading on Hecate
Again, much of the above descriptions comes from The American Tarot Association, Goddess Power, The Library of Halexandria and from Wikipedia pages on the various tarot cards. All credit goes to them for their brilliant explorations of the archetypes and tarot cards. Make sure you check them out yourself and get their wisdom first hand (links are over there to the right.)