Hecate, or Hekate, is a popular goddess revered by witches and neopagans of many different paths. She is the ancient Greek goddess of witchcraft, magic, and crossroads.
Child of Perses and Asteria, Hecate's earliest known depiction dates from the 6th century BC
Hecate has often been depicted throughout history as holding torches or keys. As a household goddess and watcher of borders, the torches have been linked to torches used to light ancient Greek cities, and she used torches to help guide Persephone out of the underworld. The keys are also associated with this task, as they are the keys to the underworld.
Icons of Hecate were often placed over doorways to protect the home from negative spirits, as well as appearing in not only temples to Hecate but also those dedicated to many other deities, with her often having her own space inside their temples.
Hecate is known for a connection with dogs, sometimes being pictured alongside them, and they were often sacrificed to her - even as recently as 1920s America. She favoured the Yew tree and is linked to poisonous plants such as belladonna, along with other magical, healing or psychotropic plants.
Hecate has in the past been confused with Diana, and as such has also become linked to the moon, women, and fertility. These traits are sometimes observed by modern devotees.
With depictions of her regularly involving three faces, Wiccans often associate her with the triple goddess figure. She is sometimes thought of as being the crone of the three. Worship of her has been resurrected in the modern era by practitioners of Hellenic polytheism, a revivalism/reconstructionist movement bringing the ancient Green religion back to light.
In modern paganism, Hecate has gained popularity and is revered as the mother of witches, a healer who guides the way of her followers, a herbalist, a guardian, and a formidable deity not to cross. If Hecate calls to you, you are truly blessed. Many, many witches and pagans choose to worship her, and for very good reason.
Ways to include Hecate in your practice:
Dedicate space on your altar to her - add an old key or some symbolism in dedication
Work with torches (candles will do!)
Take care of dogs, her patron animal. If you don't have a dog, volunteer at a rescue or donate!
Include her when dealing with the dead
Getting to know Hecate, whether as an actual deity or a historical figure, can be incredibly rewarding and interesting. You just might find she fits well with you.